Pz.Kpfw. V Panther Ausf. G With Steel Road Wheels and AA Armour
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 until the end 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 reltaively recent entrant to 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. A number of Panther releases followed in 2021.
Vespid’s latest release expands their 1:72 scale Panther family to include the late and final production versions.
Optional parts in this release are included to permit one late production Panther Ausf. G with the standard engine deck and rubber tyred road wheels, or a final production Panther with steel road wheels, final design mantlet, flame damper exhausts, raised crew compartment heater housing and photo-etched armour on the engine deck.
Just one model may be built from the box, but you’ll have a lot of spares left over!
Vespid Models’ 1:72 Panther Ausf. G With Steel Road Wheels and AA Armour comprises 314 parts in grey coloured plastic, (86 marked not for use or not mentioned in the parts list), two brass photo-etched frets, one pink 3D printed part, one turned metal brass gun barrel and decals for three marking options.
This is a hefty parts count for a small-scale model and the largest in Vespid’s releases to date, but in addition to the parts not for use, there are also quite a few options that will stay in the box.
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-rimmed road wheels are supplied. The wheels are moulded as a single plastic part each - no vinyl tyres, thank goodness.
A brand new sprue is also included in this kit, which offers a full set of the final production steel wheels.
There are a couple of spares too.
Tracks are link and length. 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. There are knockout pin marks on the inner surface of every fourth track link, but these will be almost impossible to see once the model is finished.
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.
The final version flame damper exhaust is supplied, plus the more standard version.
A brand new photo-etched fret is supplied for the late-war anti-aircraft armour for the engine deck, turret roof and top of the mantlet.
The original photo-etched fret is also included, supplying mesh for the engine deck vents plus 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.
The turret hatch is a separate part that may also be posed open or closed. Vision blocks are individual grey plastic parts.
The turret features three optional mantlets – one with the extended lower chin and one without. The third mantlet has 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.
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 options.
In my opinion, Vespid Models’ 1:72 scale Panthers are even nicer than 2020's Comet IA and Maus.
With the options included in this release, you can choose from a number of Panther Ausf. G sub-types from late to final straight from the box.
There is hardly any compromise in detail despite the small scale of this model.
Of course, this leads to 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.
Thanks to Vespid Models for the sample https://www.facebook.com/vespidmodels/
Text and Images by