Sd.Kfz. 171 Panther A Late Production - Premium Edition
Reviewed by Cookie Sewell
|Stock Number and Description||Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale ‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6358; Sd.Kfz. 171 Panther A Late Production - Premium Edition|
|Media and Contents:||865 parts (515 parts in grey styrene, 170 "Magic Track" links, 165 etched brass, 14 clear styrene, and 1 turned aluminum barrel)|
|Price:||price estimated at US $41.00 - 45.00. Will be available online from Mission Models|
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||"Premium" treatment for a popular kit; "Magic Track" will be appreciated by most modelers; "mix and match" uses many parts from the new Ausf. G "Smart Kit"|
|Disadvantages:||Once again may overload market with another Panther kit, again with different versions with different levels of corrections and optional parts|
|Recommendation:||Highly Recommended for all WWII German fans|
I am really starting to get confused with the number of Panther and Tiger kits from DML which have hit the market, and as of now here is the "box score" of what I have seen come out in the last few years:
Kit No. 9041 PzBeobWg V Ausf. G Rel 5/1997 441 parts
Kit No. 9045 Ausf. G Night Fighting Rel 8/1997 481 parts
Kit No. 6244 Ausf. A 60th Anniversary of D-Day Rel 6/2004 485 parts
Kit No. 6268 Ausf. G "Smart Kit" Rel 7/2006 714 parts
Kit No. 6299 Ausf. D - Premium Edition Rel 7/2006 746 parts
Kit No. 6346 Ausf. D Stadt-Gas Rel 9/2006 809 parts
Kit No. 6358 Ausf. A - Premium Edition Rel 12/2006 865 parts
As can be seen, each kit increases the number of parts and complexity over its predecessors, as well as cost. They do cover three different base versions of which only the first two were reworked Gunze Sangyo kits. I also realize that due to a computer glitch a couple of years ago I am missing the initial Ausf. D and Ausf. A Early Production and Late Production kits, so that is at least ten.
But these do sell, and sell well, and therefore it's not surprising that DML continues with its "Premium" series of kits with this popular subject. In this kit, they follow the same formula: take a popular base kit, swap out older sprues and replace them with ones from later kits, add in technological updates, new brass and detail parts, tweak the older molds and add new decals and instructions.
This kit takes 209 parts from the previous Panther Ausf. A and later Ausf. D kits (per release dates, not actual vehicle service dates) and adds in 306 more from the later Ausf. G "Smart Kit" as well as some modified sprues from the earlier kits. They also include their "Magic Tracks" which are apparently (by afficionados) to be among DML's better sets, as they come with the correct open cast teeth on the track links.
The kit uses the hull pan from the Ausf. D kit and while it receives the new wheels from the Ausf. G "Smart Kit" alas cannot use the full-size torsion bars but instead the stub ones with road wheel arms from the D kit. The upper hull base and turret base are also from the D kit, but all of the external bits where possible are from the G.
The model does come with a new set of etched brass but uses some of the same items that came with the Ausf. D Premium. The travel lock – a chain affair – comes with two sets of five etched brass parts each for either open or closed, and there is both a turned aluminum barrel or a two-piece styrene one (an old-fashioned two-piece "Flex-i-File" special is also included on the parts trees.)
No zimmerit comes on the model, which since the As were most likely to have this coating applied is a shame. It does come with twelve etched nickel side skirt sections and the brass hangers for them, which was one ding many modelers placed against the G "Smart Kit" as it came without either metal or plastic skirting.
Among other items on this model of note are the close-in defensive weapons which can be made to swivel, clear periscopes, a seven-piece jack, combat headlights with a clear styrene insert, and a nicely done MG34 ball mount for the glacis.
The directions are the full color "photo" type which I have to admit I personally detest as very hard to see where the parts go, considering the parts are installed before the photos were taken. Also note that due to the "mix and match" sprues once again there are two B sprues and two E sprues, not related, and as such you have to pay attention to whether or not it is a capital or lower case letter.
A total of six finishing options are provided: 5th SS Panzer Division "Wiking," Poland 1944 (winter whitewash); 5th SS Panzer Division "Wiking", Poland 1944 (three color camouflage - brush painted); 5th SS Panzer Division "Wiking", Poland 1944 (three color camouflage - sprayed); Panzerregiment "Grossdeutschland", Eastern Front 1944 (three color "misted" sprayed camouflage); 26th Panzer Division, Italy 1944 (sand with red-brown bands); and 3rd SS Panzer Division "Totenkopf", Poland 1944 (three color camouflaged - sprayed.) A sheet of Cartograf decals is provided but is pretty generic, and right or wrong no SS divisional markings are included.
Overall this is a nice kit, and most fans will want one to "complete the record" if nothing else. But since they can do it in 1/72 scale, I do wish DML would do at least ONE Panther or Tiger I kit with the "zimmerit" molded in place!
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Sprue Layout and Source
A 26 Ausf. D/A upper hull
B 43 Ausf. D/A sponsons and hull side details
b 52 (Ausf G) turret details
C 1 lower hull
D 43x2 Ausf. D/A gun and details
E 33 Ausf. D/A mantelet and back plate
e 22x4 (Ausf G) spare track and wingnuts
F 11 (Ausf A) mantelet and cupola
G 24x4 (Ausf G) road wheels
H 1 (Ausf G) cupola
J 8 (Ausf G) bow and turret MG 34 parts
K 20 (generic tools)
L 14 Ausf. D/A clear styrene
M 30 (Ausf. A) mantelet and glacis
P 20x2 Ausf. D/A suspension arms
MA 165 etched brass
Magic 170 Magic Track links
MB 1 turned alumimum
MB 12 etched nickel
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.