u m m a r y
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
||FINALLY a good, state-of-the-art kit
of a late A model; several nice touches added due to its being a
||Two-part single link tracks remain a
bugaboo to some modelers
||Highly Recommended for all German
Dragon's 1/35 scale Panther A Late Version will
be available online from Squadron.com
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
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
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.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Review Text Copyright © 2004 by Cookie
Page Created 15 June, 2004
Last updated 15 June, 2004
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