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Rye Field Panther Ausf G

FineScale Modeler reviews the 1/35 scale armor kit with more than 1,900 parts
RELATED TOPICS: ARMOR
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The German Panther tank was an important vehicle in World War II, and no fewer than four manufacturers are issuing new Panther kits this year. First to fire is Rye Field Model with its Panther G (early/late). It features a full interior, and in the initial release the hull top and turret pieces are molded in clear plastic to show off the interior. They and the rest of the tan plastic parts are well molded with excellent detail and almost invisible parting lines. The clear parts are very transparent, and while there are some unavoidable ejector-pin marks they are well placed to be less visible.

The kit includes two sheets of photo-etch (PE): a thicker one with the floor rails and crossbeams, and a thinner one loaded with details and full screens for the rear deck. Also included are some extras: a pair of steel-rimmed road wheels (seen on the rear of some Panthers) and a couple of additional wheels with no bolts and separate vinyl rims (if you want to show maintenance in progress).

The expansive instruction booklet has large assembly diagrams; interestingly, steps for the early version are printed green to alert you to construction options.

Decals cover three Panthers, and there is a large sheet of stencils and details for the interior. Three-view color drawings are provided for each subject, along with color CADs of the interior to help with painting. 

Unlike most armor models, assembly begins with the turret. You can add a spring to the gun so it recoils. If you decide to build the early G, you will need to remove some details from the outside of the clear turret. Early on, the instructions add small detail parts to the outside of the turret; I waited until final assembly to add them to avoid knocking them off.

I mostly used Tamiya thin cement with the clear parts, but you have to be very careful; I did get a few glue marks here and there. For adding the small parts to the outside, I found Testors 8872 liquid cement worked well.

Two sizes of soft lead wire are provided to make some of the piping in the turret basket. I was impressed with how well everything fit. The only real problem I had was with the two-piece ventilator hose (parts B16 and B14). While I got the two parts close, I could not get them to match as they should. 

Next came the hull top. While assembling the bow machine gun, my tweezers sent the interior mount (J16) into Neverland. So, I left out the gun.

Since I was making a late G, I needed to remove some detail from the clear hull for the front ventilator. I was worried about the damage showing, but the parts covered most of the area. You have the option of adding the heater to the rear deck. It’s not clear, but I believe you only use the shutters (G8/G9) if you use the heater option.

One of the most frustrating jobs was adding the PE spare-track brackets to their rails. Although the kit provides rails for mounting schürzen armor, none is included. I left the rails off my kit. 

The lower hull is where you’ll spend most of your time. Start by adding the side pieces to the bottom plate. Even using the rear plate and engine bulkhead as spacers as shown, I found the PE cross members would not fit. I pulled off one side (leaving it attached at the rear), added the cross members and the torsion rods, then glued it back in place to get everything to fit properly.

I found it easier to add the engine compartment PE rails (Z17, Z19, Z20) after the engine bulkhead was in place. While building the engine, I managed to install the manifold (K28) backwards. (I think I may have removed a locator during cleanup.) I installed the rear plate before adding all the details to it.

The tracks are single-piece individual links held together with small pins (like the real thing). A jig lets you do six links at a time; the pins require a tiny dab of cement to hold them in place. I used 87 links per side, as instructed, but I think one less link would have looked better. Perhaps I didn’t adjust the idler mount properly. 

I spent 56 hours building the Panther, quite a bit more than usual. But then there is a lot more to this kit than most. If you want to show a Panther during manufacturing, under maintenance (either minor or major), or just want to leave some hatches open, everything you need is supplied.

The finished model matched exactly the dimensions found in Squadron/Signal’s Panther in Action book. Also valuable was the Uwe Feist/Bruce Culver book on the Panther.

You’ll need modeling experience to tackle this kit, but I found the detail and fit excellent. 


Note: A version of this review appeared in the October 2018 issue.

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