ARM: Review - DML 1/35 Scale Dicker Max

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale '39-'45 Series Kit No. 6357; 1,015 parts (654 in grey stryene, 288 "Magic Track" links, 67
etched brass, 4 clear styrene, 1 turned aluminum gun barrel, 1 length of twisted steel wire); price estimated at US$44.98
Advantages: first kit of this vehicle on the market; fighting compartment interior complete
Disadvantages: "one-off" vehicle with few options
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for German artillery fans and fanciers of low production rate vehicles.
F I R S T L O O K
    I have to admit that I come from a long line of merchants who were successful at selling goods to the public (my grandfather sold Al Capone his trademark white hat back in the 1920s as a case in point) and the rule of thumb for success was either find a niche nobody else can fill or be better at competing with them in general goods. I am thus always a bit disappointed when one model company announces that it is going to sink its resources into a very low production rate or prototype vehicle and the next thing we see on the market are competing products.
    DML is now first to the market with its kit of the 10.5 cm K18 auf Panzer Selbsfahrlafette IVa, better known as "Dicker Max" (Fat Max). Originally conceived as a bunker buster able to close to point-blank range and dispatch it with a 10.5 cm round, two were built for testing in 1941 and used in Russia.The chassis chosen was that of a Pzkw. IV Ausf. D, but the "a" indicated a change from rear- engine to mid- engine location. Testing went well and the guns found themselves very effect against tanks as well as bunkers with the high-power 105mm gun, but one was knocked out and the other withdrawn. The 10.5 cm K18 gun did not go into production as by that time the Germans were pursuing other weapons, and the 10.5 cm leFH 18 was considered better at basic artillery missions and newer weapons in the 8.8 cm range more useful and lighter in tanks. The remaining gun apparently did not survive the war.
    Accompanied by an eight page "brag book" on the features of this model, DML cites the fact that researcher Thomas Anderson actually did find the original plans for the weapons and used those to assist DML in making the kit. The kit itself borrows heavily from the DML Pzkw. IV Ausf. B to E kits released over the last two years, and as such has most of the parts fine-tuned and many of the early problem areas corrected or replaced.
    The kit comes with the basic lower hull and tracks of the Ausf. D version of the kit, with carded "Magic Tracks", separate tires, one- piece idlers, and all of the B/C/D/E kits. I am not sure about the arguments over the location of the drive wheels or not, but the chassis appears to be the most recent one.
    The actual "Dicker Max" elements amount to some 239 parts and provide for a new bow section, casemate and interior, gun assembly, and all of the specific "Dicker Max" detailing. As it is mid-engined there are tall air intakes on either side of the gun assembly, as well as venting and channels around the fighting compartment.
    The gun itself, based on photos, comes with two different "slide molded" muzzle brakes, a standard German style twin-chamber type and a "tulip" shaped one. A solid styrene barrel or optional turned aluminum one come in the kit as well. Note that for some reason the aluminum barrel does not show up on the directions.
    The kit does abound with nice touches. The head lights (J-2 and J-3) are clear parts with an etched brass mask over the front to replicate the vehicle's headlights. The amount of detail is amazing, and as it does not look to be trumped up or "swaged" as some have been in the past, the moldmakers do seem to have access to the blueprints.
    A disclaimer comes that as the vehicles were only used as prototypes with two units - the 521st Panzerjaeger Detachment for a proposed attack on Gibraltar and later with the 3rd Panzer Division in Russia - the markings are based on surviving photographs of the two "Dicker Max" guns. Ergo, there is no good way to tell which gun is which from the markings. The only color offering is grey. At least the small decal sheet is from Cartograf.
    Overall this is a lovely kit, but I still wonder at the wisdom of slugging it out with two kits of two vehicles and passing over some more deserving and underrepresented ones.
    Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote: : : Overall this is a lovely kit, but I still wonder at the wisdom of : slugging it out with two kits of two vehicles and passing over some : more deserving and underrepresented ones. :     If it has Balkenkreutz on it, I expect it will sell. :-)
                            Bruce
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"I like bad!" Bruce Burden Austin, TX.
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On Apr 6, 9:27�pm, snipped-for-privacy@realtime.net (Bruce Burden) wrote:

