DML 1/35 Sd.Kfz.171 Panther Ausf.G Late Production - Smart Kit First Look
|Date of Review||July 2006||Manufacturer||DML|
|Subject||Sd.Kfz.171 Panther Ausf.G Late Production - Smart Kit||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||6268||Primary Media||714 parts (515 in grey styrene, 170 "Magic Link" tracks, 14 clear styrene, 13 etched brass, 2 twisted steel wires)|
|Pros||Near totally new molding of a popular subject; "multimedia" kit results with a minimum of multimedia parts (15) in the kit; ease of assembly placed above all else||Cons||Large number and variants of Panther kits offered by DML and on the market has caused some disappointment and confusion|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$45.00|
No sooner did DML release a "Premium Edition" of their older but still very good Panther Ausf.D than they follow it up with one of their "mystery kits" – a brand-new ground up version of the popular Panther Ausf.G. This kit is virtually new, with only a couple of minor sprues shared with the recent Ausf.D kit (the K sprues - tools and OVM - and the J sprue – the MG-34 bow machine gun.) It also comes with the same track arrangement as the Ausf.D – eight "wrap around" separate links with separate guide teeth for the drive wheels and the same "Magic Track" links that snap together for assembly.
The rest of the kit is absolutely astounding from a technical point of view. It makes more use of "slide molding" than any previous DML kit, and the goal seems to be to permit modelers to get "multimedia" kit finish and part definition with a minimum of actual multimedia parts – here being only 13 etched brass parts, mostly grilles for the engine deck, and two steel tow cables (large and small).
The lower hull is a one-piece "slide mold" part with all of the torsion bars complete and separate parts (the D had them as just the arm ends, not the entire bar.) Fine details such as "bump stops", "pin knockers" and braces are all separate. The kit provides the rubber tired road wheels, but for a change of pace it also has 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 (there are some things even DML hasn't figured out in molding techniques yet, and going around corners is one of them – can't change the laws of physics!)
On the hull top braces, locks and handles are provided for the "flip up" style of crew hatches. 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 so the after-market boys are going to be racing to see who gets their interior done first!
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.
The turret comes with either the early (rounded) or late ("chin") mantelet with a one-piece plastic barrel and a three piece muzzle brake. The gun does have a minimal breech assembly but no other interior parts are provided except for the self-defense weapon (mine thrower) in the turret roof. The commander's cupola comes with clear vision blocks and two interior sections that fit inside the "slide molded" cupola to give it the right thickness.
Three finishing options are provided – 11th Panzer Division, Bavaria 1945 (two color scheme); unidentified, Lake Balaton, Hungary 1945 (three-color scheme); and unidentified unit on the Eastern Front, 1945 in a two-color scheme. Two decal sheets are provided with different size numbers, but no explanation is given as to which is which or why two sheets.
Overall, given the choice of subject and level of detail achieved, I would have to say that as much as I personally do not care for the Panther this would have to be in my top three choices for a "Kit of the Year." Honest!
Thanks to DML for the review sample.
Kit 6268 Sprue Listing:
- A 52x2 Engine deck details and fine details
- 3 Hull and engine hatches
- B 55 Turret
- C 55 Hull details and sponsons
- D 27 Radiators and hull rear details
- E 47x4 Road wheels, torsion bars, individual "wrap" track links, wing nuts
- F 4 Mantelets
- G 37 Drivers, final drives, steel wheel sets
- H 1 Commander's cupola
- J 8 MG-34 bow gun
- K 30 Tools and OVM
- L 14 clear styrene
- N 2 Idler bases
- R 1 twisted steel wire
- S 1 twisted steel wire
- X 1 Lower hull
- Y 170 "Magic Track" links
- MA 7 Etched brass
- MB 6 Etched brass