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Found 9 results

  1. Panther Ausf. A Early Production, full interior We recently looked at Takoms 1/35 Panther Ausf. A Early Production, full interior kit (Catalogue # TAK2097) HERE. For a while, us folks at LSM wanted to create a series of very short test fit/build articles with very brief notes/annotation. You could call these 'build reviews', and as such, we've added this section in our review area. Takom's new Panther kit is amazingly complex with a very high parts count, but the model builds extremely well as per kit, with just a few notes needed with regards to building chronology. Let's take a look at our very first LSM Pilot. This kit has a very small number of ejector pin towers, but they tend to be in unobtrusive areas, such as we see in the rear of the engine bay area. The lower hull looks like a road map for a Tetris game, but it provides the positive design engineering that you need for these important first stages. So far, so good. Not much to report in these first steps, and everything fits superbly. Takom chose to use thin plastic parts for the frames in the belly of the Panther, unlike the PE ones in the Rye Field kit. Both options will work well, but take care with the plastic parts because they are are a little flimsy. The transmission unit builds with little fuss, but be wary of the instructions. Here, as in many other places, your worst enemy are the tiny, ambiguous drawings. Never has the saying 'test fit ten times and glue once' been more pertinent. This unit fits well to the base due to the flexibility of the hull floor and various frames. Just make sure that all is dry before you start to manipulate things to fit the transmission unit. Detail parts are added to the interior hull sides. Again, location points are key here so as not to misplace parts that will foul anything else in the crammed hull. A quick test fit of the sides to the lower hull gives me a good idea of how I will fit the numerous torsion bars... Takom would have you more or less install the torsion bars like this, but it can be awkward. Forget this method... ...and slide them through the frames first, followed by added the hull sides. When the hull sides are in place, the torsion bars can be slotted up into the semi-circular holes provided, and a small quantity of cement used to lock them in place. You can really begin to see how cramped this model will become in the later stages, although nothing is really giving any cause for concern with the number of parts involved, and depth of detail. To help with swing arm alignment and later track assembly, Takom has included two jigs that slot over the swing arms whilst the glue dries. Wheels, wheels and more wheels... The Panther's interleaved wheels are now fitted. Note that the rearmost, outside wheel is DRY FITTED, or you will NOT be able to fit the idler wheel later. Takom doesn't clearly indicate this, so beware... Work on the interior begins. Just a few parts to start, but you'll soon see the interior fill up. Again, Takom is quite ambiguous with exact location, so you need to carefully study the drawings and the various keyed parts. Sometimes, they aren't too obvious. Attention is temporarily paid to the engine bay, with the installation of the firewall and side bulkheads. The latter tend to float around a little until the bay is fitted out. Ironic that very little of this will be seen unless you build a factory/workshop diorama. Many of these subassemblies begin to have more understandable location points as construction begins to advance. Remember to fit the rearmost ammunition storage BEFORE the rear floor goes down or you will struggle. Don't ask me how I know. To ensure that the track sections (both individual links and link lengths) fit properly, the orientation of the drive while is crucial. here you can see how the jig defines that key position. Each link comprises of 3 parts, but these horns are added in strips to the track sprues. They are then glued and when dry, the sprues are snipped away. Simples! Maybach construction begins. Amazingly detailed with layers of detail upon detail. No special instructions for fitting the engine. Everything goes exactly as it should, even with all the various lengths of plumbing. here is a finished track, still sat on the jig. The lowest section is dry fitted and fill be fitted once the tracks are fitted to the tank. Tracks fitted! Zero drama, even for an airplane guy like myself. Takom's approach works superbly. Takom would have you fit the side sections once the ammunition etc. are installed. DON'T DO THAT! You can manipulate the sides much easier with them bare, and only them add the extra details once the glue is fully cures. All internal ammunition and equipment are now installed. This is one seriously busy hull. Enjoy that view whilst you can. The engine bay is now complete too. Here you see the rear face fitted out without glue. Again, it's easier to fit the plate before adding any glue. For this early version, some external details needed to be shaved off. I also opt to fit out the panels on the upper hull before installing to the lower hull. Things are just less fragile this way. Of course, a few internal details are to be added, as well as the main internal armoured glacis. A superb fit, even with all the internal detail. It could've gone so, so wrong, but I think the success is more done to Takom's engineering and not my luck. Note also that this is fitted BEFORE the hull is fitted out with frames, tracks and pioneer tools. Much better than Takom's approach of fitting this stuff beforehand. Hull just about fitted out. The periscope shrouds are fitted whilst on their mini-sprue, aiding alignment. Once set, the sprue is removed. Et voila!! Turret interior detail is excellent, but WHY did Takom choose to mould the kit serial and date inside!!!!?? On yours, this will of course need to be removed. Quite complicated-looking, but relatively simple to build. Even the breech loading block slides up and down. If the barrel were hollow, this would be amazing to be able to see right through to the muzzle. Here you can see that I pulled the loading block downwards (view from underside) Various drive mechanisms are installed, for turret transverse. Lower turret fitted out, complete with crew seats. The detail is astonishing. Will it all fit in the turret though? The answer is YES! Here's the finished turret, complete with barrel and muzzle. The model is finished! Hope you like it!! Thanks to MBK Distribution for supplying this kit for us to review and build.
  2. Ok, I've pretty much finished off everything on my bench of late that was close to being finished: - Millennium Falcon - Y-Wing fighter - Toyota Celica WRC rally car So here's what I'm hoping will be a quick build with minimal AM. I think the only AM I have is from Dragon itself. I got started by following the instructions (!). Blasphemy, I know. I installed all the suspension arms, making sure I used the correct ones for the steel wheels at the rear. Then I started prep on all the road wheels. And that was the end of day 1.
