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Sd.Kfz.171 Ausf.F w/7.5cm KwK42 L/100

DML 1/35 Sd.Kfz.171 Ausf.F w/7.5cm KwK 42 L/100 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review January 2015 Manufacturer DML
Subject Sd.Kfz.171 Ausf.F w/7.5cm KwK42 L/100 Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6799 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Unique variant Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $75.95

First Look

Sd.Kfz.171 Ausf.F w/7.5cm KwK42 L/100
Sd.Kfz.171 Ausf.F w/7.5cm KwK42 L/100
Sd.Kfz.171 Ausf.F w/7.5cm KwK42 L/100
Sd.Kfz.171 Ausf.F w/7.5cm KwK42 L/100
Sd.Kfz.171 Ausf.F w/7.5cm KwK42 L/100
Sd.Kfz.171 Ausf.F w/7.5cm KwK42 L/100

Even as the Panzer V (Panther) entered service, plans were already underway to develop the next generation of tanks. The Panzer VI (Tiger) was also being set up for upgrade with the Tiger II program but the parallel Panther II was set aside. Some time later, a less ambitious upgrade was approved for the Panther series under the F-model (Panther Ausf.F). MAN made some improvements in the transmission gearing while a new and smaller turret was adopted with thicker armor. Initial production versions were build around the 7.5cm KwK 42 L/70 that armed the earlier Panthers as this gun had slightly better armor penetration performance than the Tiger's 8.8cm gun. Nevertheless, emphasis was being put on development of the KwK 42 L/100 which would have resulted in a barrel length of 7.5 meters (24.6 feet). Only a handful of Panther Ausf.F prototype hulls and turrets were built (not fully completed) by war's end though some sources suggest that a few of these were pressed into combat as-is.

DML has returned with the release of this very limited prototype set up with the intended KwK 42 L/100 gun. Any Soviet soldiers that encountered this tank near Marienfelde would have seen it coming with that long barrel before the tank ever appeared. DML released a slightly different version of this kit with the L/70 gun and individual track links. This release is a simpler build with the so-called 'rubber band' track and the big honking (L/100) gun.

The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on sixteen parts trees plus one tree of clear parts, three small frets of photo-etched parts, and two runs of vinyl track. As with the other kits in DML's line-up, the molding is sharp with nice surface details. The one thing missing from turning this into an operational tank is the zimmerit since this tank would have been tasked with pushing Marshal Zhukov's tanks back out of Germany. If you opt to build this kit in an operational configuration, you can add your own zimmerit with your favorite modeling putty. There are plenty of tutorials online and in print for that process.

Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Each suspension arm has (plastic) torsion bar inside hull
  • Choice of transmission drive covers
  • Choice of tow rings
  • Choice of muffler/exhaust configurations
  • Choice of upper hull configurations
  • Choice of sliding or hinged driver/gunner hatches
  • Nice hull detailing from bolt heads to pioneering tools
  • Photo-etched grillework nicely done on engine deck
  • Stereoscopic rangefinder

If you've been collecting/building many of the proposed German armor designs in kit form like the E25 through E100, you'll want to add this to your line-up as this one almost made it into service. Had it been build with in sufficient numbers, it might have blunted Zhukov's assault on Berlin, and if it had been able to field that L/100 gun before the battle turned into urban combat, the Germans might have been able to halt that advance altogether. Evidently the Panther Ausf.F with the L/100 gun is performing magnificently in some of the computer combat games...

My sincere thanks to Dragon Models USA for this review sample!

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