|KIT:||ICM 1/35 Bergepanther (early)|
|DECALS:||A generic set of insignia|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Individual track links|
The thing about having a big, heavy tank is that when it breaks down or gets stuck, it needs something equally as big and heavy to haul it off. The easiest way to develop a recovery vehicle, is to base it on the largest tank you have. That way, it can not only take care of the big'uns, but the little'uns as well. And so it was with the Panther tank.
Interestingly, the first production Panther was not the ausf A but the ausf D. These tanks were built by MAN and in amongst the production tanks were 12 Bergepanther ausf Ds. Like most tank based recovery vehicles, the turret was removed and the ensuing hole covered in either a metal or in this case, wooden enclosure to keep out the rain and occasional bullet. Self defense was provided by a single machine gun as these were not designed to go into battle, though they may well find themselves in one. The various booms and towing gear was normally disassembled and then erected on site. This was to keep it from being damaged in transit. Unlike most rescue vehicles, there was no large spade to help the vehicle dig into the ground while pulling on the tank in distress. This had to limit its usefulness, but was added to later variants. With only 12 built, it is surprising that they seemed to last for a considerable time.
I was unaware that ICM had gone into 1/35 military vehicles. Not surprising as newer ICM kits haven't been on the local hobby shop's shelves in several years. I have to say that the kit is quite impressive. I'm sure there is something wrong with it as it seems nothing is perfect, but I can tell you that the molding is first rate. I found no flash, few nasty ejector marks and no sink areas during my inspection of the parts. I'm not a huge fan of individual track links, but these look to be well molded and should present no difficulty in snapping them together. I am assuming they snap, though it may well be that they don't and have to be glued.
It is quite obvious that this is basically a standard Panther D minus the turret bits and with a replacement sprue for the recovery gear and the cover. The suspension bits look to be quite nicely done and the same goes for the rest of the tank. Most of what you'll be working on in this (and just about every other tank) is the running gear. It is the nature of the beast. Few parts are extra so you'll use up much of what you see in the image. There is enough additional 'stuff' to cover much of the hull and make things look properly busy.
Instructions are well done and provide well drawn construction steps with paint references as needed. Colors are provided in both generic and Model Master references. There is no history section, but what notes are on the instructions are in both Russian and English. The small decal sheet is nothing more than insignia. Two painting options are provided. One in overall Panzer Yellow and another with Panzer Green stripes added as shown on the box art.
A very nice looking kit that should make into an equally impressive model. You don't see that many recovery vehicles; especially German ones, so this will fill a void.
Thanks to and DLV Company for the review kit. You can find ICM kits at your favorite hobby shop.
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