Tiger I Ausf. H2 7.5 cm KwK 42
Dragon, 1/35 scale
Reviewed by Cookie Sewell
|Stock Number and Description||Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale ‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6321; Sd.Kfz. 165 Hummel-Wespe|
|Media and Contents:||636 parts (592 in grey styrene, 27 etched brass, 11 clear styrene, 3 pre-bent steel wire, 2 DS Plastic track runs, 1 length of vinyl hose)|
|Price:||pre-order price US$64.99 via Dragon USA Online|
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||Optional version of the Hummel chassis|
|Recommendation:|| Recommended to all German fans
There are times a kit shows up and due to the fact I do not have any references cannot determine the provenance of a specific model.
In this case, while some of the sources indicate that at the prototype stage there was a discussion about using the new Gw III/IV chassis for both the 10.5 cm leFH 18 and the 15 cm sFH 18, in the end it was felt the chassis would be bettered used for the big 15 cm piece and thus the Hummel was born.
Others indicate that towards the end of the war the Hummel ammunition tenders (the same chassis and vehicle as the Hummel but with ammunition racks only and no gun mounting) were hastily fitted with available Sd.Kfz. 124 Wespe 10.5 cm guns to fill the need for more artillery mounts.
I have no info as to which is true but as this is a late production chassis it tends to lead to the second story having some truth.
Be that as it may, DML has now released a kit of this hybrid system with their most recent Hummel kit as the basis (No. 6321) and a new set of some 78 parts to provide the 10.5 cm mount and the new gun shields to fit it to the Hummel interior. The gun also comes with six projectiles but no propellant charges.
The kit uses the new hull base with sponson floors in place and a new upper hull, with a nicely done set of positionable hatches and viewers. As with all Smart Kits most of the detail parts are provided from styrene with optional replacements in brass.
The suspension is straight from the Panzer IV “Smart Kits” and as such is easier to assemble than the earlier Panzer IV kits. The “Magic Tracks” are still with us, and the only thing to recall is left bag - left track, right bag - right track as you look at the header card. DML calls them “dark grey right - light grey left” but too often the colors are not well differentiated.
As noted the gun is new bespoke tooling based on previous DML 10.5 cm releases and this one is based on the leFH 18/40 kit. A new set of shields and side panels is included to mate the new mount up with the Hummel casemate sides.
The upper hull is completely new. The much maligned louvers of the early kits are now “slide molded” from styrene and separate parts (D29). The walls are also about half the thickness of normal parts (0.050" or 1.25mm seems to have been the default in the past; these are about 0.020" or 0.5mm with thinned edges) and look more like sheet steel parts than plastic.
The 10.5 cm projectiles have a new mold rack, but the old 15 cm ammo lockers are the only ones provided. The directions seem to indicate that you simply cement the covers on and leave them closed so that they do not have to provide the rest of the stowage. This is a bit of a shortcut on DML’s part which is a shame.
The kit now sports DS Plastic tracks. Once again I reiterate that modelers who do not wish to spend hours on the tracks prefer the one-piece DS runs, and ones who do not mind the extra work with the Magic Track single link tracks prefer them. DML SHOULD INCLUDE BOTH IN THE KIT TO LET THE MODELER CHOOSE! (Once the track molds are cut the difference is only a few American pennies per kit.)
Project supervisor was Hirohisa Takada, with technical support from Minoru Igarashi, H3 Design Office, and Dragon engineering; technical assistance provided by Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
Decals and finishing directions are included for three guns: Unidentified unit, German 1945 (green over sand, no markings); Unidentified Unit, Germany 1945 (tricolor with black crosses); and Unidentified Unit, Germany 1945 (tricolor, black crosses); the latter two have different schemes for their lower hulls. A tiny sheet of Cartograf decals is provided.
Overall this is an interesting choice and if the late war story is correct it appears to match well.
A 37x2 Pzkw. IV Smart Kit - drivers, idlers and return rollers
A 81x2 Pzkw. IV Smart Kit - road wheels and bogies
B 9 Hummel upper sides and shield assemblies
D 74x2 Hummel ammo ands stowage, vents
E 11 Hummel-Wespe - gun shield, side panels
F 38 Hummel upper hul components, ammo racks
G 10 German generic jack
K 67 Hummel-Wespe - leH 18/40/2 upper carriage, ammunition
K 29 German generic tools and accessories
K 11 Clear styrene
10 Nashorn/Hummel - exhausts, spare wheel carriers
L 1 DS Plastic track run - Left
N 33 Hummel - interior components, travel lock
R 1 DS Plastic track run - Right
X 1 Nashorn/Hummel lower hull
Z 1 Vinyl hose
MA 27 Etched brass
MD 3 Pre-bent steel wire
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.