ARM: Review - 1/35 scale Panther Ausf. F 2-in-1 kit

Kit Review: (Dragon Models Limited) 1/35 Scale Kit No.
13 ('39-'45 Series Kit No. 6382); Pz.Kpfw. V Ausf. F Sd.Kfz. 171
Panther F 2-in-1 Kit (Prototype and Production Type); price US $44.98
Advantages: new kit of this "What If" tank, uses many sprues from the
very nice Ausf. G kit
Disadvantages: basically a "Panzer 46" vehicle
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for Panther fans and "Panzer 46" afficionados
Everybody has "lessons learned" in wartime, and if equipped with a
modicum of intelligence tries to modify or adjust their weapons
systems to respond to those lessons. While well armored, due to its
large gun the production model Panthers had a large, blocky turret
which never did provide all-around protection from enemy armor-
piercing rounds. As a result, Daimler-Benz was asked to create a
turret which had a smaller frontal cross section and provided
increased armor protection to the frontal 60 degree arc - the most
dangerous during tank-to-tank combat.
The result, which was to be designated the Panther Ausf. F. used a
radically cut down turret shape called "Geraet 710" or "Schmallturm
605" that also embodied a cross-turret coincidence range finder and
modifications which were more suited to the types of combat the
Germans were fighting in 1945. Eight standardized hulls were built and
several prototype turrets prepared, but no testing of the two together
appears to have taken place before the end of the war. One turret
survived and after testing by British experts wound up as a range
target for many years before being recovered, and was last seen on
display at the Tank Museum in Bovington.
Once again has stepped up with a "boutique" kit of
this never-built tank, which due to its radically different turret has
always been a popular conversion subject with German fans. Suffice it
to say this kit is basically the recent and very well done Ausf. G
"Smart Kit" with a new B sprue, some odds and ends, and new etched
brass and turned aluminum gun barrel. They state this is a "2-in-1"
kit with a choice of prototype or production configuration, which have
separate sections in the direction sheet for a change. Note that they
are NOT consecutively listed so you have to check to see which one you
wish to do. (The scant references I have on this vehicle say the
production models were supposed to use the steel wheels vice the
rubber-tired ones, but I have no clue as to how valid that statement
may be. The kit only provides the sets that came with the Ausf. G
"Smart Kit.")
As it is from the G kit the lower hull is a one-piece "slide mold"
part with all of the torsion bars complete and separate parts. Fine
details such as "bump stops", "pin knockers" and braces are all
separate. As I mentioned above, the kit provides the rubber tired road
wheels as well as two sets of "steel" road wheels for the last road
wheel station on each side as an option. The model may be built with
or without the small return roller wheel on the final drives, and both
types are provided in the kit.
The hull rear plate comes with the late production "flame damper"
exhaust pipes, which also have an optional two-piece hood for them
plus 30 different separate bits of OVM and pioneer tools.
On the hull top braces, locks and handles are provided for the "flip
up" style of crew hatches, but as this includes the F hull the lift
and turn hatches are provided for that hull as well. The engine deck
is very complete, with radiators, radiator fans, screens, louvers and
a large number of separate access ports and lids provided. All grilles
replicate full castings and are separate parts as well. No engine or
interior are provided with the kit, but the interior is set up for
relatively easy installation.
The hull side trim is all plastic, but comes with "slide molded"
mounts and access holes for pins or attachment in order to permit
track links to be hung in a prototypical fashion on their racks. The
same goes for the tools and OVM. This kit, however, comes with all of
the etched brass fittings and tie-down chains which were optional for
the G kit.
The turret is nicely done with all viewers and details separate, a
self-defense weapon, range finder bulges, and the "boar's head"
mantelet. A choice of plastic or turned aluminum barrels are provided
as well. The turret is completed by an etched brass "eyebrow" over the
mantelet; this is pre-bent for the modeler.
As is also the same as before, the kit comes with "Magic Track"
links, but you do not have to "hand" these so all are packed in one
As these vehicles never saw service or even test operations, three
schemes are offered of which two are logical speculation. A very nice
"number jungle" set of Cartograf decals are provided though, so it is
up to the modeler's choices as to precise finish and markings.
Research on the vehicle itself was provided by Steven Van Beveren, Tom
Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
Overall, while more than a bit speculative in concept this is a well-
executed kit which should please many modelers, moreso as it does not
require any after-market purchases.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
Sprue Layout and Source
A 52x2 Panther G Engine deck details and fine details
A 3 Panther G Upper Hull and engine hatches
B 49 Panther F Turret and upper hull
C 55 Panther G Hull details and sponsons
D 27 Panther G Radiators and hull rear details
E 47x4 Panther G Road wheels, torsion bars, individual "wrap" track
links, wingnuts
F 3 Panther G Late Mantelet
G 37 Panther G Drivers, final drives, steel wheel sets
J 8 MG-34 bow gun
K 30 Tools and OVM
K 2 whip antenna base
L 2 whip antenna
L 14 Panther G clear styrene
N 2 Panther G Idler bases
X 1 Panther G Lower hull
Y 170 "Magic Track" links
TG 3 close-in defense weapon
WB 18 2 x MP40, 1 x MP44, 1 x Gewehr 43
M 7 Panther G etched brass
MB 133 Etched brass
MC 1 preformed etched brass wire
MC 1 turned aluminum gun barrel
MC 1 brass tube
MD 1 etched brass plate
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