This offering is packed in a cardboard tray with a divider and separate lid. Inside a divider protects the more delicate parts, I have observed that due to the large quantity of plastic in this box that pressure marks have occurred on some of the paper elements which would increase the risk of damage occurring to the plastic elements due to pressure breakages or warping. These issues do not seem to have occurred in this example, but it is a risk. The parts themselves are well moulded with no obvious issues apart from some ejector pin marks. Access to the various parts is good, and the gates between the sprue and the mouldings are small. There are some extremely fine mouldings that could be very easily broken during removal. But if I am honest, most of these particular elements I have noticed I would likely replace them with wire anyway.
The lower hull of this release is surprisingly well detailed, both inside and out. The detail moulded onto the side of the hull is well defined, and the additional parts added improve the overall look. You get a full depiction of the interior suspension system, detail is of a high standard and makes me wonder if this was initially intended to be a full interior kit. The suspension arms themselves are not workable, and so lock into a neutral position. This being a late version of the Panther, the wheels are full steel wheels with regards to the road. Do not get caught out by the painting instructions where the painting has indicated that they are not steel wheels and have tyres attached. Late war German vehicles switch to steel wheel construction to save on rubber, which had become extremely hard to source. The tracks provided in this offering are individual track links, with the aspect that I am not a fan of - of separate guide horns that creates a lot of extra clean up work.
The rear deck of the hull has the separate storage bins with an unusual strengthening pattern on them of straight vertical lines as opposed to the cross we are more accustomed to. The access hatches on the rear deck are all moulded as part of the rear plate. The exhaust stacks are the late flame retardant versions, they have a particular name but I cannot remember what it is. The jack has been provided for storage on the rear deck, and is a multi part assembly and so offering a good level of detail. Included for addition to this release is the transmission based at the front of the tank positioned in-between the driver and radio operator, and from what I can see it is complete. The drive and the turret drive unit has also been provided in depth and detail. But there is a kicker!! - in that you have this glorious level of detail that is not easily displayed, as the seats for the two operatives at the front of the vehicle is not there. I cannot help thinking that this is supposed to be a full interior model, and for reasons unknown it was only taken so far.
The upper hull of the model has an additional interior front plate providing interior detail of that location, with a lot of effort put into the machine gun mounting area, including a very well detailed interior machine gun mount which offers everything except the magazines. The periscope in the hull have been provided in clear parts, of which I approve. Moving to the exterior the raised heating vent has photo etched screens that can be set as required inside the housing. The star support on this mounting is provided as a separate piece, which could obviously be easily broken during removal. The intakes are finished off with photo etched grilles. The large panel above the driver and radio operator’s station is separate, with detail inside and out. The hatches are also supplied separately, and while not intended I believe could be shown open. Storage racks for tools and the like are provided as separate pieces, again meaning a fine level of detail. From what I can see from the front end of the vehicle, all detail appears to be good including replication of the cables to the light fitting.
The fine rail that goes down each side of this vehicle is provided with separate photo etched Shurzen hangers, which will obviously need to be bent into shape and I can hear some of you swearing already!!!. Elements for lifting sections of the engine deck have been well catered for, with everything looking as it should. The track stowage on either side of the vehicle is locked in place with separate pins, and handles on hatches have been well catered too. The tools themselves do have moulded on clamp detail, but the modeller who wishes could easily clean this clamp detail away and replace with an after market photo etch set. The only critique I can come up with here, is that the information label on the fire extinguisher has not been provided on the decal sheet. Photo etched Schürzen plates have been included, with photo etched locking clips - Won’t that be fun!!!! The tow cables are provided with separate eyes and a cable is included for use - I would replace the cable with a more realistic option.
The turret of this release has been provided with a full interior, including the cradle that sits within the hull of the vehicle. A lot of detail has been put into this area, as an example the Commander’s seat alone is made up of 5 elements. The detail included here is truly of a very high standard, and will be a case of measure twice and cut once - or check the fit before you put glue to it to be precise. The main gun breach has detail in the pivot section, which includes the machine gun body and sighting system. I am very pleased with the effort put into the machine guns, due to the barrels having the correct details. Crew hatches in the turret can be open or closed, and having the hatch at the rear of the turret open will provide you with a good view of the busy turret interior. The Commander’s cupola is made up of a great many parts, including clear periscopes and so far as I can see has all of the necessary elements. The barrel is a single piece, slide moulded inclusion and so keeping clean up to a minimum. The rain guard that sits above the mantlet is a photo etched part and has very demanding bends required - so a test for the modeller. With this being a very late Panther G the night vision sight mounted on the Commander’s cupola has been included, and adds an interesting final detail on this model.
Hobby Boss has provided 6 finishing options for this release, with some very interesting camouflage patterns. But Surprise, Surprise - No information on what they represent!!!
This release from Hobby Boss of a late Panther G with a lot of interior detail, especially where the turret is concerned. I am left wondering what happened to providing the ammunition storage and driver and radio operator’s stations to give the modeller a full interior detail excluding the engine bay. It is almost as if they went so far, and then gave up. The level of detail on the model, especially the exterior reminds me of the heady early days of Dragon releasing Panther models that made every modeller claimer for them. I have two main complaints, one being the individual tracks links with separate guide horns making the work a pain and that the finishing options don’t tell you what it is you are looking at, and so you may be better off going on line to find a finishing option of your choice. Even with all that said, I do believe the modeller who purchases this release will be very happy with what they get.