Panther Ausf. A Early Production

Kit # 7499

Preview by Apollo Rodriguez
Edited by
Rob Haelterman

The kit was released in January 2016 and consists of 82 parts (including the two DS tracks) from five separate sprues. According to the instructions, 10 parts will not be used.

The kit is well detailed and I didn't encounter any damage or flash on the parts.


The DS tracks are also well detailed (but aftermarket resin tracks are better).

The decals are for two tank markings from an "Unidentified Unit, Italy 1943/44".

No photo etched parts are provided for this kit.

As far as accuracy of this model kit is concerned, there are several flaws.
By now, you probably think this kit is just another Panther Ausf.D. Guess what?? YES!!! you are correct. The sprues even show "1/72 Panther D". What happened, Dragon? That's really bad, in my opinion, but I don't mind doing some changes.

The following paragraphs are for the Panther technical gurus out there that like to spend a lot attention to details and modifications.
If you're not one of those people, you might find this information really boring.

Starting with the top hull, the radial reinforcements for the air outlet grilles meet the central hub at an angle (which is only correct for the Ausf. D carried that). The Ausf. A had straight lines (similar to the Ausf.G).

Ed. Note. The new design (with the straight lines) was introduced late in the Ausf. D production run (May 1943), according to Panzer Tracts.

(My remarks are based on this Japanese reference book I have, "Achtung Panzer No.4 Panther" which covers a lot of details in line drawings and photos of the Ausf.A. In my opinion, the book seems accurate enough.)

Another flaw, the cooling air inlet grilles are horizontally lined up straight instead of in a horizontal wavy line. (The wavy line goes horizontally side-to-side, not in a vertical line pointing from the front hull to the muffler).

Unfortunately, the engine deck is molded in one piece and this can be a problem if someone considers modification on the grilles or the entire deck.

Yes that's right!!! There is NO ball-mount for the front hull machine gun. Keep in mind, this kit depicts the early production Ausf.A and according to the "Achtung Panzer" book, the ball-mount started to appear in 11/1943.
The Ausf.A early production were deployed in 09/1943 and this means that the kit is correct for the front hull including its vertically-rectangular-shape machine gun viewport (which also appears on the Ausf.D).
The travel clamp (that secures the main gun) is molded in one piece with the retainer and it's in the up position. You will have to saw or cut the clamp and retainer apart to have it in the release/down position. This requires a lot of skills to do because of its small size.

As for the road wheels, all wheels (except for the outer ones which are separate) are molded in one piece for easy assembly. All road wheels are the correct 24-bolt pattern version.
The drive sprocket wheels is somewhat correct as the Ausf.D early production used those types but its similar on the Ausf.A. The only difference is the center cap of the wheel. It's recessed (Ausf.D center caps were recessed vs. Ausf.A filled).

Ed Note: According to Panzer Tracts, the type of hubcap for the drive sprocket in the kit was still used, in parallel with the newer type up to March 1944.


The idler wheels are correct for an Ausf.A.
The side skirts are molded in one piece. (Aftermarket photo etched separate skirts are better).
The gun turret is somewhat correct for an Ausf.A early production. Here are the flaws:
First, the cupola is wrong. As mentioned before, the kit is a copy of an Ausf.D kit.
Ausf.A cupolas were very similar like those on the Ausf.G.

Ed Note:
According to
Panzer Tracts, the only difference between an Ausf.D and an Ausf.A was the way the turret was assembled. Changes were subtle, but one visible feature is that the Ausf.D had dovetailed side armor plates on the top side of the turret while they were square cut on the Ausf. A. The kit has square cut sides, so it is technically correct on that point. (Incidentally, the Ausf.D kit from Dragon has the same turret, making it incorrect.)
Other changes were implemented incrementally and (according to the same reference) a few early Ausf. A were still delivered with the Ausf. D cupola, but this doesn't apply to the vehicles in the marking options seen here and here.


Second, the two handles on top of the turret will have to be drilled open or, alternatively, removed and new ones scratchbuilt with a thin wire.

The kit includes smoke dischargers for the side of the turret.
Most of the actual photos of the Ausf.A don't appear to carry these smoke dischargers. That's pretty much all for the errors. Everything else from the tools, mufflers, etc. are correct for the Ausf.A early production.
Last but not least we have the decals. Most likely the two markings from the kit belonged to the 16.Panzer-Division since that unit was in Italy in 1943/44. Please check out this website (Panther44.de) for Panther production figures and Panther allocations to units. This website can help you figure out what units received the Ausf.A early production.

Ed Note: The marking options are the same as in the 1/35 kit, but Dragon didn't copy the paint schemes and went for "unknown units" in Italy, which is incorrect, and they should have known from the research they did for the 1/35 kit.
221 was a vehicle from I./Pz.Rgt. 4 (which got its first Panthers in December 1943) near Anzio, Italy in 1944 with Zimmerit (which the kit does not provide). This regiment belonged to 13 Panzer Division at the time but was detached from the parent unit.
701 belonged to Pz.Rgt.23 of 23.Pz.Div. in Southern Russia in the winter of 1943/44. It didn't carry Zimmerit, which makes it
a very rare Ausf.A. (Remember that Ausf. A production started in September 1943, which is the time that Zimmerit started to be applied.) It was camouflaged with temporary white paint
(Thanks to Timothy Lau for the extra input.)

In conclusion, I am not disappointed with the model kit due to the fact that I like to scratchbuild and modify model kits in my own preference.



This model can be purchased from Tracks & Troops

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Article Last Updated:
02 November 2016
29 December 2017