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Mike

Sd.Kfz.173 Jagdpanther Ausf.G1 (TS-039) 1:35

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Sd.Kfz.173 Jagdpanther Ausf.G1 (TS-039)

1:35 Meng Model via Creative Models

 

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After the Nazis encountered the formiddable Russian T-34, their medium tank project took a new turn to become the Panther, which proved to be one of their more successful designs and is still admired today for its technical prowess and abilities.  The need for tank killers took the chassis of the Panther, removed the turret and superstructure, replacing it with a casemate and powerful high-velocity gun in a new mount with elevation and limited side to side movement that was used for fine-tuning targeting.  The heavily sloped glacis extended to the roofline, giving the vehicle a sleek look that was echoed at the sides, with a step down from the roof at the rear onto the engine deck.  The G1 variant used the Panther A as a base, while the later models designated G2 were based up on the Panther G chassis.  The same Pak 43 88mm gun was mounted, in an internally fixed mantlet initially, and later externally bolted in the G2.

 

As with all WWII German tanks, the design was complex by comparison with the enemy's, so production was slower, which was probably just as well as it was a capable tank, just like is turreted progenitor.  The gun was unstoppable by armour at the time, the engine had enough power for the task in hand, and it wasn't overweight, so the transmission could handle the power easily.  If there had been more of them, they could well have had an impact, certainly slowing down the Allied advances (providing they could have fuelled them, and making gains more costly in men and materiel.

 

 

The Kit

Given that Meng have now tooled a Panther in 1:35, it makes sense for them to add a Jagdpanther to their line due to the overlap in parts and research.  We reviewed the Ausf.A here and the later D here, so it looks like a Panther G and a Jagdpanther G2 will hopefully be on the list soon enough.  Meng have a well-earned reputation for producing good, well-detailed models, mainly because that's what they keep on doing.  I'm a fan of Meng, and I also love the Jagdpanther for no reason that I can divine, so I apologise in advance if I come across a bit giddy at times.  The kit arrives in a standard classy Meng box with effective artwork and that satin finish I like so much.  Inside are nine sprues in sand coloured styrene, a small clear sprue, two sheets of Photo-Etch (PE) in varying thicknesses, a length of polycaps, two thicknesses of braided metal wire a small decal sheet, turned aluminium barrel, instruction booklet and separate colour painting guide on folded A3 glossy paper.

 

First impressions.  There are very few common sprues, extending as far as the two road wheel sprues, but there are a lot of common parts that have been re-allocated to the new sprues in substantial numbers as you can imagine.  Even the track sprues have been redesigned with the links horizontally and with an extra sprue gate added, presumably to cope with dangers of short-shot sprues coming hot off the presses.  Detail is excellent throughout, and I really like and appreciate the inclusion of things such as a turned barrel and realistic braided wire for the towing cables, as it's just one less thing to have to add to your model.  The more that’s in the box and used by the modeller, the better the eventual value is.

 

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Construction begins in the same manner as the Panther with the paired road wheels with a polycap between each one, plus the idler and drive sprockets.  The lower hull is built from floor and two side panels, with two t-shaped braces holding them to the correct angles, so that when you fit the rear bulkhead it should fit perfectly in place.  Various bits of suspension and drive train are added to the sides, as are the stub axles through the holes in the hull sides.  These have a small additional peg at the end of the swing arm to allow the modeller to set them at the correct (stationary) ride height, and before installation the small hole in the back that is there to prevent sink marks is filled with small inserts, even though they mostly won't be seen.  The lower hull with the engine deck and radiator bath sections are then made up, and glued on the lower hull, with the overhang closed in by adding the bottoms of the fenders once in place.  The road wheels are interleaved in the same manner as the Tiger, so must be put in place in the correct order to prevent complications, so take care here to put types A and B in the correct places, after which the tracks are needed.  The links are individual, with twin guidehorns that are supplied as separate parts and must be added into the small square holes in the links before you can glue the links together.  The new position of the sprue gates on the links are on curved surfaces, which makes removing that last fraction of a millimetre that much harder, requiring a circular diamond file to do a good job.  This slows the task down quite a bit initially, although as with all things you'll probably speed up near the end, which is exactly what I did on my short run, electing to add the horns dry to the links, and glue them in place.  The links fit together snuggly, and hide all the seamlines as well as any less-than-perfect sprue gate removal, so it's not the end of the world, but the task will be a fairly long one, and as the guidehorns are small and tapered, they love to ping out of your tweezers at the slightest increase in pressure.  Once all the links have their horns in place, a relatively swift gluing of links should leave them flexible enough to drape around the wheels, and taping or chocking them in place will give you the realistic slight sag behind the drive wheels that you need to the top run.

