Ever since I build Zvezda’s excellent T-34 snap kit, I’ve been looking forward for their next releases in 1/72 scale: a Panther Ausf D and an IS-2. While the IS-2 launching was postponed several times, the Panther finally arrived in late 2012. Dragon released its own Panther Ausf D in 2012, marketed also as “early”, but it seems it is a mix of early and late Ausf D features. Though Dragon offers a really nice and highly detailed kit, it seems Zvezda’s Panther is a more accurate early D version. And, much more cheaper!
Inside the box there are two sand coloured sprues with kit parts, a separate black sprue with the tracks, a decal sheet and instructions. All hatches are closed, so I’m sure some modelers will complain, but personally I don’t mind. Instead, I welcome a few really nice touches, as the weld seams, separate OVM tools and tow cables, and very good molded gun so there will be no need for an after-market one.
The track runs are one-piece with grooves molded-in that will help bending the tracks around the idlers and driver wheels. Again, the details on the tracks is very good.
The kit doesn’t provide the mesh screens for the engine deck, but this can be solved with a photo-etched set.
Decals are well printed and provide two marking options – both from the battle of Kursk.
Instructions are clear and concise and are offered both in Russian and English. In conclusion, this is a very good and accurate kit. It should be recommended also for its highly competitive price. I will probably buy a PE set from Part and with other few minor improvements I’m sure it will turn out into a fine looking model.