  3. Its time for my clubs annual Build the Same Kit competition, and the Armour subject is Meng's Panther Family. Which works out great as it ties in nicely with the GB here! Meng's fantastic Panther Ausf. D kit built as '219' of I./SS-Pz.Rgt 12 in Fonteny-le-Pesnil area of Normandy sometime between 9-11 June 1944. Huge thanks to Sam Dwyer, who has been more than helpful, pointing me in the right directions and the discussion in 219 ridge-less zimmerit. Zimmerit was added by using Tamiya's Polyester 2 part putty, slapped with an old toothbrush. The tracks are MasterClub, and Meng's Suspension kit has been used, which will help to get that weighted sit once a base is made for it. Still have a few tools, cables and chains to fit, and chipping of some zimmerit areas. But it's getting closer to paint. Ba'sz Photo collage of '219' on Flickr - https://flic.kr/p/rqgrMY
  4. 1/35 Panther Ausf. A Early Production, full interior Takom Catalogue # TAK2097 The Panther is a German medium tank deployed during World War II on the Eastern and Western Fronts in Europe from mid-1943 to the war's end in 1945. It had the ordnance inventory designation of Sd.Kfz. 171. It was designated as the Panzerkampfwagen V Panther until 27 February 1944, when Hitler ordered that the Roman numeral "V" be deleted. Contemporary English language reports sometimes refer to it as the Mark V. The Panther was intended to counter the Soviet T-34 and to replace the Panzer III and Panzer IV. Nevertheless, it served alongside the Panzer IV and the heavier Tiger I until the end of the war. It is considered one of the best tanks of World War II for its excellent firepower and protection, although its reliability was less impressive. The Panther was a compromise. While having essentially the same engine as the Tiger I, it had more efficient frontal hull armour, better gun penetration, was lighter and faster, and could traverse rough terrain better than the Tiger I. The trade-off was weaker side armour, which made it vulnerable to flanking fire. The Panther proved to be effective in open country and long-range engagements but did not provide enough high explosive firepower against infantry. The Panther was far cheaper to produce than the Tiger I, and only slightly more expensive than the Panzer IV. Key elements of the Panther design, such as its armour, transmission, and final drive, were simplifications made to improve production rates and address raw material shortages. The overall design remained somewhat over-engineered. The Panther was rushed into combat at the Battle of Kursk despite numerous unresolved technical problems, leading to high losses due to mechanical failure. Most design flaws were rectified by late 1943 and the spring of 1944, though the bombing of production plants, increasing shortages of high quality alloys for critical components, shortage of fuel and training space, and the declining quality of crews all impacted the tank's effectiveness. Though officially classified as a medium tank, its weight is more like that of a heavy tank, as its weight of 44.8 tons puts it roughly in the same category as the American M26 Pershing (41.7 tons), British Churchill (40.7 tons) and the Soviet IS-2 (46 tons) heavy tanks. The tank had a very high power to weight ratio however, making it extremely mobile regardless of its weight. Its weight still caused heavy tank-esque problems however, such as an inability to cross certain bridges. Extract from Wikipedia The kit Without a doubt, this is most certainly the year of the Panther. It must be a trait in armour modelling circles that those modellers are happy and grateful to see different companies try their hand at subjects such as this. If this was a Mustang or Bf 109, the whinge-fest would be on about everybody releasing the same subject. Personally, I am super-pleased to see new incarnations of the Panther, and in brand-new tooling also. Takom’s plans for the 2018 are very much Panther related, with 3 kits now in circulation, and a further five that will come to market, including two Bergepanther variants (cue the excitement with the latter!). We have been lucky enough to receive the Ausf.A Early Production, which we see in this review, and the Ausf.A Late Production which Jeroen Peters will look at in the very near future. One of the hallmarks of these initial Panther Ausf.A kits from Takom is the austere box art. Printed on a plain white box lid, the illustration is a simple line drawing, with the kit title. However, on the sides, we have some nice colour illustrations of cutaway and interior sections of the new kit, definitely supplying a little eye-candy to proceedings. Now, lift that lid at your peril, because removing those contents and getting them back in again afterwards will be a task. The box is absolutely crammed with styrene, as you can imagine with this being a full interiorkit. Each of the TWENTY-NINE light grey sprues is packaged into a separate sleeve to protect the many small and fragile parts. As well as those, a turret and upper hull are included, as well as two track building guides that we’ll look at soon. To complete the package, we have two small decal sheets, a PE fret, lengths of copper cable, a flexible hose, and a very thick instruction manual. These last items are packed into multiple sleeves that are then packed with the manual. One thing I simply can’t do here is to give a sprue by sprue résumé, due to the complexity of the kit. Instead, I will look at features and engineering break down of this release. Getting started A quick look around the kit contents and you’ll notice a lack of the usual bathtub-style lower hull. For their Panther releases, Takom has chosen to break down everything into constituent components, such as the hull floor, hull sides and forward lower glacis, although the latter is fitted to an inner plate that is connected to the floor. The reasoning behind this is to make everything as accessible as possible to the modeller as they progress through these easy hull construction stages where the frames, transmission, brake drums and torsion bars are to be fitted. Unlike Rye Field Model, Takom provides the lower hull frames as plastic parts, as opposed to their competitor who supply these in photo-etch. Both options work great for me, with perhaps the plastic parts being easier to fit and align. They are also moulded, as with the rest of the interior, with huge finesse. A few very light ejector pin marks are found here and there, but these seem to be hidden by subsequent construction. Before the sides are fitted to the hull floor, they are fitted out internally with the brake drums etc. These side plates are moulded with the torsion tube sleeves in situ, so there shouldn’t be any wall to wall alignment issues. With the walls complete, these glue into place. Takom would have you insert the torsion bars before this, and as they don’t extend to the hull exterior, it might be wise to do as they say, but dry fit them in case you have any minor alignment issues that could arise from gluing them in place from the start. The swing arms are next to be fitted, and to help with absolute positioning, two plastic jigs are included. These have alignment holes for the swing arm axles to fit into. Takom hasn’t designed this kit to have articulated swing arms, so if you want to pose the model whilst sitting on uneven ground, this is the time for you to look at that and mock things up for later. It’s now the time for the interior to be fitted out, and this is no quick task. Apart from the many ammunition shells and their storage racks, you also have what is probably the busiest detailed interior that I’ve seen in any kit thus far. Work progresses with the installation of the crew seats (moulded rear spring detail unlike the PE of the RFM release), interior walls and bulkheads, radio sets, drive shaft, and turret floor. Also of note are that the boxed ammunition shells only have the protruding tip as a part, with the box below them being hollow. Certainly makes more sense that depicting the full ammunition body. I hope you didn’t throw away the swing arm guides as these are now used to create the shape of the tracks. Onto the guides will plug the drive and idler wheels (no glue!) and then the tracks can be formed over the curves of the guide, with the drive/idler/track assembly being transferred to your lower hull. FOUR sprues of track links and associated parts are included, incorporating several completed sections of track, along with many separate links. None of the track links have moulded horns. These are provided as separate parts that are moulded to a tree that you install as a single piece, and then when dry, snip away the tree from the tracks. That’s a smart move that will save some swearing. The Panther’s Maybach engine is faithfully reproduced and is a project in itself, complete with its plumbing that interconnects to the engine bay walls. This, along with fuel tanks, engine cooling apparatus and more internal framing. This is a model for which you will need to carefully plan each painting and weathering stage ahead of getting to that part. A single-piece upper hull is included with sections missing for the crew compartment, engine and engine cooling. These are moulded as separate parts, thus maximising the opportunity to show the interior of the model to its fullest potential. Even so, you would still be limited, under normal circumstances, to pose these off in any realistic way, unless you created a factory diorama of the Panther being built. Still, we know all those detail goodies are in there, so that’s all that reallymatters. That turret is obviously the main feature of this kitty, and this of course is resplendent in amazing interior details. The turret itself is moulded as lid and sides, with the front and rear plates being separate. Plate and weld seam details are superb. Of course, there is an amount of moulded detail within the roof interior, pertaining mostly to electrical conduits etc. I find it most odd that Takom chose to mould, in raised detail, the kit year and serial adjacent to the actual details! Working hinges are provided for the escape hatch on the rear face, and the cupola is supplied with a single-piece ring that contains the shrouds for the periscopes. With this glued in situ, the ring can be cut away, leaving the shrouds in the correct position. External detail is again excellent with the cupola mounted MG, etc but the interior is spectacular. If it’s supposed to be in there, the chances are that Takom has faithfully reproduced it, including turret traverse motors, gun counterbalance, hydraulic drive, loader/gunner/commander seats, azimuth etc. The gun breech is superbly detailed, and like it or not, the barrel in this release is plastic, albeit single part, with separate three-piece muzzle brake. A flexible hose is supplied for the turret interior. Where RFM added a little extra was by means of showing any plumbing and wiring that would be in this area so that the modeller could add it him/herself. You’d be best to avail yourself of the required information and add it yourself from lead wire too. PE For such a comprehensive kit, there is surprisingly little PE in this release, with Takom opting to create many of the finer parts in standard injection plastic. Only six pieces of photo-etch are included in this release, and these are for the engine cooling grilles on the rear top deck. The mesh is certainly fine enough to pass muster, and the quality is excellent. Decals Two small decal sheets are included, with one for the various external numbers etc. and the other being for the many pieces of ammunition and other internal details. There is no printing manufacturer on the sheets, but they are very thin with solid colour, minimal carrier film and in perfect register. The four schemes in this release are: Panther Ausf.A, ‘701’, Panzer Regiment 23 Panther Ausf.A, ‘18’, 16 Panzer Division, Russia, 1944 Panther Ausf.A, ‘233’, Pz.Lehr. of 1. Kompanie, 12 Julio, Normandy, 1944 Panther Ausf.A, ‘221’, 16 Panzer Division Instructions A 34-page A4 manual is included (landscape format) which breaks the Panther down into 64 constructional sequences. Don’t let that fool you though, as you can probably triple that number with the addition of sub-stages per sequence. As I said, this is no quick project. The cover of the manual gives a history of the type and we then get a comprehensive parts map showing each sprue, decal sheet and PE fret. Most of the constructional imagery, provided as shaded illustrations, is printed on matt paper except for where corresponding leaves are printed on gloss for the numerous colour illustrations, courtesy of AMMO. These images provide priceless info on interior painting and will save us countless hours trawling the information either online or in books. Painting reference is also provided in AMMO reference codes. The last pages of the manual are given over to the four schemes provided with this kit, printed in glossy colour and with more AMMO paint references to negotiate. Inside the manual, a small correction sheet is included for the track building section. As the basis of this kit is the same as for the other two Panther’s in this specific Ausf.A range, a number of parts in this kit won’t be used. I would have liked to have seen the redundant parts shaded on the sprue map, but they aren’t. Conclusion As an extra to this article, I’ll build this model straight from box and leave it unpainted, so you can see how things go together and gauge the construction for yourself. I’ll add any relevant notes as I go along and mention if I encounter any issues that you should be aware of. In all though, this is another epic release of 2018, along with the slightly earlier Rye Field Model kit. For the sheer amount of plastic that you get though, and the pleasure you’ll derive from this build, the cost is pretty hard to beat, especially as I compare this against aircraft kits that I usually build. Armour certainly seems to provide more value for money, and at the moment, more detail for your buck! Very highly recommended! My sincere thanks to the good folks at MBK Distribution for sending us this sample.
