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HobbyBoss 1/48 scale German Sd.Kfz.171 Pz.Kpfw.Ausf.A plastic model kit review

A simple Panther with great fits and decals
Kit:84830 // Scale:1/48 // Price:$44.99
HobbyBoss (Sample courtesy of mfr.)
Great fit; very nice link-and-length tracks; nice photo-etched metal grilles; three complete sets of numeral decals
Ejector-pin marks; no option for open turret hatches; missing right machine-gun port; tools molded on
Injection-molded plastic (light desert tan); 230 parts (6 resin parts, 6 photo-etched metal parts, 14 rubber vinyl parts); decals
The Panther first appeared in the summer of 1943 and was used by the Germans for the remainder of World War II. The first Panther was not actually the Ausf A, but the Ausf D, with the Ausf A produced from July to December 1943.

The HobbyBoss 1/48 scale German SdKfz 171 PzKpfw Ausf A plastic model kit comes in a convenient, top-opening box with individually wrapped sprues inside. The box art shows one of the two schemes offered in the kit. The plastic looks great, particularly the nice road wheels and track detail. There is no hint of any sink marks. You will find some ejector-pin marks on the inside of the track links, but for the most part, they will not be visible on the final build. If they bother you, sanding should take care of the issue. The kit is not molded with Zimmerit, an anti-magnetic coating first applied at the factories in late August and early September 1943. This would be accurate for many Ausf A versions, but probably not a majority of them.

The instructions are well laid out in 14, easy-to-follow steps. Most of the kit is devoted to the wheels, gears, and tracks. The instructions provide helpful directions and a side profile of a completed track with accurate sag, but only for the left side of the tank. Since the tracks are directional, you need to keep this in mind when you start on the right side so that both sides match.

Once the road wheels and track are completed, the assembly goes quickly. Paint the interior before gluing the hull in place because it will be visible through the open grilles. The photo-etched metal (PE) parts in the kit are perfect for first-time users, with no bending involved. The PE parts drop in place and add visually to the finished model.

There is only one part that I found confusing: the tube attached to the hull (Part A3). The directions are vague as to how this should be attached.

The decals went down flawlessly and looked great under a dull coat. I added a stretched sprue antenna to the rear of the hull and weathered the tank.

HobbyBoss has re-entered the 1/48 scale armor market with a great little Panther. I generally build 1/48 armor as a relaxing change of pace between more involved kits. This HobbyBoss 1/48 scale German SdKfz 171 PzKpfw Ausf A plastic model is perfect for just having fun building, painting, and weathering a kit. Any modeler who has a couple of models under their belt should have no issue with this kit. I would also recommend it to anyone trying to tackle their first armor kit. It builds into a convincing Panther for your shelf.
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