This release from Vespid Models is packaged in a cardboard tray with a separate card lid. The box did take damage in transit, but did its job well as the contents are unharmed. The sprues themselves are packaged across a number of bags, and provide the modeller with a huge number of options. The parts themselves are of a high quality, being crisp and cleanly moulded. The 3D printed night vision scopes are protected inside their own plastic box.
The lower hull of the model has good detail across its underside, with separate suspension arms and idler arm which are secured in the position for display on a level surface by half circle connection points. So if you wish to display your model on an uneven surface, this portion of the model is not difficult to alter. The wheels supplied in this release are the rubber tyre version seen on most versions, with the steel wheel being introduced to save rubber. Detail on the faces of the wheels is exceptional in all respects, and I can’t complain about them in any way whatsoever. The modeller who has gone down the route of altering the suspension, lives in interesting times when it comes to adding the tracks as they are provided in a link and length format and so some hot water is going to be needed to reshape them as required.
The upper hull of the model is another area where you have a decision to make - Are you going to go with an early or later G version of the Panther. You have two complete upper hulls, one with the rear deck set up as you would see on a standard A/D Panther or the more standard G model with the raised heater fan, the choice is yours. Photo etch grilles are provided for the engine deck, and the driver and radio operators hatches are separate. The Kugelblende is provided with a separate machine gun, which to me is exceptionally unusual in something this size. Your next option depending on which option you decide to paint, are the stowage boxes on the rear of the hull. With the option of the crossed reinforcement or vertical lined reinforcement, but you also have the choice of a storage box for one side with no reinforcement at all.
The track guards such as they are on the Panther are separate. But the part that will cook your noodle are the 12 Schürzen hangers, which are made from photo etch, which need to be bent in a number of planes. Vespid have included two types of shaped Schürzen armour plate, you have the squared version which is most commonly seen and you also have the two end Schürzen panels that are shaped, and are an aspect that I am unfamiliar with. The spare track links, tools and exhausts are provided as separate parts. In the case of the exhaust, you are provided with the common version and the option of the flame retardant exhaust.
The turret of the model is made up of three main parts, with good detail throughout and so far as I can assess the correct angles. The main gun can be elevated or depressed after assembly and we hit our next option - one is the standard mountlet as seen on the A and D version, the other is the chin mountlet which was introduced to help do away with a shot trap. The main barrel of the model, has been provided with an option of a turned aluminium barrel and 3D resin muzzle brake, or for those who want the easy route an injection moulded plastic barrel in included on the sprue. The top of the turret, appears to have all of the relevant details provided including minute photo etch bracketing just behind the mountlet. You are also provided with a barrel travel lock, should you wish to use it up or down and we hit ANOTHER option - the cover for the driver’s periscope could either be the small version as seen on A/D variant or the elongated version as seen on later G variants. On the Commander’s cupola is where you mount the night vision scope, and while not an aspect that I know a great deal about, is does look to match the few available images of the equipment.
Vespid models has provided three finishing options for this release, and if you have taken the time to read the review, you need to take into account all of the options I have highlighted during assembly. As the finishes that you have chosen does dictate which variant you will finish with. The options are:
2 Panzer Regiment 10, 8 Panzer Division, No 242, April 1945, Moravia
3 Panzer Regiment 24, No 301, Late 1944 to early 1945, Fallingbostel and other places
Test vehicle, Germany, September 1944
This release from Vespid Models is another exceptional release with more finishing options that you could poke a stick at. The especially high level of crisp detail that this model provides, put it beyond my ability to build but, for those modellers with the ability to tackle the build could end up with a museum quality model which could easily be confused with a larger scale if no visual reference is seen. For those modellers with the ability, I cannot promote this model to you highly enough and while it will test your abilities, the result will be well worth the effort. It should also be noted that Vespid has provided you with very specific details, which in the belief that they have done their homework you are getting a very accurate model.