Gee, Bruce, I think you can go far in marketing... 8-)
Cookie Sewell
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On Apr 7, 11:35 am, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I agree ... but which competing products are we talking about? A few cross-references to help put your review in context wouldn't hurt. :)

If they're first, surely they're not the "competing" ones? Maybe I'm just not very well-connected, but you seem to be talking about a "race to market" that the hoi-polloi are not aware of. Or at least this particular hoi-polloi isn't aware of.

And again the question is raised: what two kits are you talking about?
Bruce Melbourne, Australia
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DML versus Trumpeter - Dicker Max DML versus Tristar - Marder III, Pzkw. I Ausf. A DML versus AFV Club, Sd.Kfz. 251 series halftracks Academy versus AFV Club, M18 Academy versus AFV Club, M10 Academy versus AFV Club, M36 DML versus Trumpeter versus AFV Club, Stryker Trumpeter versus DML, Karl Geraet mortar Trumpeter versus DML, Leopold railway gun

Many modelers elsewhere would like a nice new kit of a Matilda, a line of Pzkw. II, American halftracks (two which DML and now Trumpter are competing) and other overlooked vehicles or ones badly needing a new kit. While choice is not a bad thing in and of itself, in most cases good subjects are passed by to "stick it to" a competitor.
Cookie Sewell
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote: : :> I agree ... but which competing products are we talking about? A few :> cross-references to help put your review in context wouldn't hurt. :) : : DML versus Trumpeter - Dicker Max : Just a nit - there was a resin kit of this vehicle that was the first to market. And, I believe Mini Art Studio and On Track Models fought it out, so China I vs China II are simply following established grooves. :-) : : Trumpeter versus DML, Leopold railway gun : Once Ironside proved there was a market for this kit. Wonder how many companies will release a kit of "Gustav Gerat"? Also, I don't think that this is really a good example. I think Trumpeter did a much more detailed job on the K5(e), as well as the Karl morser. And, both followed the well work resin tracks of CMK, who was first to market with a 1/35 scale kit of this vehicle. : : Many modelers elsewhere would like a nice new kit of a Matilda, a line : I & II, please. Not to mention the proliferation of British softskins that AA and Resicast have been busily turning out. : : While choice is not a bad thing in and of itself, in most cases : good subjects are passed by to "stick it to" a competitor. : But, it is amusing when two Chinese companies are doing it to each other. I wonder, do DML and Trumpeter cut their own molds? If not, I wonder what the going rate is for "peeking" at your competetors molds? I also have to give Trumpeter high marks for coming out with the first fire engine in 30 years (at least, I do not remember any 1/25 American emergency equipment since AMT did the American La France equipment). Now, the 80s Monte Craplo, well... lets say that my experience with this example of Garbage Motors engineering... colors my outlook to some extent.
                            Bruce
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"I like bad!" Bruce Burden Austin, TX.
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On Apr 11, 12:44 am, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

And the rest! A few years ago your choices for a Pz 1 (A or B) were pretty limited. Now we're swimming in them! The good news is that all of the recent kits seem pretty good.
Now, if Revell (and/or DML) could be persuaded to come out with a couple of new molds in 1/72, I'd be very happy. Aside from the more obscure resin etc. kits, the only current options are the old Esci 1/72 Pz.IB (currently living in an Italeri box) and a couple of old Fujimi 1/76 kits.

I understand and agree. My question was prompted by the fact that your review kept hinting at the existence of "the other Dicker Max kit" without actually coming out and saying what "the other kit" was.

and I don't think that makes for the best possible review. :)
Bruce
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