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Sd.Kfz. 171
Panther Ausf. D



S u m m a r y

Stock No. DML 1/35 Scale 39-45 Series Kit No. 6164; Sd.Kfz. 171 Panther D (52nd Battalion, 39th Panzer Regiment, Kursk Offensive, July 1943)
Contents and Media: 473 parts (461 in grey injected styrene and 12 in .010" grey styrene)
Price: USD$32-$40
Scale: 1/35
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: Nice, cleanly done version of the first of the family; much nicer than previous Italeri effort
Disadvantages: Some older attributes used such as fixed road wheel arms; some shortcuts taken from the purists' point of view
Recommendation: Highly Recommended for all German or "Eastern Front" fans


Reviewed by Cookie Sewell

DML's Panther Ausf. D will be available online from Squadron.com


F i r s t   L o o k


The story goes that if you gave the specifications for a horse to a committee they'd come up with the camel. Such is essentially the case with the creation of the Panther, which was what a German committee came up with after examining the Soviet T-34. It had twice the firepower, twice the frontal armor, weighed 50% more, but had only half the range and a small part of the reliability of its instigator. But whereas the T-34 had entered production in August 1940, the Panther did not get into production until January 1943 and first saw combat at Kursk in July 1943.

The shock to the Soviets was not as bad as it was when the Soviets introduced the T-34 to the Germans in June 1941. Both tanks had the same basic capabilities, e.g. they could destroy their opponent anywhere on the battlefield with little chance of the opponent being able to defeat them. But like the early T-34s, the Panther was not mechanically reliable, and also suffered from being unable to defend itself well at short range due to the lack of a well-protected and functional bow mounted or AA machine gun.

DML has now followed up their early model Panther Ausf. A with an Ausf. D that is really very well done. There are purists or those spoiled with the level of modern kits who will squawk at two conventions used on this model, namely fixed road wheel arms and the fact that the guide teeth on the early track links are solid and not skeletonized. The former one is not a major problem, as most modelers build a "flat" model and do not care about articulating suspension arms, and the latter is an attempt to make sure this is a $30+ kit rather than a $50+ kit.

Given those two items, the kit is nicely done and provides a new "J" sprue with all of the specific items that make the D version. The "bin" cupola consists of six parts so that it correctly captures the view port arrangement. It also provides the early turret shell, early mantelet with twin aperatures for the gunner's sight, a different cleaning rod tube, and other details. The tracks are the early model links without ice cleats and the sprues also come with 16-bolt road wheels.

The hull top matches the plans I have for early Panthers and it comes with separate fan shrouds; one pair has a vortex cast in, the other is a straight grid pattern. While two pairs are included, the directions show one of each being the correct fit.

Rather than use etched metal for the skirts, the kit now comes with twelve pre-punched 0.010" styrene skirts that attach to the brackets on the hull. They are probably a tad thick in scale (being equal to around 1/3 of an inch or 8mm in scale) but are probably much easier to deal with for younger modelers and people who just want to built the kit straight out.

The directions are the more recent DML efforts using color (digitally enhanced) photographs of the kit being assembled, and are relatively clear and concise. Two sets of markings are included, one for the box-art 52nd Panzerabteilung which fought as part of the 39th Panzeregiment and the other set is for the 51st, who was attached to Panzergrenadier Division Grossdeutschland.

Overall this kit would appear to be another winner from DML. Once again, thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.

Cookie Sewell

Review Copyright 2002 by Cookie Sewell
Page Created 23 July, 2002
Last updated 22 July, 2003

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