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Hi All, Here's the much lambasted Italeri Bergepanther kit. It's my first Italeri kit and I won't be rushing to get more, but it was very cheap and whilst it's been made clear that it's not accurate I quite like the way it looks. Lots of sink marks some of which I missed but I'm over it. Completely OOB apart from the AA mount,P/E Grilles and a few spare tools. The cannon was rarely fitted but adds to the appearance I think. There are a couple of million part Takom kits on the way which I'm sure will be much better but in terms of enjoyment this was one of the best £18.99s I've ever spent. Usual C&C welcome Cheers David
Sd.Kfz.174 Bergpanther Ausf.A (SS-015) 1:35 Meng Model via Creative Models The Panther was Nazi Germany's answer to the surprise appearance of the Russian T-34 after they finally reacted to the invasion that was Operation Barbarosa. Although the project had been in gestation some time before, they took some design cues from the T-34 in the shape of the sloped armour, resulting in the Panther that was intended to fill the gap between the Panzer.IV and the (then) new Panzer VI Tiger. It was eventually supposed to replace both the Pz.IV and the earlier Pz.III that was really showing its age, but in reality it often fought alongside the Panzer IV. It was planned as a lighter, more manoeuvrable tank than the Tiger, and was fitted with a high velocity gun from the outset. The Germans came to the realisation that they needed a form of armoured recovery vehicle as even the larger halftracks could not recover a Panther or Tiger tank. In fact so many tanks themselves became lost to recovery efforts that order were given not to try recovery with another tank. MAN were tasked to develop the vehicle and used the Panther chassis which was fitted with a central 40 tonne winch in place of the turret and a large rear spade to dig the vehicle in. Over the winch would be placed a wooden work platform and a light crane (1500 kgs capacity). The added benefit of the vehicle was that crew protection was improved and it could work under fire. As well as the standard machine gun a 2cm KwK-30 cannon was mounted on the front, though the use of this fell off in the latter stages of the war, The Kit After the initial release of the Ausf.A by Meng, and then theD, we now get the Bergpanether which as you will guess shares a number of the Battle tank sprues., with a number of new ones. There are eleven sprues in sand styrene, one run of poly-caps, a clear sprue, two sheets of Photo-Etch (PE), braided cabling, a small length of chain, a very small decal sheet, colour painting and markings guide, plus the instruction booklet, which is printed in greyscale on standard paper. Construction starts with the wheels. Two drive sprockets, two idler wheels and 16 road wheels are made up. Each are two part with a poly cap going in between. The torsion bar suspension components are then added into the lower hull plate. The lower hullsides are then added with the two internal bulkheads and the rear one. At the front the driver and radio operators compartment is built up along with the vehicle transmission. In the central area the drive shaft and PTO for the winch is built up, The winch can then be built up, care must be taken when applying the wire to wind it on correctly. We then move to the upper hull. The sides are added along with a few parts such as the drivers hatch which fix from the inside. The rear engine grills are added along with the engine hatch. The upper hull can then be fitted to the lower. The fender lowers are added along with various tool boxes they have. At the rear the large attachment for the spade is added along with the exhausts. The transmission covers are added along with a whole host of brackets. The suspension arms are also added, followed by the wheels. Once they are on the tracks can follow. There are 87 links per side, the links are one part, but with 5 sprue attachment points and two track horns per link this will test the modellers time and patience. Once the hull is done its time for the engineering bits which make this model. At the rear the large spade is made up and attached. On the rear decking tow bars are added and spare track links attached to the sides. Many and various different tools, blocks, connectors, cables etc are all attached. Next up the large working platform on top is made up. This has storage compartment sin which can be open or closed. The front and rear sections can also be open or closed. There is a rain cover for the front compartment which can be open or stowed as well. A wooden beam is also made up for the side of the compartment. If the crane is to be made in the stowed condition it is also added at this time. The completed compartment is then added to the top of the vehicle, We then move back to the hull with mounting brackets being added for the side plate, followed by the PE plates themselves. The front fenders are then added. If the crane is going to be made in the deployed state it needs to be built up and added. The AA machine gun can then be built up and added. If you are adding the 2cm cannon then this needs to be made up and added. A photo etch gun shield is provided. Markings There is a tiny decal sheet with national markings only. Two schemes of Dunklegelb and cammo are offered. Unknown Unit Eastern front - 1944 Unknown Unit France - 1944 Conclusion Another excellent kit from Meng and one this reviewer has been waiting for. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
And now for something completely different, To retire the er... 'faithful' Italeri Bergepanther may I present the Takom Bergepanther, new from Takom. No release date as of yet but I would say it wouldn't be soon after their straight panther with full interior. Takom has quoted it as 'soon'!