Bergepanther Ausf. A, Assembled by Demag
Takom continues bringing military modelers interesting new releases, such as this new release of the Bergepanther Ausf. A as built by Demag. This kit includes a full interior, and is a multi-media offering with photoetch and other goodies as noted below. TAKOM has only been around since 2013, but has made a remarkable name for itself very quickly.
A Brief History of the Vehicle
As the Second World War dragged on, and as the German Army fielded heavier and heavier tanks, the need arose for heavier armored tank recovery vehicles to drag these disabled Tiger and Panther tanks out of harms way for repair or salvage. Tanks were generally prohibited from towing other disabled tanks ( this was often disregarded ) for fear of damage to the towing unit, and the heavy tank recovery Halftracks ( the 18 ton FAMOs ) were in short supply. It took as many as three FAMOs to tow a Tiger. The practice of using modified tank chassis to make recovery vehicles had already been established by the German Army, so when Panthers began rolling out of the factories in 1943, the recovery versions were not far behind.
In mid - 1943, the MAN ( Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg ) company, as well as the Henschel firm were tasked with building these new Panther-based recovery vehicles. Demag ( Deutsch Machinenfabrik AG ) became heavily involved shortly afterwards, producing a large number of Bergepanther units. According to the Spielberger volume on the Panther and it’s variants, a total of 297 units in total were built.
The critical component of the Bergepanther was it’s winch. The specifications laid out for this winch were that it needed a 40 ton capacity over a working distance of 150 meters. A suitable winch had already been designed by MAN for an engineering vehicle in 1940, and this winch was then adapted for use in the Bergepanther. A large rear mounted spade was used to stabilize the vehicle when winching operations of heavy vehicles were done. A light 2 ton jib crane was also developed to accomplish lighter tasks. These vehicles had some self-defense capability, with either an MG-34 machine gun or more rarely, a 20mm gun being mounted on it.
Interestingly, the DEMAG company still exists as a worldwide entity, building cranes and other material handling machinery used in ports and airports used by many, including the US armed forces. DEMAG also built the worlds largest floating crane pre WWI, which was used in the construction of the ill-fated RMS Titanic.
So what’s in the Box?
First, this is a BIG box. The box is the more or less usual 10” x15”, but it’s a full 5”” deep, compared to the usually seen 2.75 or 3.0”. As can be seen above, the box is full. I was able to get all the contents back into it fairly easily though, after initial photography of the kit parts.
All sprues are bagged neatly. No damage was noted to any of the sprues.
Okay, let’s look at what’s in this big box!
This kit contains a whopping 25 sprues of parts
Sprue detail - blowtorch and gas cans
Above - the hull bottom
Above - the nicely detailed upper hull
Above - this sprue contains engine parts
Above - lots of great detail on these parts
Above - there are some empty spots on some sprues, evidently parts not needed fir this particular version of the vehicle.
Above - lots of delicate parts in the kit, careful removal from the sprues will be a must.
Above - hull sides. This kit’s lower hull is made up of separate parts rather than a “tub”.
Above - Interior hull sides
Above - nicely detailed link and length tracks! Guide horns are added separately. You get two of these sprues.
Above - where the tracks hit the road...
Above - the guide horns for the track links. You get two of these sprues.
Above - “S” hooks, and other assorted bits
Above - torsion bars, drive sprockets. You get two of this sprue
Above - very nice detail on the sprockets
Above - road wheels...your typical Panther, lots of road wheels, you get two sprues of wheels.
Above - super clean detail
Above - winch compartment parts, and the spade.
Above - spade detail
Above - another angle on the spade
Above - nice wood grain detail!
Above - winch compartment sides, more very well done detail
Above - tools, tow cable ends, etc..
Above - nice engine deck fans
Above - these are jigs for both tracks and the road wheel suspension arms.
Above - very nice photoetch engine deck screens, and two chain lengths
Above - white twine for the winch cable, and two different diameters of twisted copper wire
Above - the kit decals
Above - the instruction booklet plus correction sheet
The instructions are well drawn, and uncrowded. 54 steps builds the kit.
Interior and exterior paint guidance is in full color, with Ammo by MIG colors called out. Paint and markings are given for 4 different vehicles
All of the above explains why such a deep box is needed. There are a LOT of parts to this kit. The really good news is that parts quality is exceptionally good as viewed on the sprues. The detail on these parts is very well rendered, being really crisp and sharp. There doesn’t appear to be any flash seen anywhere, and mold seams are no problem either. The parts of this kit are absolutely top shelf.
I have to say it...Wow. This kit looks really, really nice. The parts quality is outstanding, the instructions look crystal clear and user friendly, and the subject matter for the kit is a bit different and interesting. This looks like a fun build. If parts fit anywhere near equals the parts quality, this kit will go together quite well.
I'm looking forward to building this kit, so please check back for the Full Build review!
Highly Recommended! ( pending Full Build review )
Thanks to TAKOM for the review sample
Reviewed by Chuck Aleshire, AMPS Chicagoland.
Panther and it’s Variants, Walter J. Spielberger, Schiffer Publishing, ISBN 0-88740-397-2
Repairing the Panzers, German Tank Maintenance in WWII, Volume 1, Lukas Friedli, Panzerwrecks, ISBN 978-0-9841820-2-2
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