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In-Box Review
135
Panther Ausf.F w/7.5cm L/100
Sd.Kfz.171 Panther Ausf.F w/7.5cm KwK42 L/100
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by: Kevin Brant [ SGTRAM ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

The end of World War 2 came before the Sd.Kfz.171 Panther Ausf.F could be put into production. The new Panther variant was planned to mount the newer Schmalturm turret which would have been able to mount the 8.8cm KwK L/71 gun. While there were prototype Panther Ausf.Gs that did mount the Schmalturm -Panther turret, the Ausf.F was never finalized.

The new kit from Dragon Model of the Panther Ausf.F with a 7.5cm KwK42 L/100 is a what-if tank. During the development of the Panther it was Hitler that had request that it be equipped with the L/100 gun. Unfortunately the gun was not ready for production and instead the KwK43 L/70 was mounted instead. In actuality, I cannot find any prove that the L/100 gun was ever produced, but if it had, it would have been a lethal weapon.

Contents

16 plastic sprues, includes two upper hulls
1 clear plastic sprue
2 separate Idler wheel centers
2 lengths of DS Track
2 lengths of wire
3 photo-etched frets
1 small metal part
1 small decal sheet
Instruction Booklet

Review

This kit from Dragon Models should be familiar to those who own and/or have built the Panther Ausf.G. The Dragon models Panther kits have always been well done, great molding, great detail, and good fit. The new parts included in this kit include a new upper hull matching the Ausf.F hatch layout. It should be noted the Ausf.G upper hull is also included, allowing the build the option of a production hull or prototype hull. Also new is the Schmalturm turret and 7.5cm L/100 barrel.

The new turret is well done, with good looking surface detail, to include the weld seams. The commander cupola includes clear plastic parts for the periscopes. The hatch does provide interior detail if you wish to leave it open, but there is no breech or interior turret detail. The L/100 barrel is molded in plastic as one piece, with the muzzle brake needing assembly.

The kit does include photo-etched parts for extra detail, including the grills on the rear deck, additional frontal armor, and some extra little parts. Also included is Dragon models DS Track, it does look pretty good, and should make it quicker to attach the track.

The instructions in the kit are a little difficult to follow. Not only are they the typical Dragon models style, there are a lot, and I mean a lot, of optional parts. This will mean you will really need to pay attention to where you are, and what option you want to include in your build. In addition the instructions for the upper hull are shown twice, once for the production Ausf.G hull and once for the Ausf.F hull. This is shown in Steps 6 through 11, twice.

Included in the instruction are paint schemes for three vehicles, all identified as Unidentified Unit 1945. But because the vehicle is a what-if, you could choose almost any German paint scheme, or maybe even leave it in red primer, as it might have been on the factory floor. The only markings included are three Balkenkreuz on the very small decal sheet.

Build

So building this kit is a lot like the previous Dragon models Panther kits, as mentioned at the start of the review, a lot of the parts are very familiar. Starting with the lower hull, I added the suspension arms; you just have to observant to the part numbers due to optional parts and the order of the swing arms.

Construction of the rear plate goes well too, again there are optional parts as there are two different styles of exhausts with a couple more optional parts each. Attached to the lower hull is the radiator units, as they will be seen through the grill on the rear engine deck. I pre-painted these black prior to installation.

Now comes the choice of production or prototype hull. I decided to go with the production hull, as I want to depict the, what-if the tank was bought together with parts in the factory to meet the oncoming Russians, and help in the defence of Berlin.

The kit called for the mounting of the MP44 rifle as part of the front glacis gun, but I left this out as the extension through the ball mounting is all the shows, and then I could add the MP44 to my spares box, as they are Dragon models Gen-2 weapons.

The construction of the upper hull goes very well, nice fit on all the parts, and I found no issues in the assembly. For the rear deck, there are plastic diffusers under the photo-etched grills, so again I pre-painted them black and blackened the photo-etched parts. I found no issues mating the upper and lower hull, just a little tape to hold them tight while the glue dried.

Up to the turret, and again no issues. The turret goes together very well with no fit issues. The barrel seam was sanded off and the muzzle brake assembled. I did use a small bit of putty just to clean up the seam on the brake. There are some small grabs that go on the side, they are plastic, but could be replaced with wire if you wanted. I left the plastic as they looked good.

