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1/35 Panther Ausf.G - Cutaway Turret & Hull


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1/35 Panther Ausf.G 
w/Full Interior & Workable Track Links & Cutaway Parts of Turret and Hull

Rye Field Model

Catalogue # RM-5019

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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. 

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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

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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.

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Sprue B

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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.

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Sprue C (x2)

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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.

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Sprue D

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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.

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Sprue E & X (x2)

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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.

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Sprue F

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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.

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Sprue G

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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.

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Sprue H

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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.

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Sprue J

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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.

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Sprue K

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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.

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Sprue L

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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. 

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Sprue N

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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. 

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Sprue P

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Only a few bits here, namely braided copper wire, lead wire, and a spring for the main gun recoil.

 

Decals

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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.

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Instructions

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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.

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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. 

 

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