ARM: Review - 8.8 cm Pak 43 Waffentraeger

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale =9139-=9145 Series Kit No.
6728; Ardel-
Rheinmetall 8.8 cm Pak 43 Waffentraeger - Smart Kit; 683 parts (670 in
grey styrene, 13 etched brass); pre-order price US$45.95 via Dragon
USA Online
Advantages: slick recombination of existing parts (as with the
prototype) to create a unique little vehicle
Disadvantages: old-fashioned track links will be tedious; =93Panzer =9146"
one off prototype; description and available references do not fully
sync up (see text)
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for very late war and =93Panzer =9146" What-If fans
Towards the very end of the war the Germans were trying to
standardize items to permit large volume production of armored
vehicles. To that end they wanted a light, multipurpose carrier
capable of either mounting a 10.5 cm leFH 18 howitzer or 8.8 cm Pak 43
antitank gun, with consideration given to dismounting the weapon if
needed. Four companies competed: Rheinmetall-Borsig, Krupp, Steyr, and
Ardelt. While the Rheinmetall design used most of the components from
the Pzkw. 38(t) tank chassis, the Ardelt one used those from the
Hetzer. While all were similar they differed in many details. None got
past the prototype stage, even though the Ardelt design was declared
the winner. This vehicle was modified and underwent successful testing
at the Hillersleben test range on 27 April 1945, but by then it was
too late.
Many German modelers like the =93What If?=94 or =93Panzer =9146" design
vehicles so they have proved a popular modeling subject. That explains
many of the E10, E25, E50, E75 and E100 models now in release. This is
another one that would have joined those vehicles had the war gone on
and the Germans had the ability to produce it. But somewhere along the
line DML appears to have gotten the entries mixed up =96 Ardelt and
Rheinmetall apparently did not combine their efforts. Looking at the
old =93Encyclopedia of German Tanks...=94 with Tom Jentz=92 update shows
them as being completely different vehicles. This is a model of what
looks to be the Rheinmetall-Borsig entry (Plate 157) and not any of
the Ardelt ones (Plates 160-162).
Once past the =93Which one is it?=94 quandary the model uses bits from
the DML Pzkw. 38(t), Nashorn, and Hetzer with new parts for the hull
and some details. At least half of the parts in the box are not used,
and most of those which are consist of the track links. One Nashorn
sprue is provided for only five 8.8 cm rounds. The Praga engine is not
used nor are most of the interior bits.
What is left builds up with a partial driver=92s compartment but few
details. The two 8.8 cm guns alternate contributed parts but form a
complete weapon with mount that attaches to the new turret base;
however there is no interior under the turret nor is there anything
for the two large hatches at the rear of the hull. The sole optional
part on the kit is the etched brass gun shield part MA3; one set of
finishing directions shows it not used and one in place.
Technical information was supplied by Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson;
these gentlemen usually get it right, but sometimes DML still does not
translate their input to the model at hand.
Two finishing options are provided along with a tiny sheet of
Cartograf crosses: Hillersleben 1944 (sand with white on the hull
front, no gun shield) and Hillersleben 1945 (sand with white on the
hull front with gun shield).
Overall while I am sure it will be popular it is an odd choice and
rather esoteric.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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