Dragon 1/35 Pz.Beob.Wg.V (Panther ausf D)

KIT #: 6813
PRICE: $73.00 SRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Limited Reissue (2012)

HISTORY

In line with other German tanks, one variant of Panther tanks was an observation post tank known as the Pz.Beob.Wg.V. Some 41 such vehicles were converted from regular Panther tanks in late 1944-45. The conversion entailed removing the main 7.5cm KwK.42 armament and plating over the front of the turret. On this plate was mounted a dummy wooden gun and mantlet in the center, and to the right a ball-mounted MG34 machine gun. This reduced its overall firepower to just a pair of machine guns. However, the mission of this vehicle was not to get into a fire fight and it was felt that its armor was sufficient to handle any small arms fire with the twin machine guns providing enough to keep infantry at bay. This observation version was equipped with additional radios in the space freed up by not having a gun or ammunition stowage. From what I gather, it was the ausf D version that was chosen for this particular mission. How many were converted is unknown, but it probably was not a large number.

THE KIT

The dummy turret front plate, mantlet and gun are newly tooled. The turret roof has been modified with new hatch and ventilators too, giving it a distinctive look. Another characteristic of the Pz.Beob.Wg.V. Ausf.D a star antenna on the rear deck is also present. In other areas, this kit differs from the standard version that has been kitted in the past. The first thing you notice is that the kit includes DS tracks. These are very nicely done and eliminate the need to assemble a large number of separate links. This alone reduces the required parts considerably. The tracks are still there if you wish to use them as the same sprue includes the road wheels, but for most, the DS tracks are more than good enough.

Another area that is quite different is in regard to the side skirts. In previous Panthers, these items were photo etch aluminum or steel. With this kit, these skirts are made from thin, prepunched plastic card. This is a real benefit to those who don't like working with photo etch and these skirts are remarkably thin as well. Should make for a big plus. Other than the new bits mentioned above, this kit is just like Dragon's other Panthers in terms of having a nicely detailed suspension, hatches that can be modeled open or closed and a goodly number of pioneer tools. The replacement wooden barrel looks a tad odd, especially as it is shorter than the usual, at least it looks that way to me.

There are markings provided for two vehicles. Both of them are a base of Panzer yellow with one being the box art vehicle sporting no markings at all. The other has bands of green and brown along with the number 521. Instructions are up to Dragon's usual standards and offer Gunze and Model Master paint references. Both tanks are from the 1943 time period. I should also mention that Dragon's instructions are not line drawings as they usually are, but a photo-realistic format. In the past these have usually been too dark for my tastes, but it works well in this case.

CONCLUSIONS

Those of you into the Germans part of 'Shermans and Germans' will be quite pleased with this one. Its turret assembly is different enough that it will cause some interest amongst German armor fans and those who want something a bit off from the usual will be able to have a nice tank for the shelves.

June 2015

My thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local retailer. 

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