by: Tim Sloan [ ]
In today’s modeling realm, the Panther is one of the most well known tanks of WWII. Though it made its debut in 1943, the Panther was not one of the most popular due to its mechanical issues on the field. After experience and improvements, the Panther became a fearsome weapon on both the East and West fronts, especially to the Allied tank crews.
Another fierce weapon was a Panther derivative, the Jagdpanther. In short, a tank destroyer, mounting the 88mm gun. Both of these weapons are covered in color by Tankograd Publishing, with full walk-arounds and even interior color shots.
Tankograds latest release comes as an A4 landscape format comprising 96 pages, packed full. Illustrated with 8 black & white, and 223 color photographs. It begins with six pages giving a brief history on the Panther and its three variants. These and the captions are written in both German and English.
The black and white photos show some nice wartime photos of the different types of Panthers. These are not descriptive of their unit history, but only to illustrate the different Ausf models. The next 9 pages provides a full walk around showing the entire tank in the field. Following this are 20 pages of color detail shots of the exterior.
Here’s where things begin to get a little tricky. This is a fully restored and operational Panther G, however, it is a mix and match of the G comprising early to late model components. A late model hull, with an early turret (no mantlet chin), and a zimmerit application all over. The book does point this out, for the most part, although not all of the non-original parts are mentioned, only some. For example, the caps for the barrel cleaning rod tube are not original.
Moving on to the next 14 pages are full color photos of the interior, showing nearly all the details one could hope for. But, then again, same problem, not all components are original to the Panther or are missing, such as the radios. Because this is an operational tank, requirements meant there had to be an up to date operational fire extinguishing system installed. That makes it a little difficult to decipher what’s original, and what’s modern. You’ll need a reference to check this reference. Finishing off the Panther G section ,you get 5 full page photos of the Panther in motion. This is helpful for modelers wanting to bring some life to their model.
The next section moves on to the Jagdpanther. Here again we have the same problems as before, a mix and match of models. I suppose we could call this a ‘midlater with zimmerit’. We start off with 5 pages of the full walk-around, followed by15 pages of detailed photos showing every portion of the tank from bottom to top. This is followed by 12 pages which appear to show the complete interior of this beast…and in color! Although, like on the Panther photos, do not use these as a painting guide. And last we have 6 pages showing the Jagdpanther at various stages of movement. This is a really neat and helpful feature showing the tank from dead still, take off, full speed, and then full stop. The side shots are excellent!
There are also photos of it crossing a ditch and climbing a hill, which will certainly help anyone wanting to use the working suspension provided with the Dragon kits. And finally, we are given two photos of a Bergepanther Ausf D in its current restoration process. Not quite finished, but hopefully something Tankograd can cover in depth when it’s ready.
Tankograd has been publishing some great and useful books for quite some time. This one is no exception. The photos are very clear and all but the wartime photos are in color. The detailed shots will come to be quite useful to anyone who’s familiar with the Panther and Jagdpanther. However, anyone who is not so familiar will need another reference to check this one for discrepancies.
You’re probably wondering why you should buy this book then? The one thing I noticed in this book over ANY other Panther book I have, is the weathering. Look at all the wartime photos you want, but none of them show the weathering of a Panther, or Jagdpanther, quite like these. From the disturbed dust on the surfaces, to the scratches around high traffic areas.
The tracks are the best shots, showing the aged worn steel covered in dust and stuffed with mud and dirt. Want to know how to paint your tracks? Just look at these photos. The exhaust pipes are another great detail to note…just how does the rusty hot pipes look on a Panther? Yes, these are restored tanks, but they are tanks which are in use today, and show just as much wear as a 3 month old tank back in WWII. Which leaves me to say, this is NOT your all-in-one Panther/Jagdpanther reference book. But one that should be an addition to your reference collection.