  5. 1/35 Panther Ausf.G w/Full Interior & Workable Track Links & Cutaway Parts of Turret and Hull Rye Field Model Catalogue # RM-5019 The Panther is a German medium tank deployed during World War II on the Eastern and Western Fronts in Europe from mid-1943 to the war's end in 1945. It had the ordnance inventory designation of Sd.Kfz.171. It was designated as the Panzerkampfwagen V Panther until 27 February 1944, when Hitler ordered that the Roman numeral "V" be deleted. Contemporary English language reports sometimes refer to it as the Mark V. The Panther was intended to counter the Soviet T-34 and to replace the Panzer III and Panzer IV. Nevertheless, it served alongside the Panzer IV and the heavier Tiger I until the end of the war. It is considered one of the best tanks of World War II for its excellent firepower and protection, although its reliability was less impressive. The Panther was a compromise. While having essentially the same engine as the Tiger I, it had more efficient frontal hull armour, better gun penetration, was lighter and faster, and could traverse rough terrain better than the Tiger I. The trade-off was weaker side armour, which made it vulnerable to flanking fire. The Panther proved to be effective in open country and long-range engagements but did not provide enough high explosive firepower against infantry. The Panther was far cheaper to produce than the Tiger I, and only slightly more expensive than the Panzer IV. Key elements of the Panther design, such as its armour, transmission, and final drive, were simplifications made to improve production rates and address raw material shortages. The overall design remained somewhat over-engineered. The Panther was rushed into combat at the Battle of Kursk despite numerous unresolved technical problems, leading to high losses due to mechanical failure. Most design flaws were rectified by late 1943 and the spring of 1944, though the bombing of production plants, increasing shortages of high-quality alloys for critical components, shortage of fuel and training space, and the declining quality of crews all impacted the tank's effectiveness. Though officially classified as a medium tank, its weight is more like that of a heavy tank, as its weight of 44.8 tons puts it roughly in the same category as the American M26 Pershing (41.7 tons), British Churchill (40.7 tons) and the Soviet IS-2 (46 tons) heavy tanks. The tank had a very high power to weight ratio however, making it extremely mobile regardless of its weight. Its weight still caused heavy tank-esque problems however, such as an inability to cross certain bridges. Extract from Wikipedia The kit If you like large kit boxes, you’ll not be disappointed. This one contains a superb cutaway artwork of the Panther G, with the edges of the cutaway lined in red, as is typically seen in engineering models. Although this model is sold as a cutaway version, RFM has supplied the regular hull and turret parts, in case you wish to build a conventional model. This kit is certainly no weekender project. Kit sprues are moulded in a light brown styrene, and there are FOURTEEN of these. Most are individually bagged except for the ones where there are multiples. Two sprues are interconnected, with two copies, counting as four sprues. A bag containing wire and a spring also contains a flexible black sprue with captive wheel nuts and four wheel rims. Track parts (x190) are included in a brown separate bag and these, moulded in dark brown plastic, come as two per sprue. A single clear sprue is included for the periscope parts. One black, rubbery sprue is included, and TWO PE frets are supplied, one decal sheet, and lastly, a hefty 52-page instruction manual. As I said, this is no weekend project. You’ll need to set serious time aside. We’ll now take a look through the various sprues and focus in on those fine details which really set this release apart. Sprue A I could be wrong, but it does look like RFM has thoughtfully grouped the parts for specific areas mainly together on their respective sprues. This certainly beats the constant toing and froing between sprues, especially when there are so many as with this kit. Here we see parts that seem to exclusively concern the Panther’s powerful 7.5 cm Kwk 42 L/70 gun, including turret parts and two mantlet options. The latter are for the curved mantlet, and the later version with a vertical face below the upper curved section, providing extra armour to the lower quarters. Whilst some would decry the lack of a metal barrel in this kit, the plastic one is moulded in one piece instead of as halves. Of course, the muzzle is moulded as separate parts for which no seams exist. These details are supplemented by a little PE. Sprue B We generally have a lot of internal turret details here, ranging from the traverse motor to the gun counterbalance, hydraulic drive, loader/gunner/commander seats, azimuth etc. To say the turret interior is comprehensive is pretty much on the money. You’ll certainly need no aftermarket here. The instructions show lengths of wire that must be added using the supplied material. Sprue C (x2) Wheels, torsion bars and other associated parts are found on this sprue, of which two are supplied. I do note a few parts from other areas of the hull, but generally this is where the rolling stuff happens. I’ve already said that the wheels/torsion bars do work, but not as they are initially moulded. If you don’t want to simply build this with static, non-moving torsion, then that is the default position. If you want them to articulate, then a small tab of plastic needs to be removed from each bar. Quite a simple task and one that satisfies all builders of this kit. Sprue D Many general interior parts here, such as the driver’s seat, transmission, comms system power supply, periscope storage, front drive brake units etc. In fact, many items from the lower hull forward interior will be found here. Sprue E & X (x2) Both of these sprues are supplied connected, and there are two frames included. The most obvious inclusion here are the many shells that will be distributed around the hull interior. That much explosive in one space must’ve played on the minds of the crews. Note also a jig for building the tracks, and the multitude of track pins. The individual links are first sat on the track jig and then each bank of pins is installed whilst on the sprue. When in situ, the sprue will then be removed. Genius! Other parts here include wheels, engine fan amongst many other small components. Sprue F This sprue provides the rear and front glacis, lower hull sides, fenders and the hull floor. As this kit has a full interior, the hull floor has details moulded within. Detail is excellent, especially on the hull sides. Some very nice weld seam details to be seen too. Sprue G Many items here that appear to be associated with the rear engine decal, with numerous options provided, such as those for the four different permutations of exhaust layouts, heaters, tool racks, access doors (poseable), front fender mudguards etc. Note also options for the rear stowage bins. Sprue H This Panther kit can be fitted with the heated duct system as an option. This means that RFM needed to be able to enable the modeller to easily install these parts. Note here two internal bulkhead options which provide the means to display the model with or without the heat duct system. Certainly better than having to mod the part yourself. Internal rear compartment walls, shell racks, lower hull central floor, fuel tanks, filters etc. Sprue J Another multitude of small and key components to be found here. Everything from the 20T jack (that can be posed deployed or stored), drive gear housings, rear glacis parts (including towing mechanism), hull tools, towing cable ends etc. Sprue K Here you find the mighty Maybach and other associated parts. A variety of other components are moulded here too, such as the rear mantlet plates (two options), ammunition storage rack parts, hoses and ducting, radio sets, and the remainder of parts that are scattered