I must say that when you put the turret with the gun mounted for the first time on the hull it does look a little funny with the long barrel. But you kind of get used to it. This what-if Panther kit from Dragon models does build up nice, and pretty straight forward. I was able to complete the construction of a period of three evenings.

Conclusion

Overall this is another great Panther kit from Dragon Models. While it is not an operational tank, it is an interesting subject with the L/100 barrel. The molding is done very well, there is a lot of nice detail. The kit does build very nicely too, and does produce a great looking model. If I have to find any faults, for me it would be the lack of gun breech if you wanted to leave the commander hatch and/or rear turret hatch open. This is a great kit, I really enjoyed the build, and I would highly recommend this Panther kit from Dragon models.

I am planning a paint scheme that will utilize the red primer in the scheme, I will update it once the painting and final assembly is complete.
SUMMARY
Highs: Great looking what-if Panther, good detail, several optional parts.
Lows: Instruction can be a little confusing, no turret interior.
Verdict: The is a great looking "paper" Panther and build even better, highly recommended.
Percentage Rating
90%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 6799
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Mar 02, 2015
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 88.35%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 86.19%

Our Thanks to Dragon USA!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
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About Kevin Brant (SgtRam)
FROM: ONTARIO, CANADA

I am an IT Consultant and father, with a passion for plastic models. I mostly prefer 1/35 Armor and 1/48 Aircraft. My main interests are anything Canadian, as well as WW2 German and British Armor and Aircraft. I have been building models since I was a young kid, got away from it for awhile, but r...

Copyright 2017 text by Kevin Brant [ SGTRAM ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.


