Jagdpanther doesn't really need an introduction and Zvezda agrees
as nothing of the sort is given in the instructions.
is my second encounter with a "snap fit" Zvezda armor kit,
I wanted to start building it as quickly as possible. So, I started
with a quick peek inside the (side-opening) box allowing me to start
removing parts from the sprues.
The main sprues. Parts are crisp and, in general, well detailed. The
back rows of the interleaved suspension are pre-assembled promising
a speedy and well-aligned assembly.
of the upper hull.
lower hull. It is immediately clear that the suspension arms are individual
pieces that will allow some customization.
length hard plastic tracks with more than acceptable detail.
decal sheet with individual numbers that can be mixed and matched
as required. Everything seems to be in perfect register.
instructions promise a speedy assembly. The marking option is for
a generic vehicle on the Western or Eastern front.
This is how the finished article should look like.
It doesn't look half bad an no gaps are immediately visible..
starting the discussion about the different assembly steps, a word
of caution is in order. This is my second Zvezda armor kit and I am
still discovering the properties of the plastic that Zvezda uses.
First of all, it is much softer than the styrene I am used to, most
likely to allow the parts to flex when "snapping them together"
or bend the tracks. This means, however, that rough handling will
easily deform parts (as I discovered on the drive sprockets), or melt
the plastic when you apply glue (as I discovered on the idler). For
those who are wondering, I feel that a bit of glue is still required
to get the best results. I also have the impression that the plastic
becomes somewhat brittle after painting, which I discovered on the
tracks. In no way is this a complaint about the quality of the kit,
it is just something that a modeler who is new to these kits needs
to be careful with.
What the instructions tell you to do
having built the Zvezda King Tiger
previously, I was a bit apprehensive about the tracks, but the
engineering approach in this kit is much better than in the King
Tiger. First of all, the suspension is extremely well detailed,
with separate suspension arms, bump stops, etc. It's actually
a shame to hide all this behind the roadwheels.
The idler and drive sprocket also have pegs to help them stay
aligned, although some care and a bit of glue are still welcome.
What is obvious this time is that the building sequence is entirely
logical compared to the King Tiger. No locating pegs that cannot
be accessed when they need to be (according to the instructions)
or hull parts that are getting in the way.
What I did
Dry fitting showed that the locating holes and pegs didn't line
up when the tracks were closed, so I used two of them to fix the
tracks in place while working with them and removed the other
ones. Compared to the King Tiger the tracks are spot on in length
and can be closed easily.
I am a big fan of single length hard plastic tracks that can be
bent around the suspension. Still, I made things a little easier
for me by pre-bending the tracks before wrapping them around the
suspesion. The trick is to make them supple enough to work with,
but not to the point that they break.
I noticed that the teeth of the drive sprocket were too big too
fit into the tracks, and even after thinning them down, they still
didn't want to co-operate. I sanded down the mating surface of
the drive sprockets to make them narrower and it did help, but
not enough. In the end, I removed the teeth where the drive sprocket
meets the tracks. I only did this after I had glued the sprockets
to the hull. It would be much easier to do that before installing
The axle of the idler is a notably weak part and I ended up breaking
both of them. Installing a metal rod solved that problem and as
it is slightly off-center with respect to the center of the idler
it allowed me to play with the position of the idler and get a
(near) perfect tension on the tracks. Note that I decided to glue
the tracks to the wheels to make them conform better. (Note
that the plastic in this kit is very soft, so you will
get a good joint or a ruined part depending on your thrift. I
learned this the hard way as at one point I ended up with an idler
that turned into mush and had to be sculpted back into shape affresco.)
What I (probably) should have done
biggest mistake I made was that I didn't follow the instructions
enough. (Quite the opposite as what happened with the Tiger Ausf.B.)
I had decided to install as little of the roadwheels as possible
before installing the tracks to have better acces to the latter.
That decision came to bite me afterwards as fitting parts C13
and C14 (the outer half of the inner roadwheels) will then become
impossible without partially removing the tracks again. But hey,
that's what we reviewers do: we suck at building a new kit so
you don't have to.
Adding these roadwheels also revealed that the fit of the inner
roadwheels between the track teeth is uncomfortably tight (to
the point of bending the teeth outward). This is partially because
of the late installation of the wheels and because of the difficulty
with which the wheels go over the axles. I believe the easiest
solution here would be to
- glue the inner roadhweels (C13, C37, C14, C36) together first,
perhaps sanding them down a little in between to reduce the overall
- install all the axles to the roadwheels as tightly as possible;
- glue the roadwheels-cum-axles to the hull.
