by: Vinnie Branigan [ ]
Dragon originally released the Elefant kit (6126) some years ago. It was basically a sound kit then, but what a great idea to update it with modern mouldings and photo-etch!
Inside the box.... with new box art and new 'Premium Edition' to differentiate the old from the new.... you'll find some of the old kit, but a whole lot more that's new! Inside there are 12 sprues of the usual light grey styrene, one small transparent one, lower hull and upper hull, a small bag of 'Magic Tracks, and the Dragon 'card'. On the card there is an aluminium barrel, a metal tow rope, decal sheet, and two fairly large sheets of photo etch.
All the parts are totally flash free and beautifully moulded, as you would expect from Dragon these days.
Tracing the lineage of these new Premium kits going to be difficult, since sprues seem to have originated in all kinds of different kits, and with this in mind some of the following may be corrected later. Sprue A contains the engine deck and hatches mainly, and is the same sprue in the original release and also in the Bergepanzer Tiger (P) kit # 6226. This is also true for sprues B, E, F & Y, although Sprue Y has the addition of some small commander's hatch parts. Sprue C that holds the gun and mantlet is also from the original Elefant release, although obviously not in the Bergepanzer release. Sprue A (the second A) is from the Tiger Initial release, kit number 6252, although most of this will end up in the spares box, since only 3 muzzle brake parts are needed for the Elefant. Sprue J likewise, ending up in the spares box mostly, apart from the machine gun.
Now it becomes interesting! The new parts! Firstly there are transparent periscopes for the commander's hatch and the driver's hatch, which are obviously a huge improvement over the original kit parts, which were the normal grey styrene. The machine gun, as mentioned, comes from a later release, and is therefore vastly improved, although mostly hidden... it's pre-drilled!
As with the newer Dragon releases, there are two sets of tools provided, one set with moulded on clamps, these can be found on the 'old' sprues, and a new set with no clamps moulded on, for which Photo etched ones can be used. As mentioned earlier, a metal tow rope is included which feels very malleable, and the eyelets provided for this has holes in them, not slots, which we're more used to..... at last!
As for the photo etch provided in the kit, as already mentioned the tool clamps are provided, as well as a full set of fenders, front, rear and side. All the brackets to hold them too! There is a rear stowage locker, with etched clasps, spare track link brackets, a length of real chain, and metal towing shackles. Also included on one of the sheets is the housing for the driver's three hatch periscopes, and the flat ring for the commander's hatch, and a nice grill for the rear intake. There is also a rather nice aluminium barrel included, but unfortunately you'll have to use the styrene brake..... although this does come from the Initial Tiger kit, so at least it doesn't come in two halves!
The tracks in the original kit were not that bad...... that is, if you didn't mind cutting each link off the sprue and then cleaning it up. In this new release we get Magic Tracks. Two small plastic bags, one containing links with guide horns, the other without, so they are built alternately. They fit well enough together, although they aren't working tracks, which means they will not stay together without cementing..... and the chevron has been corrected, and now faces the correct way.
The marking options are slightly different to those in the original release, although as in that kit, there are 3 options. All three are disruptive camouflage schemes, two of them in 2 colour, and the middle in a 3 colour scheme.
1./s.Pz.Abt.653, Italy, 1944
2./s.Pz.Abt.653, Poland, 1944
s.Pz.Abt.614, Poland, 1945
What a good idea! I can't wait to see which kit Dragon are going to release next in their Premium range. This one is simply stunning! I recently purchased a photo-etched upgrade set from another manufacturer for the Dragon Elefant, a picture of which is below. It was expensive, and you get a lot more in this Premium Edition. Highly Recommended!
My thanks to Dragon for the review sample.