The Panther is one of the most recognizable tanks of WWII, right up there with the slow and boxy but feared Tiger I. With ~6,000 examples per Wikipedia the Panther is the third most produced tracked German AFV after the Stug III (9,408 built), and the workhorse of Panzerwaffe, the Pz IV (8,298 made).
No wonder that number of kits on the market follows closely the other 2 vehicles. Naturally there are various renditions of the vehicle and its details, with the tracks varying from flat to highly detailed. Below are a few examples from 6 different kits:
Today I received two of OKB’s latest releases – their Winterketten and Ostketten resin tracks for the Pz III/IV family of armored vehicles. I was impressed with the casting and level of detail, so I am in a hurry to show you what the fuss is all about.
First thing about the track sets is that they are provided in 4 bands per set, each about 102mm long, like so:
Considering you need about 175mm per vehicle side for the lenghtened III/IV chassis on which a Hummel or Nashorn was based – you’re pretty well catered for in terms of spares.
A year after it’s done I am finally posting the gallery for this model.
Aside from the typical Dragon BS instructions that are supposedly there to keep you alert the only real problem to me is that insane idea of a gun shield. There is no simple way this is getting the proper shape and position the way people at DML HQ see it. And then there are those wingnuts…
The truth is the kit is a solid, high-value, good build that could turn to impressive completion by itself, in a vignette or a diorama. All it needs is a properly dressed gun crew and a few brass shell casings for you to scatter around.
Since I actually did build the thing about a year ago, I’ll post my thoughts about the construction sequence, and especially about the instructions and some peculiarities of the kit.
There are 23 construction steps and though they are logical I built my example in a bit different way. Also, I noted some errors I am discussing below.
Step 1: wheels – lots of them. Assembling the front wheels is no problem. The drive sprockets are handed (different) on the actual machine, but not in the kit. Dragon has issued you with 2 identical assemblies.
Sprue A – 90 parts for the suspension, engine covers and firewall, front lights, fenders, instrument panel, etc.
Dragon has put its favorite slide molding routine through its paces in this kit, and even without it the effort is still rather impressive. The cooling gills on the bonnet halves have been molded through – and most other kits will require a PE set for this. Also, the pattern on the radiator is discernible even if you look through the delicately molded guard grille.
The heat shield for the muffler also has its cooling gills molded as the real deal, so your weathering efforts here will be worthwhile. Delicate suspension parts and mirror supports, as well as lightbulbs molded in the bottom of the headlamp reflectors really contribute to the feeling you’re dealing with first-rate kit.
This kit is fantastic to the point that I am not afraid of building 1/35 anymore. It’s very detailed, yet builds together nicely, fitting pretty well, and looks accurate to boot.
Despite the serious part count building up of the main components/subassemblies is something a modeler can achieve within 8-10 hours. Clean molding means that filling and sanding will be done to a minimum. I’ve only used putty in a couple of spots, which can’t be said for most kits I’ve worked on in other scales (bar Eduard’s MiG-21 MF built last year).
After leading for years with its early model StuG IV, in the spring of 2012 DML has released a kit representing the late variety – a welcome addition to the fleet of German vehicles.
The model is a mix of sprues from existing sprues and a new parts that cater for the parts that are specific to the late production vehicles. Let’s go through the box.
The first thing you notice is that the box is packed with 29 (!) sprues, 4 sheets with metal parts and 216 Magic Link tracks for 1242 parts (if my counting is correct). Sprues are carefully packed together to save space, and putting them back in could turn to be quite the 3D puzzle 🙂
While the Squadron putty was drying I cut the nose of an ESCI FFAR pod:
and inserted the base into the inlet of the APU to give it some detail.
Here’s how the outcome looks before paint:
The amount of putty required and the sanding is obvious on the series of pictures above, but let me tell you – this is a great stress-relief technique.
I also created a new gun mount to replace the missing part, using brass barrels of a design closest to the original GSh-30. These are fixed into a block of laminated styrene. The white brackets are scrap styrene sheet.
I built this kit for a group build in April this year. My goal was to finish the build in the shortest time possible – it was intended as a kickstart after for quite some time I did not finish a kit.
The basic airframe used has been an ancient ESCI release which I bought dirt-cheap from a guy that regularly renews his collection. He had used certain parts from the kit, the gunpack included, so I was up for some scratchbuilding fun.
I started with the cargo hold doors, which were rather thick. I had to thin them around the edges in order for them to fit.