Tamiya - 1/48th Scale Panther Ausf. D
What’s Inside the Box
The 1/48th scale Panther D kit # 32597 is Tamiya’s latest addition to their growing line of quarter scale models. The kit contains 4 tan colored sprues, upper hull, one die cast metal lower hull, four poly caps, two metal screws, black thread for the tow cables and markings for 2 vehicles, all consisting of 175 parts. It contains many parts unique to this variant. The turret has been redone to represent the Panther D’s side pistol ports and cupola. This attention to detail can also be said for the hull with its lower sides, machine gun port and driver’s vision port in the front glacis. The suspension has been updated to include the 16 bolt road wheels and early Panther tracks used on this vehicle. Just as in all other 1/48th scale kits from Tamiya, the tracks are link and length. Unlike most recent 1/48 scale kits that have done away with the die cast pre-primed lower hull, this kit contains one from their earlier Panther G and Jagdpanther kits. I can understand why Tamiya has chosen the easy route and rebox the recycled lower hull, but it would have been nice to see them redo it in plastic as they have done for other kits.
The instructions contain 10 pages and include 19 separate steps to construct the Panther D. They are typical Tamiya (which means they better than any other companies) and are clear, concise and very easy to follow for beginner modelers. The kit also includes a Background Information booklet which contains information regarding the Panther D’s service with the Japanese, English, French and Germans . It also contains camouflage, markings and color call outs to make two versions of the Panther D that served in the Kursk Offensive in July 1943.
There are two ‘A’ sprues and they contain all the necessary parts to build the suspension (wheels, drive sprocket, tracks, and parts for the upper hull). The wheels and drive sprockets are easy to assemble and very nicely detailed. The sag for the tracks is very good but the link and length tracks are a bit difficult to construct if you do not follow the instructions properly.
The ‘B’ sprue consists of the turret (upper, lower, side, mantlet and barrel), rear hull plate, copula, commander figure and some other parts for the hull. The turret parts are molded perfectly and its construction is very easy and straight forward. One issue that I do have is with the rear plate. The rear stowage bins are molded on the rear plate and considering their size could have easily been molded separately with better detail. I am not one for figures, but the commander figure for the cupola is excellent and could easily pass off as one in 1/35th scale.
The ‘C’ sprue consists of parts for the idler wheels, exhaust, sponsons, side skirts, tools and parts for the hull. The exhaust is molded well, but will need to be drilled out a bit for scale. The side skirts are molded as one continuous piece and although they look good, is a short cut Tamiya makes with kits in this scale. This same short cut is evident when it comes to the tools. Part #27, #28 and #33 are all molded as one piece and continues to be very disappointing in my opinion. Tamiya has the ability to mold these parts separately, but takes the easy way out and molds them as one piece.
The hull is molded on its own sprue with 4 connection points (2 in the turret ring) and 2 on the outside. The hull is molded crisp and flash free. But again, the molding has its shortcomings. The front driver’s hatches are molded on the hull with solid grab handles. Considering the size of this kit in this scale, there should be no reason why these parts are molded as they are other than to make the molding process easier.
Tamiya includes markings for two Panther D’s that served during the Kursk offensive during July of 1943. The markings are very thick and you will need a copious amount of setting solution for them to settle down over the detail of the turret and hull. Some of the decals are cut in sections to allow them to better fit around the turret detail. This was a very good idea by Tamiya and should make them easier to apply. Tamiya also includes 4 poly caps. Two of them are to allow the drive sprockets to be workable which is needed to fit the link and length tracks on properly. The other two are for the manlet to allow the gun to move up and down. Tamiya includes a black cotton thread to represent tow cables. They are not very good but serve the purpose if you choose to use them. Finally, there are two metal screws to attach the plastic upper hull to the die cast lower hull.
This is a very good kit and a welcome addition to Tamiya’s ever growing 1/48th scale family. The ease of construction makes it a great kit for beginners and the soft detail in some areas begs for upgrades from more experienced modelers. The link and length tracks and suspension is molded perfectly and are a great addition to the kit.
Highly Recommended for those looking for a good representation of the Panther D or anyone who likes to build German armor and quarter scale kits.
Thanks goes out to Tamiya for this review kit.
Reviewed by Robert Riviezzo, AMPS Long Island
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