Dragon 1/35 SdKfz 171 Panther G w/Zimmerit

KIT #: 6384
PRICE: $58.00 HSSRP
DECALS: Four Options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES:  

HISTORY

Germany was stunned when highly effective T-34 tanks were first encountered on the Eastern Front, and its own Panzer III and IV tanks were simply outclassed. The Third Reichís response was to design and produce the Pz.Kpfw.V, more commonly known as the Panther. Some regard the Panther as being the best tank of WWII, with an ideal balance of mobility, firepower and armor protection. Unfortunately, transmission problems plagued early versions and a lack of retrieval and repair capabilities often meant that broken down tanks were left on the battlefield. Weighing 44.8 tonnes and operated by a crew of five, the Panther was armed with a long-barreled 7.5cm KwK 42 L/70 cannon. Various modifications were made to the Panther design throughout WWII, with the final and most numerous variant being the Ausf.G, of which 2953 were produced from March 1944 till the end of the war. New features on the Ausf.G included redesigned hull hatches, removal of the driverís visor on the glacis, tapered one-piece upper hull side plates, and some later vehicles also had a new mantlet chin to eliminate the shot trap.

THE KIT

This is the latest in Dragon's line of kits that have the zimmerit already molded in place. It saves the builder from the quite tedious job of applying the paste. As usual, the kit comes with a full line of features and I'll let Dragon explain those to you.

Features:
- Extremely well-detailed injection-molded Zimmerit to accurately replicate the real thing
- Accurate weld patterns on turret with Zimmerit
- Stowage boxes with Zimmerit detail
- Stowage box with simulated damage provides more modeling choice from DS
- Newly tooled one piece DS Panther G tracks
- New Cartograf decal

Turret and Gun:

- Gun assembly recreated in detail, complete with breech
- Intricate slide-molded barrel travel lock with option of travel or combat configurations provided as separate parts
- Metal spare track brackets on turret sides
- Rear hatch with interior hinge detail can be positioned open/closed.


Upper hull and Engine Deck:

- Upper hull with separate engine deck
- Front ball-mount MG is movable
- Driverís and radio operatorís hatches with interior detail and support arms
- Two types of engine-deck hatch
- Delicate spare track rack provided in great detail; slide-molded holes for hassle-free fitting
- Engine radiator details with two types of fan
- Armored exhaust guards Ė welded and cast
- Photo-etched parts for engine-deck grills and cupola details
- Storage tube with fine detail

Lower hull, wheel:

- One-piece slide-molded hull bottom with superb detail
- Full suspension assembly; road wheel and idler arms can be positioned on uneven terrain
- Multi-part idler wheels

Instructions are superbly done and provide paint references with both Gunze and Model Master paints. There are markings for four tanks, all with a base Panzer Yellow paint. First is from 12 HJ at Normandy in 1944 and this is depicted on the box art. Second with a much heavier brown-outlined green camouflage is a 1./PzRgt 1 "LAH" vehicle in Paris during 1944. The third option from 9. PzDiv 'Hohenstufen' at Normandy in 1944 has a disruptive pattern of green and brown on the upper hull. Finally, with PzBrig 106 in Northern France during 1944 is one in a sort of 'mirror wave' pattern, again in green and brown. All quite colorful tanks.

CONCLUSIONS

With a 'mere' 490 parts, thanks to the DS tracks, this one should be a bit quicker build than some. The Panther has always been a favorite amongst modelers and this one should prove no exception.

March 2009

My thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the review kit. Get yours at your favorite shop or ask them to order it for you. I notice it has been selling briskly

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

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