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Pz.Kpfw. V Panther In Attack And Defence


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Kagero Mini TopColors Series

#31 Pz.Kpfw. V Panther In Attack And Defence
#36 Pz.Kpfw. III Family




Over the past few years I think Kagero must have given even the mighty Osprey a run for their money as one of the most prolific publishers of military literature. The number of different types of book sometimes seems almost as vast as the number of titles themselves, with many different variations on a theme. The TopColors series extends across both armour and aircraft, and at the time of writing comprises some forty books. The trend is presently for the 'Mini' variety - these are a slightly smaller but tend to provide decals for all subjects shown, often in multiple scales. One suggestion: if you do see a book covering subjects that you like, especially if it is Luftwaffe and or related to North Africa, then don't hesitate to snap it up; a number of the earlier volumes are now long out of print, with no re-run planned.






This review looks at books covering firstly the Panther, arguably Germany's best tank of the war; and secondly the Panzer III, or more accurately, a selection of tanks, tank destroyers and assault guns based on that chassis. Just as the Panther is very much the junior partner to the mighty Tiger where modellers' preferences are concerned, so the Panzer III has been eclipsed by its slightly larger brother, the Panzer IV. Sixteen subjects are covered in each of the books, all of which have decals provided for in three scales. Whilst 1/35 is a given, I was surprised to see decals offered in both 1/48 and 1/72 scales. I do wonder about both the appeal and relevance of these books to those smaller scales: I don't think many of the variants are even made in 1/48, whilst the nuances between them must be nearly impossible to accurately replicate (let alone see) in 1/72. I cannot comment on the quality of model kits in these smaller scales.






As to modelling the Panther, in 1/35 there are at first glance a number of options eg Tamiya, Italeri, and even Revell. But if you want an accurate kit the only name really worth considering is Dragon / DML. There are new tool options for everything from the Ausf. D (the first Panther to see combat), through the various Ausf. As to the final Ausf. G model. The Panzer III and its Sturmgeschutz partners have maybe been not quite so well represented, but I think over the past year or two there should now be accurate toolings for all the vehicles featured. Once again, these will all be by Dragon. The 'In Attack And Defence' bit of the Panther title refers I presume to the stance the Germans were taking at the time? The 'In Attack' part was in reality fairly limited. By the time the Panther made its debut at Kursk it was July 1943, often seen as the high tide of their exploits East. After that the strategic situation went steadily downhill, even if at a tactical level there were countless offensives.






In the introduction there is a brief overview of the colours used throughout Panther production. Much has been written - and is still argued - about this subject, but in the description the author mentions some of the different factories that produced the Panther. It is a shame that, where possible, the book does not state or make a suggestion as to which factory produced which subject. This would perhaps help modellers identify certain features either not shown or not visible on the profiles. These are generally one side only, although there are a few snapshot views of front / rear for some vehicles. It would also be nice to have seen more of the photos on which the profiles are based, but I suppose this was dictated by space constraints etc. Eight of the sixteen Panthers have thumbnail photos of the subject vehicle.






The Panzer III is represented firstly by regular gun tanks Ausf. J, L and M, and the close support Ausf. N; secondly by the Sturmgeschutz Ausf. F/8 and G. There is a decent spread of theatres in the vehicles depicted - from North Africa, Italy, Normandy and various Eastern Front. I was a little disappointed that no earlier variants of the Panzer III were included - remember this tank was present in the Wehrmacht from the very outset of the war. Th only real odd ball here is a Panzerbeobachtungswagen III Ausf F or G - looks at first glance like a 'real' tank but is in fact an unarmed artillery observation vehicle.




The vehicles covered are listed here for the Panther and here for the Panzer III. I will not go into the details of each subject - that is just too big a job. I will just add my usual caveat about working from profiles rather than original photos etc, and suggest doing some additional research on particular vehicles if that is your bent.






Obviously popular subjects, the Panther especially so. There are good quality decals by Cartograf, and lots of inspiration for the modeller. The prices are fairly reasonable so all in all another two winners from Kagero.


With thanks to Kagero for the review samples.


Book details:
#31 Pz.Kpfw. V Panther In Attack And Defence
Marek Jaszczolt, Arkadiusz Wrobel and Robert Wroblewski
ISBN 978-83-62878-34-5

#36 Pz.Kpfw. III Famliy
Marek Jaszczolt, Slawomir Zajaczkowski
ISBN 978-83-62878-66-6


Nicholas Mayhew



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