|KIT:||Tamiya 1/48 Panther ausf G|
|PRICE:||$30.00 ($25.00 at WingsnTreads)|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Die Cast lower hull.|
Developed as a countermeasure to the Soviet T-34, the German Panther tank was produced from 1943 until the end of the war and served alongside the Panzer III, IV and Tiger tanks. The Panther tank featured sloped armor, powerful 700hp Maybach engine and a turret placed far back on the hull mounting a 75mm L/70 cannon. The main gun was even more devastating than its size of 75mm would suggest, due to the large propellant charge and long barrel with high muzzle velocity. Many consider the Panther every bit as effective as the Tiger I, but easier to produce and maintain. The Ausf.G included versions with heater unit installed over the left engine fan, and with curving lower “chin” piece on the mantlet to prevent a ricocheting shot trap. With nearly 3,000 produced, the Panther ausf G was one of Germany's main tanks in the last years of the war.
Molded in tan plastic, this kit continues what seems to be a trend of adding more and more detail bits to the kit. By this I mean the usual shovels, axes, pry bars and the like that usually are attached to the outer hull that were molded in place on earlier kits. The kit continues the trend of using plastic track in segments with shorter segments for use around the drive sprocket and idler. It also includes the by now standard cast metal hull. While I have heard some complaints about difficulty in having paint stick to the metal bits, it can be overcome by additional primer coats before painting.
Still very much a curbside with no interior (and frankly even if they were available, the metal mounting posts would be difficult to work around), there are some optional parts that can be added. The four marking options are evenly divided between early and late versions so one does have to choose early as to which version is going to be built. This will decide what optional bits to use. These bits include exhaust and cooling fans as well as the later mantlet. Another option are side skirts as carried by all variations. Early versions also have some vents on the upper turret not used on the later tanks. Unlike some of these kits, this one is held together with polycaps. The usual cable is not molded in plastic, but you are given a length of string that you glue into the end pieces. Provides the proper 'floppyness' and does a credible job of simulating cable.
Instructions are the usual excellent ones from Tamiya with clear construction steps and decal/marking guides. As usual, only Tamiya colors are provided, but as most armor builders know, these later war tanks were basically in the three color scheme of Panzer Yellow/Green/Brown with some in the ambush scheme and all those little flecks. Markings are for four tanks. The first two are from the 9th panzer division while the later variants are from the 12th and 1st panzer division. no dates are given for any of them. The decal sheet is small but well printed and should provide no surprises
A superb addition to Tamiya's growling collection of 1/48 kits and one that should be a delight to build as well.
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