Pz.Kpfw. Panther V ausf. D
Zvezda, No.3678  1/35

Short History:

Panther was a German medium tank deployed during World War II from mid-1943 to the end of the European war in 1945. It was intended as a counter to the Soviet T-34, and as a replacement for the Panzer III and Panzer IV. While never replacing the latter, it served alongside it and the heavier Tiger I until the end of the war. While the Panther is considered one of the best tanks of World War II due to its excellent firepower and protection, it was less impressive in terms of mobility, reliability, and cost.

What`s In The Box:

Zvezda models from Russia started releasing their new models in 1/35 scale. Most of them are models that are previously released by other companies. Even Zvezda has released some of those models back in time, as repack of other companies (Italeri/DML). Last few years they decided to make their versions and to offer them to modelling world. Panther is one of favorite modelling subjects, and it can be seen in various versions thru WWII service. This version, Ausf.D was one of the first that was used on the battlefield and in the same time has baptism of fire in famous Kursk battle. Zvezda models released these versions with markings that were used in Battle of Kursk.
Model is packed in standard box size as we use to see for 1/35 scale models, but as kind a pizza box. Hard box packaging is protecting parts from damage. There are 8 sprues in ocher color plastic, lower hull, one transparent sprue for periscopes and decal sheet. All frames are packed in plastic bags. Details are made very well, without visible flash on them. Pin Marks are present in small numbers, and will not make trouble during assembly. Instruction guide is printed in b/w , 24 steps on five pages, easy readable.

Construction starts with turret and it will include nine steps to build it. Good thing is that Zvezda models provided interior details for it. “Ring” floor, chairs for crew, inside details for main gun, machine gun, air filters, etc are some of details inside. Commanders and loaders hatch can be built as open or closed. Main gun barrel is made of two plastic parts that need to be glued. Something that most of modellers not are expecting to see in new releases, but it can be replaced with aftermarket metal barrel, or you can use this one, and spend some time in sanding it after assembling.


Next steps are provided for lower chassis with standard assembly of wheels. They are not made to be workable, but with some sanding and little surgery, it can be made if modeller desire. All details are made nice, hatches for driver and radio-operator can be built as open or closed. Tools boxes on the rear of chassis can be built as closed only. Two single pipes for exhaust are included, as it was characteristic for early versions. Radiators are provided as rear details on chassis. Characteristic box for right side of chassis is also provided. Long fenders, as it can be seen on pictures of ausf D versions are also provided and can give nice detail to the kit. Of course, modeller can be build model without them, because they were often fall off from the tank or were taken off by the crew. Big minus in this kit same it was with their new release of Tiger I, is that PE are not included. PE are more than needed for grill covers on the rear deck of chassis.


Tracks :

Tracks are made link by link that connects with extra plastic part and can be built as workable. Also there is a few tracks molded as one part (like Italeri makes for their Tiger tanks) and can`t be built as workable. Details on tracks are made very nice, but if you looking for higher standards, can be replaced with some after-market sets.

Painting & Marking:

Painting and marking are provided for two different vehicles:

•   Pz.Abt. 52 operation “Citadel”, July 1943
•   Pz..Abt. 52 operation “Citadel”, July 1943

Only visible difference between this two vehicles are numbers on them, different color of Panther heads insignia and first vehicle is painted in two tone camouflage (German base ocher with green camouflage) and second is painted in standard three-tone German camouflage. Colour guide is provided for: Humbrol and Zvezda.



Conclusion:

Nice kit, with some nice details. In my opinion, lack of few details that ruining it in general, like one piece barrel/metal barrel, PE and fully workable tracks. Those details could make this model competitive on the market. All in all, nice kit for start and with few investments can be perfect.

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