ARM: Review - DML 1/35 scale Nashorn 3-in-1 Smart Kit

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale =9139-=9145 Series Kit No.
6386; Sd.Kfz. 164 Nashorn 3-in-1 - Smart Kit; 1,103 parts (798 in grey
styrene, 240 =93Magic Track=94 links, 35 etched brass, 24 clear styrene, 2
springs, 2 coil springs, 1 length of wire, 1 turned aluminum gun
barrel); estimated price US$52.50
Advantages: virtually new kit; changes are obvious from past kits
Disadvantages: massive number of parts to this kit, very small parts
may be fiddly; no DS tracks
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: to all German fans
I=92m not sure if it is a good thing or a bad one when DML pops up with
a virtually new kit of a subject right before another company releases
the same subject. In this case, this is an =93in your face=94 tour-de-
force kit of the Nashorn being released before AFV Club can release
their new mold kit.
This is NOT a revamped version of their 2006 =93Premium=94 version of the
Nashorn No. 6314) albeit it does use some of the sprues. It uses
modified or updated versions of seven of the sprues from that kit plus
several more new ones and sprues from the more recent Hummel redo.
The kit uses a new hull base with sponson floors in place and a new
upper hull, with a nicely done set of positionable hatches and
viewers. As with all Smart Kits most of the detail parts are provided
from styrene with optional replacements in brass.
The suspension is straight from the Panzer IV =93Smart Kits=94 and as
such is easier to assemble than the earlier Panzer IV kits. The =93Magic
Tracks=94 are still with us, and the only thing to recall is left bag -
left track, right bag - right track as you look at the header card.
DML calls them =93dark grey left - light grey right=94 but too often the
colors are not well differentiated. As I repeatedly note there is
nothing wrong with them other than they are tedious to assemble and
many modelers today want to spend their dwindling modeling time on a
vehicle, not its tracks.
The upper hull is completely new. The much maligned louvers of the
early kits are now =93slide molded=94 from styrene and separate parts
(F25). The walls are also about half the thickness of normal parts
(0.050" or 1.25mm seems to have been the default in the past; these
are about 0.020" or 0.5mm with thinned edges) and look more like sheet
steel parts than plastic.
As with the add-ons to the =93Premium=94 kit there are a number of parts
for the ammo lockers, and now provides a good selection of options. 16
rounds of 8.8 cm ammo are included as well as racks and rack locks.
Generic detail sets provide the OVM details as well as an MG34
machine gun and ammunition.
Three different versions are attributed to the kit: initial
production, modified initial production, and early production. Each
one has different or rearranged details and each is called out in the
directions. Most of the changes are what are termed =93fiddly bits=94 but
to the purists I am sure they do stand out. Also note that different
parts may require being drilled out and as usual DML=92s warnings are
tucked into the periphery of the directions and are easy to overlook.
Project supervisor was Hirohisa Takada, with technical support from
Minoru Igarashi, H3 Design Office, and Dragon engineering; technical
assistance provided by Notger Schlegtendal, Tom Cockle and Gary
Edmundson.
Decals and finishing directions are included for six guns, two of
each type: Initial Production - s.H.Pz.Jg.Abt. 655, Russia 1943
(tricolor camo with black crosses); s.H.Pz.Jg.Abt. 650, Russia 1943
(two-color camo, black 232); Modified Initial Production -
s.H.Pz.Jg.Abt. 655, Russia 1943 (tricolor camo with black crosses);
s.H.Pz.Jg.Abt. 650, Russia 1943 (tricolor camo, red 131); Early
Production - Pz.Jg.Ers.u.Ausb.Abt. (Training Unit), 1943 (sand overall
- yellow 305); and, 2/s.H.Pz.Jg.Abt. 560, Russia 1943 (wavy two-color
pattern, black 231). A sheet of Cartograf decals is provided for all
variants.
Overall this is probably the best of the Nashorn kits but it is a
very busy kit with a of of =93moving parts=94 covering the variants so
caution and care must be taken during assembly.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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AMPSOne
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