ARM: Review - 1/35 scale Munitionswagen 38 M (Bison)

Kit Review: 1/35 scale Kit No. 21 (Dragon Models
Limited 1/35 Scale =9139-=9145 Series Kit No. 6471); Sd.Kfz. 138/1
Munitionswagen 38 M fuer s.I.G. 33/2; 1,002 parts(612 in grey styrene,
240 =93Magic Track=94 links, 139 etched brass, 10 clear styrene, 1 length
of twisted steel cable); pre-order price US$41.99 from Dragon Online
Advantages: different version of a useful but =93non-gunned=94 vehicle;
indicates a complete Ausf. M should be coming soon
Disadvantages: =93Cart before the Horse=94 release an odd choice; limited
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all German and Praga tank fans
One of the first =93boutique=94 kits released based on DML molds was a
Kirin kit of a 15 cm s.I.G. 33/1 howitzer on a Pzkw. 38(t) chassis =96
the Sd.Kfz. 138/1 Bison Ausf. H. This was the forward mounted gun and
shared parts with what eventually became the DML Hetzer kit. Later it
was re-released by DML directly in their Imperial Series as Kit No.
9004, but has not been seen for more than 10 years.
Now has somehow jumped the line and released this
boutique kit of the ammunition carrier version using shared components
with the Flakpanzer 38(t) and Marder III Ausf. M kits. While 282 of
the =93gun tank=94 versions were built, only 102 ammo carriers were
created using the same chassis and allowing for =93upgrades=94 to howitzer
vehicles if needed. The reason for this was simple: artillery can be
voracious when in combat, and firing two to three hundred rounds of
ammunition in a day during an offensive is not uncommon. As the basic
vehicle could only carry 18 rounds, a support vehicle carrying more
was essential. Since 15 cm projectiles are quite bulky and heavy, each
one weighing about 38 kg (83 pounds) even a relatively modest amount
of ammunition could weigh a great deal. The munitions carrier version
here could carry 40 complete rounds, which is about 2,280 kilograms or
5,000 pounds, so it does need a hefty chassis.
The creation of this =93boutique=94 kit was simple, as it appears DML
does have a gun version coming and most sprues were labled for that
kit. The kit uses the very nicely done molds from DML=92s Flakpanzer
38(t) and Marder III kits with a total of 153 new styrene parts added
to make the conversion.
As it uses =93Smart Kit=94 technology the emphasis is on detail but they
have also added a good amount of brass with it and it must be used to
construct the model. Some of the frames and grilles will require a
good amount of =93origami=94 to shape so it is recommended that the
modeler have a good bending jig like a Hold=92n=92Fold or Etch-Mate on
This kit also includes the engine and other interior parts from the
DML TNHP series kits. The driveline and interior are mostly styrene
parts, such as the transmission/clutch assembly, steering controls,
driveshaft and shield. The ammo racks are all single molded items, but
the projectiles are molded with the rack to get a =93scale=94 thickness to
the rack and as such cannot be separated. Twenty full and six empty
racks are provided along with two single projectiles; no propellant
casings were provided, and as noted it only covers a partial load.
There is one small radio with separate transmitter and receiver
mounted on the right side of the casemate. Each periscope in the
fighting compartment is all stryene (clear prism component, grey
mounts) and may be positioned as folded or erected.
Again, as this is a =93boutique=94 kit of a very low production/
conversion rate vehicle only two finishing options are provided: both
from our old friend =93Unidentified Unit on the Eastern Front 1944" with
one in sand and one in sand with red brown edged green mottle.
Assistance on this kit is credited to Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
Overall, this is a nicely done kit and with the hopefully imminent
release of the parent 15 cm Ausf. M kit a nice item to produce a
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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