Pz.Kpfw. V Panther Ausf. G (with FG1250 Sperber Infrared Nightfighting Vision Scope)
Vespid Models, 1/72 scale
Reviewed by Brett Green
The Panther was a German medium tank deployed during World War II on the Eastern and Western Fronts in Europe from mid-1943 until the end of the war in 1945. It had the ordnance inventory designation of Sd.Kfz. 171.
The Panther was intended to counter the Soviet T-34 and to replace the Panzer III and Panzer IV. In practice however, it served alongside the Panzer IV and the heavier Tiger I for the rest of the war.
It is considered one of the best tanks of World War II for its excellent firepower and protection, although its reliability was less impressive.
The Panther was a compromise. While having essentially the same engine as the Tiger I, it had more efficient frontal hull armour, better gun penetration, was lighter and faster, and could traverse rough terrain better than the Tiger I.
The trade-off was weaker side armour, which made it vulnerable to flanking fire.
The Panther proved to be effective in open country and long range engagements, but did not provide enough high explosive firepower against infantry.
The Panther Ausf. G was the third production series with a number of incremental changes and improvements, built by MAN, Daimler-Benz, MNH. 3,126 were built between March 1944 and April 1945.*
Vespid Models is a recent player in the model market that released several versions of the Maus V2 Super Heavy German Tank and two A34 Comet tanks, all in 1:72 scale, from mid 2020.
Vespid’s latest release introduces their first 1:72 scale Panther kit.
There's a lot to unpack here - literally! Vespid’s 1:72 scale Panther Ausf. G (with FG1250 Sperber Infrared Nightfighting Vision Scope) comprises 255 parts in grey coloured plastic, (21 marked not for use), 70 brass photo-etched parts, two pink 3D printed parts, one turned metal brass gun barrel and decals for three marking options.
This is a hefty parts count for a small-scale model but in addition to the parts not for use, there are also quite a few options that will stay in the box.
In common with Vespid’s previous releases, surface textures are superb with a combination of recessed and raised structural features as appropriate. Moulding is perfect on my sample.
Detail is excellent too.
Parts breakdown is conventional. The lower hull is moulded in one piece including the inner lower hull sides. Swing arms are separate pieces and keyed to ensure the correct alignment.
A full set of late-style 32 bolt rubber-tyred road wheels are supplied. The wheels are moulded as a single plastic part each - no vinyl tyres, thank goodness. Considering the wide-ranging late Panther options on the sprues, I was a bit surprised that we were not offered an alternative full set of the final production steel wheels.
There are a couple of spares marked Not For Use on Sprue H however.
Link and length tracks are included. Individual links are supplied to wrap around the drive sprockets and idler wheels, with long top and bottom runs and a few short runs to complete the tracks. Track link detail is great.
Two slightly different upper hulls are supplied. Both are moulded in one piece. The driver’s and radio operator’s hatches are moulded as separate parts. They may be posed open or closed. Vision blocks, the travel lock and the circular machine gun mantlet are all separate parts. The front mudguards are moulded in place.
On the engine deck, one of the upper hulls has the standard early Panther Ausf. G engine vent layout, while the second hull provides for the late-war raised crew compartment heater housing.
As far as I can tell this is the only difference between the two upper hull parts.
Photo-etched mesh is supplied for the engine deck vents, including a fan and an additional rim for the raised heater housing.
Two styles of exhaust are provided – one standard and one with the bulky flame suppressor.
Several styles of rear hull stowage boxes are present on the sprues but only one combination is called out in the instructions.
A full complement of on-vehicle equipment and spare track links is supplied. The tow cables are impressively thin and crisply detailed, but you will need to take care when you are removing these parts from the sprues.
No fewer than four side skirt options are offered (five, if you consider no skirts another option).
The turret hatch is a separate part that may also be posed open or closed. Vision blocks are individual grey plastic parts. The rear loader's hatch
The turret features optional mantlets – one with the extended lower chin and one without. A third mantlet with a slightly different chin configuration is marked Not For Use. Cast texture of the mantlets is convincing.
A lovely turned metal gun barrel is provided as an alternative to the kit’s plastic part. A pink coloured 3D printed muzzle brake is also included. It is ready to use almost straight from its small plastic bag.
A pink 3D printed Infra-Red night sight is also included. This is designed to be attached to the turret cupola machine gun ring mount. The secondary sight often seen in front of the driver’s hatch is not supplied, although there is an alternative plastic IR sight to be found on Sprue I.
The gun travel lock may be posed raised with the chain lock holding the barrel in place, or lowered onto the upper hull. Alternative parts are supplied for the raised and lowered travel locks.
The turret will rotate and the gun will elevate and depress once the model is assembled.
Markings are supplied for three marking options – one in a hard-edged ambush scheme and two in a soft three colour camouflage.
In my opinion, Vespid Models’ 1:72 scale Panther Ausf. G is even nicer than last year's Comet IA and Maus.
There is hardly any compromise in detail despite the small scale of this model. In terms of design, this Panther is a significant improvement over the Comet and Maus kits too.
Of course, this results in an inevitable buildability trade-off. There are a number of tiny plastic and photo-etched parts in the box and the parts count would be more typical of a 1:35 scale kit, so the Vespid Panther will be best suited to an experienced modeller.
This one won’t stay in its box for too long!
Purchased by reviewer.
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