Thinning down the idlers in the same way as I did for the sprockets
(just a little) will also make it easier to work with them.
one time I had thought that it might have been better to do the
right track differently from the instructions so that it closes
on top (like the left track) where the joint would be partially
hidden by the Schürzen. In the end, the joint is so good
that it just doesn't matter.
all, while I had some difficulty with the tracks, it was much
more enjoyable than with the King Tiger and if I had to do it
over again, with my newly acquired experience, I am sure it would
almost be the proverbial walk in the park.
The rest of the kit
remainder of the assembly is a breeze, apart from the rear hull
plate. In step 9, all major components of the hull come together
in one step, and whatever building sequence one choses, it appears
that one part will always interfere with another, unless some part
is put into place with a stern hand.
Further minor remarks:
gun can be assembled in a way that allows it to move in both azimut
as in elevation.
is a small insert that provides a very rudimentary engine compartment
when looking through the grilles in the engine deck.
drilled out the exhausts (parts C57 and C58) and engraved a depression
between the exhaust tubes and the metal guards.
gun barrel was drilled out.
interleaved armor on the tip of the nose is only presented partially
(on the lower edge). I engraved it on the upper part.
antenna was added to the right rear of the fighting compartment.
opening for the vision block in the driver's periscope was deepened.
late in the construction sequence I discovered that there was
a seam around the ball mount that should'n have been there.
left rear split hatch on top of the fighting compartment is put
into a small square depression, which shouldn't be there and is
very hard to fix, unless the modeler cuts out the whole area and
glues it back in place flush with the rest of the roof.
in the construction I had decided to replace the towing cable
with scratchbuilt items, using twisted strands of copper wire
and spare towing eyes from a Dragon Panther (or Jagdpanther) kit.
This made me lower my guard, as I assumed that two small holes
on the edges of the engine deck were there to accept pegs of the
original kit-supllied towing cables. I wasn't wrong about that,
but I didn't notice that these pegs weren't on the eyes, but on
the cables themselves. This meant that I took measurement for
my hand-made cables based on these pegs, assuming that the small
holes would, in the end, be covered by the thickness of the towing
eyes. All the while I was wondering what the two rectangular pegs
at the extreme rear of the engine deck were doing there, as I
didn't find them on any plans or pictures of the real thing.
Only when I was almost ready to add the towing cables to the (now
almost finished) kit, did I take a closer look at the instructions
and noticed that those pegs on the engine deck were there to hold
the eyes of the towing cables. Conclusion: my towing cables were
too short. As I didn't fancy making new ones, I decided to put
the vehicle in a diorama where the crew is waiting for the vehicle
to be towed away. This would allow me to attach the cables to
the towing points on the hull at one end and have them lay on
the ground at the other. I also meant that I had to fill in the
holes on the engine deck, after the kit had been completely painted,
which turned out to be a challenge. Luckily, armor kits allow
the modeler to add scratches and other weathering where needed.
Incidentally, having the kit end up in a diorama, also gave me
the possibility to hide the right rear idler (i.e. the one that
had earlier turned into mush).
A last word on Jagdpanther towing cables: from the photographs
that I studied it seems that there was no standard way to fit
them, and many vehicles appear to have driven around happily without
PE mesh was added to a part of the engine deck. As there is no
dedicated set for the Zvezda kit (yet), I used the Hauler set
for the Hät kit, which fitted perfectly on the forward rectangular
ventilation grilles and the round ones, but not on the rear ones
(which are the Jagdpanther Ausf. G1 type, while the Hauler parts
are for the G2). I left the rear ones mesh-less. If a set is ever
released for the Zvezda kit, it can still be added later.
The Hauler set
Dry fitting the Hauler set
Camouflage and markings
vehicle was painted in an imaginary 3-color camouflage scheme and
marked using a subset of the kit decals.
kit is based on Zvezda's Panther Ausf.D and the engineering choices
of the lower hull thus predate that of the King Tiger. Surprisingly,
the choices made on the Panther make more sense. While the suspension
is extremely well detailed, it does not help to make the suspension
any sturdier or the construction any easier, but overall, the kit
goes together very easily.
At this point a bit more weathering should be
done, especially on the lower hull. I will only do that when the diorama
is finished, to be able to make the kit blend in better. The towing
cables will then also be added.
Tracts No.9-3 "Jagdpanther". T.L. Jentz & H.L. Doyle,
Ł. Gładysiak, A. Rejmak & K. Mucha. Kagero Photosniper
3D N° 8, 2013
sample received from Zvezda through IPMS/Belgium.
kits can be purchased from