Thursday, 30 November 2017

Zvezda Panther A 1/100 15mm tank unboxing and review

Zvezda do make some great models you can use for 15mm gaming and ytou flames of war force, true they make some.. interesting kits too, but usually for the price of around 3 pounds they are ok, and pretty good for what you pay.  So lets lets look at their Panther model, which is m favourite German tank of WW2
 
 As always its really nice cover art on the little kits, but there is a problem... once more they are displaying the wrong mark panther on the cover compared to the one in the box!

 Notice on the back where you see the kit built it doe snot include the same MG mount on the hull. It is the letterbox mount which was a flap that opened, and this occurred on Panther Ds and only early panther As, so its a little irksome, and i wish they would have art that reflects the contents.  Though its only really going to matter to a grognard, as a panther is a panther to me, and i am sure there where plenty of these older marks a the end of the war still fighting, being pulled out of training units etc.


The Panther was a German medium tank deployed during World War II on the Eastern and Western Fronts in Europe from mid-1943 to its end in 1945. It had the ordnance inventory designation of Sd.Kfz. 171. Until 27 February 1944, it was designated as the Panzerkampfwagen V Panther when Hitler ordered that the Roman numeral "V" be deleted. Contemporary English language reports sometimes refer to it as the Mark V.
The Panther was intended to counter the Soviet T-34 and to replace the Panzer III and Panzer IV. Nevertheless, it served alongside the latter and the heavier Tiger I until the end of the war. It is considered one of the best tanks of World War II for its excellent firepower and protection. Its reliability was less impressive.


 Panther was a compromise. While having essentially the same engine as the Tiger I, it had more efficient frontal hull armour, better gun penetration, was lighter and faster, and could traverse rough terrain better than the Tiger I. The trade-off was weaker side armour, which made it vulnerable to flanking fire. The Panther proved to be effective in open country and long range engagements, but did not provide enough high explosive firepower against infantry.
The Panther was far cheaper to produce than the Tiger I, and only slightly more expensive than the Panzer IV. Key elements of the Panther design, such as its armour, transmission, and final drive, were simplifications made to improve production rates and address raw material shortages. The overall design remained somewhat over-engineered. The Panther was rushed into combat at the Battle of Kursk despite numerous unresolved technical problems, leading to high losses due to mechanical failure. Most design flaws were rectified in the German retreat, though the bombing of production plants, increasing shortages of high quality alloys for critical components, shortage of fuel and training space, and the declining quality of crews all impacted the Type's effectiveness.

So lets take a look at the kit....




 The instruction sheet is a nice component, as this kit does have a few more parts then your normal Zvezda kits, and for the first time it actually recommends glue instead of stating its a snap together kit.

The Panther was born out of a project started in 1938 to replace the Panzer III and Panzer IV tanks. The initial requirements of the VK 20 series called for a fully tracked vehicle weighing 20 tonnes and design proposals by Krupp, Daimler Benz and MAN ensued. These designs were abandoned and Krupp dropped out of the competition entirely as the requirements increased to a vehicle weighing 30 tonnes, a direct reaction to the encounters with the Soviet T-34 and KV-1 tanks and against the advice of Wa Pruef 6. The T-34 outclassed the existing models of the Panzer III and IV. At the insistence of General Heinz Guderian, a special tank commission was created to assess the T-34. Among the features of the Soviet tank considered most significant were the sloping armour, which gave much improved shot deflection and also increased the effective armour thickness against penetration, the wide track, which improved mobility over soft ground, and the 76.2 mm (3.00 in) gun, which had good armour penetration and fired an effective high explosive round. Daimler-Benz (DB), which designed the successful Panzer III and Stug III, and Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg AG (MAN) were given the task of designing a new 30- to 35-tonne tank, designated VK 30.02, by April 1942.
 The deatil on the kits is suprisingly good, crisp, clear and deep, and there is a LOT of detail for a Zvezda kit, or for any kit of this price level.

