Dragon 1/35 Sd.Kfz 173 Jagdpanther ausf G early
|KIT:||Dragon 1/35 Sd.Kfz 173 Jagdpanther ausf G early|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Jagdpanther was a heavy tank destroyer design based on the 88 mm Pak 43 gun and the Panther tank chassis was ordered in late 1942 as design SdKfz 173. Production started in early 1944; at the same time Hitler specified the Jagdpanther ("hunting panther") name.
To accommodate the gun, the sides of the Panther tank were extended up to provide a roomy interior, while maintaining a very low profile. Both the Panther Ausf. G and Jagdpanther had side armor of increased elevation to enhance this effect even further and to harmonize production.
It was armed with an anti-tank version of the same long-barreled 88 mm gun as the Tiger II and a 7.92 mm MG-34 machine gun in the front glacis plate for local defence. The Jagdpanther had a good power-to-weight ratio and a powerful main gun, enabling it to destroy any type of Allied tank. The Jagdpanther's low profile meant that it was easily camouflaged. Because it was based on the existing Panther chassis, the vehicle did not suffer too many mechanical problems. It was manned by a crew of 5, a driver, radio-operator, commander, gunner, and a loader.
Around 392 Jagdpanthers were produced in 1944 and 1945. They equipped heavy antitank battalions and served mainly on the Eastern Front, although significant numbers were concentrated in the West for the Ardennes Offensive. They were first encountered in the west in very small numbers late in the Battle of Normandy, where the German 654th Heavy Antitank Battalion (schwere Panzerjäger-Abteilung) deployed about 12 Jagdpanthers against British units.
I know Dragon has done other Jagdpanther kits as I have one from several years back. However, this one has a large number of new mold bits if that is the case. Starting with a new fighting compartment exterior to be sure that all angles and attachments are in the right place. It also has better weld seam detail, a new cast mantlet and a new main gun collar recess. There are many more item upgrades that are fully detailed on the bottom of the box.
As this is a Smart Kit (which means you don't need aftermarket), it comes with the Magic Track individual links as well as steel tow cables and a photo etch fret for intake screens and a few other bits and pieces. The kit even has a working torsion bar suspension. Though the kit does not have a detailed interior, you are provided inside hatch detailing so that it will be there if you decide to add more to it.
Instructions are superbly done and provide well drawn construction steps. Color information is via Gunze and Model Master paints. Markings are provided for two vehicles. One is the box art vehicle in France during 1944 in an overall panzer yellow scheme with brown and green camo streaks. The other is from the same unit and place but without the additional camouflage. The small decal sheet is basically insignia and numbers.
Overall, another superlative kit from Dragon. It is sure to provide hours of enjoyable construction with a detail level that is second to none in this scale.
My thanks towww.dragonmodelsusa.com for the review kit. Get yours today at your local hobby shop or ask them to order it for you.
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