by: Robert Blokker [ ]
I got this kit very kindly from Juul (Zerocool) As a gift for my Birthday at the IPMS Nationals in Nieuwegein Holland. These are the kind of tanks I really love as they look kinda sweet and not really the dangerous attitude that the word "Tank" which you usually think about when you hear it. Well I came home and I opened the box looked inside it and decided to give you an In-box review of it. I was amazed but I also wanted to give another dimension to this review and I also did about 90% of the building to show you guys what you get and how nice it looks.
What`s in the boxThe kit was sealed in the well known coloured box DML usually does their models in and of course a nice painting on top of the lid to show the vehicle in it`s natural environment. With on one side 4 pictures of what the endresult would be and on the other side a drawing of the 5 different options that you can do in combination with the decals but more about that later.
The box contains 426 parts divided in 1 Hull, 10 sprues, of which one
transparent sprue for the lenses and one for the crew, and 1 PE fret. From the 426 parts 31 are not used in the kit and are for the sparesbox. Further a decal sheet providing decals for 5 different variants or theatres/campaigns and an Instruction manual.
The SpruesOk I will explain about the sprues in the order they appear on the instruction sheet.
Sprue "A" contains 35 parts and you`ll find parts on it that are used all over the tank. The 2 biggest parts together with 4 others form the backdeck while also the Exhaust is featured. A fire-extinguisher. Also tools
like a shovel and a crowbar, an axe and some more like the things you usually find on tanks. The suspension springs, Some details for the superstructure and hooks to tiedown personal gear on the tank.
Sprue "B", "D" and "E": Yup these sprues are actually attached to each other and form one big sprue. Sprue "B" contains 46 parts. Things like the fenders can be found here and also a lot of small parts for the running gear of the vehicle. Further a more tools like the Jack and the Jackblock. Also the lamps can be found on this sprue.
Sprue "D" contains 15 parts. The biggest part on this sprue is an optional "backplate" of the vehicle further you`ll find two types of parts that can be attached to the backfenders and on the same sprue there are 3
Hatches for the backdeck.
Sprue "E" is the holder of 5 parts and here is the other optional "backplate" with the smokescreen box that some tanks had mounted on top of the Exhaust.
Sprue "C" x2: I can be very short about sprues "C". Both sprues have 128 parts of which 80% are tracks and the rest is the suspension, sprockets, Idlers and roadwheels. Als there is the bar that is connecting the two suspensions and the rings to which you attach the suspensions inside the hull.
Sprue P: The sprue with the smallest amount of parts. Just three. This is the clear sprue I was talking about and it contains the lenses. 2 small ones for the lights on the fenders and one bigger lens for the light on the transmission cover. The detail on these lenses is very good and clear.
Sprue "K": This sprue contains 22 parts of wich the most are for the superstructure. You have a big part with the frontdeck and the turret"shape" in 1. I say turret"shape" because on that same sprue you`ll find 4 other parts that form together the final turret exterior walls. The hatches on the drivers side and the visionports are featured together with the antenna and the MG.
Sprue "I ": Technically this is not a sprue but only the hull. The standard of detail featured on it is wonderfull. This hull has the fenders molded with it and the threadplate detail is very crisp another nice touch is the addition of the headlight cables molded from where the headlight stands to where it disappears in the hull. 3 holes for the suspension and the 4th roadwheel, 1 for the sprocket and 1 for the idler. The four guidewheels have an extension molded on the hull.
Sprues "J" and "G": Again two sprues attached to each other and both feature an optional roof for
the superstructure. "J" contains 4 parts and show the flat roof with 2 hatches which according to the instruction sheet is specially for the 2nd panzerdivision, Germany 1938 while "G" has 8 parts and has another roof with a little turret structure on it also with 2 hatches which features on all the other variants the kit offers.
"MA": Lately you see more and more that modelmanufacturers are adding things like PE and Metal barrels. I think this is a very good idea. This kit also has a PE fret with 21 parts. This fret holds the Screens for both the exhaust and 1 for the enginedeck. Small PE chains for the smokedischargers and further some details for the backlights. Though it is not a big PE fret it delivers just that extra touch to the model.
