DML's Panther Ausf. D will be
available online from Squadron.com
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
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
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.
Review Copyright © 2002 by Cookie
Page Created 23 July, 2002
Last updated 22 July, 2003
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