Dragon are certainly one manufacturer that like to get the most out of their tooling's, and their cousin Cyber Hobby likewise. After the plethora of recent Panthers, we are now offered the Panther D with Stadtgas by Cyber Hobby. The Panther, as everybody knows, was the Germans answer to the technological set-back of the Russians T-34, and underwent various modifications during it's lifetime. This particular option,as far as I know, was never found on the battlefield and was only ever used for training purposes, as Germany began to suffer more and more from the effects of fuel shortages.
This kit is basically the recent Dragon 'Premium' offering of the Panther D, with added gas tanks for the rear of the engine decks.
Panther D 'Premium' Review
The only things that are different to the Premium Panther D recently released by Dragon are
a new photo etched fret, and a small styrene one. More on these later.
The new photo etch fret holds the rectangular bases that fit on to the rear engine deck, and onto which are placed the six cylinders holding the 'Stadtgas'. Also to be found are the appropriate circular brackets for holding the cylinders, along with their tiny wingnuts, along with a few spares for those that 'ping' or for the spares box!
The cylinders themselves are on a new sprue, on which we are also given two new Bosch headlights..........more for the spares box! The cylinders are moulded in one piece, thanks to slide moulds, apart from the base of each of course, and the fuel lines for each are provided in the ubiquitous black vac-formed tray. Pre-bent of course! The instructions make the fitting of these lines fairly fool-proof by 'colour-coding' the pipes on the instructions. This should work, providing of course, that you get the location of the cylinders themselves exactly right in the first place! Many I suspect, will choose to replace these pre-bent wires with their own choice of wire. I would have liked to have seen the option of headlights without the armoured covers, especially since the only pictures I have ever seen of this variant has unarmoured lights.
Since the Premium Panther D has only been released a matter of a couple of months, it's hardly old............ but you get the idea! The kit is beautifully produced, that has to be said. A one piece lower hull onto which the swing arms are placed, so allowing for positioning if it's to be placed in a diorama, metal towing shackles, and an aluminium barrel.
Unfortunately, you don't get those lovely brass smoke dischargers that were in the Premium release.......... which is no big fault, since I've yet to see a picture of one of these with smoke discharger's fitted. As with the premium release, there's a lovely MG34 included, with a pre-drilled barrel and ammunition bag, separate pistol ports, along with a length of chain should you wish to leave them hanging, and all the appropriate grills for the engine deck are supplied on the large photo etched fret.
The on vehicle tools are all supplied with or without moulded on clamps, and photo etched clamps are provided of course. The tracks supplied are the same 'Magic Tracks' supplied in the premium release, with a few sprues of link being supplied on a sprue with separate guide horns for use around the drive sprockets. The detail on these is superb!
We are also given a photo etched spare track-link rack, and very fine locking pins and chains for the spare track-links themselves. Lastly, there is a very convincing travel lock chain made up of 6 thicknesses of photo etch.
These are somewhat limited by the nature of the vehicle itself, but Cyber Hobby have offered only one dark yellow Panther from Panzer-Versuchs und Ersatz-Abteilung 300 (Fkl), Eisenach 1944. So the decal sheet is very small, consisting of only 4 small Balkancreuz and the legend 'Farrschule' twice.
A very nice kit indeed......... as was the Panther D 'Premium' release, of course, but this kit offers something a little more unusual in the shape of the gas cylinders which will really give your model the appearance of something a little out of the ordinary! Recommended.