Jagdpanther G1 Late Production
German Tank Destroyer Sd.Kfz.173
When I wrote the "First Look" review back in March 2019, I stated that the build should not overwhelm the occasional builder (like me), and gave it a "Highly Recommended" for intermediate and advanced builders. Due to travel and other interruptions, I did not begin the build until June, and can say that after struggling with the build over nine(!) months, I am changing my recommendation; I would suggest that only those builders who have built several full-interior kits, or have extensive experience with after-market resin or photo-etch will find this a challenging, yet rewarding, build. Let me stress that the kit is buildable, just not easy for someone with only 20 kits under their belt.
For a brief refresher, look back at the "First Look" review which has photos of the 11x8 instruction manual and sprues. Note that all of the pages have multiple steps and sub-steps; even so, the drawings are for the most part easy to understand and follow, except for the engine construction and installation. Because throughout the build, various steps will be covered up by subsequent steps, it is the builder's decision on whether to paint those soon to be hidden assemblies, or leave them unpainted. I chose to paint each part, even though many of the parts will never be seen by the human eye ...
Step 1 is installing an exterior plate to the lower front hull, driver's foot pedal, and two parts, Q3-14 and Q3-20. I could not find what they are in my limited references nor on-line, but they appear to be conduits for controls from the engine to the drive sprockets and transmission. (If anyone can let me know what these are on the real G1, I'll edit the review and give you credit!)
Step 2 is adding seven internal braces to the hull floor and two protective covers at the rear of the hull.
Between step 2 and step 3, there are eight steps to build up the transmission with 28 parts, then putting those eight sub-assemblies (above) together for the transmission.
Step 3 is installing two internal frameworks length-wise for the torsion bars to slide through, and installing the transmission. Take a good look, as upcoming steps will cover much of this work up. The transmission was painted with Tamiya German Grey, XF-63, and the floor, braces, and conduits are painted with Tamiya Hull Red, XF-9.
This is the first step in which the builder must choose an option - either !AB or !C. I chose C, which requires filling two holes and shaving off three protrusions on the right hull side's interior, before attaching the inner final drive and shock absorbers. Just for a slightly different color, I painted these parts with Vallejo Hull Red, 71.039.
Step 5 does not need anything filled or removed. Attach two shock absorbers and final drive to the left hull side's interior. The instructions show eight torsion bars inserted through the frameworks installed in step 3, followed by attaching the left hull side. What I found was that torsion bars did not easily slide in to the corresponding half-hole, so I carefully enlarged the hole with the tip of a new #11 blade. I then glued the torsion bars into the holes, and glued the hull side to the hull bottom. I considered gluing the torsion bars into the hull side and then attaching the hull side to the bottom, but wasn't sure that the torsion bars wouldn't end up cockeyed as the glue dried. In any event, it went together fine.
Step 6 is attaching the right hull side to the torsion bars and hull bottom. This was unwieldy, fitting the eight torsion bar assemblies through the framework and into the corresponding holes on the hull side, and gluing the hull side to the bottom, but I somehow managed. One thing that I did not realize was that the RS-39 sub-assembly (the light gray bar running from final drive to final drive in the picture) should be attached to the transmission top before gluing the hull side on. I had to do a little bending to get it in after I realized my mistake. Torsion bars were also painted Tamiya German Grey.
Steps 7 - 9
Step 7 is gluing on bump stops (D6 x 2, D19 x 1) to each hull side, then attaching the road wheel swing arms. Note that there are three different suspension arms (D10 x 2, D21 x 1, D26 x 5) which go in specific spots.
Step 8 is using jigs Z1 and Z2 to ensure suspension arms dry in the correct position.
Step 9 is attaching the outer final drive housing for the sprockets, attaching four inside single road wheels (A5), building up eight road wheel pairs (A3 + A2, four per side) and attaching same, and attaching three outer road wheels (A1), leaving off the rearmost outer road wheel for now. As with previous steps, I painted these parts before attaching them to the hull. I chose a simple one-color scheme for the roadwheels, Vallejo Dunkelgelb, 71.025, followed by painting the tires Tamiya Rubber Black, XF-85; the tires have "Continental" markings - nice touch!
