Eyewitness to a resurrection
All over the world, various preserved Panthers can be found, and in various conditions. Sadly, the majority of them are in a sad state of repair, with some being little more than a hull and turret. It is therefore encouraging to see projects being set up to restore Panthers to virtually factory fresh condition. This book is about one such project, the restoration of Panther Ausf. A (Fahrgestell 158134) by the Wheatcroft Collection. Named after owner Kevin Wheatcroft, the collection consists of around 150 vehicles, both civilian and military. Working together with the Wheatcroft collection, The Research Squad photographed and documented just about every step taken in the lengthy process of restoring the Panther to it's "new" state.
- 88 pages
- A4 size
- Soft Cover
- ISBN 978-0-9556422-0-3
- 312 photos
Take a dive into the deep and unknown
While I knew what this book was going to be about, I didn't have any clear idea how this was done. I expected a sort of book which detailed in a diary-like fashion how the Panther went through the stages. I couldn't have been more wrong. Not only is this book volume 1, meaning more volumes will follow, but just dealing with the drive train and hull it is packed full with 312, I repeat THREE HUNDRED AND TWELVE, sharp crisp clear pictures, that all have a caption that although short, tell exactly and clearly what is shown, it's location in the vehicle and it's function. A number of pictures are full page for extra detail. Examples of these are the driver's position and a look down the rear armour hull plate.
So what can you find in the book? As the title says, it details the drivetrain and hull. You can read about and look at detailed shots of driver's vision port, the gearbox or hydraulic oil pressure pump to just name a few.
Combined with the exhaustive number of pictures is the dedication put into restoring the Panther. The eye for detail and excellent craftsmanship is more than evident. Where necessary, new items are manufactured, for example all torsion bars are completely new. A further example of attention to detail is that during clean up, brush painted numbers were found on several components. Even when it was not clear what the purpose of such a number was, the team added these back to the refurbished or rebuilt items, just to be sure it was all back to it's original state.
I feel I cannot praise this book enough. The vast amount of pictures offers a true Smorgasbord of reference material never seen before. Which brings me to this perhaps bold statement: "The Panther Project volume 1: drivetrain and hull" is THE single most perfect reference material for anyone interested in learning about this vehicle, and those who wish to (super)-detail their Panther-kit. I know I will wait until all volumes are out before I start on my premium Panther-A later. You might feel I'm exaggerating, but I truly am not, I have not seen a reference book that offers so much at such a good price. To gather this same amount of information and of the same level of quality would surely cost a mulltitude of the price for this book.
It is therefore very simple for me to recommend (an understatement )" The Panther Project volume 1: drivetrain and hull" as a must-have book. The Panther nut and the serious modeller should have this book as THE reference on this vehicle.
Famous last words
I would like to thank The Wheatcroft Collection and The Research Squad for creating this book, and Armorama for giving me the opportunity to review it.