DML 1/72 PzBeobWg.V Ausf.G Kit First Look
|Date of Review||August 2004||Manufacturer||DML|
|Subject||PzBeobWg V Ausf.G||Scale||1/72|
|Kit Number||7230||Primary Media||112 parts (105 in grey styrene, 2 screws, 2 in black vinyl, 2 in diecast metal, 1 section of wire)|
|Pros||First mass-production kit of this vehicle in this scale; very nice small details||Cons||Diecast hull will make it difficult to cleanly assemble the kit|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$8.95|
DML continues apace with new small scale releases, and this is the first time that I can recall that this version of the Panther has been released in this scale as a mass production kit.
The Germans used tanks for maneuver and suppression of enemy strong points, but they really relied for the first four years of the war on artillery and aviation to destroy key enemy targets, However, dedicated vehicles used for artillery forward observers or aviation forward controllers were usually isolated fairly quickly and picked off by the opponents. Therefore, the Germans decided early on to go to a series production tank, stripped of its main gun and provided with the extra radio sets necessary, as to be less conspicuous as well as have the ability to move with armored formations. These tanks existed for the Pzkw. III, Pzkw. IV, and Pzkw. V (Panther) series tanks.
In 1943 Rheinmetall converted a single Panther to the prototype of the Panzerbeobachtungswagen V Panther, or armored observation vehicle. This vehicle lost its main gun; a dummy was fitted along with an MG 34 in the front of the turret, and a long-base optical rangefinder was discretely mounted with the heads behind armored flaps at the edges of this new plate. In 1944-45 the Germans apparently converted 40 more vehicles to this configuration during rebuilding but they were rarely encountered on the battlefield.
DML has now created a 1/72 version of this tank, using their late G hull, and done a nice job on the plastic parts for the conversion. The modeler also does have a wide variety of options for the tow cables as well - four are provided in styrene as well as the heads for three more and a length of wire to make them. An engine module is provided for the rear deck, but no etched parts are included in the way of screening. Screws hold the model's hull together, with one cleverly hidden under the forward machine gun position and the other under the engine module.
The hull is alas diecast, which makes smooth assembly somewhat more difficult in order to get a clean fit. DML has tried to minimize the impact on the modeler - making some parts single-piece assemblies such as the spare track links and nearly snap-in fender skirts - but it would still have been easier for the modeler to make all the parts out of plastic.
Two finishing schemes are provided, one for an artillery regiment with the "Hitlerjungend" division in Hungary and the other a generic vehicle in Germany, both 1945.
Overall this is a nice kit, but the diecast metal is still a problem for less experienced modelers.
Thanks to Freddie Leung of Dragon Models USA for the review sample.