by: Vinnie Branigan [ ]
The Panther was designed in direct response to Russia's T-34. The sloped armour an attempt to increase it's stopping power. The Ausf. G was the final production version of the Panther, with over 3,000 being produced. It saw action on all fronts and was even disguised as a US M10 Tank destroyer during the Ardennes Offensive.
Inside the box you'll find the Dragon card, attatched to which, all in their own separate plastic bags, are a pair of tracks, decal sheet, a metal tow rope, and a small photoetch sheet. Also in the box is of course the instruction sheet, and 4 sprues of the usual light grey styrene, plus a separate turret and hull.
First off, as you'd expect, the moulding is immaculate. No flash of any sort can be seen. Regrading the hull and turret, they both have a fine zimmerit pattern moulded in. I have no doubts that this is slightly over-scale. However, if your're going to represent zimmerit at this scale, I think it has to be...... and it looks superbly done, even on the mantlet.
Sprue C is the one included in the earlier release of the F, which was the one that never actually went into production, although a few prototypes were produced, and also the Jagdpanther. On this sprue there are quite a lot of parts you don't actually get to use for this version, including two Jagdpanther mantlets, rear hull, two barrels, and a myriad of smaller parts. Sprue B is similar in that it's choc-full of parts you won't use. Makes your spares box look good though....
What you do get that you use is a new glacis, with the zimmerit nicely done, and the driver's vision port correctly deleted, the addition of a rotating periscope to the roof above the driver's station, the driver and hull gunner now have the correct hinged hatches, rather than the earlier pivotted ones, flame-trap exhaust mufflers on the rear, and finally the dished, steel wheels.
Included in the kit is a nice insert for under the engine deck, representing the intake fans etc., although not much of this will be visibe on the completed model. The barrel included in the kit is a styrene one, which is a little disappointing, but the inclusion of a small, but beautiful photoetched fret makes up for this. What you get are four really nice grills, tiny lifting hooks, and a bracket for the spare track links. As with the zimmerit mentioned earlier, the grills are themselves over-scale, but in this scale, they have to be, or they would appear solid. They do look nice though! A small length of metal tow rope finishes it off nicely.
There are 4 options provided for in the instructions, none of which are plain dark yellow, but are all camouflage schemes over a dark yellow base.
Pz.Rgt.27, 19th Pz. Div., Warsaw, 1944
Pz.Rgt.12, 12th Pz. Div., 'Hitlerjugend', Ardennes, 1944
Pz.Abt. 1, Pz.Rgt. 1, 1st Pz.Div. 'LAH', Normandy, 1944
Fallschirm-Pz.Div. 'Hermann Goring', East Prussia, 1945
An excellent additon to the small scale range. Highly recommended.
My thanks to Dragon for the review sample.