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Takom Bergepanther Ausf A

FineScale Modeler reviews the 1/35 scale armor kit with more than 1,000 parts
RELATED TOPICS: ARMOR
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Packed inside the box for Takom’s Bergepanther Ausf A are 27 sprues of crisply detailed gray parts with terrific detail. A nice rolled metal print is subtle on the hull as is the wood grain on the floor and the walls of the workers tub.

This kit features a full interior with the Maybach engine, the massive winch, and the drivers’ compartment. 

The 34-page instruction book includes a brief history of the Bergepanther, a parts-tree map, and color images of the interior with paint callouts. The instructions reference Ammo by Mig Jimenez colors which I matched to Tamiya acrylics on my build. I found the instructions difficult to follow in places as the locations of many subassemblies are unclear. Also, the kit features several build options, but those are not matched to the marking choices.

The hull comprises a floor and two sidewalls that assemble around the transmission and drivers’ compartment. Take care to align the torsion bars so the sides fit properly.

Building the link-and-length tracks was the most frustrating part of the build. If you follow the instructions like I did, the tracks are simply unworkable. The instructions have you install the guide horns on the individual track links, then wrap the links around a jig to shape the runs around the drive sprocket and idler and produce realistic sag in the upper run. After the run is set, it is supposed to be installed over the road wheels already on the hull, a task made almost impossible because the guide horns interfere with the wheels. I ended up breaking off the guide horns and mounting the tracks over the road wheels. But, that made it almost impossible to correctly install the guide horns. It may be possible to mount the parts in layers, but I recommend replacing the kit tracks with an aftermarket set. The tracks are a letdown on an otherwise great kit.

The 40,000-kilogram winch came next. Running the nylon wire around the numerous spools and gears is a bit tedious and you need to pay attention to the instructions to ensure the cables and wires get strung correctly. The hard work pays off with a very convincing bit of machinery at the end.

Assembly of the detailed Maybach engine was straightforward, but be careful attaching the engine compartment components; if anything is off, the upper hull won’t fit over it. Sadly, most of the detail will be hidden unless you open one or more of the engine hatches.

The workers tub will hide the winch, but it can be left loose. The wood grain molded into the floor of the box is very convincing, especially with brown and black washes to highlight details. The kit provides open and closed covers for the drivers’ compartment. There are two types of crew compartment covers you can install, one to cover the compartment or one stowed. 

The boom can be position stowed or deployed, and the kit provides a choice of brass chain or plastic parts for the rigging.

The few decals went on without issues.

I spent 82 hours building Takom’s Bergepanther, far longer than I anticipated. Most of that time was spent on the tracks and trying to get them to fit right. The rest of the project was straightforward and a blast to build. I love the detail this kit offers and I am pretty sure anyone who likes German armor will want to build Takom’s Bergepanther.


Note: A version of this review appeared in the February 2019 issue.

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