The Panzer Kampfwagen V ‘Panther’ was a medium tank developed for the German Wehrmacht and SS as a reaction to the appearance of Soviet T-34 that made the current Pz.Kpfw. III and IV obsolete, especially the Pz.Kpfw. IV with the short-barreled 7.5 cm KwK 37 L/24. It had the same V-12 Maybach HL230 P30 petrol engine as the Pz.Kpfw. VI ‘Tiger’ but was designed to be cheaper and easier to produce. The unit cost of a Panther was just a tad higher than a Pz.Kpfw. IV. The Tiger cost significantly more and was harder to manufacture as well. The downsides were reduced armor protection when compared to the Tiger. The Panther did however have sloped frontal armor, where the Tiger was just a big armored box on tracks with a big 88 stuck in a turret.
Both types suffered from teething problems when they were thrown into combat before both tanks were battle ready. In the Battle of Kursk lots of Panthers were rushed from the factory to the battlefield without solving the problems identified by the engineers and test crews. This caused major losses due to mechanical failures and tipped the Soviets off on the existence of this tank.
I’ve written this review quite some time ago, this was actually my first kit when I started this hobby back in 2013. It’s why I only have a few pictures of when I was working on it. I was a bit too excited to get started..
About the kit
The kit is of the usual Tamiya quality, but it doesn’t have the usual Tamiya price. This kit is available in most hobby shops for around €20 or $20. This is however a fairly old kit, so it is kind of lacking in the detail department. This kit was released as a RC tank, and you’ll find a lot of evidence of that fact. A set if holes that make up a smiley face on the bottom, a battery holder inside the hull and a hole on the engine deck. This doesn’t get in the way of building it however. The holes on the bottom are easily fixed, just a bit of plastic card and some filler will take care of that. The hole on the engine deck is a bit harder to fix, but if this is your first model you probably wouldn’t care, at least I didn’t bother fixing that.
But despite being such an old kit the details that it has are pretty good. There are weld seams everywhere and the many flat surfaces have some really nice surface detail. The only letdown is the included tank commander. This is where this kit shows it’s age, not a lot of detail and a rather bland looking facial expression on the guys face. Another letdown is the barrel. The long, thin 7.5 cm KwK 42 L/70 comes in two halves and this means you have to break out the sanding paper for a while..
Hate ’em or love ’em. This kit comes with some nicely detailed rubber tracks as your only option. Friul has a nice set of Panther tracks available, so if you want to spend lots of money you could splurge on a set of these, but you would have to settle on later Panther model tracks, as the early tracks are currently only available in 1/48 scale..
It’s cheap, it’s good, it’s simple. It just is a magnificent kit for a beginner or someone who wants to have a relaxing weekend build. Or you could go all out with all kinds of after market stuff and easily quadruple the price of this build. Rivetcounters need not to apply, as this kit is not a Dragon-esque kit with even the tiniest part consisting of a dozen parts.