Towards the end of World War II the Allies had gained complete air superiority in the skies over Europe. This allowed for relentless air to ground attacks making any sort of movement by the Germans during the day virtually impossible. In earnest, the Germans developed a night fighting solution called the FG 1250. There are two configurations for this equipment. The first, ET Model ER35-034, is a configuration which features the search light and scope mounted and aligned with an MG 42 mounted to the rotating ring on the commander’s cupola of the Panther Ausf. G (I have seen photographic evidence of this setup also mounted on a special variant of the Sd.Kfz. 251 Ausf. D Halftrack). This equipment allowed the machine gunner to see human targets up to 400 Meters away at night. The other configuration, modeled in this set, ET Model set ER35-035, mounts to the roof of the Panther Ausf. G and is connected and calibrated to the Panther’s main gun, the75mm KwK 42 L/70. It has been reported that they could see a human at about 600 meters at night and up to 1000 meters when used in conjunction with the Sd.Kfz. 251/20 “Uhu”.
The set is packaged in a plastic sleeve, the PE parts taped to black card stock and the photo etch parts in small zip lock bags. The instructions are printed on a single green sheet, front and back. The set is labeled ER35-035 WWII German Infrared Night-Vision Devices Infrarot-Scheinwerfer Type 2. This represents the FG 1250 implementation to be used with the main armament of Panther Ausf. G.
The set includes the FG 1250 infrared searchlight and scope and all the appropriate brackets and mounting hardware and linkage connecting the system to the main gun. The searchlight and scope are cast in a cream colored resin with no blemishes or bubbles. The lenses are clear plastic and unfortunately the instructions do not show the installation of the lenses at all. It will be easy to tell which one goes where as they are different sizes; the larger lens is for the searchlight and the smaller lens is for the scope. The various brackets and clamps are on the brass photo etch fret. Small holes must be drilled on the scope assembly to accommodate the wiring. You will have to provide the wire yourself and there are no guidelines as to the thickness or length of the wires so consult your reference photos and estimate as best you can. Small holes need to be drilled to accommodate some of the small securing PE pieces. You will also have to fabricate two handle bars which attach to the search light mount, however no guidance is give as to their thickness or size so you’re completely on your own here.
Panthers equipped with the night fighting equipment had an armored storage bin mounted to the right rear hull plate in place of the typical storage bin. This armored bin houses the two batteries for the Infrared system along with other tools and equipment. The batteries are formed by simply folding the parts into their box shape. The storage bin is formed by folding the large PE piece to shape and then securing the access door with the PE hinges and butterfly nuts. The hinges feature small tabs which are to be rolled to shape and connected by pins which you will have to make from 0.3mm ABS rod cut to 1.7mm lengths.
This is a great set from ET Model for those who wish to model a late war Panther with the FG1250 implementation on the Panther Ausf. G and the outstanding KwK 42 L/70. The quality of the resin and photo etch parts is great. You will need to provide 0.3mm ABS rod, thin wire and whatever you decide to use for the searchlight handles to complete the assembly. As you can see from the ET Model photos this set looks stunning and will add a lot of detail and interest to your completed build. This set is highly recommended.
Review sample graciously provided by ET Model http://www.etmodeller.com
ET Model is based in Shanghai China and produces aftermarket photoetch and resin detail and upgrade sets.
Scott Espin – Model Builder International – www.modelbuilderinternational.com