Dragon is the most confusing manufacturer I have had the pleasure of reviewing. This Jagdpanther is supposedly the second release in their new Armo Pro series. What exactly is Armor Pro? Well, I no longer know. With the release of their first kit, the Elefant, I thought the Armor Pro series was to have injected plastic, link-and-length tracks and etched brass details. That's apparently not the case. This Jagdpanther kit has the same single-piece vinyl tracks as their Panther kits. Plus, some of their other, non-Armor Pro kits include etched brass pieces, so that also is not a defining factor. Basically, I think the Armor Pro tag is just a hook to try and attract new modelers who are duped into thinking they are buying an "advanced" kit.
Not to say that this is a bad kit, which it is not. In fact, aside from one major accuracy error (and the vinyl tracks), I like this kit a lot.
The main gimmick to this kit is the molded-on zimmerit, which made its debut with their Tiger I kits. On this Jagdpanther, the pattern is a very fine, waffle-like pattern, which is the pattern that is exhibited on the Jagdpanther currently preserved at the Imperial War Museum, UK. Although on-line photos of the kit make this pattern appear to be very uniform, it is in fact, somewhat varied, and I think it looks pretty good. It will probably look even better once painted.
The hull is the same hull that originally appeared in metal for the Dragon Die-cast Jagdpanther, but here it is molded in plastic in order to accomodate the zimmerit. All hatches are molded open, including the engine access hatch. Like their earlier Panthers, this kit includes a flat engine insert for display underneath the engine deck.
The wheels and tracks are the same as included with the previous Panther kits. The wheels are gorgeous, and the tracks, although highly detailed, I think are too elastic, and will be difficult to keep from bending in half or to replicate track sag.
I have noticed two minor flaws, those being that the zimmerit should have been applied to both the fenders and the rear fighting compartment loading hatch, which it has not been. The fenders I'm sure will never miss it, but I think it will look fairly strange with the rear hatch lacking the coating.
Some unique items included here are etched brass engine deck screens that are very nice, wire tow cables, which are also nice, and two rubber storage boxes for the rear hull plate. These were molded in rubber to allow for the zimmerit to be molded onto the sides.
The only major error I have found with the kit is the engine deck. All of Dragon's previous Panther and Jagdpanther kits are late models (based on Panther G), with the appropriate engine deck. But only the very latest models of the Jagdpanther had the Panther G engine deck. This kit should in fact, have the engine deck appropriate to the Panther A, which it does not. Will people notice? Your wife probably won't, but you know how fanatical German AFV enthusiasts can be, so yeah, I would guess that they will notice. Another disappointment is that Dragon has removed all the spare parts from the Panther "common" sprue that were always appreciated in their earlier releases. There is nothing included here other than parts for an early version Jagdpanther.
The instructions are the same photographic coverage of a model being built as used in earlier kits. Markings are shown for two Jagdpanthers of Panzer Battalion 654 in France, 1944, though thankfully, numbers are included for any choice of vehicle.
Scale measurements show this kit to be very accurate to 1/72nd scale; probably the most accurate Jagdpanther we have.