The SdKfz 173 8.8 cm PaK 43/3 auf Panzerjäger Panther or “Jagdpanther” was one of the best tank destroyers’ on the WWII battlefield. Built on the Panther chassis and armed with the lethal 88mm PaK 43 anti-tank gun, it was able to take out any allied AFV at ranges of over 1000 meters. The production of the Jagdpanther started in January 1944 and by the end of the war around 415 vehicles were produced. The G2 version is fitted with the ausf G engine deck, which makes the distance between the rear of the fighting compartment and the engine hatch differ from the earlier ausf A models. The rear grills are also the smaller ones from the ausf G. It is also fitted with a smaller gun mantle, which is bolted on the frontal armor.
The kit comes in the usual Dragon Models
size box, with a nice box art from good old Ron Volstad. The sprues are molded in light grey styrene, which are sealed in clear plastic bags. The kit contain over 420 parts, which come as follows:
- 19 sprues molded styrene
- 1 sprue molded in clear styrene
- 1 slide molded hull tub
- 1 pair of DS Tracks
- 1 small fret of PE
- 1 small decal sheet
- 1 instruction booklet
has released this kit as a Smart Kit, which mean that there’s not too many small detail parts to glue, but still features plenty of crisp molded on detail to make a great model. As usual there’s a bunch of reused sprues in this kit. It’s almost a total kit bash between the Panther G late and the Jagdpanther late. Only one new sprue (P) for the G2 is to be found, which leaves a lot of extras or spare parts in this kit.
Wheels and suspension
The kit assembly starts with the construction of the sprocket wheels, the road wheels and idler wheels. These are all from Dragon Models
former Panther G kits, and are really nice and very detailed. The road wheel arms are connected to a torsion bar, and the finished hull bottom interior looks great when all these torsion bars are in place, but this fine detail doesn’t really make any sense, since none of it can be seen when the turret is mounted, and in real life they would be covered by the tank interior parts. Maybe Dragon Models
should give us more of these visible interior parts instead? Anyway, the road wheel arms are nicely molded, with lots of crisp details, such as bolts and weld lines.
Like the other Dragon Models
Panthers, this kit also includes air intake and ventilation parts for the engine bay, which is a nice detail, and it can be seen through the grills in the engine deck.
gives us two options for the track guidance “wheels”; one normal small wheel and a small steel “shoe”. The latter only fitted on the very last production runs of the Panther G.
The kit contains a set of Dragon Models
DS Tracks; which some either love or hate. Personally I’m not thrilled at all. I really do not understand why Dragon Models
don’t just supply us with both the DS and the Magic Tracks. It can’t be that much more expensive to include both types. Guess this is the never ending battle of opinions, but after all, the DS Tracks has improved a lot since the good old rubber band days.
The rear armor plate
The G2 version of the Jagdpanther had its tools removed from the side armor to the engine deck and the rear armor plate, which means a lot more work on this part than usual Panther builds. Dragon Models
gives you several options on the exhaust system, as they supply the kit with two kinds of exhaust housing, a welded one and a cast version with a flat bottom, and also the curved ends of the “Flammvernichters” can be chosen.
Do remember to drill holes for the tools in the rear armor plate!
The only things I find strange about this sub- assembly, is that the instructions show the drawings of the parts upside down, which for me doesn’t make sense. This is also present in the instructions of their other Panther kits instruction sheets.
The upper hull is excellent slide molded, with great attention to detail, such as weld lines and front fenders. The only real mystery is that they have molded the engine hatch closed, instead of giving the option of leaving it open. There’s no engine detail included in the kit, but there’s lots of opportunities on the AM market, and if one wants to super detail this build, and like to show the engine, it’s going to be annoying. Personally I’d have liked to see some more texture on the rolled armor plating, but this can be achieved with Mr Surfacer or such.
The engine deck assembly is pretty straight forward, and is identical to Dragon Models
later Panther ausf G’s. Dragon Models
gives different options for opening or closing of the grills on the right side and the heater for the crew compartment. Dragon Models
also supplies some nice PE mesh for the grills, which really adds to the realism. PE details are supplied for some of the smaller parts.
For secondary armament Dragon Models
gives us the familiar and very well executed MG 34 machine gun for the front hull. This is actually some of the only interior detail in the kit, which can be seen through the hatch. The main gun mantle is beautifully molded, with very nice casting details on the surface of the part, and excellent bolt details.
The 88 mm PaK 43 main gun come in several parts, 7 to be exact, and the barrel come in two pieces, and only needs a little clean up to remove the mold seam. The gun breech does not hold any real detail, apart from two recoil brake cylinders. Not much detail to a vehicle, which has so many hatches to look through.
Due to the replaced tools, the sides of the G2 version are a bit bare. Only the spare track brackets, the wooden block for the jack and an optional cleaning rod/antenna tube, are to be fitted. The kit does have a holder for wires, but no wire is supplied in the kit. The wire loops/ends are supplied with the kit, but is shown in the instruction sheet, as not to be used. I’m pretty sure that real life vehicles would have had the towing wires fitted, as this could have saved the vehicle from destruction, if broken down in the battlefield, so I would definitely add wires to my build.
The roof of the fighting compartment is a very busy place, with crew hatches, ventilator, periscopes and such. Dragon Models
offer several options to open or close hatches and the close defence weapon. Both crew hatches has great detail on both sides, especially some very nice handles and lock mechanism on the inside. The scissors periscope and mount looks very nice, and gives us at least a little interior detail.
Painting and markings
gives us painting guides for three different vehicles, all in different types of three tone camouflage colors. They are as follows:
- II./Pz-Lehr.Rgt. 130, Germany 1945
- Unidentified unit, East Prussia 1945
- Unidentified unit, Germany 1945
I really find it annoying when options are given as “Unidentified units”. What use or help is this at all? I’m quite sure Dragon Models
researchers can do better than that.
It’s a really great kit, and holds the same high standards in details and engineering as their resent Panther kits. And no, this is not just another Jagdpanther, it’s a “G2” version, which has not been produced before. I know there have been voices out there that the Dragon Models
instruction booklets are hard to use and understand, but I personally like them. Of course there are mistakes here and there, but generally I find them very good. And apart from my usual complaint against the DS Tracks, the only thing I really wish that Dragon Models
would pay more attention to is interior details. But again, we are treated with new kits every other day from different manufactures, and what do we do? Yes, we complain and nit pick AND want more.