by: Charles Reading [ ]
introductionDespite being relatively heavy at 44.8 tons, the Jagdpanther was neither slow nor immobile. Powered by a 12 cylinder Maybach HL230 700hp engine, the Jagdpanther had good mobility due to its wide tracks and excellent suspension. This combination gave the vehicle a low ground pressure figure. As a result, the Jagdpanther could deliver both road and cross country performances that put most other tank destroyers to shame. The Jagdpanther could obtain a maximum road speed of 28mph (45kph) and a cross country speed of 15mph (24kph).
The Jagdpanther was manufactured from February 1944 through April 1945. During this period 382 completed vehicles were delivered to the German Army. Due to continual air raids, Germany could never field the Jagdpanther in sufficient quantities. Had they been able to, the Allies would have had far greater difficulty defeating the Third Reich.
contentsTypical of the Dragon ‘Smart Kits’, the Jagdpanther box is crammed full with eighteen sprues and the ‘smart kit’ cardstock with a bag of individual magic track links, a bag with Photo-Etch detail for the grill covers and cupola, a bag with two lengths of malleable wire consisting of one heavy (400mm) and one light (100mm), and a bag with a clear sprue containing the periscopes.
Since Dragon’s Jagdpanther and the Panther G share a lot of common pieces, there are quite a few ’extras’ included that will not be used in the assembly and thus will go into the spares box or toward a Panther project. Most noticeable right off was a chinned mantlet for the late Panther G. The kit includes a full suspension with road wheels and idler arms that can be positioned for uneven surfaces. There are 4 sprues with the road wheels and suspension components.
Dragon has dispensed with the two piece gun barrel and provide a beautifully ’slide molded’ one piece barrel. The muzzle brake is also ’slide molded’ and is really another small work of art. The main gun is complete with breech if you decide to add further interior detail.
The radio position ball mounted MG34 is a model in itself consisting of six highly detailed pieces.
There is a large part of the instruction sheet dedicated to Painting and Markings. There are ten (10) options for paint schemes illustrated on the sheet.
construction Construction starts with the running gear. The road wheels are assembled and the torsion bars fitted into the chassis in steps 1 & 2. The road wheels, drive wheels, and idler wheels are put on to the chassis and the radiator fans are attached in step 3. Steps 4 & 5 deal with the assembly of the back plate which includes exhaust components, jack and storage bins. The Main Gun recess, drivers’ periscope and machine gun housing are step 6. Step 7 is the MG34.
The rear deck, its components and the gun cleaning kit storage tube are steps 8 &9. Step 10 is the armor grills and Photo-Etch screens for the back deck. Step 11 is the assembly and placement of the pioneer tools, spare tracks and side body fender left side. Step 12 is the right side tools.
Steps 13, 14 cover the assembly and placement of hatches and covers on the superstructure. Step 15 is assembly of the main gun and step16 mates the gun to the vehicle, assembly of tracks and joining of the upper and lower body pieces. Step 17 is assembly and placement of the metal cables. At this point the model is ready for the painting stages.
conclusionI really like the ‘smart kit’ approach. Everything you need in one box to make a very nice and detailed model yet you still have the option to add after market detail if you desire.
Dragon has re-engineered several areas of this Jagdpanther to improve it over the earlier offerings. The angles of the fighting compartment have been corrected, the cast mantlet and gun recess are rendered in high detail. The kit measures out favorably with the 1:35 drawings in Spielberger’s “Panther and Its Variants” book. If Dragon would update their instruction sheets like they have done their models they would have a much higher rating than I have given.