In step 10, if building option !AB, then build up a bracket holding three 88mm rounds and attach to floor plate Q3-21; if building option !C, like I did, use alternate floor plate N2-25 without ammo. Attach sub-assembly B (two batteries?) to a bracket, which is then attached to rear center hull. Attach another floor plate on the right side, then attach driver gauges panel to transmission cover. At this point, attach decals 7 (gear shift diagram) to transmission, 9 and 10 (gauges) to driver gauges panel. I had to look ahead at the next step to make sure I placed sub-assembly B and part M27 in the correct spots - there are small (very small!) raised L-shaped attachment points.
Step 11 is building up the driver's seat position and installing; one of the left side floor plates; build up and install drive shaft, consisting of three sub-steps. Install the rear firewall, G3-11. NOTE: Part R3-11 has a Z-shaped arm sticking up, which can get in the way of step 12's floor plate installation, so best to leave it unglued, or at least move it out of the way of the floor plate, by dry-fitting to see where it will not interfere.
Step 12 - 13
In step 12, install floor plate R3-1 so it fits around the aforementioned Z-shaped lever, followed by R3-55 sub-assembly, part of the gun mount base. Install equipment lockers on the left hull side and floor plate.
In step 13, attach the stored MG-42, seat (raised or lowered), and two fire extinguishers and a cylindrical tool holder.
In Step 14, choose option !AB or !C; main difference is not installing a rack-mounted MP-44. Install round vice rectangular radio operator and commander seats, either raised or lowered; equipment boxes on the right hull side.
In step 15, install loader's seat, raised or lowered; electrical switch control box and a 4-drawer equipment box on the hull side; an intercom switch on the right rear firewall.
Steps 16 - 17
Steps 16 and 17 are mirror images of each other. Build up and install the engine bay sidewalls with fuel tanks and internal idler mounts for the idler arm. Unfortunately, my photo of this step was too blurry to use.
Step 18 is gluing the track guide horns to the track links. I used the paint recommended by the paint guide - A.Mig-035, Dark Tracks. The horns are attached by two sprue attachments to bars of various lengths which are matched up to the corresponding length of links, and then glued down. There are small tabs on the bottom of the horns which fit into a shallow slot on each link. I used Model Master Black Bottle cement and let it sit overnight. The next day did not go well. First, I tried to remove the sprue attachments on the longest track link segment (26 links) with a new #11 blade by gently, but firmly, cutting through the plastic. That unseated the first two guide horns I tried, so I re-glued them and moved to another track segment, where I unsuccessfully tried a sprue cutter, followed by a new razor blade, followed by a PE cutter. All efforts caused guide horns to unseat. I tried using a Tamiya Fine Craft Saw, but that was even worse. So, I used a Glue Looper to dab a bit of CA on each (384!) guide horn, letting it dry overnight (actually, I just needed a break after all the preceding failure and frustration). Next day, I was able to use two new #11 blades to trim off the sprue attachments. I still had about a 25% failure rate, but was able to re-glue the knocked off guide horns with tweezers, CA, and much unprintable language. At some point, a guide horn came off, but I could not find from where.
In step 19, choose which of three sprocket wheels and two idler wheels options to use. I used D1+D2 for the sprockets and A6+A7+A8 for the idlers, which according to my references are typical for the late Jagdpanther G1. I did read in references and on line that it was not unusual to find G1s and G2s using a mixture of sprockets and idlers due to whatever was on hand in maintenance stores. Depending on which wheels are used, choose jigs Z5 + Z6 (the ones I used), or Z1 + Z2. Using the jigs, build up the upper track link runs and wrap around the sprocket and idler. I used small dabs of Model Master cement where links joined together, and used blue-tac to hold tracks in place while it dried overnight.
