by: Frank Portela [ ]
Tamiya has been giving us a great line of 48th scale models. The arguments for and against this shift by one of the 'giants' in the hobby, is one that has been made over and over, and best left alone here.
The model consists of 182 parts in four sprues with the lower hull done in cast metal, a couple of screws for mating the upper and lower hulls, poly-caps for the drive sprokets and the gun, a sheet of decals and a strand of thread for the tow cables.
There isn't a great deal of complexity to these 48th scale models. Some of the details are simplified, but overall it's a good balance between size and detail.
The tracks are link and length with good surface detail on both sides. The first thing you should do with this model is lay the link and length track sprues down with the injection points facing up, and spend some time adding a touch of CA glue to the hollow sink marks. Once dried, just sand flush. The track teeth are not hollowed, which is acceptable to me. If you are really interested in hollowing these out, you'll need a file that is 1.4mm by 1mm and a lot of patience. The fit of the tracks is flawless, they give you a guide notch on the link which sits on top of the return roller, and from this point, work back and down to the bottom run, and forward to the drive sprocket. Do not glue the drive sprocket to the hull, until you have all the sections on. Part A33 (top run) can be slightly bent upwards in the front section, to give you a more realistic sag off the drive sproket.
The road wheels are 24 bolt wheels, correct for the G model. They will need to be glued on with CA glue to the metal lower hull. I find that softening the plastic with a bit of plastic liquid glue helps in giving you a bit of play time once the CA is applied. T
The turret has most of the necessary features for a Ausf.G final model. The IR sight linkage guard, the antenna mount, the Pilzen attachment points, a good MG34 and both types of gun mantlets. For extra detail, you could add the welded camouflage rings on the side of the turret and replace the hand holds with wire, as I have done. My biggest disappointment with this Panther is the lack of periscopes. Strange considering that the Tamiya 48th scale Hetzer ( a previous release) has them.
The hull is very well done and gives you the option of either the standard 'G' or the late model 'G'. The options include the heater unit over the cooling air grill on the left side, the option of the fire trap muffler, and the shutters over the cooling air inlet grills. The side skirts are overly simplified, one piece and in my opinion, need to be replaced. I've used mine just to give you an idea of it's look on the completed model. My only concern with construction on the hull is the lower front plastic plate (C8). Leave this off until the upper hull and the lower hull are mated in step 4. This will prevent the ugly gap which I encountered (my fault!) and as shown on the unpainted photos.
The decals provided are a bit on the thick side. You have the option for the following tanks...
Tank No. 302, 9th Pz. Div.
Tank No. 126, 12th Pz. Div.
Tank No. 211, 1st Pz. Div.
Tank No. 301, 9th Pz. Div.
For those of you who think that this model is a bit simplistic, Hauler gives you a wonderful array of P.E./resin sets, and which all together will make this model a show winner.
HLX48065 Panther 'G' details and Grills,.... $16CDN
HLX 48066 Panther 'G' Grills,.... $6CDN
HLX 48067 Panther 'G' Fenders,... $11CDN
HLX 48068 Panther 'G' Schurzen,.... $11CDN
HLX 48069 Panther 'G' Kisten,.... $10CDN
HLX 48023 German tank tools,.... $6CDN
HLX 48024 German Jacks,.... $6CDN
HLX 48015 Buckets,.... $6CDN
In conclusion, the Tamiya Panther 'G' in 48th scale gives you a great fast build, one that should not take you more than 5 to 6 hrs., giving you a great canvas to experiment and practice new painting techniques.
The Kit and P.E. sets where all supplied by my pocketbook.