by: Mark [ ]
Seibert operated a large tank repair facility in Ashaffenburg, Germany. Their work was primarily Panzer III based vehicles. Repair of all versions of the Panther was added to Seibert’s workload. Damaged Panther Ausf. D hulls were rebuilt as Bergepanther Ausf. D’s. Deliveries started in June 1944. Records show that there were, at least, 61 conversions delivered. As records were not specific for some months, the number is likely higher.
The conversion simply removed the turret and transmission/crew hatch. A sheet metal cover was placed over the turret opening. Sockets were welded to the rear sides for the 2-ton jib crane. Brackets were added for the un-ditching beam on the left side of the hull. Additional pioneer equipment was installed on the sides to aid in vehicle recovery. The Siebert conversion did not include the 40-ton winch or spade.
What’s in the Box
This kit is from Takom and released in 2018. This is a large box, measuring 15in x 9.5in x 5in (38cm x 24cm x 12.7cm). The kit has just over 1100 parts. What’s in the box:
24 sprues molded in grey
1 upper hull molded in grey
2 track assembly jigs
1 brass PE fret
2 metal cables
2 metal chains
1 decal sheet
1 25 page Instruction manual with painting guide
Looking at the Kit
Instructions – Standard Takom format, consisting of 25 pages of computer graphics. The dark color of the graphics can make it difficult to see details. Assembly is broken down into 46 steps. Many of the steps have multiple sub-steps.
Sprues – The quality of the styrene is clean and crisp. There is little to no flash on any of the parts. Any ejector pin marks are located such that they shouldn’t be seen once built. Sprues have their identification letter stenciled making them easier to identify.
PE – One brass fret is provided. This fret contains only the radiator grills. The grills are nicely rendered and look the part.
Let’s look at the build process:
Assembly begins with the lower hull plate. This is a multi-part hull instead of a bathtub style. Steps 1-2 add floor structural parts.
Here Takom has the entire transmission assembly as a sub-step of Step 2. This makes no sense at all. One, this should be its own complete step (it consists of 32 separate parts). Two, it doesn’t actually get installed until Step 4. Either make this Step 3, or a sub-step of Step 4.
Step 3 has two halves. One half installs additional floor structure. The other half begins assembly of the right side hull part. Here, you need to remove some of the molded on detail before install the identified parts.
Step 4 is again split into two halves. One half installs the transmission assembly from Step 2. The other half addresses the left side hull part. Again there is some molded on detail that you need to remove. Then add the identified parts.
Steps 5 and 6 install the torsion bar suspension to each hull side. You will then have to be careful inserting the side assembly through the floor structural supports. All of the holes and bars will have to line up as well as line up with the other hull side. Step 6 also assembles the steering linkage assembly.
Step 7 installs the external suspension parts and swing-arms.
Step 8 has no reason to exist. The track jigs double as a jig to make sure all the swing-arms are aligned. This should be part of Step 7, when you actually install the swing-arms.
Step 9 installs all the road wheels and the drive sprocket cover. No poly-caps are used, so I would recommend leaving these off to be painted separately and install at the end of the build. They are also molded as one piece, so the rubber portion will need to be painted separately.
Step 10 deals with several subassemblies for the driver and radio operator’s seats. You also assemble the instrument and distribution panel. Once this is painted, don’t forget to add the decals. These are not identified in the step, but, only in the painting guide at the end of the manual.
Step 11 begins installing the assemblies from Step 10 along with the rear firewall.
Step 12 begins adding the right side engine compartment divider, along with a few items in the main compartment.
Steps 13-14 adds the same parts from Step 12 for the left side. In addition, you add the left and right idler wheel shafts.
Steps 15-17 deal with assembling the tracks. It has you assemble the drive sprockets and idler wheels. Insert these into the jig. Then slowly add the link and length track sections. The jig should make keeping everything lined up easier. You do not install the lower track section until after the assembly has been fitted to the kit. That way you will have flexibility to get the track lined up with the road wheels. (DO NOT GLUE ANY PARTS TO THE JIG)
The tracks require you to install the guide horns separately. Fortunately, Takom has grouped the guide horns on a sub-sprue. You remove them by groups that match the lengths of track. Glue them into position, paying attention to their orientation. Once the glue has dried, you cut away the sprue, clean-up the attach points, and you are ready to go.
Steps 18-20 assemble the engine. There are lots of small and delicate parts here. Just be careful when removing them from the sprues.
Step 21 assembles the winch transmission and drive shafts. Then install them into the hull.
Step 22 installs the engine.
Step 23 adds the cooling lines. A rear view would have been nice to have to clarify part locations.
Step 24 assembles the left and right panniers.
Step 25 attaches the panniers to the hull as well as the assembly for the coolant and fuel filler tanks. You are provided a view from the rear showing the positioning of the lines.
Steps 26-27 add the front bulkhead and the radiator assemblies.
Steps 28-29 assembles the rear hull panel. This is only the access plates and exhaust mufflers. Since this is a remanufactured Panther Ausf. D, is only has the single pipe exhausts.
Step 30 begins assembly of the upper hull. The sub-step assembles the radiator inlets with PE grills. You also add the equipment and spare track racks for the left side. Leave the tools off for now for separate painting.
Step 31 adds the radiator exhaust fan hatches and more tooling for the left side. Again, leave the tooling off for now.
Step 32 adds the engine deck cover and hatch. You also add more tools and spare track links.
Steps 33 add all of the equipment racks and tooling to the right side.
Steps 35-36 add the interior parts for the front upper hull vision ports for the driver and gunner.
Step 37 adds the armored covers for the driver’s and gunner’s vision ports, on the outside.
Step 38 assembles the front fenders and attaches the upper hull to the lower hull.
Step 39 adds the schurzen. This is molded as one piece. If you want to display with panels missing, you will need to cut it into sections.
Step 40 adds the tow cables and the front hatch rain cover. You have no option to display the rain cover extended. The kit only includes it in the retracted position.
Steps 41-42 adds the cover for the turret opening along with some additional external parts.
Steps 43-44 add the unditching beam and tow bars. You can display the towing bars stored on the engine deck, or assembled for use.
Steps 45-46 s the 2t jib crane in either the deployed or stowed positions. If building in the deployed configuration, you can only install on the right side.
Painting: Paint call-outs are only for Ammo-Mig products. A 2 page guide is incorporated within the manual for painting the interior. It would be much better if this were a separate guide. No color callouts are provided in the instructions.
The interior paint guide is correct for a late 1944 vehicle. The interiors were all left in RAL 8012, Red Oxide Primer. They were not painted RAL 1001, Elfenbein (Ivory) starting from August 1944. Interior components were left in whatever color they were received from the supplier.
Two additional color pages provide four paint schemes along with weathering suggestions. The paint schemes are all factory versions. No units are identified.
Decals –These are printed in China. They lack the crispness, and clarity, of those you see from Cartograf. No specific unit options are provided. All four schemes are identified as “Siebert Factory 1945”
1. Panzer Tracts No.16: Bergepanzerwagen - Bergepanzer 38 to Bergepanther
2. Panzer Tracts No.16-1: Bergepanther Ausf.D, A, G