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Takom 1/35 Bergepanzer Ausf.D Umbau Seibert 1945


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1:35 Bergepanther Ausf.D – Umbau Seibert 1945
Takom

Catalogue # 2102

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With German armour growing bigger in the course of the war, the need for bigger recovery vehicles rose. One FAMO wasn’t enough anymore to pull a Panther or Tiger out of a ditch. As a matter of fact two Famo 18 ton vehicles were needed to pull one Tiger I tank. This is why the Panzer V Panther was chosen as the base for a new Bergepanzer: The Sd.Kfz. 179 Bergepanther. Still existing truck brand MAN was issued the order to produce the first batch which were delivered in June 1943. In total about 347 Bergepanthers were built on Panther Ausf A and G hulls with various lay-outs by different factories: MAN, Henschel and Demag. For this latter one please see James Hatch’s excellent reviewof the Ausf A version of this kit.  Most of them containing a 40 Ton winch. This specific type was built by Sieber. If you are a U-boot nut this may sound familiar. Sieber was a company that had a lot of experience building U-boot hulls. They built / assembled 61 Bergepanthers Ausf.D (Umbau) between July 1944 and March 1945. The word ‘Umbau’ means ‘Conversion’. As you can see this Bergepanther resembles an ordinary Panther most. All it’s missing is it’s turret and transmission hatch and has a large round steel plate instead.

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The kit

Takom is on a head to head race with Meng. Leaving Dragon and Tamiya in their wake. Where it used to be a no brainer buying a Tamiya kit for quality and fit and a Dragon kit for ease and detail, you now follow Takom’s and Meng’s releases with hawk-eye’s. With these two brands picking the same subjects over and over the battle for detail lifts their quality level to great heights. The boxes keep getting bigger and bigger, but the prices somehow stay in the green. I used to be an avid armour modeler and thought we were spoiled over our ears with detail, subjects and possibilities, but what this kit brings is something else… 

 All this detail and what do we see in the end? You might want to make a cross section model. Check this out:

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I don’t think it’s fair to compare this kit to the 1995 Italeri Bergepanther nor the Revell or ICM offering. They all offer pretty basic kits that lack most of the interior. To get the full interior you would have to buy the resin Verlinden set, but that would still get you the early Maybach engine. None of the mainstream brands produced this particular late version of the Bergepanther: Ausf.D. For that you had to buy the Precision Models conversion set (which is not an easy find…). As you see a lot these days certain brands go head to head and tackle the same excotic subjects. I never got this… As it happens RFM (Rye Field Models) is releasing their own Bergepanther and knowing them, it will also feature a whole interior, just like their latest Sturmtiger. Takom: beware!

 

The high heavy box is bursting with sprues and parts. 25 sprues in total (!). So I just started with studying the instructions, doing some research and unpacking the top sprue in the box. Overall the casting is really crisp with no flash anywhere. To be fair: Dragon, Meng and Tamiya have the same reputation. Hardly any cleanup needed. With a kit like this featuring a full interior the question is: where are the ejector marks?? More on that later. Another something to add here is that all parts on the sprue intended for the Early version are removed. This prevents an even more overload of parts, confusion, weigth and mistakes.

Construction starts with the floorplate of the Bergepanther and is quickly followed by the gearbox and drivetrain. The suspension rods are then placed and we have seen this on other Panther kits, since they actually work on the finished model.

Floorplate:

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Sprues A (2x) with the wheels. Lovely steel texture and bolt detail:

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Connected sprues E and D with the sprockets, suspension and various interior details.

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Drivers' seat with spring seat back:

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Periscopes. Usually these are provided in clear plastic. Since i never like that feature, I'm happy with grey plastic. 

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Sprue E2:

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Sprue J2 with the jack, tools and towing cable eye lets:

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The tracks are done in an innovative way. Link and length, but with long stretches of track for the straight parts. The track horns for these stretches are all connected on one long sprue. You need to glue the whole stretch of horns to the track and only then cut the sprue loose. It will be interesting to see how this works. Word of caution: if you want to position this model in a diorama, the straight length of tracks on the bottom of the model will make it difficult to curve the track. So: this method saves time, but limits possibilities. 

