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ICM 1/35 Bergepanther w/German Tank Crew Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review May 2006 Manufacturer ICM
Subject Bergepanther w/German Tank Crew Scale 1/35
Kit Number 35342 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Easily the nicest Bergepanther in this scale plus crew figures Cons
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $45.00

First Look

Bergepanther w/German Tank Crew
Bergepanther w/German Tank Crew
Bergepanther w/German Tank Crew
Bergepanther w/German Tank Crew
Bergepanther w/German Tank Crew
Bergepanther w/German Tank Crew
Bergepanther w/German Tank Crew

The Germany military was meticulous about not wasting anything on the battlefield. As the Panzer V series evolved, earlier hulls that were not upgraded were converted to other duties. One common conversion was an armored recovery vehicle (ARV) that could pull a disabled Panther or Tiger off the battlefield for repairs or provide the mobile machine facilities for those repairs.

The conversion from tank to ARV was simple enough - remove the turret, strip out the ammo storage in the hull and replace it with tools and spare parts. A simple crane structure that can be erected and stowed in short order is mounted on the engine deck and this provide the clearance to perform an engine change, or get at otherwise inaccessible parts of the engine and drive train by yanking the engine out of its compartment.

Usually a wooden lid is mounted over the turret ring to help keep the elements out of the crew's compartment while they are not working.

Check this out. Here is a kit that was released representing a new-tool Panther. The detailing looks great and offers lots of potential for the AMS armor modeler. We also looked at the early variant of this kit here. ICM has done a beautiful job with the model and clearly shows that there will be (if not already released) Panther tanks to follow.

The kit is molded in tan styrene and presented on four parts trees (duplicates not shown), plus four more parts trees molded in black for the individual track links, and a single tree molded in white with the crew figures. The upper and lower hull halves are provided as well.

As with just about any armor kit, construction begins with the wheels and suspension, and there are lots of wheels on the Panther. Having just built a variant of the DML Panther, the layout is similar though for diorama modelers, the ICM hull offers separate suspension arms so you can pose the model passing over uneven terrain or smaller obstacles instead of the usual flat surfaces.

There is no interior for the hull, so you'll either want to fabricate one, look for some aftermarket options (and there are several), or keep that wooden lid shut.

While the kit has the usual array of pioneering tools (common kit parts with the tanks) and spare track links stored on the outer hull, the modeler will want to look at some photos of the Bergepanther ARV at work to see how crews adapted this tracked workshop for field work. This will help to set your project apart from the straight out of the box modelers.

This kit provides just the basic markings with no unit emblems or distinctive markings. Check your photo references (or improvise) for your example.

This is a simple kit that is nicely done straight out of the box, and offers a great deal of superdetailing possibilities as well.

My sincere thanks to Testors for this review sample!