Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/72 scale Armor Pro Series Kit No. 7492; VK.45.02(P)V;93 parts (91 in grey styrene, 2 DS Plastic track runs); pre-order price via Dragon USA Online US$22.95
Advantages: nice new kit of the other prototype variant in styrene
Disadvantages: no major ones noted
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: to all ?Panzer ?46" and Tiger II fans
As I noted when the 1/35 scale version of this vehicle came out, one of th e problems with very long tank guns is that they tend to cause problems whe n crossing rough terrain or moving in cities. Studies by all armor producin g nations show that too often a long gun barrel digs into the ground with u npleasant 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 bu t 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 it erations 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 ).
DML has now followed its recent H version of this prototype in 1/72 scale with the ?V? version and it too is a neat little kit. Other than the hu ll parts the same parts from the H kit are found here.
The turret is based on the Tiger II turrets but has a pistol port on the c ommander?s side as well as built-in hangers for the eight spare track lin k sets. The model comes with two plastic barrels and partial internal gun c omponents, but no interior to speak of. This kit has the commander?s cupo la integral with the turret shell (it only has 20% of the parts of the big one, so something had to give!)
The kit has no etched brass which is debatable as it was only a prototype and no final production variants were produced. The tracks are similar to t he Elefant tracks and are noted as being 203mm long; the ones in this kit w ere right at 203mm.
No consultants are listed, but Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson were the ones for the 1/35 scale kit.
Your choice of finishing is simple: ?Unidentified Unit? in either over all sand brown or a two color green/sand finish, both of which are presumpt ive. Eight crosses in two sizes are provided on a tiny Cartograf sheet.
Overall if displayed with the first variant 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 o f Tigers very well.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.