There is also a handy tool / jig that helps you assemble the tracks before they go on the model. This way you can paint your tank and tracks separately. I like this. I’m curious to see whether my Friulmodel tracks fit on this kit. I think so…

 Sprue F (x2) and C 9x2) with the track links:

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The jig (x2) for left and right track assembly:

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On to the engine. This Maybach engine differs somewhat from the early Bergepanther. The detail is outstanding and so is the engineering. I reckon you only need some leadwire to spice things up here. When done, the complete engine drops in the hull of the tank. Just like on the real thing. 

Check out the differences in the early and late Maybach engines:

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Sprue N with the engine parts:

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Sprue J3:

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Sprue L:

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Engine piping with only a minimal seam line to remove:

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Sprue M:

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Sprue R2:

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Then work begins on the rear armour plate, grills and upper hull. Photo etch is supplied for all the engine grill meshes. All the tools that go on the sides of the Bergepanther are done nicely in injection moulded plastic, but I would recommend replacing the clasps with photo etch on a model with this much detail. I love the restrained surface texture on the hull, wheels and hatches. Sometimes this is overdone or omitted completely. It will be interesting to see how RFM approach this. As said in the introduction, ejector pin marks on a model that shows so much of it’s insides are crucial. Trust me: they’re hard to find and this saves you a lot of filling and sanding. I found a few on the insides of hatches but they’re not deep and probably disappear with some quick sanding.

 Sprue H3:

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Sprue K3 with front armor:

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Lovely steel surface texture and weld seams:

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The same goes for the upper part of the hull:

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One part you almost always want to replace with photo etch are the Schurzen panzer plates on the sides of the tank. In this case you may not have to. The plastic tapers to the sides, making it look much thinner than it actually is. Beware: if you want to remove one or two of these plates, you need to thin the new edges as well.

The last items that go on the model are the wooden beam and crane. Real delicate with real chain provided that goes around the pully. 

Sprue Q2 with the crane and wooden beam:

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Exhaust stacks:

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Minimal ejector pin marks on the inside of the hatch:

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Delicate detail on the crane:

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Sprue U. Note the absence of the Early Bergepanther parts.

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Note the thin edges of the Schurzen panzer:

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Sprue G2:

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Delicate and refined wood texture on the wooden beam:

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Detailed Mg34. Only needs the barrel end drilled out:

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Copper wire, photo etch and chains:

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Note that the mesh isn't just a plate with holes but features overlapping wiring:

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Painting schemes

Four full colour profiles are provided for you to choose from. All built in 1945 by the Seibert Factory. Reference photo’s are not provided and neither is information as to where what scheme was operational. You’ll find one in Winter camo and three three-tone camo patterns.

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What I love are the full colour 3d drawings on the last pages of the instruction booklet, showing you want needs to be painted in red brown primer and what need to be black or white. Lovely. Makes me thing of the 3D illustrated books by Kagero.

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A small sheet of decals is provided, giving you some data plates, markings and the instrument faces for the drivers’ compartment. The 3d drawings in the back of the booklet show you exactly where these go.

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The instruction manual:

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Conclusion

This is an Epic kit with a dazzling amount of parts. It makes you forget your stash of DML/Dragon and Tamiya kits. The engineering is clever and the quality is top notch. The only thing I don’t like are the tracks that make it hard to position the tank on an un-even terrain. In terms of aftermarket this kit doesn’t need a lot. Maybe just some TLC in the outer detail, like photo etch clasps for the tools. This is a kit that I can whole heartedly recommend to any armour builder. I hope to see the first build here on LSM soon!

 

PS: a fun detail. The brand name Continental is spelled fully and correct on the wheels. Dragon in the past placed the word: Continentau on them, since copyright and brand name protection didn’t allow them to use the name Continental. Wonder if laws changed? 

 Thanks to Takom for supplying LSM with this sample.

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  • 3 months later...

I am currently wading through the wheel sets on Takom's Maus...a job that would normally drive me mad;- but that detail, and the way in which the pieces all fit is simply jaw dropping.....thanks Jeroen for your look at another of these brilliant products.

Dennis

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