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:
In the past couple of weeks I’ve reviewed, built and now completed a pre-production example of OKB Grigorov’s first full plastic kit, the US light tank M24 Chaffee.
As I have demonstrated in the posts so far, the pre-release communication from the company and some of its friends and loyal customers has been 100% correct: what you see is a complete plastic kit with high level of detail, representing particular features of the actual vehicle, and with minimal compromise with fidelity despite the small scale.
As you are aware OKB Grigorov is also offering the so-called “Mammoth edition” of their injection molded M24 Chaffee. There are several PE frets and a machined brass gun barrel included in that boxing.
First off are the side skirts. You’ve noticed in my original review of the plastic parts that the skirts are represented in styrene, and that their edges are beveled to appear visually thinner. For those of us who are not satisfied a fret numbered P72017 offers replacement side skirts complete with fastener detail.
Last time I reached the point where suspension arms were set in place but no wheels were added. First let me take you back a little and show you the bottom of the hull with some suspension detail.
As you can see we have a pretty busy suspension set and this is positively something you want to take your time on. Consult your references on the position of the arms, as I had mine too folded in which caused negative consequences with track runs as you will see shortly.
The main point is this is a very detailed kit, and the only ejection pin mark you’ve seen so far is on the inside of the commander’s hatch. There are no more, period.
Last night I shared some details of the test shot. Tonight I am posting a few images of the build process.
As you have already noticed this is a complete kit, not a short run one, with a lot of parts and excellent detail. Despite being a test shot the set that I have fits very well. What you see here is bare plastic and glue with the minimal cleanup required so parts fit. No filler or primer was used.
I started with the turret. The locating pins and the shape of the guiding surfaces helped mate the upper and lower part nearly perfectly. I used a bit too much glue, so needed to clean up a bit.
This post is a special treat, as it’s the first time I am getting a kit that is not available in the market yet. In fact I am lucky to have been the first to get a copy of OKB Grigorov’s Chaffee outside the factory and OKB themselves.
Onto the shots. 4 grey sprues, well over 200 parts, some great detail, all hatches open, separate OVM tools and a lot more!!!
Let’s start with the hull parts.
Note detail on the conical return roller bases, the suspension arm sockets and bump stops, the shock absorber attachment points. The suspension arms are separate parts as are the final drive housing covers.
The T-72 main battle tank is one of the most recognizable combat machines very much thanks to the mass of real-time broadcast conflicts it’s participated in during the past 3 decades. A lot of companies have released model kits, including in 1/72 scale.
Two types of roadwheels have been used during the 72’s production run: the “8-hole” (early) and the “6-hole” (late) types. They were identical in diameter and rim width – 750mm and 190mm respectively. This scales down to approx. 10,4 and 2,6mm in 1/72.
Below is the galery of the completed model. It’s painted in a number of Revell enamel greens – various mixtures of ##48, 65-69 and 361 to simulate faded paint, areas where water of fuel accumulated, crew walked (or couldn’t, e.g. around the edges of the hatches and the hinges). Edges and certain areas were highlighted with green pastel chalks, then some Promodeller washes to pop the details. Decals do silver, because I did not gloss the surface underneath them.
Bronco have done a fantastic job on the kit, which does not have any assembly issues, or serious problems with accuracy. Building is very easy for such a large and well-detailed kit thanks to clever engineering; assembly process is supported very well by the instruction booklet (although several views of the completed steps wouldn’t have hurt). Outside the erroneous “cast surface” effect on the superstructure and the ejector pin marks on the fenders I don’t really have anything to complain about this kit. If I have the opportunity – I would build another one without any hesitation.
Looking for references for the SU-152 brought about the conclusion that this SPG was indeed a rare beast, and is even harder to find today. While there’s a lot of ISU-152 that were remanufactured to the M and K standards, the KV-based subject was not as lucky: there are very few survivors, even fewer are in presentable condition, and none appear to be able to move on its own.
Books on the “Beast killer” are also few and far between. I was able to find Wydawnictwo Militaria’s “SU-152” (332). Beside the examples pictured in the book (pretty devoid of any fittings, really) there’s another survivor in Kubinka, but since it cannot be photographed from all sides you’d need to rely on a very few images with scarce detail that keep repeating in all books on the subject.
Bronco has released two versions of the legendary Zveroboi SPG (popular nickname for the SU-152): early (the subject of this review) and late production. Confusingly the kit of the late variety appeared first, and this kit was released a few months later – in the beginning of 2013.
The sprue count alone is staggering: there are 59 sprues, including 1 with clear parts and the hull tub. A PE fret, decal sheet and two lengths of braided copper wire complete the kit.
Sprue A contains parts that are applicable to the entire KV-1 line and derivatives. Fenders and engine deck are marked “Not for use” in the parts plan.