Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/72 scale Armor-Pro Series Kit No.7436; Neubau-Fahrzeug Nr. 1; 96 parts (94 in grey stryene, 2 DS Plastic track runs; pre-order price US$19.95 via Dragon USA Online
Advantages: first kit of this vehicle in this scale in styrene; use of slide molding simplifies construction
Disadvantages: nothing major noted
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all small-scale early war German armor fans
Following up on their 1/72 scale Neubaufahrzeug tanks Nos. 3-5 kit, DML has now released a retooled version of Prototype No. 1.
As with its larger brothers, the =93Neubaufahrzeug=94 (new construction vehicle) =96 Nb Fz for short =96 vehicles used Rheinmetall developed hulls, first with a Rheinmetall rolled plate turret and then a faceted Krupp one. The first tank, Prototype No. 1, had rolled/welded Rheinmetall turrets for its =93wing=94 machine guns and the main turret, as well as an awkward over/under arrangement of a 3.7 cm and 7.5 cm gun.
This kit replaces some of the previous kit=92s parts with the accurate components for mild steel prototype No. 1. As with its predecessor, slide molding eliminates a large number of parts and all of the etched brass. The entire upper hull and sponsons are molded as a single piece with many of their details in place, and it is a spectacular piece of work. The lower hull is actually a single piece belly and two running strips for the suspension units; however, here all of the bogies comprise a single unit with only the lead bogie wheel separate.
Much of the kit=92s design parallels the larger ones but wisely here the tracks are single piece DS Plastic runs.
The two =93wing=94 turrets consist of four new pieces each with closed hatches. But in this kit the commander=92s hatch in the main turret is molded closed. It comes as a three-piece =93dustbin=94 cupola but if you wish the hatch opened you will have to drill out the main hatch and make a new rotating flap from scratch.
The new turret comes with the odd over/under arrangement of the guns (each as a separate slide molded barrel) and a Soviet-style =93blister=94 for the coaxial MG 13 machine gun. It also comes with a Soviet-style =93handrail=94 receiving antenna and rod type transmitting antenna for its radio system (the designers must have been partial to the Soviet T-28 and T-35 tank designs!)
As with most recent DML kits, directions are provided for the DS Plastic tracks that indicate proper length for installation is 203mm. If too long, they recommend cutting; too short, stretching. I measured these as 197mm so stretching seems the new option.
Two finishing options are provided: Unidentified Unit, 1938 (overall grey); and Unidentified Unit, 1938 (brown over grey). I would hazard a guess the first scheme is its rollout paint job and the second one is a propaganda photo op one. A tiny sheet of Cartograf crosses is provided.
Overall 72ers are going enjoy =93the other side of the story=94 with the Nb Fz and it should be a nice =93bookend=94 to the first kit.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.