Steps 20 - 21
In step 20, carefully remove the track run from the jigs, and install them on the lower hull. I'd like to say it went smoothly, but it didn't. The left side had one pair of links separate, and the right side had two pairs separate. I was able to glue them back together with CA and they held. Then, when I tried to take it off the jig after an hour, a different pair of links separated on each side. So, once more with the CA, and wait another hour, just to make sure. This time the tracks came off the jigs and on to the hull, but yet again, link separation. After gluing those links together, and giving it another hour, I attached the final rear outer roadwheel.
In step 21, install the bottom track run on each side. During this process, three pairs of links separated on the left side, two pairs on the right side. I don't know what I was doing wrong - too much pulling or twisting, perhaps, trying to line the links up with each other? Regardless, finally, all the links were glued together and set aside to dry.
Steps 22 - 24
Steps 22 through 24 are building up the engine. Although this is a little gem of a kit in and of itself, it caused a great deal of grief later on in the build. If you look back at the First Look photos, you can see all the small parts involved.
Step 22 is building up the left and right manifolds and main engine block; then front fan belt and rear, attaching manifolds to the top; building up the exhaust manifold(?) and attaching that and other parts.
Step 23 is building up and attaching more small parts, some of which are fragile. I found it helpful for part placement to look at the photo of the completed engine build in the instructions paint guide, which shows both sides.
Step 24 finishes up the engine build with a few more parts. The problems began in the next step ...
Steps 25 - 26
In step 25, install the engine in the engine compartment. As mentioned previously, this was a big problem that I could not fix. If you look closely at the above photos, there are gaps, hoses that are not (and cannot be) connected to fittings, and even a noticeable warp or bend in the sidewalls, plus the engine is slightly tilted. What I should have done, since none of this is visible once the rear engine deck is installed, was to cut the entire engine assembly out and move on. What might be a better sequence to follow would be to build the engine per the instructions and install it BEFORE installing the engine compartment sidewalls in steps 16 - 17. I don't know if that would be a better way to go, but I can only say following the instructions did not work for me. Another concern was because of the tracks, I had to be very careful handling the kit so I didn't break any of the links apart. It might almost be best to install the engine and then the tracks.
In step 26, install hose/tubing on the top on the rear of the engine; I did install Q3-29 and Q3-30 on the rear, but held off on the top part, R3-6 until step 33 when I could install the sub-assembly the tubing fits into.
Steps 27 - 29
In step 27, depending on which option (!AB or !C), shave off certain connection points, build up an ammo rack for six x 88mm rounds, and attach that to the right sponson floor, as well as a fuel tank and lines, and some small pieces of equipment.
In step 28, build up nine sub-assemblies as shown, but one is for option !AB and one for !C.
In step 29, choose your option and attach the respective parts per the drawing to build up and install equipment boxes, gas mask canisters, radio rack, and an ammo rack for 15 x 88mm rounds.
Steps 31 - 33
In step 31, attach fuel tank and tubing, and ammo rack with 10 x 88mm rounds, plus MG ammo cans, gas mask canister, equipment, to the left sponson floor.
In step 32, install an ammo rack with 15 x 88mm rounds, a protective cover with equipment and storage boxes over the 10 x 88mm rounds, and then build up and install a protective cover for the 15 x 88mm rounds.
In step 33, attach both side sponson floors to the chassis, along with the rear sub-assembly (parts L25, L30, M8, M53, M56, M58), and attach part R3-6 (from step 26).
NOTE: I painted the ammo rounds per the paint guide and attached the two sets of decals each prior to building up the ammo racks. Again, depending on how you plan on displaying the kit, the ammo past the outermost rounds won't be visible, so the decision on whether to paint or not, decal or not, is purely personal. Although there are extra rounds on the sprue, there are only enough decals for the ones that go in the rack.
