Pz.Kpfw. V Ausf. F Sd.Kfz. 171 Panther F 2-in-1 Kit
|Stock Number and Description||cyber-hobby.com (Dragon Models Limited) 1/35 Scale Kit No. 13 (‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6382); Pz.Kpfw. V Ausf. F Sd.Kfz. 171 Panther F 2-in-1 Kit (Prototype and Production Type)|
|Media and Contents:||861 parts (532 in grey styrene, 170 "Magic Track" links, 142 etched brass, 14 clear styrene, 1 turned aluminum, 1 pre-bent brass, 1 brass tube)|
|Price:||price estimated at US $44.98. Will be available online from Mission Models|
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||New kit of this "What If" tank, uses many sprues from the very nice Ausf. G kit|
|Disadvantages:||Basically a "Panzer 46" vehicle|
|Recommendation:||Highly Recommended for Panther fans and "Panzer 46" aficionados|
Everybody has "lessons learned" in wartime, and if equipped with a modicum of intelligence tries to modify or adjust their weapons systems to respond to those lessons. While well armored, due to its large gun the production model Panthers had a large, blocky turret which never did provide all-around protection from enemy armor-piercing rounds. As a result, Daimler-Benz was asked to create a turret which had a smaller frontal cross section and provided increased armor protection to the frontal 60 degree arc – the most dangerous during tank-to-tank combat.
The result, which was to be designated the Panther Ausf. F. used a radically cut down turret shape called "Geraet 710" or "Schmallturm 605" that also embodied a cross-turret coincidence range finder and modifications which were more suited to the types of combat the Germans were fighting in 1945. Eight standardized hulls were built and several prototype turrets prepared, but no testing of the two together appears to have taken place before the end of the war. One turret survived and after testing by British experts wound up as a range target for many years before being recovered, and was last seen on display at the Tank Museum in Bovington.
Once again cyber-hobby.com has stepped up with a "boutique" kit of this never-built tank, which due to its radically different turret has always been a popular conversion subject with German fans. Suffice it to say this kit is basically the recent and very well done Ausf. G "Smart Kit" with a new B sprue, some odds and ends, and new etched brass and turned aluminum gun barrel. They state this is a "2-in-1" kit with a choice of prototype or production configuration, which have separate sections in the direction sheet for a change. Note that they are NOT consecutively listed so you have to check to see which one you wish to do. (The scant references I have on this vehicle say the production models were supposed to use the steel wheels vice the rubber-tired ones, but I have no clue as to how valid that statement may be. The kit only provides the sets that came with the Ausf. G "Smart Kit.")
As it is from the G kit the lower hull is a one-piece "slide mold" part with all of the torsion bars complete and separate parts. Fine details such as "bump stops", "pin knockers" and braces are all separate. As I mentioned above, the kit provides the rubber tired road wheels as well as two sets of "steel" road wheels for the last road wheel station on each side as an option. The model may be built with or without the small return roller wheel on the final drives, and both types are provided in the kit.
The hull rear plate comes with the late production "flame damper" exhaust pipes, which also have an optional two-piece hood for them plus 30 different separate bits of OVM and pioneer tools.
On the hull top braces, locks and handles are provided for the "flip up" style of crew hatches, but as this includes the F hull the lift and turn hatches are provided for that hull as well. The engine deck is very complete, with radiators, radiator fans, screens, louvers and a large number of separate access ports and lids provided. All grilles replicate full castings and are separate parts as well. No engine or interior are provided with the kit, but the interior is set up for relatively easy installation.
The hull side trim is all plastic, but comes with "slide molded" mounts and access holes for pins or attachment in order to permit track links to be hung in a prototypical fashion on their racks. The same goes for the tools and OVM. This kit, however, comes with all of the etched brass fittings and tie-down chains which were optional for the G kit.
The turret is nicely done with all viewers and details separate, a self-defense weapon, range finder bulges, and the "boar's head" mantelet. A choice of plastic or turned aluminum barrels are provided as well. The turret is completed by an etched brass "eyebrow" over the mantelet; this is pre-bent for the modeler.
As is also the same as before, the kit comes with "Magic Track" links, but you do not have to "hand" these so all are packed in one bag.
As these vehicles never saw service or even test operations, three schemes are offered of which two are logical speculation. A very nice "number jungle" set of Cartograf decals are provided though, so it is up to the modeler's choices as to precise finish and markings. Research on the vehicle itself was provided by Steven Van Beveren, Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
Overall, while more than a bit speculative in concept this is a well-executed kit which should please many modelers, moreso as it does not require any after-market purchases.
Sprue Breakdown and Source
A 52x2 Panther G Engine deck
details and fine details
A 3 Panther G Upper Hull and engine hatches
B 49 Panther F Turret and upper hull
C 55 Panther G Hull details and sponsons
D 27 Panther G Radiators and hull rear details
E 47x4 Panther G Road wheels, torsion bars, individual "wrap" track links, wingnuts
F 3 Panther G Late Mantelet
G 37 Panther G Drivers, final drives, steel wheel sets
J 8 MG-34 bow gun
K 30 Tools and OVM
K 2 whip antenna base
L 2 whip antenna
L 14 Panther G clear styrene
N 2 Panther G Idler bases
X 1 Panther G Lower hull
Y 170 "Magic Track" links
TG 3 close-in defense weapon
WB 18 2 x MP40, 1 x MP44, 1 x Gewehr 43
M 7 Panther G etched brass
MB 133 Etched brass
MC 1 preformed etched brass arch
MC 1 turned aluminum gun barrel
MC 1 brass tube
MD 1 etched brass plate
Freddie Leung for the review sample.