The Panther is one of the most recognizable tanks of WWII, right up there with the slow and boxy but feared Tiger I. With ~6,000 examples per Wikipedia the Panther is the third most produced tracked German AFV after the Stug III (9,408 built), and the workhorse of Panzerwaffe, the Pz IV (8,298 made).
No wonder that number of kits on the market follows closely the other 2 vehicles. Naturally there are various renditions of the vehicle and its details, with the tracks varying from flat to highly detailed. Below are a few examples from 6 different kits:
The Soviet union started the war with the F-22 and USV divisional guns as the mainstays of its artillery. In 1942 they were replaced by the lighter, faster-firing and more modern ZIS-3 design that was more suited to war time production and maintenance capabilities of the vast country. Over 45,000 guns were built during war years; many were towed, some served on anti-tank SPGs like the SU-76 and SU-76M.
Italeri and UM have already produced kits of the subject, the first one even included crew in winter uniform. My personal opinion is that either kit suffer from oversimplification, so the kit from Zvezda is a welcome addition to the market despite positioned as the wargaming piece that the Italeri rendition is.
Italeri, Heller, and more recently Roden and Dragon have released PAK-40 in 1/72. There have also been wargaming models in the scale.
Italeri’s crew are softer plastic than I like, Dragon’s “bundle” with the PAK-36 and 5 crewfigures is excellent, but hard to find and expensive. Preiser’s 5-member gun crew is similarly elusive, but tops all of them.
The cons above – along with aggressive pricing of about $3 – puts Zvezda’s new set at a very competitive position, despite the crew consisting of just 3 figures. The two sprues are molded in grey and reasonably well-detailed.
It’s been some time since an aircraft has been featured on this site, so here’s one completed last year. It’s LS’s ancient 1/144 F-15A, later packed by Academy/Minicraft (and perhaps a few other companies. Inside you will discover a rather schematic scaled-down version of the famous aircraft. Panel lines are engraved, but are deep and wide, especially so in the vertical stabilizers.
There are no pylons whatsoever. Armament is limited to 4xAIM-7 Sparrows, there is no centerline hardpoint/wetpoint with fuel tank, and no trace of Sidewinders at all. No cockpit is provided, there is a transparent canopy that covers the nothing underneath. No probes or antennae whatsoever, and you can forger about the dropped flaps on the boxart.
Today I received two of OKB’s latest releases – their Winterketten and Ostketten resin tracks for the Pz III/IV family of armored vehicles. I was impressed with the casting and level of detail, so I am in a hurry to show you what the fuss is all about.
First thing about the track sets is that they are provided in 4 bands per set, each about 102mm long, like so:
Considering you need about 175mm per vehicle side for the lenghtened III/IV chassis on which a Hummel or Nashorn was based – you’re pretty well catered for in terms of spares.
A year after it’s done I am finally posting the gallery for this model.
Aside from the typical Dragon BS instructions that are supposedly there to keep you alert the only real problem to me is that insane idea of a gun shield. There is no simple way this is getting the proper shape and position the way people at DML HQ see it. And then there are those wingnuts…
The truth is the kit is a solid, high-value, good build that could turn to impressive completion by itself, in a vignette or a diorama. All it needs is a properly dressed gun crew and a few brass shell casings for you to scatter around.
Since I actually did build the thing about a year ago, I’ll post my thoughts about the construction sequence, and especially about the instructions and some peculiarities of the kit.
There are 23 construction steps and though they are logical I built my example in a bit different way. Also, I noted some errors I am discussing below.
Step 1: wheels – lots of them. Assembling the front wheels is no problem. The drive sprockets are handed (different) on the actual machine, but not in the kit. Dragon has issued you with 2 identical assemblies.
Sprue A – 90 parts for the suspension, engine covers and firewall, front lights, fenders, instrument panel, etc.
Dragon has put its favorite slide molding routine through its paces in this kit, and even without it the effort is still rather impressive. The cooling gills on the bonnet halves have been molded through – and most other kits will require a PE set for this. Also, the pattern on the radiator is discernible even if you look through the delicately molded guard grille.
The heat shield for the muffler also has its cooling gills molded as the real deal, so your weathering efforts here will be worthwhile. Delicate suspension parts and mirror supports, as well as lightbulbs molded in the bottom of the headlamp reflectors really contribute to the feeling you’re dealing with first-rate kit.
This kit is fantastic to the point that I am not afraid of building 1/35 anymore. It’s very detailed, yet builds together nicely, fitting pretty well, and looks accurate to boot.
Despite the serious part count building up of the main components/subassemblies is something a modeler can achieve within 8-10 hours. Clean molding means that filling and sanding will be done to a minimum. I’ve only used putty in a couple of spots, which can’t be said for most kits I’ve worked on in other scales (bar Eduard’s MiG-21 MF built last year).