The DB design resembled the T-34 in its hull and turret and was also to be powered by a diesel engine. It was also driven from the rear drive sprocket with the turret situated forward. The incorporation of a diesel engine promised increased operational range, reduced flammability and allowed for more efficient use of petroleum reserves. Hitler himself considered a diesel engine imperative for the new tank. DB's proposal used an external leaf spring suspension, in contrast to the MAN proposal of twin torsion bars. Wa Pruef 6's opinion was that the leaf spring suspension was a disadvantage and that using torsion bars would allow greater internal hull width. It also opposed the rear drive because of the potential for track fouling. Daimler Benz still preferred the leaf springs over a torsion bar suspension as it resulted in a silhouette about 200 mm (7.9 in) shorter and rendered complex shock absorbers unnecessary. The employment of a rear drive provided additional crew space and also allowed for a better slope on the front hull, which was considered important in preventing the penetration by armour-piercing shells.
he MAN design embodied more a conventional configuration, with the transmission and drive sprocket in the front and a centrally mounted turret. It had a petrol engine and eight torsion-bar suspension axles per side. Because of the torsion bar suspension and the drive shaft running under the turret basket, the MAN Panther was higher and had a wider hull than the DB design. The Henschel firm's design concepts for their Tiger I tank's suspension/drive components, using its characteristic Schachtellaufwerk format – large, overlapping, interleaved road wheels with a "slack-track" using no return rollers for the upper run of track, also features shared with almost all German military half-track designs since the late 1930s – were repeated with the MAN design for the Panther. These multiple large, rubber-rimmed steel wheels distributed ground pressure more evenly across the track. The MAN proposal also complimented Rheinmetall's already designed turret modified from that of the VK 45.01 (H),  and used a virtually identical Maybach V12 engine to the Tiger I heavy tank's Maybach HL230 powerplant model.

The tracks are really detailed, and capture the interlevered wheels perfectly.
The two designs were reviewed from January to March 1942. Reichminister Todt, and later, his replacement Albert Speer, both recommended the DB design to Hitler because of its advantages over the initial MAN design. At the final submission, MAN refined its design, having learned from the DB proposal apparently through a leak by a former employee in the Wa Pruef 6, senior engineer Heinrich Ernst Kniepkamp and others. On 5 March 1942, Albert Speer reported that Hitler considered the Daimler-Benz design to be superior to MAN's design. A review by a special commission appointed by Hitler in May 1942 selected the MAN design. Hitler approved this decision after reviewing it overnight. One of the principal reasons given for this decision was that the MAN design used an existing turret designed by Rheinmetall-Borsig, while the DB design would have required a brand new turret and engine to be designed and produced, delaying the commencement of production. This time-saving measure compromised the subsequent development of the design.

Panthers were supplied to form Panzer Abteilung 51 (Tank Battalion 51) on 9 January, and then Panzer Abteilung 52 on 6 February 1943.
The first production Panther tanks were plagued with mechanical problems. The engine was dangerously prone to overheating and suffered from connecting rod or bearing failures. Petrol leaks from the fuel pump or carburettor, as well as motor oil leaks from gaskets, produced fires in the engine compartment; which resulted in the total writeoff of three Panthers due to fires. Transmission and final drive breakdowns were the most common and difficult to repair. A large list of other problems were detected in these early Panthers, and so from April through May 1943 all Panthers were shipped to Falkensee and Nürnberg for a major rebuilding program. This did not correct all of the problems, so a second program was started at Grafenwoehr and Erlangen in June 1943. Reliability improved with the Ausf. A and later G of the Panther, with availability rates going from an average of 37% by end of 1943 to an average of 54% in 1944. By mid-1944, the Panther was at its peak performance and widely regarded as the most formidable tank on the battlefield.
 Built the model is large, imposing, and very good, im really happy with the quality, and after a quick prime, she really shows off the details.
 when shes painted she will be a great addition to any force, its an excellent kit, detailed, cheap and quick to put together too.