German Tank Destroyer Sd.Kfz.173
This is a first look at this remarkable kit, and rather than take overall photos of whole sprues, which wouldn't really show the detail, I have concentrated on specific parts. I hope you find this useful.
The Jagdpanther is a well-known vehicle, and needs no introduction. Slightly over 400 were produced in total. This particular kit is of the G1 version, much the most common and produced through 1944, and only replaced by the G2 version in 1945. The kit has a beautiful rendering of the squared Zimmerit style, and marks a vehicle produced before September 1944, when the Zimmerit was dropped from production lines. The kit provides decals for six vehicles, all based in France/Holland 1944.
It is hard to know where to start with this kit. Everything is there, in unbelievable detail. It seems a huge shame that so much of contents will be hidden, given that the Jagdpanther only has two small hatches on the roof, and a hatch on the superstructure rear. What astonished me was the incredibly fine level of detail on every part. This takes the model into a league that I haven't seen before.
And so to the pictures........
The instructions come in the form of a booklet, which shows the assembly step by step.
Above, the basic hull structure and the transmission. Below is a later stage with much of the suspension, including torsion bars, now installed.
Above shows the use of jigs to arrange the tracks, and below shows how the process will be speeded-up by having the guide horns added in large groups on a single sprue.
Above shows the engine assembly. Below is the ammo being installed.
The picture above shows the bulk of the interior in place. Below shows how to paint the engine and add the data plate decal.
Above is the exterior of the superstructure roof, and below is the interior...... which could only be seen by leaving the superstructure loose on the model! Notice the wiring and the interior lights on the underside of the roof!!!
The Zimmerit is astonishing. Before exploring the kit, I was wondering how I would make the Zimmerit, and when I looked at the sprues, I found the Zimmerit is there, perfectly represented, and the correct pattern...... WOW.......
Above, the whole hull. Below the gun mount - have a look at the texture of the cast metal.....
Above the firewall from the crew side, and below from the engine side. Every detail, perfectly sharp, accurate, and no visible mould marks!
Above is the early gun, which was monobloc - one-piece. This was difficult to manufacture, and was replaced with a two-piece design. In the kit, both types are present, moulded as a single piece of plastic with no mould line to remove.
Above is the inside of the hull side, with the only mould mark that I was able to find - and easy to fill. The quality of detail is simply staggering.
Above and below are more examples of the Zimmerit. I can't get over how good this is. Shown on the rear hull and on the hull side.
Above is the lower nose plate, and below is shown the rear of the superstructure.
The wheels are really well done, right down to the tiny writing 'Continental' on the tyre.
Several versions of sprockets are included. This is one. All are superbly detailed, and the modeller has to have a good reference at different points in order to make sure that the correct options are chosen from the box. Just look at the tiny hexagonal bolt heads.
Above the ammo boxes for the MG, and below are some interior boxes. In each case, concentrate your eye on how fine the detail is.....
Above are the torsion bars. Below are the 88mm ammo racks. The actual shells were the only part of the whole kit that I didn't like so much. The kit shells have deep grooves around them, far deeper than on the real shells.
Above are the exhaust shroud castings, with excellent texture. There are two sets provided, doubtless with some small difference.
Above is the fighting compartment floor. The treadplate is very sharply defined. Below is an MP in its rack. The stowed MG42 is also provided, and is a work of art with cooling slots in all the right places.
Another part of the transmission - with full and accurate detail.
The track is provided in link-and-length, and as can be seen the detail is superb, with no flash and no moulding marks of any sort. The only possible negative is that the track runs are straight along the bottom, and the track cannot be made to conform to any groundwork.
The track has no guide horns, so that the moulding can be made as sharp as possible. The guide horns are added in one go - they are spaced on the sprue so that they can all be glued in one operation, and then clipped from the sprue. Wonderful. My sample kit was missing one horn, but it will be easy to hide this behind the inner wheels.
Above is the later barrel, which in real life was made in two parts. The kit part is one piece of plastic, and like the rest of the kit is perfect.
The mantlet, above, has incredible cast texture. Below is one of the spare track hangers, with holes as on the real thing.
The tools, such as this axe, are astonishing. There is really no need to carve off the brackets and replace them with etched parts. Perhaps the catch handle could be opened up, if you are desperate to do something...... !
Above are other sets of sprockets. There are three types provided, and you really need to have a particular vehicle in mind before making your choice of parts.
Above and below are engine parts......
And the fans, below, are fully correct...... although the blades are not separated...
Below are the side-skirts. I'm holding it so that the light can land on the edge and reveal just how thin they are. No need for brass parts.
OK, well I'm speechless.
Dunno what to say really. This kit is in a completely different league. I hope my photos show just what I mean. I simply have never seen a kit this good, ever before.
If only Takom could now apply the same incredible expertise to a subject with an open top, or with big hatches. As it is, the modeller is going to have to be creative with this Jagdpanther, as the only way to display the interior is to have the model able to come apart and components to pull out, in order to reveal the layers and layers of parts. When I make my kit, the interior parts will almost all get discarded, which seems like a crime! Could an explosion blow out the superstructure roof, I wonder???
Even just thinking about the exterior, there is nothing that needs replacement with brass (the mesh screens and copper cables are provided), and therefore the kit can truly be made from the box. And the interior is missing nothing. Except for wires on the radios, I guess........ I had to find something......
I think I've used every superlative, so I'll just try to be quiet. I have reviewed hundreds of kits over the years (starting in 1972), and I know they get better over time, but this kit just jumped to No.1 on my list, and then jumped higher!
Very Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders.
Thanks go out toTakom for this review kit.
Reviewed by Chris Lloyd-Staples, 2VP (International)
If you liked this review, consider joining AMPS. Your annual membership
includes six copies of AMPS's magazine, Boresight,
and helps to support our ongoing reviews.
Click here for more information about joining AMPS