ARM: Review - DML 1/35 scale Ferdinand - Kursk 1943 - Premium Edition

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale =9139-=9145 Series Kit No. 646=
5; Sd.Kfz. 184 Elefant Kursk 1943 - Premium Edition; 665 parts (250 in grey=
styrene, 240 =93Magic Track=94 snap-together links, 153 etched brass, 16 =
clear styrene, 4 white metal shackles, 4 turned aluminum pins, 1 length of =
twisted steel wire, 2 pre-bent steel wire, 1 turned aluminum barrel, 1 leng=
th of copper chain); pre-order price US$49.95 cvia Dragon USA Online
Advantages: some mold improvements from previous kits
Disadvantages: if you bought any of the first six releases now you have to =
make a choice to keep them or get this one
Rating: Recommended
Recommendation: for all German and =93Tiger=94 fans
For reasons best known to their marketeers =96 probably due to the fact =
that Tamiya has released a new mold kit of this vehicle =96 Dragon has rele=
ased its seventh take on the big Porsche tank destroyer. To wit:=20
6126 Sd.Kfz. 184 Elefant (Late Model) (1999)
6133 Sd.Kfz. 184 =93Ferdinand=94 (Early Version) (2001)=20
6311 Sd.Kfz. 184 Elefant - Premium Edition (2006)
6317 Sd.Kfz. 184 Ferdinand - Premium Edition (2008)=20
6436 - Ferdinand Fahrgestelle Nr. 150100 (2007)
6465 Sd.Kfz. 184 Elefant w/Zimmerit (2009)=20
6495 Sd.Kfz. 184 Ferdinand Kursk 1943 - Premium Edition (2012)=20
While they have mixed the early (Ferdinand) and late (Elefant) variants in=
this listing, they are still basically variants of the same vehicle. As no=
ted this is the third =93Premium=94 go at the vehicle which means extra met=
al parts.=20
From the earlier versions of this kit, it has a very involved and detailed=
engine deck, providing the covered gratings via separate external grilles =
and an inner former with grillework cut into it. This compares well with th=
e photos of the APG Elefant during its assessment for restoration, which ap=
peared in Museum Ordnance Special Number 4: Elefant Panzerjaeger Tiger (P) =
by Tom Jentz and Jeff McKaughan. The screening on the cooling vent over the=
rear electric motors (part B9) is still solid, which is odd considering ho=
w much etched brass has been added to the kit.
The hull comes in a number of pieces =96 nine, to be exact: hull with spon=
sons, rear sides, rear plate and bottom rear of hull, bow plate and glacis,=
rear backing plate to glacis, glacis with ball mount, engine and forward c=
ompartment deck, and casemate. All are nicely detailed and appropriate for =
the early Ferdinand at Kursk (e.g. no zimmerit). Parts placement is by smal=
l raised lines, which some modelers find annoying. =20
The suspension is totally new, and each one of the six bogies consists of =
nine parts, which do not move as the Italeri ones did. Installing the track=
s once the wheels are in place is cagey though, as the hull comes with the =
sponsons molded in place which makes access to the top run difficult. DML r=
ecommends installing the tracks before the fenders (parts B1 and B2) but mo=
st modelers will probably want to try and avoid this for painting and finis=
hing reasons. If you have problems with this sort of thing, perhaps a set o=
f Fruilmodel tracks would be advisable, as they can be =93snaked=94 through=
in this situation.=20
This kit provides both styrene and a complete etched brass set of fenders,=
leaving which one to use up to the modeler.=20
This kit returns to=93Magic Tracks=94 packed in =93left=94 and =93right=94=
bags They are much easier to install after painting than the original kit=
=92s tracks.=20
The kit also includes parts for the 8.8 cm L/71 gun to include a basic mou=
nt, recoil cylinders, and guards at the rear of the breech. The gun mount (=
parts C14 and C15) appears to cement in place, which limits traverse of the=
weapon once installed, but it would seem from the entirety of the gun moun=
t and its components that it could be left loose to also provide the minima=
l traverse this big gun had in real life. The mantlet alone comprises five =
parts, so that the massive bolt heads on the joining plates can be accurate=
ly reproduced.
A choice of metal or styrene shackles is provided, as well as this time th=
e kit comes with the two tow cables and metal cable for them. The kit comes=
with standard DML German tool sets TA (pioneer tools), TB (jacks and fire =
extinguishers) and TC (tow cable heads).=20
Technical assistance is credited to Steven Van Beveren, Tom Cockle and Gar=
y Edmundson.=20
In a change from past kits, two general finishing options are offered: eit=
her S.Pz.Jg.Abt. 653 or S.Pz.Jg.Abt. 654. The former uses green blotches ov=
er sand, whereas the later uses green stripes over sand. A very nice and co=
mplete Cartograf decal sheet lets the modeler choose which vehicle from the=
se two battalions he wishes to model and provides appropriate numbers and m=
arkings for them.
Overall DML has done a nice job of keeping this kit current, albeit whethe=
r or not a seventh version of the same basic vehicle was needed is debatabl=
Many thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.=20
Cookie Sewell=20
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