Bottom Line Up Front: This set brings Tamiya’s 1/48 Panzer V ausf. D kit to the next level. It’s not for the faint of heart though. Like many 1/48 scale PE sets, it contains several sub-assemblies that will make you squint and reach for the Optivisors and the finest set of tweezers you have.
Hauler has one of the most extensive line of aftermarket photo etch for 1/48 scale armor. Their sets add exquisite detail to the already excellent lines of quarter scale AFVs from the likes of Tamiya and Hobby Boss.
This set contains two PE brass frets with upwards of 70 parts covering engine intake mesh, tool brackets, exhaust mounts, etc. The set comes in the standard Hauler clear plastic bag, stiff cardstock backing, instruction sheet and stapled header card.
I wouldn’t call the set “over-engineered”, but there are definitely some assemblies (like the main gun travel lock) that will make some modelers pause to question whether the added detail is worth the effort. I assure you it will be.
I only have two small issues with this set: First, Hauler chose to leave out parts for the side skirts. This is a major feature of the Panther and is a detail that screams for the improved look that PE parts would give. Second, the set requires you to remove the molded-on straps for the pioneer tools. This is not a small undertaking in 1/48 scale. This isn’t really Hauler’s fault, but an aftermarket set of 1/48 German AFV tools will make your life much easier.
While I would not recommend this set for beginners, it is easily within the skill set of the average modeler. It adds a whole new level of detail and “pop” to the kit and is well worth the price and effort.
Many thanks to Hauler and IPMS USA for the review sample.