Photo 2 shows there’s not too many bits in the box; the box lid states 40+, but it’s actually 59, one of which is for another kit, that being the Jagdpanzer mantlet on the upper left of sprue A in photo 3. On the same sprue are the one piece side / suspension units and the back plate – nice and simple, but crisply moulded. Two sprue Bs provide the wheels (photo 4 - here you can see those joined up inner wheels), exhaust pipes, and eight tow shackles, six of which might be used. Sprue C (5) has the turret base, the gun split lengthways, headlamp, infrared gear and commander’s hatch lid. Then the three big chunks of plastic: the hull top, with literally everything except the front lamp moulded on, including the side skirts, so none of that cool missing panel stuff possible here (6). The turret, again, has most things moulded on, most noticeably those spare links (7), yet that’s not the most annoying part – but I’ll get to that. The hull bottom (8), a simple enough looking part with appropriate detail should you wish to display the model upside down. Soft rubbery tracks that are nevertheless quite well detailed, and like many other aspects of this kit, very big for braille scale (9). Photo 10 shows the decals, which are frankly rubbish, and I was surprised to see they are exactly the same (scaled down obviously) as provided in the 1/35 scale kit. Rubbish because someone has apparently just typed them up on a word processor using a standard font, so no attempt to make them look authentic beyond them being red and white – except this is a fictional tank so perhaps by 1946 they’d have been printing the turret numbers like that at the factory; or not. Then there’s the usual tiddly crosses, which is OK, just a bit dull.
That’s the sprue shots, now for a more detailed look at parts. Viewing the turret from a different angle (11) now offers a glimpse of its most annoying aspect: the cupola periscopes are just ignored, with no detail, just a series of seven blocks. The fume extractor, the curved guard over the gun mount, the rangefinder and the armour plate interlocks on the turret sides are all, on the other hand, nicely rendered. Somehow, even those spare links sort of grew on me; considering how naff an idea it is, they’re actually well detailed and moulded, and – taking a positive attitude – present an interesting painting challenge, and at least there’s no danger of sticking them on upside down (it’s been done). Also visible here is the tab that represents the handle on the loader’s hatch and the lifting rings in each corner. The engine deck (12) features more tabs for handles and hooks, moulded on tools and moulded on mesh. Again, being positive, the tools are quite well done considering, and there’s no dilemma about whether to paint them separately then stick them on at the end, or attach before painting – the decision has been made for you, so live with it. As for the mesh, I prefer this to the more usual thing of providing the detail of the metal bars underneath, then just ignoring the mesh like it didn’t exist, this way at least we have fake mesh instead of no mesh. Photo 13: more tabs and tools, but a nice armoured cable run and armour plate interlocks, and generally the rendering is again well executed: note the VERY subtle mould seam line running off the top edge of the side skirts down on to the curved front corners – that is the only clean up necessary on this big component. Perhaps the bolt details around the hatches are, if anything, a bit underdone.
The side skirts (14) have more clean moulding with deeply inscribed panel lines and a subtle texture (is that a good thing?). Underneath the hull bottom (15) we see various access plates with recessed screws. Photo 16 shows the only tiny bits in the kit: the hatch lid is detailed on both sides and can happily be positioned open or closed. The infrared target device is in three parts, a little simplified, but enough detail for this scale. The gun barrel is split along its entire length (17) but as the moulding quality looks so good, I suspect all will be well, and the muzzle is already open. Photos 18, 19, show the road wheels with a cleanly defined representation of steel rims and lots of bolts, and as mentioned, inner wheels joined together to avoid any issues around alignment. Photos 20-26 show the crisply moulded three part idlers and the sprockets. Photo 27 is a close up of the suspension arms and springs; although offering no scope for setting the wheels in anything other than a dead straight line, the detail here seems fine considering little of this is visible by the end of the build, and sometimes it’s nice not to have to clean up about sixty parts before even starting on the wheels. Finally we have the back plate (28) with the texture, nice moulded on cover plates, and what I think are two rear lamps.