Home > Reviews > German WWII > Academy Panther Ausf. G Late Version in 1/25 scale with motorized wire control


Academy Panther Ausf. G Late Version in 1/25 scale with motorized wire control

by Frank De Sisto

Item number 1341, Panther Ausf. G Late Version in 1/25 scale with motorized wire control. Contains 218 parts in injection molded styrene, 44 parts in vinyl, 21 metal parts, four vinyl track lengths, waterslide decals, 12 pages of kit assembly instructions in 15 steps and a double-sided instruction leaflet for the assembly of the wire control device. Price: $79.00 USD.

Lately, Academy has taken some risks in tooling up well-appreciated new Allied World War IIsubjects, but with mixed results. Their M10 and M12 represent their better efforts while the M3 and M3A1 were good, but not as outstanding as the treatment these sought-after subjects deserved. Now, they have gone ahead and released the third in a series of (almost) new-tool 1/25-scale plastic kits. I fear, however, that this kit is also represents a mixed blessing.
Firstly, I believe Academy should have made the plunge and gone to 1/16 scale so as to compliment the already existing DML and Tamiya (not to mention resin) kit, figure and accessory ranges. Secondly, Academy should have provided much more detail on this kit than they did, thus fulfilling the potential that makes larger scale models appealing. This particular version of the Panther also has parts included for remote (in this case, wire-guided) motorized operation, much like many of the large-scale kits currently on the market.
So, in order to review this kit I got out Jentz and Doyle’s book, Germany’s Panther Tank: The Quest for Combat Supremacy, and began to make comparisons. Note that I made no checks regarding whether the model scales out properly, since I have no reliable means (I am math-challenged) to do so.
Starting from the ground up, the road wheels look fine and the outer wheels even have manufacturer’s info on the rubber tires. The drive sprocket is well done and the idler wheel is the earlier style of the smaller circumference with six single spokes, which is correct (a point Tamiya missed on their 1/35-scale kits) for most versions of the Panther. However, later Panthers had a larger diameter 650mm idler with six twin spokes, which would be more appropriate for this version. The tracks are in vinyl lengths consisting of two runs per side, which are each joined by a metal track pin. The guide teeth are much too short and are squared off, resembling stunted Tiger II-style teeth. So, from the start one would hope that Friulmodel will, at the very least, make a set of tracks and possibly the larger diameter idler wheel to spruce up the base kit.
The lower hull is fairly plain and has flexible plastic torsion bars that mount much like the prototypes. The belly is lacking in any detail and has motorization slots for this wire-RC version. The hull pan is also from the older Academy copy of the even older Tamiya Panther Ausf. A, which is probably the basis of its detail problems. Some small parts are added to this, but, there are no parts to represent the very visible details around the final drives, where they meet the lower glacis plate, and that’s quite a discrepancy.
The hull rear plate has the square welded connections for the mufflers built in as well as the usual access plates. The mufflers are the final exhaust flame-dampening types with the curved ends as separate parts. The stowage lockers have separate lids, but those have part of the box’s top molded on. Opening these would require some easy work with styrene strip and a knife.
There are no sponson bottoms, so more sheet styrene will be needed here. The upper hull has separate crew hatches with basic internal detail molded on, while the engine deck hatch, curiously, is molded in place. The circular engine deck fan castings are separate and feature the high crew heater tower on one side but there are no slats included for the two rectangular grills, which along with pie-shaped covers, complete this particular device. All lifting hooks (even the smaller ones) are provided as separate parts; a nice touch. The bolts that fix the various engine deck plates are probably too large and are the wrong number for the late version hull. The engine deck cries out for screening, which Academy does include in their smaller scale Tiger I kits.
Up forward, the crew’s positions have separate internal periscope heads and the MG34 blister is a three-part affair, including gun barrel and inner mount. However, the front upper glacis plate weld detail is incorrect, being the same on the front and sides. On the front it should be changed to represent the fact that the side plate is thinner (50mm vs. 80mm) than the front plate.
The turret has a well-done cupola including internal periscope heads, blade sight and hatch lock open device. The AA MG34 and mount are basic and also lack ammo belt and canvas sack. The turret-rear escape hatch can be made to work. The rest of the turret is OK with late features such as Pilzen crane mounts, IR device linkage splash plate, close-in defense weapon and sheet metal mantle rain guard. However, the representation of the outside weld, where the rear plate mates with the side plates is too large. Also missing are the gas detection panel mounts. The mantlet is the so-called “chin” type and includes lifting lugs. However, the mantlet and the way it mounts to the turret, is incorrectly represented. The inner mantlet, where it meets the turret face, should be offset to one side with the gun tube offset on the mantle itself so it runs down the turret’s centerline, so some work will need to be done here.
Finally, the tools and smaller fittings, where the potential for real finesse was there, are letdowns. The jack and block are poorly shaped and detailed while several tools have knockout pins on visible spots and poor representations of the mounting clamps or brackets. The strips the tools are attached to are nicely done and include the small circular bits to hold the tow cables, while the cables themselves are one-piece styrene moldings that need replacement. There is no thinner track mounting cable or ends included. The spare tracks are fine, but the mounts are chunky. The 7.5cm Kwk 40 gun tube cleaning rod container is nice and has separate handles for the end caps, although they are much too thick. There are two nice spare road wheels and also a decent (but unfortunately incompletely detailed) jerry can as accessories. There are no side skirts or mounting hooks, only the rails.
A dedicated photo-etch set would go a long way towards upgrading this kit, so one would hope that Eduard, Aber or Royal Models have taken notice of the release of this kit.
Instructions are easy to follow and illustrate two color schemes, while the water slide decals provide for the prescribed markings as well as sets of generic numbers. The separate leaflet presents the modeler with instructions, in five steps, on how to assemble the remote-control device. Parts marked as not for use include a mono-block 8.8cm gun tube and the mantle collar associated with the early production Jagdpanther, which was released after the original static (non-RC) version of this kit came out.
This kit could have been a real eye-popper out of the box, but will need (perhaps too much) work and TLC to bring it up to snuff. It is not up to current standards as regards detail or overall accuracy. It will greatly benefit from, at the very least, a dedicated photo-etch set, new tracks and refined tools and small fittings. Furthermore, most serious modelers will not run this thing around, so those who will consider this kit in the first place, will probably opt for the earlier and less expensive static version of this kit.
Recommended with great reservation.

MRC (Model Rectifier Corp.) is the North American importer and distributor for Academy kits. Academy kits are available at retail and mail order shops. See their web site for photographs of reviewed kit at: www.academy.co.kr