Dragon 1/72 Panther G (steel wheels)
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Panther was a tank fielded by Germany in World War II that served from mid-1943 to the end of the European war in 1945. It was intended as a counter to the T-34, and to replace the Panzer IV and III, though it served along with them and the heavy tanks until the end of the war. The Panther's excellent combination of firepower, mobility, and protection served as a benchmark for other nations' late war and immediate post-war tank designs and it is frequently regarded (along with the Soviet T-34 Tank) as the best tank design of World War II.
Until 1944 it was designated as the Panzerkampfwagen VPanther and had the Ordnance inventory designation of Sd.Kfz. 171. On 27 February 1944,Hitler ordered that the Roman numeral V be deleted from the tank's designation.
Despite being technically superior in most aspects to the tanks of other nations, the over burdened automotive portion of the design and lack of general reliability lessened its impact on the battlefield. Combine that with the low production rate compared to the Sherman and T-34 and one can easily see that numbers will end up winning the day. Of all the Panthers lost in combat, some estimates suggest that nearly half were due to mechanical breakdowns.
The Panther G was the most produced variant with nearly 3,000 tanks produced mostly by three major contractors; MAN, Maschinenfabrik Niedersachsen-Hannover, and Daimler-Benz. As with all military vehicles, the Panther G incorporated improvements on the assembly line as they became available.
In addition to the superb detail that we have come to expect from Dragon, this kit includes a photo etch fret for engine cooling screens and some hold down items. The superb once piece 'Deformable Styrene' tracks are part of this kit and are very nicely done. A section of steel wire is also provided for a tow cable. The four man crew figures are as detailed as those in their 1/35 sets and have multiple pieces for arms, legs, heads and such.
Compared to their Sherman and a few other tanks, the Panther seems to be a simpler construct. It just seems to be a cleaner looking tank with most of its various tools and such placed tight to the hull. The kit also includes one piece side skirts, though one could easily trim a few off if it was felt that it was needed. This version differs from some of the earlier boxings in that it has the variant with the steel road wheels. This mean no need to paint the rubber road wheels, though the edges will probably be worn smooth of any encrustations.
Instructions are in full color and well printed. Gunze and Model Master paint references are provided. I'm sure there is a numbering glitch in the instructions as one pretty much expects it. Careful double checking should eliminate any problems in this area. Markings are all Panzer Yellow with blotches in various shades and patterns . Five options are given. The box art vehicle from Panzer Regiment 1 "LAH" in 1944, Next is Panzer Regiment 15, 11 Panzer Division during 1945 in germany. Third option is Panzer Regiment 24 in Germany during 1944. The lone winter camo version is from Panzer Regiment 2 in East Prussia during 1944. Finally a Panzer Regiment 24 vehicle at Aachen in 1944. The small decal sheet is well printed and should provide good service.
This is another fine 1/72 armor kit from our friends at Dragon. They just seem to get better with each release and the inclusion of the DS tracks is a real boon to most modelers.
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours at your local shop or on-line retailer.
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