Sd.Kfz.171 Panther A Late Type
Dragon Kit No. 6168
1/35th Scale
In Box Review by Terry Ashley

This is the third in the Panther series from Dragon and represents a late Panther Ausf.A model.

Upgrades to the Ausf.A from November/early December 1943 were the inclusion of a Kugelblenda (ball mount) hull machine gun mount in the glacis plate and the monocular Gun Sight in the turret along with the deletion of the turret pistol ports.
There were also internal improvements for the turret traversing mechanism, gun mantlet and turret race seals as well as for the Maybach HL 230 P30 engine. Gradually reinforced road wheels with 24 rim bolts replaced the earlier 16 rim bolts as stocks of the older wheels were used up.
Another feature of the new Ausf.A turret was the interlocking side of the Ausf.D was dovetailed into the front turret plate while the Ausf.A join was square cut.

The Kit:Dragon
The kit has the same 242 parts in light gray plastic plus another 192 for the individual track links from Kit No. 6160 along with a new sprue M with an additional 31 parts for the late A. Obviously some of the parts on the original sprues are not used in this kit, these are shown in the instructions.

Dragon have done their homework on this version as they did on the previous kits, the new parts are a new front hull plate with the ball MG mount. This 'ball' is cast in two halves, the upper half as part of the front plate and lower section with the MG opening, this results in a seam across the top of the mount but this will no doubt be covered when the zimmerit is applied so isn't really an issue.
The rear plate has the later three pipe left exhausts along with the revised engine starter hatch with the towing hold attached and later style jack positioned between the exhausts as well as the repositioned convoy light, while the hull has the small plates for pushing the track pins back into place for the rear hull sides.
The turret has the later mantlet with single sighting aperture as well as the two small hoisting points on the top edges of the mantlet, that's attention to detail. The later style roof ventilator and point defence weapon port are added to the roof as well as flush plugs for the pistol ports but these were eliminated altogether on late As.
The hull gets .

Also included is a small decal sheet and side Schuerzen (soft steel skirts) included as pre-cut thin plastic card, a nice touch as with the previous kits.

The upper hull features very nice surface details with engraved panel lines, there is also bolt head detail around the turret race ring that you don't see when the turret is in place (attention to detail?). The engine deck also sees separate fan covers with a choice of spiral or radial pattern louvers, this allows a mixture of the two fan covers. A separate centre engine access hatch is also provided if you want to include an aftermarket resin engine?
It also has separate front hatches with nice internal detail included as well as separate periscopes in front of the hatches. There are also large pieces to fill in the undersides of the hull overhang to eliminate the "hollow" look.

The lower hull has all the access plates included on the bottom as well as the suspension and axles moulded integral with the hull moulding. The hull moulding also has internal bracing to ensure the sides don't warp when taken from the moulds and to add strength. The road wheels all feature the 24 rim bolts.

The turret also features very nice surface details with separate commander's cupola, rear plate which in turn has a separate circular hatch. The loader's periscope is also a separate piece as are all the other items on the turret roof.
The gun is in two halves with the usual seam removal required and features a very nice muzzle brake which looks correct when compared to photos.

There are many smaller parts to add around the hull and turret which I won't mention individually, but just about every item is a separate part featuring very fine details, this all adds to the nice detail of the finished kit.

The tracks are all separate links with good track pattern included, it is non working track but will enable you to glue together with the appropriate track sag.

Two decal options are supplied, 12th Panzer Regiment, La Villeneuve, Normandy, June 1944 with three colour cam scheme and 130th Panzer Lehr Regiment, Normandy, June 1944 with an overall dark Yellow cam scheme.

The instructions are the now usual colour photos with exploded views of the parts during assembly.

In all another excellent kit from Dragon with nice details everywhere and correctly shows the features of an late Ausf.A Panther. Highly recommended for German armour fans.

The Sprues:

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The Panther has been covered in many publications over the years. I have listed here some of those but there are others I have probably missed.
Some earlier references have information that has been updated in recent books as more accurate information has come to light.

Also see reviews of the;
Dragon Panther A Early Type (Kit No.6160)
Gum Ka etched detail sets for this and the Panther D kits.

Page created 9 December 2002

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