Dragon 6393 JAGDPANTHER LATE PRODUCTION (SMART KIT) Für Military Vehicles Plastikbausätze
DR6393: Jagdpanther G1 Late Production
1/35 injection plastic kit with photo etch grills, metal tow cables and decals
Battlefield photos from late 1944 onwards often feature the Jagdpanther. While the Jagdpanther was only produced in limited numbers, its reputation as a powerful tank destroyer ensured that it was well documented by both the German and Allied war photographers and that it enjoys popularity with modelers. Like with other German armoured vehicles, technical changes were introduced during production. This new release from Dragon depicts a late production Jagdpanther G1 which would be typical of the vehicles produced in the Autumn of 1944 following the order to drop zimmerit. Photos often show these Jagdpanthers deployed to Germany’s border regions including with units fighting in the Battle of the Bulge.
This is Dragon second release of a Jagdpanther with the latest standards of tooling. It has new parts to depict a late production Jagdpanther G1 including a choice of roof panels, new bolted mantlet collar, single driver’s visor and the two-piece PaK43/4 barrel with smaller muzzle break. It is in the Smart Kit format and includes parts from Dragon’s recent Jagdpanther Early and Panther G kits such as the Magic Tracks and suspension. Other features include clear vision blocks, photo etch mesh grills, and twisted metal tow cables. The gatefold instructions have 17 steps of clear line drawings. When assembled as per the instructions, it depicts a Jagdpanther built in late 1944 after zimmerit was dropped in September offers an accurate kit straight out of the box.
The superstructure is for a Jadgpanther G1, which differed in the length and layout of the engine and hence the angle of the fighting compartment’s rear plate from the later G2 typical of 1945 production.
As before a large single piece provides the front and side armour plates, forward fenders and the large fixed plates on the engine deck. Separate parts are added for the roof, engine deck hatch, rear escape hatch and small fittings. The weld seams and interlocking joins of the armour plate look authentic and have angles and patterns that reflect production practices. For example the seams on the edge of the roof plate are finer than those interlocking the thick frontal armour.
There is a choice of roof plates that differ in terms of whether a fan cover is located over the gun or further back to the side. On both options all crew hatches can be modelled open and have internal handles and levers. The gunner’s periscope is clear plastic and has a cover, while the larger scissors periscope is detailed and includes the mount. Other roof details include the rain channels (integrated into the roof plate), and the nahverteidigungswaffe (close-defense weapon) which can be fitted open with the internal detail visible or shut (no option of a blanking panel). In keeping with many photos neither roof plate has the pilzen sockets (more common on Jadgpanther G2s).
On the rear of the fighting compartment, you have the choice of two stowage bins (Gepackkasten) that differ in their height (tooling new to the Jagdpanther). The standard aerial base is included (no rod) and there is an option for a blanking panel where command vehicles had a second aerial. The rear escape hatch has internal detail and can be left open or workable.
The 88mm PaK 43 is the later design with two sections (easier to manufacturer) and is a one-piece injection plastic tube. It requires minimal cleanup to remove the seam line and has a separate three-part slide molded muzzle break with the later smaller profile. The break is designed such that it is easy to fit to aftermarket barrels...
The gun is fitted into the later style gun recess, which was cast and bolted into place. This part is impressive with realistic casting texture on all angles and sharp detail for the large visible bolt heads and the recesses. The PaK’s mantlet has been revised by adding an integrated lifting boss typical of a later production Jagdpanther.
Typical of late 1944 Jagdpanther there is only vision slot for the driver’s periscope and this is made from clear plastic. The hull MG is included along with its internal detail such as the butt and spent shell case. The MG sits in a Kugelblend ball mount, which has the stepped “U” profile seen on later vehicles.
The revised engine deck has two small and two larger rear rectangular grilles, which is a combination appropriate for a late production G1. The round grilles both have the lower profile and photo etch screens are included for all 6 grilles. As expected small detail such as the hex bolts in recessed holes, tie downs and the handles on covers are all included and match references. The main hatch can be positioned open (although you will need to supply your own engine) and other features include a pair of engine radiators which sit underneath the four rectangular grills and armored guard for the round air-cooling outlet grills.
The revised hull has features from a late 1944 Jagdpanther. The belly has a stepped join where the front section, which was 25mm plate, butted with the thinner 16mm rear plate. The same attention to detail on the underside is seen in the realistic weld marks and countersunk holes for screws. The hull sides have the small bump stops, and for the track returns located near the drive sprocket there is the choice of a roller or fixed guide.
The separate torsion suspension arms extend the full width of the hull interior and have the option of being angled as you need for dioramas. The rear idler wheel has the earlier smaller pattern, and the idlers swing-arms are separate, a feature which will please some modelers when fixing the tracks, as by leaving it loose, the idler can be adjusted to get the ‘right’ track sag. The front drive sprockets have the later hub profile
The exhaust system has the configuration with two side vents on the left outlet. The tops of the pipes are hollow and the main pipes feature the metal insert and shrouds. The guards have the cast profile with screw detail.
The tools have most of the brackets and clamps cast on for ease of assembly and the recently tooled jack is built from seven parts plus separate parts for the support bracket. The rear storage boxes are slide-molded, and the storage cylinder for the barrel cleaning rods has fine detail for the latches. Photos of late production G1 from schwere Panzer Jager Abteilung 654 often have this cylinder on the rear deck and this is an easy change to model. The spare track racks are slide-molded and come with fine securing pins that slot into open holes. The multipart headlight is impressive and has the conduit integrated into the base part to simplify assembly while delivering finesse.
Two lengths of twisted wire are provided for the tow cable and the thinner cable that was used for changing tracks. No side skirts (shurzen) are included, which, is consistent with the fact side skirts were often missing in photos from the frontline. Numerous firms sell aftermarket photo etch shurzen and it can be easily scratch-built using plastic card.
The tracks are the ‘Magic Tracks” which come loose. They have open guide horns, and chevrons on the outer face. With the slight injection marks hidden between the guide horns these links can be assembled quickly without clean up. Most of the links are one piece with the open guide horns cast onto link making for quick assembly. Several links, which have separate guide horns are for fitting around the drive sprockets where their slightly larger and contoured holes match the sprocket’s teeth. With the open guide horns and the benefits of the Magic Track not needing clean up, these tracks are better than some aftermarket sets.
The kit offers profiles of ten Jagdpanthers which are illustrated with three view profiles on the instruction sheet and a side colour profile on the box. Most have red and dark green camouflage over a dark yellow base coat.
Three of the guns are from schwere Panzer Jager Abteilung 654 (heavy tank destroyer unit) in France or at the Graferwohr proving ground during 1944 and each of these has tactical numbers and Balkan Crosses. Other Jadgpanthers include one from sPz.Jager Abt 650 in the Ardennes (Balkan Crosses), and one from Pz Lehr Regiment 130 in Western Germany 1945 which has white bands over the brown camouflage and a dark yellow base. The other guns are from unidentified units on both fronts and illustrate the range of camouflage schemes used towards the end of the war including one with a primer red base and dark yellow and cream stripes.
The Cartograf decal sheet includes two styles of Balkan Crosses and the tactical numbers for the sPz.Jager Abt 654 Jagdpanthers (red with white outlines).