around the interior. Sprue L On the original, limited edition release, this sprue was moulded in clear plastic, with the periscopes, so I’m not too sure if the version that superseded that was supplied with the periscope parts separately as clear items. On this sprue you will find the regular upper hull, forward glacis, turret and rear panel. Details are excellent, such as the weld seams and plate depiction. The upper hull is designed so the engine compartment can be displayed either open or totally without panels. Sprue N This sprue provides the main rationale for this release, containing a multitude of main parts, but with cutaway areas, leaving everything looking quite odd! RFM has supplied the upper hull, turret, hatch panels and the left-hand lower hull side as candidates for their anatomical study of this big cat. Sprue P This is a rubberised sprue containing four wheel rims and a series of captive collars for holding the wheels in place on the torsion bar arms. Sprue T The single clear sprue provides the periscope parts etc. Beautifully moulded, this sprue is distortion-free and with the gates placed on the sides of the body of the periscopes and away from the lenses. Tracks Moulded in a dark brown plastic, these are moulded in twos, interconnected with a small sprue. There are 85 each of these, totalling 190 separate track links. I can’t comment on how easy these will be to assemble at this stage, but they look straightforward enough with the supplied jig and method of applying the track pins that I mentioned earlier. Photo Etch Two frets are included in this release, packed into a wallet with a card protector. Quality is excellent, with narrow part gates that will make it easy to remove and clean the individual components. Included in PE form are the heater grilles, internal hull lower chassis frames, clasps, etc. There are a lot of parts to keep you occupied. Extras Only a few bits here, namely braided copper wire, lead wire, and a spring for the main gun recoil. Decals A single sheet is included with decals for the three schemes included. A whole load of stencils are also included. Printing is excellent, with the decals being nice and thin and with minimal carrier film. Colour is solid and in register. Instructions RMF provide a hefty A4 manual for this release. Many of the constructional sequences include enough assembly to have merited further breakdown, but are still easily followed. All drawings are in line format and are clear to understand. Coloured ink is introduced to illustrate some of the finer nuances of construction, such as new part placement and where parts are only to be dry-fit at certain stages. Some of the English annotation is a little messy and could do with having been corrected, but the general gist is easy to follow. Paint references are given for Mig AMMO and Gunze paints. Conclusion I really do like Rye Field Models. Their presentation, execution and engineering is first rate, and they leave no detail stone unturned. These certainly aren’t models designed for a relative newcomer but are instead aimed at those with a little experience, but I also feel their price-point puts them way out in front compared with some of the legacy armour kit manufacturers that so dominated the scene for years. This is simply an amazing kit of one of the hobby’s more popular subjects and oozes buildability and presence with all of that detail within, which can now easily be built as an engineering-style model. What more can I say than you really should seek out of of these! My sincere thanks to Rye Field Model for the kit sample seen here.
  6. 1:35 Bergepanther Ausf.A – Assembled by Demag Takom Catalogue # 2101 The Bergepanther was an armoured recovery vehicle version of the "Panther" (Sd.Kfz. 179), often referred to only as "Bergepanther". The idea of a modified Panther emerged in 1943, due to problems in the recovery of heavy and medium tanks. The half-track vehicles previously used for salvaging, were rarely able to successfully recover a Panther or Tiger. Using another Tiger or Panther as a tow vehicle was also strictly prohibited, as this could result in the loss of both tanks. The first Bergepanther to be completed was based on the Panther Ausf. D, in which the turret was left off by the manufacturer (MAN). Henschel, Daimler-Benz and Demag (Deutsche Maschinenbau-Aktiengesellschaft) eventually took on Bergepanther production. The crew consisted of at least three soldiers, with two of those operating the newly installed salvage apparatus. Where the turret was originally installed, was now a square wooden and metal structure which sat atop the new internal winch, with a 40-ton tow capability. A large sponson fitted to the stern, served as support. The Bergepanther was quite reliable and could be used even under enemy fire because of its armour protection. From 1943 to 1945, about 339 Bergepanther all types were built by MAN, Henschel, Daimler-Benz (Factory Berlin-Marienfelde) and Demag. Adapted from Wikipedia.de The kit With the abundance of Panther kits that seem to have swamped the market this year, I somehow get the feeling that the turretless Bergepanther is what many modellers have reallywanted to see. Whilst we have indeed had the Bergepanther in 1:35 before, from ICM/Revell, and Italeri, these kits stretch back in origin between 13 and 25 years respectively. A modern tooling of this is what was seriously needed, so I can indeed understand the excitement in the armour-modelling community. This kit is based on the 2018 tooling of Takom’s amazing Panther kit releases (check out our LSM Pilot build HERE), and even better, Takom has just released this in both Ausf.A and Ausf.D flavours. Today I’ll be looking at the Ausf.A version. We have also been sent the other kit which will be reviewed in the very near future by Jeroen Peters. Takom seem to be the masters of very cool box art when it comes to armour kits. This one shows a sort of rear, three-quarter view of this unusual vehicle, obviously chosen as you can see all the general modifications from that angle. Even without the turret and interior, this kit packs a serious plastic punch with its new winch and wooden upper hull structures, etc. In fact, opening that lid will prove what a task it will be to get all of the styrene back in the box, once removed. It took three attempts for me after completing my photography. In total, this kit contains TWENTY-FIVE sprues of light grey plastic, one upper hull moulding, one photo-etch fret, braided copper wire, two sizes of metal chain, nylon cord, and a single decal sheet. All sprues are individually bagged except for the multiples. The remaining, whilst occupying the same sleeve, are folded over on themselves so the contents don’t foul each other. Lastly, two black plastic track assembly guides are supplied. These also serve as alignment tools for the swing arms. Invariably, quite a portion of this new release will be the same as that of the Panther Ausf.A I reviewed HERE, and the recent Zimmerit Ausf.A that I looked at HERE. As with these previous releases, this new Bergepanther also has a full interior. For clarity, areas of this review will mirror that of the previous, with the exception of the new sprues. I feel this is a better way to present this article instead of just showing you new parts and then having to run off and read about the standard Ausf.A sections. A quick look around the kit contents and you’ll notice a lack of the usual bathtub-style lower hull. For their Bergepanther releases, Takom has chosen to break down everything into constituent components, such as the hull floor, hull sides and forward lower glacis, although the latter is fitted to an inner plate that is connected to the floor. The reasoning behind this is to make everything as accessible as possible to the modeller as they progress through these easy hull construction stages where the frames, transmission, brake drums and torsion bars are to be fitted. Unlike Rye Field Model, Takom provides the lower hull frames as plastic parts, as opposed to