 

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The upper hull that was installed earlier is merely the liner, but the front panel is exterior armoured surface, and this needs some holes opened up depending on which decal option you are going to use for your model.  The side armour panels are similarly in need of holes for the same reason, at which point you have a vehicle that looks more like a tank.  Small PE are added to the exterior along with other fixtures such as the lights, towing shackles and pioneer tools that are a must for any AFV.  The rear bulkhead is fitted with armoured access panels and either two or the later three-plus-one exhausts, which have cast armoured lowers and are surrounded by the angular stowage boxes that usually fare badly in reversing incidents.  The later tubular Notek convoy/number plate light is hidden away on the left lower , with a scrap diagram showing the correct colours and its location on the stowage bin, which is a new one on me.

 

The engine deck has three louvers, two of which are rectangular and have PE mesh covers, the other a raised cast circle that has its own PE insert, while on the sides a run of narrow PE fenders are fitted with styrene brackets, which later also act as hangers for the schurtzen side skirts.  A rack of spare track links and tools are added above on the right, with more tools on the left, plus a choice of three barrel cleaning tubes either on the side or at the rear of the engine deck.  The central lift-off cover to the engine deck was a source for some variance, so holes are flashed over and drilled out as needed for the various decal options.  Even the jack block was moved to the engine deck on some examples, so the option is provided here as well.  The rear is finished off with the crew hatch, spent shell-ejection port, and aerial base, with an alternative stowage box, blanking plate or antenna base on the left of the crew door, just to confuse things.  Speaking of variations, there are a few on the roof of the fighting compartment, with a simple flat mushroom vent, or a higher domed one, as well as being able to leave the commander's hatch open or closed.  The rotating sighting periscope is made up and dropped into the roof, being secured by a ring to allow it to rotate if you wish it.  The roof can be installed before the main gun at this point.

 

The bow mounted machine gun was surrounded by a domed armour panel called a Kugelblende, which came in two flavours with a stepped aperture and a smooth one.  The gun barrel is fitted to the ball mount and trapped in place by the installation of this part, or it can be left off and covered by a plug with PE chain that was fitted during deep wading for example.  The gun breech is surprisingly detailed considering this is a "no interior" kit, and this is built up over a number of steps before being pushed through a choice of three mantlets, one of which has no external fixtures, the other two with large bolts top and bottom as befits their decal option.  The Saukopf (literally "pig head" due to how it looks) that protects the vulnerable gap between mantlet and breech is slid on next, with PE lifting eyes added for two decal options, presumably after they realised these things were REALLY heavy.  The completed assembly slides into the glacis and can be glued in place to accept the turned barrel once it has been top & tailed with the three-piece flash hider, and four part gun sleeve.  The barrel is keyed, so there's little change of it going in upside down unless you are very determined and brutal with it, and again there's a choice of styles of flash hider between decal options.  With the barrel glued in and the nickel-plated Schurzen put in place, that's construction over with.

 

 

Markings

There are four markings options in the box, and a small decal sheet covers them all, as with most AFV models.  Everything is camouflaged in weird and wonderful ways, as the Germans were at this point in the war running scared of an increasingly overwhelming aerial supremacy by the Allied after years of chipping away at the Luftwaffe til there was very little left, and almost no experienced pilots to pull things back.

 

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Decals are printed in China in black and white, and have good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas.

 

Conclusion

I'm on love with this kit, and will put up with the slightly fiddly tracks for the sake of the rest of it.  Awesome detail, simple enough construction, and it's a Jagdpanther.  By Meng. :yes:

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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Great article and review, Mike!

 

I recently bought this kit and i realised that it came without the metal barrel.

 

Do you know why this has happenned?

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6 minutes ago, nirvanagr said:

Great article and review, Mike!

 

I recently bought this kit and i realised that it came without the metal barrel.

 

Do you know why this has happenned?

Meng often include metal barrels in their kits as an option.  You can see it in this pic at the top along with all the other small parts:

 

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...and the plastic one is on sprue C in the review pics.  Some people prefer a turned barrel because there are no seams to get rid of, and the metal one is perfectly round with no risk of mould-slip. :) Conversely, some folks are a bit phobic about anything in their model box that isn't plastic, so it helps both camps :yes:

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So, i guess that there was a price difference between the kits that included a metal barrel and the ones that didn't?

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No unfortunately, it seems first batch of kits includes the metal barrel, but subsequent production does not. I think this is a really poor way to treat customers who have purchased the kit after reading the reviews.

 

 

 

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15 hours ago, paulj said:

No unfortunately, it seems first batch of kits includes the metal barrel, but subsequent production does not. I think this is a really poor way to treat customers who have purchased the kit after reading the reviews.

 

 

 

Its not great is it.

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