Gunze Sangyo 1/35 Jagdpanther Sd.Kfz.173 Kit First Look
By Ray Mehlberger
|Date of Review||March 2009||Manufacturer||Gunze Sangyo|
|Kit Number||G-703||Primary Media||Styrene, White Metal, Photo-Etch, Turned Brass|
|Pros||Nicely detailed German Jagdpanther||Cons||No interior details, crew or zimmerit|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||Out of Production|
The Jagdpanther (“Hunting Panther”) was a tank-destroyer built by Nazi Germany during WWII. It was based on the chassis of the Panther tank. Many military historians consider the Jagdpanther to be the best tank-destroyer of WWII.
A heavy tank-destroyer design based on the 88 mm Pak 43 gun and the Panther tank chassis was ordered in late 1942 as design Sd.Kfz-173. Production started in early 1944, at the same time Hitler specified the Jagdpanther “Hunting Panther” name.
To accommodate the heavier-caliber gun, much as on previous Jagdpanzer-style, unturreted tank-destroyers, the sides of the Panther tank were extended up into an integral, turretless fixed casement as part of the main hull itself to provide a roomy interior. Both the Panther Ausf. G and Jagdpanther had side armor of increased elevation to enhance this effect further and to harmonize production.
It was armed with an anti-tank version of the same long-barreled 88 mm gun as the Tiger II and a 7.92 mm MG-34 machine gun in the front glacis plate for local defense. The Jagdpanther had a good power-to-weight ratio and a powerful main gun, which enabled it to destroy any type of Allied tank. Because it was based on the existing Panther chassis, the vehicle did not suffer too many mechanical problems. It was manned by a crew of 5, a driver, radio-operator, commander, gunner and a loader.
Two versions can be distinguished, one with a welded steel band around the main gun mantlet and the other with a bolte-on band. The versions with the bolted-on band were equipped with the Pak 43/4 gun. Early Jagdpanthers had a monobloc gun barrel and two vision openings for the driver, whereas late versions had only one.
Around 392 Jagdpanthers were produced in 1944 and 1945. They equipped heavy antitank battalions and served on the Eastern Front, although significant numbers were concentrated in the West for the Ardennes Offensive. They were first encountered in the west in very small numbers late in the Battle of Normandy, where the German 654th Heavy Antitank Battalion (schwere Panzerjager-Abteilung) deployed about 12 Jagdpanthers against British units.
The kit comes in a sturdy tray and lid type box. The boxart consists of photos of all the parts in the kit and several shots of the model made up. One side panel has a full color photo of the model in profile next to the history of the Jagdpanther in Japanese and English. The other side panel has two more color shots of the model made up, showing it from the front and above. Next to these shots are the addresses for Gunze in Japan and Germany. The kit has a copyright date of that says it is from the 1st lot produced of the kit and February 1988.
It is currently out of production.
Unlike two other Gunze Sangyo kits that I have, this kit has plastic parts in it. The two field piece kits that I have are all white metal, a turned metal barrel and a brass PE fret. However, this Jagdpanther kit also has numerous white metal parts in it and 2 PE frets. Also included are various gauges of steel rod stock.
The plastic parts are molded in white. These include: the upper and lower hull pieces (the suspension arms are molded solid into the hull, so the model cannot be built to show the road wheels going over rough terrain). Then there are the 3 sets of road wheels, the mantle collar, the rear hull wall, headlight etc. There is a cello bag containing light gray individual track links. These are on small trees that hold 5 links each. I strongly suspect that these are Model Kasten brand, as I have a few other link sets by them that look very similar.
There are approximately 113 white metal cast parts and two PE frets, one large one and one smaller one. The turned metal barrel is done in brass and there are 2 pre-formed brass PE fender ends. The tiny decal sheet (with only small German crosses on it) , the instructions and a customer service form (the form in Japanese only) complete the kit’s contents.
This is one neat kit. It does not include any crew figures and there are no interior details provided. Most Jagdpanthers were coated with zimmerit and those of us will want to apply some to this model as it is naked.
The instructions consist of a staple bound booklet of 16 pages in 8 ¼” x 11 ½” format.
Page one has 6 black and white photos of the model made up and announces that this is a HIGH-TECH model.
Page two has international assembly symbol explanations in English and Japanese. This is nice, because the two other Gunze field piece kits I have do this in Japanese only. However, there is a photo of the white metal parts that are each numbered and the part name listing below it is in Japanese only, like the 2 other kits I have..sigh. A list of the other parts in the kit, that are not white metal are named in English and Japanese. Why Gunze did not do this with the white metal parts is beyond me.
Pages three through fifteen give a total of 17 assembly steps.
Page sixteen has a listing of required tools and finishing materials, and shows some of these tools in photos of them that are marketed by Gunze Sangyo. Box arts are shown for a Panther Ausf. G and a Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. J, that I assume Gunze Sangyo marketed.
I recommend this kit to those modelers that have previously worked with multi-media kits, made of dissimilar materials and have used super glue before for assemblies.