their competitor who supply these in photo-etch. Both options work great for me, with perhaps the plastic parts being easier to fit and align. They are also moulded, as with the rest of the interior, with huge finesse. My test assembly of the initial release proved that this is a superbly engineered and moulded kit that should present no problems, provided you follow the chronology. A few very light ejector pin marks are found here and there, but these seem to be hidden by subsequent construction. Before the sides are fitted to the hull floor, they are fitted out internally with the brake drums etc. These side plates are moulded with the torsion tube sleeves in situ, so there shouldn’t be any wall to wall alignment issues. With the walls complete, these glue into place. Takom would have you insert the torsion bars before this, and as they don’t extend to the hull exterior, it might be wise to do as they say, but dry fit them in case you have any minor alignment issues that could arise from gluing them in place from the start. The swing arms are next to be fitted, and to help with absolute positioning, two plastic jigs are included. These have alignment holes for the swing arm axles to fit into. Takom hasn’t designed this kit to have articulated swing arms, so if you want to pose the model whilst sitting on uneven ground, this is the time for you to look at that and mock things up for later. It’s now the time for the interior to be fitted out, and this is no quick task, even with the lack of ammunition/storage in the Bergepanther. Even without the many ammunition shells and their storage racks, you still have what is probably one of the busiest detailed interior that I’ve seen in any kit thus far. Work progresses with the installation of the crew seats (moulded rear spring detail unlike the PE of the RFM release), interior walls and bulkheads, radio sets, drive shaft. No turret floor is fitted to this machine as even this element was removed during the conversion process. I hope you didn’t throw away the swing arm guides as these are now used to create the shape of the tracks. Onto the guides will plug the drive and idler wheels (no glue!) and then the tracks can be formed over the curves of the guide, with the drive/idler/track assembly being transferred to your lower hull. FOUR sprues of track links and associated parts are included, incorporating several completed sections of track, along with many separate links. None of the track links have moulded horns. These are provided as separate parts that are moulded to a tree that you install as a single piece, and then when dry, snip away the tree from the tracks. That’s a smart move that will save some swearing. After building the demonstration model, I can tell you that the tracks assembly without any trouble whatsoever. The Bergepanther’s Maybach engine is faithfully reproduced and is a project in itself, complete with its plumbing that interconnects to the engine bay walls. This, along with fuel tanks, engine cooling apparatus and more internal framing. This is a model for which you will need to carefully plan each painting and weathering stage ahead of getting to that part. You will need to ensure careful and accurate alignment of the engine for it to be able to mount properly and accept the plumbing. It’s a very cramped compartment back there! A single-piece upper hull is included with sections missing for the crew compartment, engine and engine cooling. These are moulded as separate parts, thus maximising the opportunity to show the interior of the model to its fullest potential. Even so, you would still be limited, under normal circumstances, to pose these off in any realistic way. The best plan with the Bergepanther would be to leave the wooden structure un-glued so that it could be viewed by lifting it off. The driver access plate on the upper hull, won’t be fitted to the Bergepanther, allowing a minimum of immediate interior visibility as it will still be somewhat hidden under the tarpaulin that extends from the front of the wooden structure. A bit like an early version of a sun-roof! This kit has SEVEN new sprues that are of course specific to this version of Bergepanther and/or the Ausf.D release. In the case of the latter, the Bergepanther-specific sprues in this kit are devoid of the parts for the other version, as can clearly be seen by the large voids in some areas. One standard Panther sprue also has many parts missing, as they aren’t pertinent to the Bergepanther. The new sprues have the same detail hallmarks that we can see from the rest of this kit, with rather nice moulding touches too, such as the integral chain detail (metal alternative provided), and the various winching wheels with their grooves. Of course, the recovery spade which raises and lowers from the rear of the Bergepanther, is also a beautiful piece of moulding that employs the latest techniques available to companies such as Takom. There isn’t any option for posing anything in an open position on the wooden structure, so you may want to leave loose. A very fine wood grain detail is moulded over such parts, and the large metal straps, locking clasps and brackets are superbly depicted. Also of note is the tarpaulin with its realistic sagging texture. I would’ve liked to have seen an option for this to be retracted, but we can’t have everything! Photo-etch, chain. etc. For such a comprehensive kit, there is surprisingly little PE in this release, with Takom opting to create many of the finer parts in standard injection plastic. Only six pieces of photo-etch are included in this release, and these are for the engine cooling grilles on the rear top deck. The mesh is certainly fine enough to pass muster, and the quality is excellent. Two small lengths of chain are supplied, of different gauges. These are of course for the block and tackle/pulley system that hangs from the Bergepanther’s lifting arm, and a section for the arm itself. Whilst the arm has a superb section of filigree-moulded chain, you may want to use a real section for more authenticity. It could come in quite useful too if the plastic detail breaks under ham-fistedness. Decals The decal sheet is quite small and contains the markings for FOUR schemes. Printing is thin, has minimal carrier film and is in perfect register. Those schemes are: Western Front, 1945 Captured, Bovington, 1945 Hungary, 1945 Western Front, 1943 Instructions A 34-page A4 manual is included (landscape format) which breaks the Bergepanther down into 54 constructional sequences. Don’t let that fool you though, as you can probably triple that number with the addition of sub-stages per sequence. As I said, this is no quick project. The cover of the manual gives a history of the type and we then get a comprehensive parts map showing each sprue, decal sheet and PE fret. Most of the constructional imagery, provided as shaded illustrations, is printed on matt paper except for where corresponding leaves are printed on gloss for the numerous colour illustrations, courtesy of AMMO. These images provide priceless info on interior painting and will save us countless hours trawling the information either online or in books. Painting reference is also provided in AMMO reference codes. The last pages of the manual are given over to the four schemes provided with this kit, printed in glossy colour and with more AMMO paint references to negotiate. Inside the manual, a small correction sheet is included for the track building section. Conclusion For me, I put this as perhaps being the best Panther/Panther-relative kit that Takom has yet produced. It has everything in that it’s one of the most detailed 1/35 models on the market, plus the esoteric-factor. This really is one that will catch the eye in your cabinet or model display stand. It really does cry out for a diorama though, showing off the best elements of the Ausf.A design to their maximum potential. My sincere thanks to Takom for sending out this kit for review here on LSM. To buy this kit, check out your favourite local or online retailer.
