by: Mark [ ]
The Bergepanther Ausf. G used the Panther Ausf. G hull. All the rest of the vehicle was carried over from the Ausf. A. Only Demag produced the Ausf. G variant. Production switched from the Ausf. A to the Ausf. G in October 1944. Between October 1944 and March 1945, 94 Ausf. G’s were produced. No records have been found that show production numbers, if any, for April 1945.
The other major changes were the incorporation of the flame suppressor exhaust muffler, the jib crane mounts moved to the rear deck and the hull MG ball mount.
What’s in the Box
This kit is from Takom and released in 2019. This is a large box, measuring 15in x 9.5in x 5in (38cm x 24cm x 12.7cm). The kit has just over 1300 parts. What’s in the box:
28 sprues molded in grey
1 upper hull molded in grey
2 track assembly jigs
1 brass PE fret
2 metal cables
2 metal chains
1 nylon string
1 decal sheet
1 30 page Instruction manual with painting guide
Looking at the Kit
Instructions – Standard Takom format, consisting of 30 pages of computer graphics. The dark color of the graphics can make it difficult to see details. Assembly is broken down into 52 steps. Many of the steps have multiple sub-steps.
Sprues – The quality of the styrene is clean and crisp. There is little to no flash on any of the parts. Any ejector pin marks are located such that they shouldn’t be seen once built. Sprues have their identification letter stenciled making them easy to identify.
PE – One brass fret is provided. This fret contains only the radiator grills. The grills are nicely rendered and look the part.
Let’s Look at the Build Process
Assembly begins with the lower hull plate. This is a multi-part hull instead of a bathtub style. Steps 1-2 add floor structural parts and plumbing.
Here Takom has the entire transmission assembly as a sub-step for Step 2. This makes no sense at all. One, this should be its own complete step (it consists of 32 separate parts). Two, it doesn’t actually get installed until Step 4. Either make this Step 3, or a sub-step of Step 4.
Step 3 has two halves. One half installs additional floor structure. The other half begins assembly of the right side hull part.
Step 4 is again split into two halves. One half installs the transmission assembly from Step 2. The other half addresses the left side hull part.
Steps 5 and 6 install the torsion bar suspension to each hull side. You will then have to be careful inserting the side assembly through the floor structural supports. All of the holes and bars will have to line up as well as line up with the other hull side. Step 6 also assembles the steering linkage assembly.
Step 7 installs the external suspension parts and swing-arms.
Step 8 has no reason to exist. The track jigs double as a jig to make sure all the swing-arms are aligned. This should be part of Step 7, when you actually install the swing-arms.
Step 9 installs all the roadwheels and the drive sprocket cover. No poly-caps are used, so I would recommend leaving these off to be painted separately and install at the end of the build. They are also molded as one piece, so the rubber portion will need to be painted separately.
Step 10 deals with several subassemblies for the driver and radio operator’s seats. You also assemble the instrument and distribution panel. Once this is painted, don’t forget to add the decals. These are not identified in the step, but, only in the painting guide at the end of the manual.
Steps 11 to 12 begins installing the assemblies from Step 10 along with the rear firewall.
Step 13 to 14 installs the left and right side engine compartment dividers, along with a few items in the main compartment. You also add the idler wheel shafts.
Steps 15-17 deal with assembling the tracks. It has you assemble the drive sprockets and idler wheels. Insert these into the jig. Then slowly add the link and length track sections. The jig should make keeping everything lined up easier. You do not install the lower track section until after the assembly has been fitted to the kit. That way you will have flexibility to get the track lined up with the roadwheels. (DO NOT GLUE ANY PARTS TO THE JIG)
The tracks require you to install the guide horns separately. Fortunately, Trumpeter has grouped the guide horns on a sub-sprue. You remove them by groups that match the lengths of track. Glue them into position, paying attention to their orientation. Once the glue has dried, you cut away the sprue, clean-up the attach points, and you are ready to go.
Steps 18-19 assembles the 40t winch. The kit includes string for the cable. The instructions do not tell you how long the cable should be. The Meng Ausf. A kit calls out the cable to be 150mm in length. All of the rotating parts are left unglued so that the winch is operational, in theory.
Step 20-21 assembles the left and right panniers and attaches them to the lower hull.
Step 22 adds the right side radiator and some hull structural supports.
Step 23 installs the forward bulkhead and winch assembly.
Steps 24-26 assemble the engine. There are lots of small and delicate parts here. Just be careful when removing them from the sprues.
Step 27 installs the engine.
Step 28 adds the cooling lines. A rear view would have been nice to have to clarify part locations.
Step 29 adds the coolant and fuel filler tanks. You are provided a view from the rear showing the positioning of the lines.
Steps 30 adds the left radiator assembly.
Steps 31 assembles the rear hull panel. This is only the access plates and exhaust mufflers. You are provided with multiple exhaust configurations. You have the single pipes with both styles of armor covers. You also have the flame suppressor mufflers with the two styles of armored covers.
Step 32 begins assembly of the upper hull by adding the radiator exhaust fan hatches and the equipment and spare track racks for the left side Leave the tools off for now for separate painting.
Step 33 The sub-step assembles the radiator inlets with PE grills. You also add more tooling
Steps 34-35 adds the engine deck cover and hatch. You also add all of the equipment racks and tooling to the right side.
Steps 36 assembles the ball MG and the driver’s periscope.
Step 37 adds the radio rack.
Step 38 adds the armored covers for the MG and the rain cover for the driver’s periscope.
Step 39 assembles the front fenders and attaches the upper hull to the lower hull.
Steps 40-41 adds the schurzen. This is molded as one piece. If you want to display with panels missing, you will need to cut it into sections. You also add the reinforced tow coupling and the roller support for the winch cable on the rear hull.
Step 42 assembles and attaches the spade.
Steps 43-45 adds the tow bars. You can display the tow bars stored on the engine deck, or assembled for use. You also add the tow cables.
Steps 46-47 assembles the wooden superstructure. You have the choice of the rain cover extended or retracted. You can have the jib crane in the stowed position. You also add the unditching beam.
Steps 48-49 shows the options for installing the superstructure in its various configurations.
Steps 50-52 assembles the jib crane and installs it on the right side of the hull. No option is provided to install it on the left side.
Painting: Paint call-outs are only for Ammo-Mig products. A 2 page guide is incorporated within the manual for painting the interior. It would be much better if this were a separate guide. No color callouts are provided in the instructions.
The interior paint guide is correct for a late 1944 vehicle. The interiors were all left in RAL 8012, Red Oxide Primer. They were not painted RAL 1001, Elfenbein (Ivory) starting from August 1944. Interior components were left in whatever color they were received from the supplier.
Two additional color pages provide paint schemes along with weathering suggestions.
Decals –These are printed in China. They lack the crispness, and clarity, of those you see from Cartograf. Options are provided for four vehicles:
s.H.Pz.Abt. 507, Ellierode, Germany April 1945
s.H.Pz.Abt. 512, Iserlohn, Germany April 1945
19th Panzer Div., Bolatice, Czechoslovakia, April 1945
503e RCC, Mourmelon, France, May, 1951
1. Panzer Tracts No.16: Bergepanzerwagen - Bergepanzer 38 to Bergepanther
2. Panzer Tracts No.16-1: Bergepanther Ausf.D, A, G