Academy 1/25 Panzer V Ausf.G (Late) Panther (Motorized) Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||June 2004||Manufacturer||Academy|
|Subject||Panther Ausf.G (Late)||Scale||1/25|
|Kit Number||1341||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Easy Build, Remote Controlled||Cons||No Interior|
|Skill Level||Novice||MSRP (USD)||$79.00|
The Panther tank was designed to counter the threat posed by the new generation of Soviet heavy tanks, primarily the T-34/76. It was a captured T-34 that German designers studied in order to develop the new concept that would become the Panther. Unlike the preceding panzers that helped to conquer much of Europe and North Africa, the Panther featured a sloped armor and a 75mm main gun. Due to the increased thickness of the armor, the engine and transmission were upgraded to deal with the greater weight.
While the Panther did increase the effectiveness of German armor on the eastern front. It was too little too late. Nevertheless, the Panther did play havoc with the Shermans on the western and southern fronts. To make matters worse, a number of Panthers were given a makeover to make them appear to be M10 tank destroyers. These Ersatz M10s were initially effective in infiltrating allied lines and causing havoc before being ‘terminated’. By the end of the war, over 3,700 Panther Ausf. G were produced. The Panther is recognized by many as the best tank produced during the war.
The Academy release of the Panther Ausf G may actually described as a re-release. While a static version of this kit was released at the beginning of 2004, the molded-on markings on the bottom of the hull indicate that this kit was originally produced in 1986 and was designed for remote-control/motorized life. I am not aware of how much of this kit is new-tooling, if any, but it is nevertheless nicely done. Molded in tan styrene, the kit features nicely molded details including the engine fan shrouds on the engine deck. If these are older molds, you’d never know it examining the parts. There is no hint of flash nor obnoxious mold lines that are typical of older and/or tired molds.
While I am not a German armor expert by any stretch of the imagination, comparisons of this kit with photographs in my Concord Publications ‘Panther’ and Kagero’s ‘Panther Ausf. A/G’ reveal that this kit very close if not completely accurate. The one downside of this kit is that it is devoid of an interior. The fan shrouds will have to be blanked off from the inside if you want to keep pesky IPMS types from trying to critique your interior. The nice thing about this scale is that it is relatively easy to scratch-build an interior.
As you would expect of a motorized tank in this scale, the kit features a working suspension that operates much like the actual tank. The torsion arms are molded in a flexible plastic and, once installed in the hull, flex nicely. The track is a bionic version of standard rubber band track, but unlike their Tamiya counterparts, these come in sections, feature some beautiful detail and are pinned together over the road wheels using steel pins. This means that maintenance of the model will be easier in the likely event that the model experiences kid or cat encounter.
The control of the model is via a miniaturized version of a standard two-stick RC remote controller, though this model is controlled through a wire tether. The two channels of control operate independent drive motors, one for the left track, the other for the right. This will give you quite a bit of control over the model. The turret is not motorized, so detailing the interior is an easy option.
While this kit may be based on an older release, this model has withstood the test of time nicely. If you have other 1/25th scale tanks on your shelf such as the Tamiya Centurion or T-34, this will make a nice addition at a very reasonable price. If not, this is a great starter in the 1/25th scale series.
My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!