Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale '39-'45 Series Kit No.
6299; Sd.Kfz. 171 Panther D - Premium Edition; 746 parts (373 in grey
styrene, 170 "Magic Track" links 159 etched brass, 14 clear
styrene, 12 etched nickel, 10 preformed brass, 4 cast metal, 2 turned
brass, 1 length of copper chain, 1 turned aluminum barrel); estimated
retail price US $45
Advantages: "Premium" treatment for a popular kit; "Magic
Track" will be appreciated by most modelers
Disadvantages: market may be a bit soft for another Panther kit,
especially with different versions with different levels of corrections
and optional parts
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all German modelers
F I R S T L O O K
I spent most of the last weekend cataloguing video tapes and DVDs and
my wife commented about how frustrating it is with some popular
subjects to have a regular version, a "deluxe" version, a "wide
screen" version, a "Director's Cut" version, a "special
anniversary" version, and a "multiple disk special collector's
edition" all in circulation at once. She has a point, and this could
be the modeler's version of the same thing.
Having seen that DML is getting ready to release a new line of what it
calls "Smart Kits" - ones with fewer parts, more "slide
molding" and DS tracks - I was surprised when this kit came in as a
review sample. The last DML Panther kit, a 60th Anniversary of D-Day
special edition of the Panther Ausf. A, (#6244) was released just about
two years ago, and since then most of the DML Panther kits in
circulation have been their regular A, D and G versions. Now comes this
kit, which takes the DML Panther Ausf. D kit and gives it the
"premium" treatement of more etched brass, turned aluminum barrel,
"Magic Track" snap-together pre-cut track links, and some modified
or replaced sprues from the original kit. It also provides pre-formed
brass smoke grenade launchers as well as twelve sections of etched
nickel for the skirts.
The kit is pretty much the older kit - most of the sprues are from
their A and D kits and so labeled, with others specific to the D and
some new and redone parts I do not recall from the previously noted A
anniversary kit. One of the "K" tool/OVM sprues is included as well
as the MG-34 from German weapon set WC.
The etched brass covers a wealth of extra detail, from the normally
expected (in this day at least) grille covers for the engine deck
through the skirt brackets, but installation of all of these metal
parts is shown in rather busy drawings next to color photos of the
model components after assembly. This is not the best way to do it, as
while color photos are fine, it would be better to leave them unpainted
so the modeler could see exactly where the parts are supposed to go and
not have to guess which are plastic and which are metal from the photo.
The model comes with some nice touches, such a choice of wheel hubs
for the drivers and eight specially molded track links with separate
guide teeth (all of which are hollow molded, including the "Magic
Track") for "wrapping" around the drivers. Two different covers
for the machine gun port are provided as is the above mentioned MG-34
for mounting in the port if left open.
The travel lock - a chain affair - comes with two sets of five
etched brass parts each for either open or closed, as does the turned
aluminum barrel and the three-piece muzzle brake for it specifically
(an old-fashioned two-piece "Flex-i-File" special is also included
on the parts trees.)
Seven different finishing schemes are provided with a "targeted"
Cartograf decal sheet. These include 4./Pz.Abt. 51m Kursk 1943;
7./Pz.Abt. 52, Pz.Rgt. 39, Kursk 1943; 4./Pz.Rgt.
"Grossdeutschland", Karachev 1943; Pz.Abt. 52, Pz.Rgt. 39, Germany
1943; Pz.Rgt. "Grossdeutschland", Karachev 1943; Pz.Rgt. 39, Kursk
1943; and 1./Pz.Rgt. 24, France 1944. All are in the tricolor scheme
with various patterns. The 7./Pz.Abt. 52 one strikes me as the one upon
which Aurora patterned its ancient 1/48 scale Panther Ausf. G kit -
the black "745" seems all too familiar!
Overall, this is another great effort but I am not sure of its sales
potential due to the confusion over various different versions and
levels of "trim" at different prices, especially with German
modelers already gearing up for the "Smart Kit" versions.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
16 years ago