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Comments

Thanks, Darren! As long as DRAGON is dedicating themselves to German stuff, an all-new "Panther II" is quite in order. Their old, ancient one (#6024..?) is hopelessly out-dated and a lot of the details are just plain wrong- Glaring examples: the "Schmallturm" is not "schmall" AT ALL, the road-wheel spacing, positions and the actual number of road-wheels are in dire need of attention and corrections, along with the corresponding trailing arms and the lower hull all need correcting... References for the Panther II can be readily found in the RYTON "Panther" book... Opinions..?
MAR 02, 2015 - 10:56 PM
Yerse... as Biggles says I think we can see why they didn't go ahead with the L100! Not just city streets, what about trees and rough ground? If you went into a sudden dip, I could see the muzzle getting buried in the ground! Wouldn't the "production" vehicle likely have steel wheels? None of this takes from the kit of course, but one does wonder about so called "paper panzers".
MAR 03, 2015 - 06:59 AM
From my understanding, the longer the barrel, the more velocity of the round, thus higher penetration. Now as the Turm was designed for the 88, it probably would have been better. The L/100 was requested by Hitler in 1943. But now that you say the 88, it will be the next release from Dragon, use this kit with an existing 88 L/71 barrel... [/quote] For that matter, couldn't one just rifle an 8.8cm L/71 barrel from an old Tiger II or the spares box? Of course, DRAGON will go ahead and produce an "ENTIRELY NEW!!!" kit...
MAR 04, 2015 - 03:31 AM
I would definitely go with the 88 L71...I'm pretty sure RB doesn't make a 75mm L100.
MAR 04, 2015 - 03:37 AM
You would have to scratch build a bigger mantlet. or wait for the dragon kit....LOL
MAR 04, 2015 - 03:53 AM
I think I'll pass on it altogether... As far as my German stuff goes, I'm confining myself to the major types, one or two different Ausfuehrungs are enough. At most, three; the Pz.Kpfw.IIIs and IVs being good examples... Give me US and Allied-types, any time...
MAR 04, 2015 - 04:02 AM
Not to further derail the topic, but when i saw the box art my first thought was "there were already problems with the panther turret balancing due to lack of a bustle, how would adding a gun that's possibly 50% heavier not magnify that issue?". Did they intend to install a massive breechblock to counterweight the barrel? How would that massive breech impact the already limited space inside the schmalturm?
MAR 04, 2015 - 04:51 AM
Definitely late to the party here, but I'd recently gone ahead and ordered this kit. And while it has yet to arrive, I am already having buyer's remorse. Agreed on the odd and cartoonish appearance of the barrel, which I'm not sure I can get past, particularly as I'd seen the build photos of another poster here. As it would happen, I ran across this in the ancient Osprey Vanguard 21 "The PzKpfw V Panther" book: "Some discussion did take place in 1944 concerning extension of the 75mm' calibre length to L/100, but there was general agreement that the gun's metallurgical limits had already been reached; in any event the installation of such a weapon would have required so drastic a redesign of the turret that it could have been accommodated only with the greatest difficult. The Allies learned of the idea during interrogation of an officer prisoner taken in Normandy, an officer evidently of some seniority, since he had been present at the discussions. There is a distinct probability that the prisoner was deliberately feeding his captor the sort of worthless information he knew would cause serious concern if believed; however, although a copy of the interrogation report was forwarded to the relevant technical bureau, it caused little comment as the British too were fully aware of the limitations of gun construction." So... I'm going to take a look at this when I get it, and likely ditch the barrel for something else. Perhaps I'll attach a muzzle brake to a Jordi Rubio Panther F barrel in my parts bin or try the 88mm option, grabbing the mantlet from my old DML Panther II kit. We'll see.
MAY 11, 2015 - 06:14 AM
The biggest problems with Dragon's armor kits are- 1. They are overpriced. 2. They are unfun. Now, the overpriced thing is relative. These are old kits which show up on EBay for 30-40 bucks with 15-20 bucks shipping, from Hong Kong or China. Get them, en-masse, into a private seller in the U.S. and you could take five bucks off the shipping alone while providing same-week delivery. The newer, Amusing Hobby and now Meng Models kits are 60 bucks and can often be found with free shipping, if you get them in the 'while hot' phase of early sales and accept long delivery, from Asia, on a slowboat. The Panther F, unless it's the Smart Kit, reviewed here- LINK Is NOT an F. It lacks a correct turret, the correct engine hatches and drivers hatch options. And the right road wheels. It's closer to an F than the 'II' it was first released as but that's neither here nor there. You can pick up any Panther with a Schmallturm and be as close as the Dragon kit is and if you use the Tamiya, it will fit better. Now, with regards to 'fun' the obvious things are the mantlets and guns. Even Trumpeter, with their E-50/E-75 series, gave you options on L-70/71/100 in their respective boxings but more importantly, these barrels need to be slide molded so that you can deal with a single seam and avoid the need for an aluminum part. Stick a coat hangar up the barrel and it will never sag. Other things, which should be in EVERY 1946 kit include Sperwer I/II night vision, complete with power leads and ballistic protection boxes AND stowage bin, on the rear hull. Options for a turbine engine, options for an MP44 alternative to the lost MG34 gun and at least three crew with 1945-46 battlegear, including full NBC protection and radiation smocks with body armor vests. Molded antenna (including command variant) too. No more wire in the finger or 'stretch ye some sprue' nonsense. It would also be so very nice to have all clear parts molded as a single piece, rather than inserts (cupola periscope, driver's viewer) and for that matter, 'simplification' setups without cupola but a simple, slide and lift, hatch, as with the E-series. Periscopes which are inserts are a pain. Periscopes which can be painted in-situ, masked with tape and then fit down into inserts are super. Where Dragon has the potential to pull a rabbit out of the hat is in the simplification technique that they applied to their Panzer IV. Take the kits down to 100-150 parts instead of the mindboggling 1,300+ of the more recent Trumpeter et al. and you allow the younger crowd to get on with the fun part, which is painting. To which, I would add one other recommendation and that is the use of professional artists (calling MiG Jimenez) to provide COLOR painting guides similar to the Amusing Hobby E-100, and diecut masks, for everything. Akin to the Montex setup shown here- LINK Do these things, while controlling for price in a modern market which has to include S&H from online dealers into the final buy/no-sale decision and Dragon could renovate a lot of their lineup. If not, what was innovative in the 1990s is doomed to become the next Revell/Monogram as all these Chinese Startups outpace them in the 'Museum Piece' race to see who can have a model with more parts than the 1:1 original. It's a niche market but it could very well be the biggest niche. The majority of potential Armor buyers don't like paying 60 bucks for a 3D puzzle. See: WoT series Italeri releases. Oh, two other things: If you are going to go with a fixed suspension kit, make sure it is a combat loaded one. And consider a plastic base. Tanks which sit high on their suspension arms look funny. And a plastic base with a (Gothic Script if German) name plate adds class as well as a safe handling method.
NOV 28, 2017 - 10:49 AM
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