IntroductionAfter finishing the Panther D Premium kit I was really looking forward to building the new Panther G Smart Kit to see how they compared. I was also offered the Cyberhobby Update set for the Panther G this includes the metal barrel, Schurzen plates, 2 PE frets and extra decals from Cartograf. It has been said elsewhere that the concept of the Smart kit makes the AM redundant, but as it has been produced its only fair to see how it looks. As Vinnie has already done a comprehensive review and a build, I am going to concentrate on those items that stood out for me during the build. I also used a completely different approach to spraying than I would normally use, (Vinnie convinced me), which I will detail.
The KitThe quality of moulding and level of detail are absolutely superb. I was constantly amazed at the fit of the components during the process, if anything, it is even better then the D. All weld seams now appear to be part of the components, and do not have to be added afterwards. The kit can be built with an articulated suspension (which I did) it works perfectly, and again the level of detail here will have the interior scratch builders rubbing their hands.
Things to watch forPro - Options are available for those wishing to build a specific variant. Con Unlike the Tiger 3-in-1, no indication is given in the instructions as to which item is for which variation. Fix - You WILL need good references if you want to get it 100% correct. Pro Six hanger brackets per side for Schurzen are fitted under the small side fenders. Con If you are using the update kit they do not extend far quite enough out from under the fenders to fit the overlapping Schurzen (they should be able to lock onto the brackets when slid on). Fix First fit the fenders (C1, C47) to the hull. Then glue the hanger brackets to the underside of the fenders (not to the hull), test fitting the Schurzen as you progress along the hull. Pro Spare track hanger racks are supplied for both sides. Con The holes in the track links are too small for the brackets to go through. Fix There are several: File out the holes in the track links until the brackets fit. This is not ideal as the holes have to be made quite large, and is noticeable. File each bracket until it fits the hole in the track links. Again not ideal as there are 12 U shaped brackets meaning you have to get 24 sides to look the same. Alternatively you can use the rack from the update kit (more on this later).
The Update KitThere are some excellent details in this kit - the equipment tube (all brass), has a fret of its own, and even has the internal fittings should you wish to have it open. You also have the extra decals to give you more flexibility in the variant you are building. As the Smart kit did not have the optional pioneer tools without clamps (instead they are moulded on and are very good), I decided not to risk filing them off in order to use the 3 piece ones in the update kit. The instructions are quite good (if a bit small), but I had to refer to references/Smart kit instructions for several pieces on the tool racks as they are shown complete and in place. I have seen several reviews of Cyberhobby instructions and they all seem to mention this point Cyberhobby might want to look at the way the design instruction sheets to make them a bit clearer. The holes in the Schurzen fit very accurately onto the hanger brackets of the main kit. I did find that some folding parts on the main fret were very unforgiving of mistakes. Whether its a softer type of brass, or the folder lines are cut deeper than sets I have used, several parts broke after the initial bend was manipulated even slightly.
Problem areasHere I must say at the outset that during this build I had no access to the internet as I was moving house and it took 3 weeks to get reconnected. This meant I was unable to access online references or forums for help on the two items listed below. I did however spend a lot of time in contact with Vinnie and others to get it correct, and had access to photographic studies of two existing Panther Gs at Fort Knox and Aberdeen.
Rear deck screens- Right hand sideThere are slatted screens on the right hand side air intakes on the rear deck. These were apparently to control airflow they would be closed in cold conditions to aid in the starting of the engine. The Smart kit offers two options: open and closed. The update kit offers a sliding screen that goes under the open version. The first (inboard) slat is bent upwards so that it can be used to slide the screen across. So far so good. However, if you look at the included image of the Aberdeen vehicle you can see the following: The usual mesh splinter screens are fitted flush under the slatted screens (the same on the Fort Knox vehicle). If you try and fit all three screens on the model, the top (kit) screen does not fit properly and the turret catches it when turning. Indeed, the Cyberhobby instruction set shows the sliding screen fitted without the mesh screen. If you leave off the mesh screen, it then works fine, but I find it unlikely that any crew would leave off the splinter screens on the air intakes. Initially I put the update screens in but eventually I took them out, left the Kit screen in place, and went for the open look.
track hanging racksEach horizontal rack has six vertically mounted U brackets attached. Brackets have holes in the ends to allow a pin to lock track links into place. The problem is that while track links are 2.58mm thick, the hole in the brackets is only 1.73mm from the hull. The lower hole in each bracket is completely hidden by the track thickness. Angling the link helps expose the upper hole but further hides the lower one. For comparison I have taken before and after pics without and then with the update. It would appear that the fret design of the brackets and rack has been copied from the Panther D but on the Panther D the horizontal rack is 2mm further offset from the hull by independent brackets, which is not the case on the G where it was welded straight onto the hull. In the attached photos you can clearly see that the extra track thickness is accommodated on the D bracket but not on the G. This meant I had to file off about 1.5mm from the back of each link in order to reduce their thickness to the point where a pin could be inserted through the holes in the bracket. A further problem are the pins on the fret. They are 0.04mm thick (the thinnest side) and attached to the fret in 4 places, including one in the middle of a link in the attached chain. To remove them without damaging them is nearly impossible (to be honest those on the Panther D fret are the same). Also when scaled up at 1:35 .04mm translates to a locking pin diameter of 1.4mm - on the photos these pins look to be around 12-15mm in diameter. As with the Panther D I again made my own pins from 0.15mm steel rod, which gives a much more realistic finish. Editors Note* In fairness to Cyber Hobby, they were contacted about this problem, and sent photographs showing the spare track links fitted as per the instructions.
Copyright ©2020 by Brian Balkwill. Images and/or videos also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. The views and opinions expressed herein are solely the views and opinions of the authors and/or contributors to this Web site and do not necessarily represent the views and/or opinions of Armorama, KitMaker Network, or Silver Star Enterrpises. All rights reserved. Originally published on: 2006-08-31 00:00:00. Unique Reads: 19508