The kits are newly tooled and given the bad press their previous kits of these vehicles received it's probably a good thing. As I am no expert on these vehicles I'll leave the subject of accuracy to others better qualified and simply confine the review to what's in the box, and that's quite a bit.
The kit has 383 parts in light gray plastic plus another 240 for the individual track links, a small decal sheet and as a bonus includes two turned brass 88mm rounds and a small sprue with a selection of nicely moulded infantry weapons.
The parts are moulded to the same high standard as the Panther kits with no flash evident but there are some pin ejector marks on the insides of the fighting compartment walls. Most of these should be covered by the equipment added to the insides and any not should be easily removed.
The lower hull is a large tub which includes the rear fender
overhangs and has nice details on the sides and bottom; this includes the wavy
flanges along the underside of the hull/fender joins.
The running gear (suspension/road wheels) comes from Dragon’s Panzerjäger IV kit which means you also get a spare set of drive sprockets not used in this kit for the spares box.
Two additional drive sprockets are provided with the early ones having round holes while the later sprockets have the oblong lightening holes and the steel tube idler wheels are used from the Panzerjäger IV kit
The front sections of the fenders are separate parts to be attached to the hull sides and have very nicely moulded tread plate pattern while on the rear hull sides have the small plates for pushing the track pins back into place as separate parts as well as a multi part exhaust systems for the rear hull.
The front glacis plate is also a separate part with the moulded on driver’s compartment again having separate front visor door and top hatch, the radio operator’s circular hatch is also a separate part. The detail on this features well defined weld seams and other details much the same as the other parts. Having the glacis plate separate makes it easy to include the full width driver’s compartment seen on later vehicles.
There are many small detail parts to be added to the hull front as well as the large barrel travel lock and the jack on the front left fender.
The 88mm gun is a work of art with many small detail parts and features a well detailed breech, gun cradle and gun mounting to which is added smaller parts such as the crew seats, traverse hand wheels as well as a nice front gun shield. The gun can be elevated after assembly and care should be taken not to glue parts that are designed to be movable. To compliment the gun assembly is the inclusion of two turned brass 88mm rounds, a nice little extra.
The rear fighting compartment has separate side walls with
details on both sides as well as the pin ejector marks as mentioned earlier,
the two separate rear doors also have four pin ejector marks each to be removed.
The interior is filled out with large and small storage boxes and other small details plus the large gun support bracket and the two periscopes for the hull sides.
The hull and sidewall parts have a very subtle ‘orange peel’ surface effect that eliminates the smooth finish but is not overdone and is hardly noticeable. The large intake louvers on the side plates are very well done with crisp and well defined details.
The tracks are separate 36mm links from the earlier Panzer III/IV kits and while separate are not workable and require the links to be glued together but should look good on the finished kit. The instructions show these being fitted early on but personally I would leave these off until after painting.
Markings are provided for two vehicles, one each from Schwere
Heeres Panzerjäger, Abteilung 525 and 560.
The instructions are the now normal colour photos of the parts during assembly but I found that some of the sequences were a little confusing especially with the gun assembly. The photos show a number of the smaller parts already assembled with only arrowed numbers pointing to the individual parts and careful study of the instructions before gluing would be advisable.
The following information originally posted to the Japanese language site Maxim, translated and posted by Robert Lu to the Track Link discussion forums indicate errors in the kit instructions, thanks for the info Robert. These errors further highlight my concerns with this type of instruction as mentioned above.
In all a superb kit with very nice surface details and plenty of other details to be added, the details are crisp and plenty of them with only some minor cleanup needed on the few pin marks. The 88mm gun is almost a kit in itself and makes the fighting compartment very busy.
I am looking forward to the Hummel kit as I think this looks “meaner” with it’s big 150mm gun.
Another winner from Dragon for German armour fans.
on thumbnails for larger view
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Nuts & Bolts Vol.14
|Ground Power No.105
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Page created 22 December 2002