|KIT:||Tamiya 1/48 Jagdpanther (late)|
|PRICE:||¥1800 from www.hlj.com|
Considered the best heavy anti-tank AFV produced during the Second World War, the SdKfz 173 Jagdpanther designed to overcome the limitations of the earlier Nashorn and Ferdinand anti-tank vehicles. Based on the chassis of the Pzkw V Panther Ausf A, the Jagdpanther was armed with the was the awesome 88 mm PaK 43/3 L71 gun. The basic chassis, power train and lower hull of the early Panther were used intact and new superstructure was designed without a turret, which would simplify and speed production. The glacis plate was extended up at the same angle, which allowed the use of the standard Panther bottom hull and nose plate. The original Panther side armor was at too great an angle to provide for a large fighting compartment, so a new and simpler hull side plate and sponson assembly was designed, which was also adopted for the Panther Ausf G; this provided better side protection at lower cost and production effort. The superstructure featured 80mm armor at the front and 50mm at the sides, making the Jagdpanther a very difficult kill for all but the most powerful Soviet tanks, and completely outclassing the tanks used by the western Allies. Weighing in at 46 tons and propelled by the powerful Maybach V12 cylinder engine, the Jagdpanther featured a good balance of fire power, protection and mobility.
After being demonstrated to Hitler in 1943, the Jagdpanther entered production in January 1944. Fast, well armored and well armed, the Jagdpanther was an extremely effective weapon, and very popular with its crews. Only 415 had been built by April 1945 when production ceased, and there were never enough to meet demand.
The British and Americans first met Jagdpanthers during the fighting in Normandy in July 1944, when the 654th Heavy Tank Battalion ambushed British tanks at Caumont, destroying several British Shermans at no loss to themselves. However, most Jagdpanthers were used on the Eastern Front against the new T-34/85 and the JS III heavy tanks operated by the Red Army in ever-increasing numbers. Jagdpanthers returned to the Western Front in appreciable numbers for the Ardennes Offensive, known to history as the Battle of the Bulge.
As with all the other new Tamiya 1/48 armor kits, this Jagdpanther includes a diecast chassis. Some of the more serious “treadheads” say that these diecast chassis are not very accurate; however, for this “dabbler” in armor, the fact that very few tank models get turned upside down leaves me unworried about accuracy questions that can’t easily be seen. All the parts are crisply molded in tan plastic and are flash-free. Decals are provided for two otherwise-anonymous Jagdpanthers, and a third from Kompanie 1, sPzJgAbt 560, participating in the Battle of the Bulge. All three offer the modeler different pattern variations of the three-color armor camouflage.
For those who - like me - are “dabbling” in armor modeling either for the first time or after a long time away from the field, this Jagdpanther looks to be easy to build while providing a good-looking final product.
Review kit provided by HobbyLink Japan - get yours at “Japanese prices” at www.hlj.com
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