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Panther A Late Type
60th Anniversary of the Normandy Campaign 1944-2004

 

Dragon/DML, 1/35 scale

 

S u m m a r y

Stock Number, Media, Contents and Price: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale 39-45 Series Kit No. 6244; Sd.Kfz. 171 Panther A Late Type (60th Anniversary of the Normandy Campaign 1944-2004); 485 parts (463 in grey styrene, 12 sections of white styrene sheet, 8 etched brass, 1 turned aluminum barrel, 1 steel wire section); price estimated at US $34
Scale: 1/35
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: FINALLY a good, state-of-the-art kit of a late A model; several nice touches added due to its being a commemorative kit
Disadvantages: Two-part single link tracks remain a bugaboo to some modelers
Recommendation: Highly Recommended for all German armor fans

 

Reviewed by Cookie Sewell


Dragon's 1/35 scale Panther A Late Version will be available online from Squadron.com

 

F i r s t L o o k



I suppose I do not give the Panther its due, partially because it has been overblown and partially as it was not a very good tank when the dust settled.

Tom Jentz has a marvelous lecture on the history of the tanks and shows that they were built like Rolls-Royce motorcars one at a time, and it was only coincidence that "interchangeable" parts actually fit (other than standardized bits like wheels, torsion bars, viewers, etc.) The Soviets never found one that could go even as short a distance as 200 kilometers on highways without breaking down. US troops found out that it suffered from the same weakness as the Panther an inability to swivel its turret quickly in close combat and soon lost much of their fear of it when not in open country.

Nevertheless, the A model is a hoary subject that so far has been ill-served as a model. Tamiya came out with their kit of the A in 1968 and unfortunately have not changed it in 36 years. It is a nasty model now when compared to the actual vehicle with many proportion and detail problems, and yet it remains in production today.

Italeri came out with an A about 10 years ago, but it was a "gimmick" kit with stick-on zimmerit panels as an option. The problem with this kit outside of its own proportion problems which put the turret too far back on the hull roof was that if the zimmerit panels were not used, it was underscale. Modelers argued about the kit some still stubbornly preferring the obsolete Tamiya kit for no more valid reason than it was "easier to assemble" but it was overall judged as not the answer.

DML bought the molds to the exorbitantly price Gunze Sangyo Panther Ausf. G kits and after cleaning them up (and converting them from multimedia kits back to styrene kits, cutting the price WAY down) released them and a Panther G with IR sights and a Panther II in their "Imperial" series in 1994-1997. Tamiya matched them at the same time with three new kits of the G model that were then state-of-the-art. But no A.

When DML came out with its very nice Panther Ausf. D kit a few years back, I was surprised when they did not immediately release an A model using many of the same molds. The expected kit was eventually released as DML #6168 during 2003.

This new kit with the same box art as #6168 has been released as a special 60th Anniversary of the Normandy Campaign version of the kit, with some extras such as a turned aluminum gun barrel and a section of steel wire for the two cables. Eight sections of etched brass screening are also included.

The kit comes with a number of sprues from the earlier D model kit (B, C, D, E, G and H) and G model kits (sprue F) as well as 55 new parts on the A and M sprues. These cover the new upper hull and turret, back plate, glacis, and other fittings which separate a late model A from an early D model. The new parts also cover the mantelet, three-pipe exhaust, and numerous small detail fittings. Note that none of the parts represent zimmerit, so if you want an A with zimmerit you will need a product like R&J's "Zimmer-It-Right."

Since many of the older D model parts are included, with some finagling one could also make an early model A with the machine gun port instead of the "kugel" mount on the glacis.

The tracks consist of 192 individual links 96 "A" links and 96 "B" links to create the dead, droopy tracks found on all Panthers. While a number of modelers still grouse about these many wanting to slap a pair of vinyl tracks on the model and be done with it these are accurate and the only way to get a nice, correct sag in the upper track run. For those who are not pleased, DML does include skirt plates so you can hide things if it doesn't work out right. Note that these are the track links in which the "A" link does have non-skid grousers on it.

Two marking and painting options are offered: Pz.Rgt. 12, La Villeneuve, Normandy, June 1944, in a three-color scheme; and Pz.Lehr.Rgt. 130, Normandy, June 1944, in plain Panzerbraun.

Overall, this is a nice kit to release right now with the current interest in D-Day and Normandy, and the ability to produce a very nice A model out of the box should make it very popular.

Highly Recommended.

Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.


Review Text Copyright 2004 by Cookie Sewell
Page Created 15 June, 2004
Last updated 15 June, 2004

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