The Panther G was the last Panther production version to see service with the German military. The tank underwent several modifications to counter the abilities of the opposition to destroy it, with the application of top armour to counter Allied air superiority and in this case night vision equipment to enable operations in the dark when the Allied air force was less likely to intervene.
This release from Meng Models of a Panther G is I believe the 3rd or 4th release of this model with added parts. It is packaged in a cardboard tray, with a card lid. Inside the sprues are individually bagged, except where duplicated and the instructions and information cards, photo etch and decals are supplied in a separate sealed bag. Access to parts is fair and the gates between sprue and moulded parts are a reasonable size.
The base model of this release is the same as previous offerings, with Meng providing poly caps for the wheels allowing them to rotate, and the part that I like is that they can be removed for painting. The hull of the vehicle is a multi part assembly which would best describe as adding a skeleton support frame on to which various panels are attached to support the upper hull. The suspension swing arms are locked into position and so in a neutral display. Hatch details could be shown open, but you would need to hide the empty space within. To prevent light getting into the hull assembly via the various grilles on the engine deck is overcome by adding a detail schim on each side mimicking what could be seen through the grilles.
The area above the wheels has another insert that includes the front portion of the mud guards and a small lip. Storage bins on the rear could be shown open with a little bit of work, and while in this area it is worth noting the flame retarding exhaust options as well as the more standard version. If you go for the standard version heat guards akin to the Tiger 1 family are utilised.
One of the areas which tends to upset me with Meng is the complexity of the track links. Here you are provided with individual links, but both guide horns of each link need to be added, and you also have the option of adding grousers. Meng has also supplied replication of the cable that powers the lights. Storage equipment along each side was a fairly standard layout throughout the life of the Panther tank. The towing cables are provided with separate eyes, and a length of cable unless you have your own preference of what to use.
The turret of the model follows the same design method as the upper hull, in that you have a skeleton framework to which panels are applied. A chin armoured mantlet is correctly supplied, a single piece barrel with the muzzle brake being moulded in 3 parts and akin to what you would get when buying an aftermarket barrel. The infra red light that is aligned with the barrel is mounted to the mantlet - so make sure you gat your angles right!! Some interior detail is supplied in the form of the main gun breach, but if you are having the hatches open you will need to fill the void.
Meng has provided 3 options for the Commander’s cupola which are clean, an MG34 is provided and finally the reason I thought you would buy the kit the Commander’s infra red sight. I will say at this point, that if you went with the MG I would have thought an MG42 would have been more likely at this stage of the war. The finishing options provided are:
No 242, 2nd Company, 1st Battalion, 10th Regiment, 8th Panzer Division, Wehrmacht, Moravia, Czechoslovakia, April 1945
No 113, 1st Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Regiment, 16th Panzer Division, Wehrmacht, Silesia, Germany, March 1945
Tank of the 5th Panzer Battalion, 25th Panzer Grenadier Division, Ortwig, Germany, February 1945
No 221, 2nd Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Panzer Regiment, Waffen-SS, Belgium, December 1944
This offering of a Panther G from Meng Model in 1/35th scale is a nice kit that from previous examples I believe to be accurate. However, I do have some concerns with the assembly required. Most notably the difficulty of assembly of the tracks and the use of skeleton frames to assemble the bodywork on causes me concern for gaps being present. However, I will commend them highly for the amount of work that has gone into the finishing options. The quality of the mouldings is also very good.