  7. 1/35 Panther A mid-late w/Zimmerit & full interior Sd.Kfz.267/Sd.Kfz.171 2 in 1 Takom Catalogue # 2100 Available for around £50 The Panther is a German medium tank deployed during World War II on the Eastern and Western Fronts in Europe from mid-1943 to the war's end in 1945. It had the ordnance inventory designation of Sd.Kfz. 171. It was designated as the Panzerkampfwagen V Panther until 27 February 1944, when Hitler ordered that the Roman numeral "V" be deleted. Contemporary English language reports sometimes refer to it as the Mark V. The Panther was intended to counter the Soviet T-34 and to replace the Panzer III and Panzer IV. Nevertheless, it served alongside the Panzer IV and the heavier Tiger I until the end of the war. It is considered one of the best tanks of World War II for its excellent firepower and protection, although its reliability was less impressive. The Panther was a compromise. While having essentially the same engine as the Tiger I, it had more efficient frontal hull armour, better gun penetration, was lighter and faster, and could traverse rough terrain better than the Tiger I. The trade-off was weaker side armour, which made it vulnerable to flanking fire. The Panther proved to be effective in open country and long-range engagements but did not provide enough high explosive firepower against infantry. The Panther was far cheaper to produce than the Tiger I, and only slightly more expensive than the Panzer IV. Key elements of the Panther design, such as its armour, transmission, and final drive, were simplifications made to improve production rates and address raw material shortages. The overall design remained somewhat over-engineered. The Panther was rushed into combat at the Battle of Kursk despite numerous unresolved technical problems, leading to high losses due to mechanical failure. Most design flaws were rectified by late 1943 and the spring of 1944, though the bombing of production plants, increasing shortages of high quality alloys for critical components, shortage of fuel and training space, and the declining quality of crews all impacted the tank's effectiveness. Though officially classified as a medium tank, its weight is more like that of a heavy tank, as its weight of 44.8 tons puts it roughly in the same category as the American M26 Pershing (41.7 tons), British Churchill (40.7 tons) and the Soviet IS-2 (46 tons) heavy tanks. The tank had a very high power to weight ratio however, making it extremely mobile regardless of its weight. Its weight still caused heavy tank-esque problems however, such as an inability to cross certain bridges. Extract from Wikipedia The kit Well, this kit is another much-anticipated Panther release from Takom, following closely on the heels of their three recent Ausf.A series kits (early, mid-early, late production). This one fills the missing ‘mid-late’hole from the initial releases, but also comes resplendent in a covering of faux-Zimmerit! Yes, no trowelling modelling putty and agonising over the appearance and pattern of the finished application. The hard work is done for you. Oh, I don’t think I mentioned, but this kit, like the others, also has a highly detailed full interior too. What more could you want? This release is packaged into the same size box as the previous Panther kits, but instead of the austere main box art, this particular offering has some rather nice full-colour art on the lid, depicting a three-quarter view of the beast, coated in all that lovely Zimmerit. As with the other releases, the box sides show colour renders of the interior of the tank as a taste for what to expect. Some images of the Ausf.A Early Production kit, under construction our for LSM Pilots project. Inside the box, TWENTY-NINE light grey sprues are either packed separately or in multiples with the cellophane folded between them, so they don’t foul each other. Note that there are no clear parts for the periscopes, so these will need to be painted carefully to represent reflective glass. Still not too hard to do, but clear parts would’ve been nice. The box is absolutely crammed with styrene, as you can imagine with this being a full interior kit. As well as the sprues, a turret and upper hull are included, as well as two track building guides that we’ll look at soon. To complete the package, we have two small decal sheets, a PE fret containing 7 parts, lengths of copper cable, a flexible hose, and a very thick 40-page instruction manual. These last items are packed into multiple sleeves that are then packed with the manual. One thing I simply can’t do here is to give a sprue by sprue résumé, due to the complexity of the kit. Instead, I will look at features and engineering break down of this release. Please remember that several of the sprues in this release are newly tooled to represent the Zimmerit coating. I will of course look at these with some detail photographs. Getting started A quick look around the kit contents and you’ll notice a lack of the usual bathtub-style lower hull. For their Panther releases, Takom has chosen to break down everything into constituent components, such as the hull floor, hull sides and forward lower glacis, although the latter is fitted to an inner plate that is connected to the floor. The reasoning behind this is to make everything as accessible as possible to the modeller as they progress through these easy hull construction stages where the frames, transmission, brake drums and torsion bars are to be fitted. Unlike Rye Field Model, Takom provides the lower hull frames as plastic parts, as opposed to their competitor who supply these in photo-etch. Both options work great for me, with perhaps the plastic parts being easier to fit and align. They are also moulded, as with the rest of the interior, with huge finesse. The swing arms are next to be fitted, and to help with absolute positioning, two plastic jigs are included. These have alignment holes for the swing arm axles to fit into. Takom hasn’t designed this kit to have articulated swing arms, so if you want to pose the model whilst sitting on uneven ground, this is the time for you to look at that and mock things up for later. It’s now the time for the interior to be fitted out, and this is no quick task. Apart from the many ammunition shells and their storage racks, you also have what is probably the busiest detailed interior that I’ve seen in any kit thus far. Work progresses with the installation of the crew seats (moulded rear spring detail unlike the PE of the RFM release), interior walls and bulkheads, radio sets, drive shaft, and turret floor. Also, of note are that the boxed ammunition shells only have the protruding tip as a part, with the box below them being hollow. This certainly makes more sense that depicting the full ammunition body. I hope you didn’t throw away the swing arm guides as these are now used to create the shape of the tracks. Onto the guides will plug the drive and idler wheels (no glue!) and then the tracks can be formed over the curves of the guide, with the drive/idler/track assembly being transferred to your lower hull. FOUR sprues of track links and associated parts are included, incorporating several completed sections of track, along with many separate links. None of the track links have moulded horns. These are provided as separate parts that are moulded to a tree that you install as a single piece, and then when dry, snip away the tree from the tracks. That’s a smart move that will save some swearing. Having just made a set of these for one of the initial releases, I can say that the approach is trouble-free and stressless. The Panther’s Maybach engine is faithfully reproduced and is a project in itself, complete with its plumbing that interconnects to the engine bay walls. This, along with fuel tanks, engine cooling apparatus and more internal framing. This is a model for which you will need to carefully plan each painting and weathering stage ahead of getting to that part. A single-piece upper hull is included with sections missing for the crew compartment, engine and engine cooling. These are moulded as separate parts, thus maximising the opportunity to show the interior of the model to its fullest potential. Even so, you would still be limited, under normal circumstances, to pose these off in any realistic way, unless you created a factory diorama of the Panther being built. Still, we know all those detail goodies are in there, so that’s all that really matters. Note again the excellent rendition of Zimmerit on this piece, continuing through the main external areas of this specific release. That turret is obviously the main feature of this kitty, and this of course is resplendent in amazing interior details. The turret itself is moulded as lid and sides, with the front and rear plates being separate. Plate and weld seam details are superb. Of course, there is an amount of moulded detail within the roof interior, pertaining mostly to electrical conduits etc. I find it most odd that Takom chose to mould, in raised detail, the kit year and serial adjacent to the actual details! Working hinges are provided for the escape hatch on the rear face, and the cupola is supplied with a single-piece ring that contains the shrouds for the periscopes. With this glued in situ, the ring can be cut away, leaving the shrouds in the correct position. External Zimmerit detail is again excellent, and of course there is the cupola mounted MG, etc. but the interior is spectacular. If it’s supposed to be in there, the chances are that Takom has faithfully reproduced it, including turret traverse motors, gun counterbalance, hydraulic drive, loader/gunner/commander seats, azimuth etc. The gun breech is superbly detailed, and like it or not, the barrel in this release is plastic, albeit single part, with separate three-piece muzzle brake. A flexible hose is supplied for the turret interior. Where RFM added a little extra was by means of showing any plumbing and wiring that would be in this area so that the modeller could add it him/herself. You’d be best to avail yourself of the required information and add it yourself from lead wire too. For such a comprehensive kit, there is surprisingly little PE in this release, with Takom opting to create many of the finer parts in standard injection plastic. Only six pieces of photo-etch are included in this release, and these are for the engine cooling grilles on the rear top deck. The mesh is certainly fine enough to pass muster, and the quality is excellent. Decals Two small decal sheets are included, with one for the various external numbers etc. and the other being for the many pieces of ammunition and other internal details. There is no printing manufacturer on the sheets, but they are very thin with solid colour, minimal carrier film and in perfect register. The five schemes in this release are: Panther A, 3./SS-Panzer Regiment 1, France 1944 Panther A, 3Kompanie, Pz. Reg. Grossdeutschland, France, June 1944 Panther A, Stab I Abteilung SS Pz.Reg. 2, France 1944 Panther A, 4 Kompanie SS Pz.Reg. 2, Mont Ormel, Italy 1944 Panther A, Regiment Grossdeutschland, Jassy Romania, April 1944 Instructions A 40-page A4 manual is included (landscape format) which breaks the Panther down into 64 constructional sequences with numerous sub-stages. As I said, this is no quick project. The cover of the manual gives a history of the type and we then get a comprehensive parts map showing each sprue, decal sheet and PE fret. Most of the constructional imagery, provided as shaded illustrations, is printed on matt paper except for where corresponding leaves are printed on gloss for the numerous colour illustrations, courtesy of AMMO. These images provide priceless info on interior painting and will save us countless hours trawling the information either online or in books. Painting reference is also provided in AMMO reference codes. The last pages of the manual are given over to the four schemes provided with this kit, printed in glossy colour and with more AMMO paint references to negotiate. Inside the manual, a small correction sheet is included for the track building section. Conclusion I’ve already sacrificed my initial Panther Ausf.A Early Production kit on the altar of test fit and a construction guide (for which I enclose a couple of images in this review). Despite the apparent complexity of the kit, I can say, unequivocally, that this model will fit together with a minimum of issues. Applying Zimmerit is also something that some modellers would be inclined to shy away from because of the patterns used or how to apply it properly, but with this kit, there are no such hurdles to overcome. Takom has created a very realistic ant-magnetic putty pattern, complete with the natural unevenness that would be seen. You can of course add damage to this wherever you wish, using a curved scalpel blade. There is a tiny amount of moulded damage too, so how you finally depict things is up to you. My only niggle is the lack of clear parts for the periscopes, but it’s certainly no deal breaker as you can either paint the grey plastic accordingly or use acetate. In all, a top-notch release that adds to the year’s score of new Panther kits. Very highly recommended! My sincere thanks to the good people at Takom for sending this review sample you see here.
