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Tamiya 1/48 scale German Panther Type G

Kit: No. 32520
Scale: 1/48
Manufacturer: Tamiya, from Tamiya America, 800-826-4922,
Price: $30
Comments: Injection-molded, 189 parts (4 vinyl, 1 cast-metal, 1 string), decals
Pros: Excellent fit and detail, link-and-length tracks
Cons: No screens for rear deck, simplified tools, fixed suspension
The Panther G is a further expansion of Tamiya's 1/48 scale armor line. Molded in tan plastic, the kit shows excellent surface detail. Typical of Tamiya's 1/48 scale kits, the lower hull is cast metal. Alternate parts are provided for the engine deck, exhausts, and gun mantlet. The link-and-length- style tracks are injection-molded plastic. All the main hatches are molded separately, so they may be positioned open or closed, although no interior parts or figures are included in the kit. While all of the tools are molded off the hull, several are molded to their respective racks making painting a bit more difficult. Markings for four Panthers are provided on the well-printed decal sheet.

A few plastic pieces have to be added to the metal hull, so super glue or epoxy will be required. I suggest temporarily attaching the upper hull to the lower hull before installing the front plate (C8) to make sure the parts line up. I skipped installing the running gear until most of the painting was finished. I added all but a few of the detail parts to the upper hull and built the turret. Everything was then given a coat of panzer yellow mixed from Tamiya paints.

Before painting the camouflage, I once again attached the upper and lower hulls with the two screws provided. The engine hatch and machine-gun blister were spot glued to the hull so they could be removed later. I airbrushed the "ambush" pattern to the hull and turret using Tamiya red-brown and olive green. The contrasting spots were applied with a brush.

The decals went on well with a touch of Solvaset to shrink them down over the detail. When the decals were dry, I disassembled the hull halves so I could install the tracks. The tracks are well-molded except for some ejector pin marks on the inside surface. They fit perfectly and capture the look and sag of Panther tracks.

Once the tracks were in place, the hull halves went together, and all of the small parts were added to the hull. The running gear and lower hull were sprayed with a dilute solution of Tamiya dark earth and alcohol. Finally, I gave the model my usual wash and dry-brush treatment.

The finished model looks great, was easy to build, and matches perfectly to the dimensions in David Doyle's The Standard Catalog of German Military Vehicles. Tamiya's Panther took about 10 hours to build, with about half the time spent painting the complex camouflage. This would be a great kit for the beginner getting started in 1/48 scale armor.

- John Plzak


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