German Army and Waffen SS: Defence of the West, 1945
64 pages. 200 color and black-and-white photos. Manufacturer contact list.
This is volume 18 in the Tankcraft series, which aims to provide "...everything the modeller needs to recreate an accurate representation of these historic tanks."
This is not the first volume to discuss the Panther, however, so you'll need to reference other books for information about the tank's development and technical information. This book focuses on the Panther ausf G, which was the predominant model of the Panther in action in 1945.
There's a one-page introduction, a map of the front lines in Western Europe in 1945, three pages of timeline for the Western Front in 1945, followed by 18 pages discussing various units which used the Panther in the West in 1945 (including four full-page orders of battle).
Ten pages provide color side-view illustrations of 20 different Panthers, generally tied to archive photographs also in this book.
Eleven pages present a gallery of three built-up models in 1:35 and 1:48 scales.
Another eleven pages list manufacturers of late-model Panther kits and accessories, with many product photos.
Four pages cover unique aspects of the Panther ausf G, and technical modifications made to that model.
Another four pages cover painting schemes, and discuss the factory painting systems employed in 1945.
The wargamer will find in this book many reasons to paint his Panthers in a variety of schemes, some of which are simple two-color camo or even a single-color tank with camo on the skirts. Unfortunately, the information is typically limited to a single angle or view, or to a text description, so you'll have to guess how to paint the rest of the tank. Note that, other than two mentions of the existence of wargaming models, this book is not directed at the wargaming scales.
Given the series' dedication to providing support for modellers, I was puzzled by the imbalance between discussion of markings versus historical info. For example, a one-paragraph description of Panzer-Kompanie Kummersdorf, which had four Panthers and may have seen action, seems inappropriate in a modeller's guide. I'd rather have seen much more detail on how to paint them, with better illustrations. Nor does the historical information provide the detail needed to inspire scenarios.
Useful but frustrating.
Reviewed by Editor in Chief Bill .