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Befehls Panther Ausf.G

DML 1/35 Befehls Panther Ausf.G - Smart Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review June 2009 Manufacturer DML
Subject Befehls Panther Ausf.G - Smart Kit Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6551 Primary Media 729 parts (530 in grey styrene, 170 "Magic Tracks", 14 clear styrene, 13 etched brass, 2 twisted steel wires)
Pros Popular kit with new parts and option Cons No zimmerit provided – see text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $41.99

First Look

Once again DML's affiliate has provided a kit of a limited production kit – but in this case approximately 329 Ausf. A and G Panthers being converted to command models. These vehicles served as both battalion and regimental command vehicles as well as ground-to-air liaison. (Apparently they were referred to as Panzerbefehlswagen mit 7.5 cm KwK 42.)

I have no breakout on how many G models were converted, but considering many things one surprise is that the kit is based on the original production Ausf. G "Smart kit" (No. 6268) and does not have zimmerit. The few photos I have of command variants appear to be prototype A models without it, but I would have expected the early Gs like the one in this kit to have it.

The new parts are either borrowed from older DML kits (the "L" and "N" whips and the "g" "Crow's Foot" radiator section) but it comes with a new mold mantlet with modified facing and the other bits needed for the antennas. The "g" antenna may be built to full height thanks to a converter section. Two new rear stowage bins are provided as the right-hand one (F4) has the attachment point for the "g" antenna mast.

The rest of the kit is the original G kit verbatim. Its only multimedia parts are the 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. 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.

This kit uses the original twin exhaust pipes without the late production "flame damper" exhaust pipes. 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.

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.

As noted the turret comes with a new mold early (rounded) 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.

Research credit goes to Steven Van Bevere, Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.

But one finishing options is provided – Unidentified Unit, Germany 1945 (tricolor with small crosses).

Overall, this is a nice way to reuse older kits and still provide a new option -- but I wish I knew more about the zimmerit option for these vehicles.

Thanks to Freddie Leung of Dragon Models USA for the review sample.

Sprue Layout:

  • A 52x2 Engine deck details and fine details
  • A 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, wingnuts
  • F 2 Rear stowage bins
  • G 37 Drivers, final drives, steel wheel sets
  • g 3 "Crow's Foot" antenna radiator section
  • H 1 Commander's cupola
  • J 8 MG-34 bow gun
  • K 30 Tools and OVM
  • L 14 clear styrene
  • L 2 Whip antenna
  • N 2 Whip antenna
  • N 2 Idler bases
  • P 10 Mantlet, antenna rods, bases, connectors
  • R 1 twisted steel wire
  • S 1 twisted steel wire
  • X 1 Lower hull
  • Y 170 "Magic Track" links
  • M 7 Etched brass

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