Steps 34 - 35
In steps 34 and 35, build up and install the left and right rear radiators and engine cooling extractor fans, additionally in step 35, apply decals 5 and 6 to driver's gauge panel and install same (refer to paint guide for decal placement). Because of the fit problems with the engine, these parts do not fit as well as they should. Fortunately, subsequent parts will hide most of the fit problems. NOTE: My photos of these steps were too blurry to use. Please refer to the First Look for the instructions view of this step.
In step 36, build up the rear hull plate with exhausts, maintenance ports, towing pintle, left and right storage boxes, and jack. I left the jack off until after the vehicle is painted. Attach the rear plate to the hull, along with tow cable shackles and tubing in the engine compartment (not seen in above photos). Here I ran into another problem. The rear hull plate has a tab on either side which are supposed to fit into corresponding slots on the rear main hull. These slots are just inside a molded weld line; one tab easily fit into the slot, but I could not manipulate the other tab into its slot. To add to my frustration, while trying to fit that side in, a pair of track links separated. So, I had to pause and glue the links and wait for the glue to dry. After several more failed attempts to get the plate tabs to fit in to the slots, I gave up and cut one tab off. Still no luck getting the rear plate to sit flush, so I ended up trimming off some of the lower engine, such as exhaust pipes and tubing, in order to get the rear hull plate in to position.
Steps 37 - 40
In these four steps, attach various brackets for tools, canister for barrel cleaning rods, and spare tracks (three pairs per side). I left off all the tools, canister, and tracks until after the vehicle was painted. The brackets and track hangers all went on without any problems.
Step 41 is building up the radio operator's MG34, which is very nicely detailed, although the barrel is not hollow. I couldn't find anything in my references to explain what all the parts are, but it went together easily and looks good. Install a "thickener" armor plate inside the front hull, and then install the MG34. I chose to leave it out until after the main gun assembly installation, just to make sure I didn't break it.
In step 42, choose option !A, !B, or !C. There are two type of MG34 exterior ball mounts, three types of main gun recess, and choice of one vision port, or one vision port plus a PE plate next to it to represent an extra vision port that has been plated over. I went with option !C. I either forgot to take a photo of this part of the build, or deleted it because it was out of focus. Please refer to the drawing in the First Look review.
Step 43 consists of 11 sub-assemblies to build up the main gun breech, recuperators, trunion mount, elevation and traverse wheels and arms, and gunner seat. Several of the drawings show arrows pointing to the unseen side or rear of another part for attachment, so dry fit and make sure subsequent parts will fit properly. The paint guide is helpful, since it shows a completed and painted gun assembly in place. Part F3-34 is very fragile - I broke it in to three pieces just trying to get it off the sprue, but I was able to use the upper and visible part.The drawing for placing part F3-27 shows it going in the wrong place - check the next drawing for correct placement. According to the paint guide, paint the gun assembly in red brown, interior buff, and either dark grey or black for the control hand wheels - they are not clearly marked, but looking at it, could be either.
Choose option !AB or !C, and attach internal muzzle ring and end cap to main gun barrel, which is then attached to the mantlet, and finally, insert the gun breech assembly into the rear of the gun barrel and mantlet assembly. Attach an intercom (radio?) to side of the internal mantlet next to the radio operator position. At this point, I installed the MG34 assembly.
Steps 45 - 46
In step 45, install part L5-13, a frame that goes around the engine compartment. Because of the fit problems caused by the engine and the surrounding parts, the frame has a small gap on one side. Install the upper hull fighting compartment to the lower hull. Just like the rear hull plate, the front hull has a tab on either side that must fit into slots on the lower hull sides. Once again, I could not get both tabs into their respective slots. I was concerned about breaking track links apart, or damaging the main gun assembly by forcing the tabs into place, so I shaved one tab off, glued it into the slot, and then super-glued the upper hull to the lower hull. Despite trying to be as careful as possible, I managed to break track links apart on both sides, but just re-glued them and moved on. Because of the engine compartment snafu, the rear hull sides do not fit properly, leaving a noticeable gap on both sides.