  8. 1/35 Panther Ausf.G ‘Early/Late with full interior’ Panzerkampfwagen “Panther” Ausf.G (Sd.Kfz.171) Rye Field Model Catalogue # RM-5016 Available soon from Model Kits for Less for £56.50 inc UK Hermes The Panther is a German medium tank deployed during World War II on the Eastern and Western Fronts in Europe from mid-1943 to the war's end in 1945. It had the ordnance inventory designation of Sd.Kfz. 171. It was designated as the Panzerkampfwagen V Panther until 27 February 1944, when Hitler ordered that the Roman numeral "V" be deleted. Contemporary English language reports sometimes refer to it as the Mark V. The Panther was intended to counter the Soviet T-34 and to replace the Panzer III and Panzer IV. Nevertheless, it served alongside the Panzer IV and the heavier Tiger I until the end of the war. It is considered one of the best tanks of World War II for its excellent firepower and protection, although its reliability was less impressive. The Panther was a compromise. While having essentially the same engine as the Tiger I, it had more efficient frontal hull armour, better gun penetration, was lighter and faster, and could traverse rough terrain better than the Tiger I. The trade-off was weaker side armour, which made it vulnerable to flanking fire. The Panther proved to be effective in open country and long-range engagements but did not provide enough high explosive firepower against infantry. The Panther was far cheaper to produce than the Tiger I, and only slightly more expensive than the Panzer IV. Key elements of the Panther design, such as its armour, transmission, and final drive, were simplifications made to improve production rates and address raw material shortages. The overall design remained somewhat over-engineered. The Panther was rushed into combat at the Battle of Kursk despite numerous unresolved technical problems, leading to high losses due to mechanical failure. Most design flaws were rectified by late 1943 and the spring of 1944, though the bombing of production plants, increasing shortages of high quality alloys for critical components, shortage of fuel and training space, and the declining quality of crews all impacted the tank's effectiveness. Though officially classified as a medium tank, its weight is more like that of a heavy tank, as its weight of 44.8 tons puts it roughly in the same category as the American M26 Pershing (41.7 tons), British Churchill (40.7 tons) and the Soviet IS-2 (46 tons) heavy tanks. The tank had a very high power to weight ratio however, making it extremely mobile regardless of its weight. Its weight still caused heavy tank-esque problems however, such as an inability to cross certain bridges. Extract from Wikipedia The kit If you like large kit boxes, you’ll not be disappointed. This one is almost twice the size of my Cyber Hobby 1/35 King Tiger, and the deep lid contains a superb artwork of the Panther G of what they say is an unknown unit, with zig-zag winter distemper covering the base camouflage. RFM have sent me the Limited-Edition kit with clear turret and upper hull parts, as labelled on the lid. One side of the lid has three colour CAD illustrations of the model with its complete interior (yes...complete!) and the other side has three colour profiles for the schemes on offer with this release. This is certainly no weekender project. I thought it apt to place a little of the blurb here that Rye Field has told us of this new kit, designed to celebrate their third year in the business. Clear turret and upper hull parts Up to twenty multiple-choice designs Moveable design for track links, suspension system, artillery and other components Provides a set of 800mm steel road wheels which can be used for after April 1945 Accurately reproduced interior and exterior structures of Panther Ausf.G tank Offer of special gift of three kinds of drawings by famous Japanese military painter, Mr. Kei Endou Multi-function grenade launcher can be posed open or closed Rear escape hatch door can be posed open or closed Optional turret vent types Complete interior, including Maybach HL230-P30 engine, transmission, fighting compartment, driver position etc. Option for seat and storage positions of shell box Two options for hydraulic drive units Spring-loaded recoil Two mantlet options Moveable gun Optional engine heater and comprehensive part options associated with this (firewall, roof vents, heater duct, spoiler etc. Optional artillery observation periscope bracket types Three options for turret cupola mounting for AA-MG Optional air-defence machine guns Optional observation lens types Moveable double torsion bat structure Optional bow machine gun ball shield Idler wheel options (665mm dia. and early 600mm A-type) Workable track links, track disassembly tools, and ice cleats Optional driver periscope rain cover Optional cockpit roof vent Multi-position barrel travel lock Two types of headlights Three types of rear stowage boxes Open/closed engine cover plate options Lifting hooks with two optional positions Two options for cooling air outlet grilles Four exhaust configuration options Deployed and stowed 20T jack options This information of course doesn’t even go into including the details of every single reproduced component within the interior of the Panther Ausf.G. If Rye Field Models wanted an epic for their anniversary release, then they got one. Please excuse the resolution of some of these company images. I couldn't get them any higher. Inside the box, the first thing I’m confronted with is another large but shallow box with colour illustrations of two of the schemes (I think this is the offer of drawing gift that RFM refer to), and inside here is a single, large, clear sprue that contains the Limited Edition parts, such as the upper hull, turret, glacis etc. as well as standard clear parts for the periscope et al. I do find the clear plastic pretty quirky and don’t intend to build this with a visible interior, but the option is there for you. The rest of the sprues are moulded in a light brown styrene, and there are FOURTEEN of these. Most are individually bagged except for the ones where there are multiples. Two sprues are interconnected, with two copies, counting as four sprues. A bag containing wire and a spring also contains a flexible black sprue with captive wheel nuts and four wheel rims. Track parts (x190) are included in a brown zip bag and these, moulded in dark brown plastic, come as two per sprue. TWO PE frets are supplied, one decal sheet, and lastly, a hefty 52-page instruction manual. As I said, this is no weekend project. You’ll need to set serious time aside. We’ll now take a look through the various sprues and focus in on those fine details which really set this release apart. Sprue A I could be wrong, but it does look like RFM has thoughtfully grouped the parts for specific areas mainly together on their respective sprues. This certainly beats the constant toing and froing between sprues, especially when there are so many as with this kit. Here we see parts that seem to exclusively concern the Panther’s powerful 7.5 cm Kwk 42 L/70 gun, including turret parts and two mantlet options. The latter are for the curved mantlet, and the later version with a vertical face below the upper curved section, providing extra armour to the lower quarters. Whilst some would decry the lack of a metal barrel in this kit, the plastic one is moulded in one piece instead of as halves. Of course, the muzzle is moulded as separate parts for which no seams exist. These details are supplemented by a little PE. Sprue B We generally have a lot of internal turret details here, ranging from the traverse motor to the gun counterbalance, hydraulic drive, loader/gunner/commander seats, azimuth etc. To say the turret interior is comprehensive is pretty much on the money. You’ll certainly need no aftermarket here. The instructions show lengths of wire that must be added using the supplied material. Sprue C (x2) Wheels, torsion bars and other associated parts are found on this sprue, of which two are supplied. I do note a few parts from other areas of the hull, but generally this is where the rolling stuff happens. I’ve already said that the wheels/torsion bars do work, but not as they are initially moulded. If you don’t want to simply build this with static, non-moving torsion, then that is the default position. If you want them to articulate, then a small tab of plastic needs to be removed from each bar. Quite a simple task and one that satisfies all builders of this kit. Sprue D Many general interior parts here, such as the driver’s seat, transmission, comms system power supply, periscope storage, front drive brake units etc. In fact, many items from the lower hull forward interior will be found here. Sprue E & X (x2) Both of these sprues are supplied connected, and there are two frames included. The most obvious inclusion here are the many shells that will be distributed around the hull interior. That much explosive in one space must’ve played on the minds of the crews. Note also a jig for building the tracks, and the multitude of track pins. The individual