ARM: Review - DML 1/35 scale VK.4502(P) H

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited ‘39-‘45 Series No. 6657; VK. 45.02(P)H; 465 parts (330 in grey styrene, 107 etched brass, 23 clear
styrene, 2 twisted steel wire, 2 DS plastic track runs, 1 turned aluminum barrel); pre-order price via Dragon USA Online US$49.99
Advantages: may be first kit of this vehicle in styrene (depending on competitor release dates)
Disadvantages: unknown
Rating: Recommended
Recommendation: to all “Panzer ‘46" and Tiger II fans
    One of the problems with very long tank guns is that they tend to cause problems when crossing rough terrain or moving in cities. Studies by all armor producing nations show that too often a long gun barrel digs into the ground with unpleasant results for the crew and the tank.
    The solutions were either use a shorter gun – which then tended to limit the firepower and armor penetration capabilities of the tank - or move the turret farther back on the chassis. This solved the problem of overhang but also caused problems with balance and visibility, creating larger “dead ground” spots in front of the tank that the crew could not protect with turret armament.
    Towards the end of the war when the Germans had moved to bigger and longer guns they began to experiment with rear-mounted turrets. The two design iterations of the VK.4502(P) prototype tank looked at both versions dubbed “V” (for “vorwarts” - forward ) and “H” (for “heckwarts” - rearward). While neither version ever appears to have gotten into more than early production and testing, it shows the design evolution of these tanks (and why the “Maus” and “Loewe” tanks used the rear mounted turret).
    Part two of the latest DML/ “Paper Panzer” kits has now been released, and it models the other prototype version. This kit is nearly identical to the earlier kit with two major exceptions. First off is a new hull sprue for the “H” design turret mounting and a matching fret of etched brass with the different vents and covers. Secondly it comes with a modified set of DS Plastic tracks - on this set every other guide tooth has been removed, so if you have both kits you have two different sets of tracks.
    The rest is identical with the earlier kit. The turret is based on the Tiger II turrets but has a new shell with an insert on the side of the commander’s cupola bulge for a detail found on the prototypes (it appears to be a pistol port). The model comes with two plastic barrels as well as a turned aluminum barrel with a generic 8.8 cm L/71 muzzle brake. It also comes with two different commander’s cupola castings, each of which can hold clear styrene viewers (the original Tiger II cupola with single piece viewer ring is also included).
    The kit has a relatively large set of etched brass covering all of the radiator intake and exhaust screens and all of the external tool and fittings mounts. (Note that formers are located on one of the T series sprues for the tool clamps and locks.) This vehicle now comes with two sets of twin exhaust pipes (parts A29-A30) which mount on the upper hull decking; thanks to slide molding the bores are opened out.
    Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson are listed as the technical consultants.
    Your choice of finishing is simple: overall sand brown or a two color red brown/sand finish, both of which are presumptive. Four small crosses are provided on a tiny Cartograf sheet.
    Overall if displayed with the first variants it provides an illustration of the direction German tank design was taking in the latter half of the war. As it compliments the first one, it also should fit in with a collection of Tigers very well.
    Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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