FiguresAlso a new DML fashion is the inclusion of figures in their kits. Another good thing to make the modeller happy. The Sprue which comes along with the kit is the "German Sturmartillerie Crew kit# 6029 and is a set of early war german tankers. Although one of their older kits it is a nice touch as this kit isn`t in production anymore. From this sprue you actually only use enough parts to assemble 2 figures. The rest is for the scrapbox. Problem with this is that the parts of which you have to assemble the driver are for 2 figures so a bit of filling and sanding is required.
The kit also has a nice colored set of decals giving 5 options for the Panzerbefehlswagen. The options the kit provides are:
2nd Panzer Division, Germany 1938
9th Panzer Division, Holland 1940
4th Panzer Division, France 1940 (ambulance version)
5th Leichte (Light) Division, North Africa 1941
11th Panzer Division, Balkans 1941
The Instruction sheetWell it is not really news that where Dragon makes terrific kits they in one way or another forget to put some extra work in their instruction manuals. The whole assembly stage is shown in 11 steps and some parts of that might be a bit unclear but with some testfitting all those problems will be solved without too much problems. Especially where the optional parts for the back-mudguards need to come and how they are attached to the tank itself need a bit of attention.
Further no big problems In the instruction sheet also is shown which part for the figures you need and how they are assembled. On the last 2 pages you`ll find the paintschemes which is very surprising. Field-grey according to the sheet panzergrey to others. And where the decals for the 5 options need to be attached.
AssemblyThis can be a quite boring story as I didnít encounter really big problems besides my own stupidity.
The suspension from Step 1 can be a bit fiddly but with a little care and time this is easy to do. Just glue them and lay them aside for a while to let them dry other wise you will push them apart and you have to start over again.
On the backside you need to add to extensions with a bar between them. In those extensions the axles for the idlers will come. Further the built of the lower structure is very straightforward without great difficulties. Some small note: the suspension is fixed to the hull by small rings which fit on the end of the axle that sticks out inside of the vehicle.
Same goes for the superstructure No big problems here only a tip. When you built the turret structure first dry-fit everything and then glue the front plate on it and line the sidewalls from that part on the structure. Every other part that is attached to that fits perfectly. The turretroof will also not provide any problems only make sure that with the smaller turret you attach the two parts that hold the hatches horizontal when opened the right way round or other wise the hatches will be in an odd angle. And when closed it looks like the tank has devilshorns it were one of the few parts I didn`t test-fit.
Hatches: Well this is a bit of a weak point on this kit. The detail overall is really good. But with all the bigger parts on this kit they all have the same problemÖejector pin marks. Good thing is that most of the pin marks are on the good locations of the kit those that are not seen when the kit is assembled. Except for the hatches. Since Dragon has added good figures for the tank it is of course fun to have them in the tank. Therefore you have to open the hatches. And the ejector pin holes will become visible. Just a little bit putty and some minor sanding will solve this problem.
The PE provided in the kit is also very easy and even for the modeller without experience with the "copper stuff" this is an easy enhancement to the model.
Further the built is really straight forward and following the steps carefully you will have a nice tank in no time. The pics of the 90% assembled tank are not all glued in place but quickly assembled for the pics. All subassemblies are still loose
This kit shows to me again the time that Dragon invests in their models. This kit is truly well engineered. Almost no ejector pin marks on the places where you donít want them. No cleaning besides where you cut the parts of the sprue. The optional parts are also great and allowing the modeller to built small variations along with the very nice and clean decals. The addition of the PE fret and the figures is a real good step towards the modeller.
Basically this kit is so well engineered that if you cut out all the parts off the sprue, throw them back in the box, Shake two times and open it you have a ready assembled tank. This is a kit, even though some minor points mentioned in this review, that is worth every cent spend on it.
Greetz Robert Blokker