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In-Box Review
135
Panther G w/ Steel Road Wheels
1:35 '39-'45 Series - Sd.Kfz.171 Panther G w/ Steel Road Wheels (Smart Kit)
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by: Jim Starkweather [ STAFF_JIM ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

background

This rare version of the Sd.Kfz.171 Panther G was fitted with steel road wheels rather than the rubber rimmed type. It's hard to find a lot of information about these Tiger II style wheels on the Internet, but there is some information on Achtung Panzer! quote:

"Originally, it was planned to manufacture model Ausf G with steel-rimmed road-wheels (instead of previously used rubber-rimmed road-wheels), but in 1944, only small series of 24 was produced."

According to some of the Internet sources I read, the Germans had dabbled with the use of steel road wheels since the early prototype phases of the Panther project and indeed the addition of this particular steel road wheel was a carry-over from the Panther II project, but it's not clear whether they were being employed as a rubber-saving means, a method to improve the ride and maintenance of the tank, or both. (Editors note: If anyone has some research on this point it would make for a good discussion in the forum.)

So once again we have a production vehicle but one that was very rare but saw some combat in the closing days of the war. The Panther is a much beloved tank by modelers though so I am certain this kit will be well received by most.

the kit

This is a "Smart Kit" release by Dragon and is based around their G release from last year. There are 600 plastic parts, Magic Track for the treads, (1) sheet of photo etch for grills, two types of metal hull/turret hooks, (1) clear plastic sprue, (2) metal tow cables and (1)wire. There is a minimal number of unused parts in this kit. A set of alternate (regular G?) hatches, rubber road wheels (8), chin-type manlet, G-type MG-34 ball mount, and a few other minor parts.

For an overview of the original Panther G release you can check out this review, as obviously there is not a lot different with the basic parts of this kit. There is also a build feature of this kit here.

For those who haven't purchased a Smart Kit before you will probably note the absence of an aluminum barrel with the kit. This is because a very nice one-piece plastic barrel is provided along with a 2-piece muzzle brake (not two halves but a circular ring tip with the remaining brake assembly). The overall level of detail in this kit is pretty amazing even considering the low amount of brass photo etch included. And even though the box says for modelers 10 years and up I would say that this kit is definitely not for beginners. Many of the smaller parts are so delicate and finely molded they will come right off the sprue with just a little encouragement.

Dragon has included a dozen metal hooks for the turret to attach additional track. Something shown on the box art but visible in one of the CAD drawings on the side of the box. Obviously additional track is provided for this option. The positions for attaching this hooks are marked on the turret in darker grey (see photo).

paint schemes & markings

There are (4) provided paint schemes with the kit. Three of them are similar 3-color schemes and one is a winter white-wash. They are:

- Pz.Rgt.1, "LAH", La Gleize 1944
- Pz.Rgt.2, East Prussia 1945 (winter scheme)
- Pz.Rgt.24, Eilendorf, Germany 1944
- Pz.Rgt.24, Aachen 1944

conclusions

Another very nice release by Dragon Models on a subject that will surely generate considerable interest with modelers. The Smart Kit line of kits is the way to go if you are not really a photo etch modeler and even if you are these kits will make a great starting point for any aftermarket upgrades. The inclusion of the regular G parts means this kit can easily be made into a normal G model as well giving the kit even more value. It's easily the best Panther G kit available on the market (or soon will be) today and that is not just my feeling.
SUMMARY
Highs: Accurate and high in value. Can be made into either steel or rubber rimmed road wheels.
Lows: Some modelers may be looking for more photo etch detail than this kit offers.
Verdict: Will produce a highly detailed model of the Panther G with or without steel road wheels.
  DETAIL:95%
  VALUE:90%
  ACCURACY:95%
Percentage Rating
93%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 6370
  Suggested Retail: $44.95 USD
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: May 06, 2007
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 89.83%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 86.23%

Our Thanks to Dragon Models!
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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Photos
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About Jim Starkweather (staff_Jim)
FROM: CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES

I started building models in 1971 when I was 6. My first model was a 1/32 P-40 Warhawk. Revell I believe. From there I moved onto the standard cars, Apollo spacecraft, and other kid orientated kits. I don't know what got me started on Armor. I must have seen a Monogram tank kit one day and said "Mom...

Copyright 2017 text by Jim Starkweather [ STAFF_JIM ]. 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

About the steel wheels, these were indeed first designed for the Panther-II. Subsequently, these same wheels were used on a series of Tiger-E and all of the Tiger-B. The short production run of Panther-Gs with these wheels was done after trials with the wheels fitted to a Panther-D chassis. However, in use it turned out that the wheels led to trackteeth braking off, so a full implementation into production was then postponed. With the upcoming Panther-F, and the decision to outfit ALL tanks with steel wheels, a solution was sought for the Panther. This was under development, and consisted of a new, externally mounted suspension and a new, double link track with a single central guide tooth without a lightening hole. A drawing of the inside of this track can be found in Spielberger's Panther und seine Abarten. The external suspension is the one that was designed for the E-50/75. About the kit, this will without a doubt be one for the Panther buffs, as it is another variant that makes for a "unique" vehicle. Luckily DML has made the dimensions of the steel wheels correct, the older Tamiya steel wheel Panther had wheels the same diameter as the rubber rimmed ones, while these should be smaller, Steel wheels were 800mm, rubber rimmed 860mm in diameter.
MAY 06, 2007 - 09:40 PM
thx for the review, jim. thx for the clarification, herbert. did dml really include these marking options? hopefully they know better after producing so many german subjects. it should better read - Pz.Rgt.1, "LAH", La Gleize, Belgium 1944 - Pz.Rgt.2, East Prussia 1945 (winter scheme) - Pz.Rgt.24, Eilendorf, Germany 1944 (which is also located near Aachen) - Pz.Rgt.24, Aachen 1944
MAY 07, 2007 - 05:21 AM
Patrick, La Gleize may have just been my typo error, but they did indeed put the umlats on Aachen (at least on the box or instructions). Jim PS: Based on some of the other reviews out there I guess they did spell it LaGlieze as well.
MAY 07, 2007 - 05:30 AM
jim, typo error just occur. just wanted to be sure about the marking options. The wrong umlaut in "Aachen" is a little awkward after creating so many german subjects, esspecially the late war ones. But things happen, we are all just human
MAY 07, 2007 - 05:34 AM
All your base are belong to us
MAY 07, 2007 - 06:45 AM
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