Vespid Models although they have not been in the game for very long, are in my opinion, becoming the premier company when it comes to 1/72nd scale releases. My reasoning for this is that unlike any other company I know releasing injection moulded kits in this scale, they also include photo etch and metal barrels as options while no charging the earth. In this review we look at we look at the Panther F, which while I know a turret was produced, as there is one at Bovington Tank Museum it was never completed in it’s intended format. So this kit has to be considered as a Wehrmacht 46 release.
This model arrives in a sturdy cardboard tray with a separate card lid showing the artwork. Inside the plastic sprues are packed at no more than 2 to a bag, with the turret and hull separately packaged. There is a separately bagged and plastic boxed 3D printed resin part in this release and the metal barrel, photo etch and decals are provided in a Ziploc bag. The parts are all still cleanly moulded, despite a good number of the sprues having come from previous releases. To give you an idea of how I know this, one of the sprues it utilises just one part of the 30 or so that are on the sprue.- with the rest of the pieces relating to a Panther G. Access to the parts is good, and so no complaints at this point.
The lower hull has good exterior detail for a Panther G, all of the suspension arms and wheels are individually applied with the track links provided being link and length which provides good detail while making assembly as easy as possible. One issue that jumps out at me is that because the area above the tracks is moulded as part of the lower hull access and assembly of the link and length elements in this area will need to be considered carefully due to the small working space.
The upper hull, offers hatches that can be open or closed for the driver and radio operator. The raised heater common to the Panther G is well replicated, and has no less than 3 photo etched parts for the vent cover but I do not see the option for deciding how many of the vents are open. The Kugelblende is a separate moulding as the machine gun barrel. One area that I suspect will make the modeller swear are the photo etched mounts for hanging the Schürzen, as these are very small requiring 6 on each side and no less than 4 bends being needed on each one - I can hear you swearing now!!!
The stowage boxes on the rear of the vehicle are provided in three styles with the re-enforcing cross style being the one I am most familiar with. You can also, due to photo etched lids with a bit of effort show them open. The result of all this work has the potential of providing the modeller with an exceptionally detailed Panther G hull in all of its elements as best I can see. The Schürzen plates are provided with the option of a plastic part, or individual photo etched plates.
Moving on to the turret and the dedicated Panther F parts, you are given a turret that appears to me to accurately replicate the shape of the offering seen at Bovington Tank Museum, but it needs to be remembered that this turret is in bad shape due to having been used as a range target at some point in its lifetime. The exterior detail on the turret is a varied mix of plastic and photo etch, and I am pleased to see that Vespid Models has provided a former for the part that sits above the gun mantlet. The amount of photo etch on the turret is large in number, but the parts are damned small - Optimizer anyone!! The Commander’s hatch has the option of having the hatch open or closed, and this is where the 3D printed part comes into play, as it is the night fighting vision scope.
Vespid Models have provided 3 finishing options for this release, but unfortunately no details on what they are envisioned to represent. The first is a plain yellow option, the second is a 3 colour ambush camouflage pattern and the last a rather visually striking 3 colour camouflage with white used instead of brown, and so I presume a Winter option.
This release from Vespid Models of a Panther F, represents I believe the Panther F turret mounted on the Panther G hull, which is the vehicle that was originally produced for checking the turret. The Panther F hull was never produced to my knowledge, and so in effect this is an accurate representation of the prototype vehicle produced, with imaginary camouflage finishing options. If you use the first option of the all yellow vehicle, I believe you are producing an accurate model of the vehicle that was. The model itself, will test you because it has a beautiful level of detail but due to the small parts - many of which are photo etch that need to be bent, you will need a very good eye and steady hand, but with the requisite skill set you will get a very visually appealing model.