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1/35 Panther A mid-late w/Zimmerit & full interior

James H

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1/35 Panther A mid-late w/Zimmerit & full interior
Sd.Kfz.267/Sd.Kfz.171 2 in 1

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.














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





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.







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.



takom logo 350.jpg





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