Tuesday, February 12

Kagero's Latest Panther "Topcolors" book reviewed and decals tested

Kagero  have  a high output every moth of new publications – this month’s titles are all looking like great subjects – and especially a book on Panthers – this one called  “Pz.Kpfw. V Panther In Attack & Defence” (with decals included in 3 scales for 16 tanks) - what could go wrong? Well let’s read the book and test the decals to see if something did…or didn’t…..

MiniTopcolors 31
Marek Jaszczolt , Robert Wroblewski , Arkadiusz Wrobel
Softcover landscape - 20 pages
Decals in 1/72 + 1/48th & 1/35th scale of 16 Panthers
Decals printed by Cartograf.
ISBN 978-83-62878-34-5
Available from Kagero Directly at this link

Kagero continue with their excellent miniTopcolors series of books that really do blur the line between decals and reference books with this title – all about Panther tanks from WWII – called simply Pz.Kpfw. V Panther In Attack & Defence.
A softcover landscape book, printed on their usual glossy stock and shiny hardwearing cover this is the format that I think modellers like. Image heavy and with just enough facts to get by. Those of you out there who are after a history of the vehicle look somewhere else, as this book is all about modelling your tank and replicating these colours.
There are no external references listed for this book, though there is a very succinct introduction in small print that I skipped past at the very start of the book at first. I must have just assumed it was text about the book.  It is a really helpful little passage explaining a bit further the colours of the vehicles in this book and why they are coloured in these colours to a certain extent.

Each page has the profile of a panther with a small box of some feature of the artwork or number or symbol on the hull or turret of the vehicle. Indeed the numbers and signs are varied on all of these vehicles. The dual Polish and English text explains some of the circumstances of each vehicle and things to note like equipment and layout differences.
There is as well a small picture of each vehicle on the pages; this is a great addition that could go into every one of these books. It serves as a point of reference to the modeller/history “expert” and gives you a decent understanding of the look of each vehicle from another angle. Indeed it would not hurt to have one or two more pictures or even a different profile of the Panthers covered here. As much as they are excellent the text and profiles make you feel like you want to see more of each vehicle. I do understand however sometimes there is only one view of a vehicle from records and sometimes a hazy one at that!
The profiles, pictures and words are only half of the story though, as Kagero now get Cartograf from Italy to print the decals they supply with their miniTopcolors books. This – my friends - is a very good thing indeed!
Included in this release is a large but slightly smaller than A4 sheet of Cartograf printed decals in 1/72, 148th and of course 1/35th scales .The sheet is logically and neatly printed on the sheet so you can cut in and out of them this is a large sheet with all of the vehicles inside captured, along with any national symbols included in the actual markings.
Having used their decals before I can say that they are strong, and although a little thick, they settle down very well – whites are strong and the colours are true and the printing in register – and I can say with all of these things that I am right yet again – but you cannot know dear reader how they sit unless someone shows you – that’s what we are here for – so I applied the 48th scale decals to a nice “olivegrun” board I had painted up.

The decals went on very easily and slid straight off the paper after only ten or so second of sitting in the water. These here went straight down onto Tamiya acrylic spray paint, so their natural habitat you would think..I was impressed by the decals and wasn’t let down by their malleability and toughness. They applied easily and lost none of their colour when laid down on a quite dark surface – and although there was some evidence of carrier film this would die down with micro set/sol combination.
Well what else is there to say – this combination isn’t an exhaustive reference book for rivet counter, or even al long read at only twenty pages. It is however an inspiring book of sixteen interesting panther profiles, pictures and information with an excellent sheet of decals covering each of the Panthers depicted in the book. More of a thing for modellers than historians or even modellers who don’t model but really want to (the big stash guys – “One day I will make it!!”) 

Anyway this is a great addition to the series and well executed.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Kagero for sending this to review.