links are first sat on the track jig and then each bank of pins is installed whilst on the sprue. When in situ, the sprue will then be removed. Genius! Other parts here include wheels, engine fan amongst many other small components. Sprue F This sprue provides the rear and front glacis, lower hull sides, fenders and the hull floor. As this kit has a full interior, the hull floor has details moulded within. I can’t understand the reason for the forward glacis as this is moulded in situ on the clear upper hull, as the non-clear F1 part is designed to fit over the top of this, despite the test models showing it without F1 attached. Detail is excellent, especially on the hull sides. Some very nice weld seam details to be seen too. Sprue G Many items here that appear to be associated with the rear engine decal, with numerous options provided, such as those for the four different permutations of exhaust layouts, heaters, tool racks, access doors (poseable), front fender mudguards etc. Note also options for the rear stowage bins. Sprue H This Panther kit can be fitted with the heated duct system as an option. This means that RFM needed to be able to enable the modeller to easily install these parts. Note here two internal bulkhead options which provide the means to display the model with or without the heat duct system. Certainly better than having to mod the part yourself. Internal rear compartment walls, shell racks, lower hull central floor, fuel tanks, filters etc. Sprue J Another multitude of small and key components to be found here. Everything from the 20T jack (that can be posed deployed or stored), drive gear housings, rear glacis parts (including towing mechanism), hull tools, towing cable ends etc. Sprue K Here you find the mighty Maybach and other associated parts. A variety of other components are moulded here too, such as the rear mantlet plates (two options), ammunition storage rack parts, hoses and ducting, radio sets, and the remainder of parts that are scattered around the interior. Sprue L (clear parts) As I already stated, this particular kit is a Limited-Edition version with these parts being moulded in clear styrene. From this, I can only presume that regular editions will have this in the same colour as the rest, with the periscope parts etc. being moulded separately. I honestly don’t know. However, that’s a story for a different day. Like or loathe clear parts, these really are superbly moulded with exceptional clarity, should you wish to finish your model, so the interior can be viewed through the plastic. Sprue P This is a rubberised sprue containing four wheel rims and a series of captive collars for holding the wheels in place on the torsion bar arms. Tracks Moulded in a dark brown plastic, these are moulded in twos, interconnected with a small sprue. There are 85 each of these, totalling 190 separate track links. I can’t comment on how easy these will be to assemble at this stage, but they look straightforward enough with the supplied jig and method of applying the track pins that I mentioned earlier. Photo Etch Two frets are included in this release, packed into a wallet with a card protector. Quality is excellent, with narrow part gates that will make it easy to remove and clean the individual components. Included in PE form are the heater grilles, internal hull lower chassis frames, clasps, etc. There are a lot of parts to keep you occupied. Extras Only a few bits here, namely different diameter wires and a spring for the main gun recoil. Decals A single sheet is included with decals for the three schemes included. A whole load of stencils are also included. Printing is excellent, with the decals being nice and thin and with minimal carrier film. Colour is solid and in register. Instructions RMF provide a 52 page A4 manual for this release, with there being a total of 71 constructional sequences. However, many of these include enough assembly to have merited further breakdown. All drawings are in line format and are clear to understand. Coloured ink is introduced to illustrate some of the finer nuances of construction, such as new part placement and where parts are only to be dry-fit at certain stages. Some of the English annotation is a little messy and could do with having been corrected, but the general gist is easy to follow. Paint references are given for Mig AMMO and Gunze paints. Conclusion Well, what can I say? Firstly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a kit with as many options available to the builder, nor one with this incredible amount of full interior detail in 1/35. You’ll need your wits about you as you progress through the build in order that you use the correct permutation of parts, plus any component modifications that are required to common parts. It’s a minefield, but at least it’s a fun one! Perhaps one of the most complicated kits I’ve yet encountered. Moulding quality is up there with the very best, with hardly a seam to be seen, and zero flash that I can determine. Any ejector pin marks should also be hidden behind installed equipment, so again, no concerns there. There’s no doubt that Rye Field Model have created a masterpiece and if the images and videos from the recent Nuremberg Toy Fair are anything to go by, then this will look simply amazing when complete. As I have said, this is a complicated kit and you need to check assembly at each turn with relation to parts options, so ensure you know exactly which vehicle you’ll be building, right at the outset. All I can say is this is just stunning! HIGHLY recommended! My sincere thanks to Rye Field Model for the kit sample seen in this First Look article. At the time of writing, the kit only seems to be dribbling through Asian suppliers but should be available in the rest of the world over the next weeks.
  9. 1/35 WWII German 200l Fuel Drums by Eureka XXL Eurela XXL make a wide range of armour and diorama accessories, mainly in 1/35 - you can view their full range here. Today I look at two resin / PE update sets for German armour, each containing four 200l fuel drums, the only difference between the two being the services that used them. #E-011 Wehrmacht (2 designs) #E-012 Waffen SS & Kriegsmarine Each set contains parts for four 200l fuel drums. These drums were used variously by the Wehrmacht, Waffen SS and Kriegsmarine - I am not sure if they were used by the Luftwaffe, or indeed the Luftwaffe Field Divisions. I suppose you would most often see them in refuelling / maintenance pictures, although I have seen Tiger tanks with these lashed to the back. Their scope for use in dioramas and vignettes is pretty extensive. There are four resin parts in each pack - and these are identical across the two packs as far as I can tell. The design of the resin drum cylinder is the same, but the castings are subtly different: two are fairly 'clean', whilst two have various dents and bashes in the main plate / drum sides. At first I thought the two prominent rims around the middle of each drum were hopelessly over-scale, but the Germans did in fact make them like that - these were used to roll the drums along the ground without damaging them I imagine. The only problem I can see with the casting is that these prominent rims are completely blemish free, and even if made of finest steel would surely have attracted the odd dink and dig here and there? That being said, this is nothing you couldn't add yourself in a few seconds if desired. The other features in the resin are a delicate single seam line which runs down the side of the drum, and the filler cap and surround which is located between the two middle rims. The seam does, on very close inspection, run over these rims which it should not actually do, but this is a 30 second sanding job. In fact, I am not even sure it would be visible after even a single coat of primer it is that fine. The other part of each set is a fret of PE brass. Each fret contains eight barrel ends, and these are the main pieces which differentiate the sets. E-011 contains two Waffen SS drums, and two Kriegsmarine drums. The latter can be used on your super large Italeri S-100, but I can't help thinking that a set of four solely SS drums would be far more popular? E-012 has two varieties of Wehrmacht drums. The filler caps are completed by three smaller parts of PE. No instructions are provided in the sets, but as is the trend these days, this information is provided on the Eureka website: no explicit guideline to construction, but some nice shots of the completed barrels, compete with painting guide. There are also three pictures taken from Bundesarchiv showing the drums 'in action'. Conclusion Two very simple sets which are difficult to find real fault with. The use of two different media is spot on here - I can't imagine the drum ends and all the lettering working if the whole thing was cast in resin. A set devoted solely to SS fuel drums would probably be a better seller... Highly recommended There is a list of Eureka XXL suppliers worldwide on their website here and a number of shops stock their products on eBay.
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