In step 46, attach PE screens to the armored air intakes and exhausts, and attach to the engine deck. Attach two front fenders, with single headlight on left fender. Attach hooks to the left side rail for schurzen plates, and attach rail to hull side. Because I was concerned about trying to attach the schurzen plates to the hooks after attaching the rail, I glued the hooks to the rail, then attached the schurzen plates to the hooks. I had to enlarge the holes in the plates in order to get the hook through the hole. I then glued the rail to the hull side. NOTE: I had to study the drawing for a long time to figure out how to attach the hooks, K5-22, to the rail; when I tried to dry fit a hook, it went flying. Fortunately, it hit the hull and dropped where I could get it. The drawing is not very clear to my weak eyesight, even with an optivisor.
In step 47, choose either option !AB or !C for the type of hull roof, then add appropriate parts. I chose the roof with the air intake vent at the front of the roof over the gun mount. Note the inside of the hatches has been painted dunkelgelb, vice Panzer interior buff like the rest of the vehicle interior. This is based on discussions about whether tankers would want a light colored piece of equipment being visible to an enemy gunner.
In step 48, install the last hatch set, interior roof details, and install roof on hull top. Install PE screens on the left and right engine cooling extractor fan armored covers, and install on engine deck. I left the roof unglued in order to look at the interior detail, and all hatches are also unglued.
Steps 49 - 50
In step 49, build up the engine access hatch cover with armored fuel caps, access ports, stops, and attach to engine deck. Attach the right hand side schurzen rail and hooks. I did the same as in step 46, attaching the hooks to the rail, and then the one piece schurzen plates to the hooks. I also had to enlarge the holes in order to get the hooks through, losing one hook to the carpet monster. The engine access hatch cover is held on by blue-tac so the engine compartment can be viewed.
In step 50, build up the rear fighting compartment plate, adding the escape hatch, shell port, antenna mounting bracket. I tried to leave the hatch unglued so it would open and close, but apparently some glue leaked into the hinge, which actually broke off the first time I tried to open it. I repaired the damage and left it closed.
Steps 51 - 52
Both steps are building up the tow cables using the supplied wire, and attaching one cable to each side. NOTE: In order to run the cable through parts Q3-33 on the rear engine deck, run the wire through first, and then glue the tow cable loop on to the end - otherwise, it won't fit through Q3-33. Glue parts H5-12 onto the post at the front of the hull where the tow cable loop is.
The Jagdpanther was airbrushed with Vallejo dunkelgelb, 71.025; panzer olive, 71.096; and armor brown, 71.041.
A smaller and thinner piece of wire is supplied for this cable.
Tools are supplied with molded on clamps, but there is a second set of tools without clasps for those who might want to use PE clasps.
What a terrible sight this would have been for an Allied tanker!
Commander's binocular sights and gunner's monocular sight
The spare tracks have small L-shaped pins that hold the tracks in - they are fragile, I broke one and launched one, replacing it with part of a small staple
Decals were laid down using MicroSet and MicroSol
Notice the bend or warp in the rear plate
PROS: Highly detailed, with multiple options for an early or late G1. Minimal sprue knockout holes, located where they won't be seen. Except for problems noted in the review comments and CONS, parts fit together well; remove from sprues without problems; and look good.
CONS: Tracks are very fragile, falling apart several times in different places during subsequent steps. The engine did not fit properly into its compartment, leading to a number of fit problems in subsequent steps. The tabs at the rear and front could not be fitted into their respective slots, and one of each had to be cut off, causing fit problems at the rear. Some of the drawings are a little vague on part placement, and at least one showed incorrect placement. The rear fighting compartment plate has a noticeable warp or bend when attached - possible due to the engine deck fit problems.
Recommended for experienced Intermediate to Advanced builders.
Thanks goes out to TAKOM for this review kit.
Reviewed by Joseph "Mac" McDaniel
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