|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
While itís the impressive Tiger I tank that usually attracts the most attention, it was the Panther that in the long run was a more important tank to Germany during WWII. This 45-tonne medium tank was also converted into a useful armored recovery vehicle known as the Berge-Panther, with nearly 350 examples produced. One particularly unusual vehicle to be created by the unit s.Pz.Abt.653 was a Berge-Panther fitted with a Panzer IV turret. The result was a command tank with a fixed turret, plus a name that was absolutely mind numbing: the Berge-Panther mit aufgesetztem Pz.Kpfw.IV turm als Befehlpanzer. The work was done as a field conversion by only one unit and it served with the aforementioned heavy tank destroyer battalion (originally equipped with Ferdinand and, later, Jagdtiger vehicles) on the Eastern Front in 1944.
Here is yet another interesting variation on Dragon's nicely done 1/72 Panther. This one is a pretty simple combination of the Panther chassis and hull with the Panzer IV turret. This turret includes the turret shield often used later in the war to stop anti-tank rockets.
What you get is a full Panther kit, complete with turret and gun along with the sprues for the Panzer IV turret. In order to build this one, you'll need to do some trimming and filling, but the instructions show exactly what needs to be done. The biggest job is removing most of the rear turret shielding as it leaves little left to attach the the side bits.
Instructions are well done and provide all the information needed to build this interesting one-off vehicle. The small decal sheet includes unit badges along with insignia. As you can see from the box art, this one was painted panzer tan with green and brown splotches.
Add this one to your shelf as it will surely cause a few heads to turn wondering just what it is!
Dragon USA September 2013
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. You can find this kit at your favorite hobby shop or on-line retailer.
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