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:
The WWII Panther tank has become a legend mostly based on its looks and long gun rather than its combat record. This has prevented no manufacturer ever from producing a kit of it, and as a result the modeller today has a vast choice of kits to build. Other than the (generally) horrendous tracks the detail that gets your attention the most is the commander’s cupola. Renditions vary, but they are usually molded closed, in soft detail, and with vision blocks having see-thru effect.
Georgi from OKB Grigorov is offering a solution to those problems for your Panther fleets: 2 separate sets of 4 commander cupolas each for the Ausf D and the Ausf A/G, respectively.
This build is special for me. The kit was purchased, started and completed in just one month, which is a first for the past 20 years or so. I wanted to postpone the clash with it, but I could not resist.
The first thing you should know is that you need to forget most of the modelling stuff you’ve learned over the years. Since the model is a fast build/snap kit:
– DO NOT DRY FIT PARTS, or keep it to a minimum. Fit’s so tight on some parts you won’t be able to disassemble what you put together.
Well it’s finally out. After two years of promises and a lot of online desperation on modellers’ end it’s in the shops and tonight it reaches my bench.
Two sprues of sand-colored plastic, a black sprue for the threads (total part count is 97) and a small decal sheet plus instructions and safety precautions for $8. Let’s see what’s in.
I am impressed! Part of the roadwheels are molded as a single detail, however the suspension arms are separate parts, as are the OVM tools! I am sure modellers will find something else to complain about, however before I actually start building the kit I will only comment on the way this kit is molded and so far it looks rather good to me.
After completing the camo pattern I found the colors were way too contrasting. The yellow was way too bright compared to the two saturated dark colors, so I sprayed a sandy acrylic mix, diluted with satin varnish. More layers were sprayed over the lower half of the vehicle to simulate the road dust.
As LSSAH was being reformed and reequipped from early April I kept weathering to a minimum apart from the bent front fenders, the dust, a few scratches and a slight bend on the side skirts.
A word of warning here – this kit is not something you would use for a quick build. I found that the hard way as you would find out below.
Due to the zimmerit being molded in the kit parts the hull is comprised of new parts. Whether the “smooth” Panthers fit OK I am unaware as of now, but this one certainly had issues with a bunch of shims required all around the front and back to make gaps go away. You can also see the large gap around the ball MG mount – still not filled here…
I got the kit in 2010 as a replacement for a lost package – I had won an “Achtung, Jabo!” pack with 4 figures, which never arrived for whatever reason.
Actually this was my first Dragon tank and I was eager to open the box and see what’s in. DML didn’t fail to impress. The number of parts is rather large due to sprue sharing with other Ausführungs and even with the Jagdpanther.
Onto the images (click to see larger images). You get sprue A, which is wheels and side armor screens.