Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale
‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6226; Bergepanzer Tiger (P)
by Cookie Sewell
82 parts (351 in grey styrene, 16 etched nickel, 8 etched brass, 3 lengths
of copper chain, 2 track sets from DS-100 plastic, 2 lengths of braided
steel wire); price estimated at US $34.
Advantages: "in the box" kit of a well-known conversion that
DID see service; nicely done and with careful building will be an impressive
Disadvantages: "not a gun tank"
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: For all German and "engineer" equipment fans
F I R S T L O O K
When armies first created tanks for combat, nobody seems to have thought
much about what to when they no longer work. Considering the unreliability
of the first vehicles, it would seem to have been something that should
automatically have been considered, but it was not. As a result, when
the first tanks broke, they stayed where they were. Some were buried,
as the discovery last year of a Mark IV in France in the middle of a field
would serve to illustrate.
But even when dedicated repair and recovery vehicles were created, many
planners seemed to miss one key point: if the retriever isn't as big as
or bigger than what it is supposed to recover, the concept is going to
be hard to make work. The Soviets found that out in Finland, when the
prototype T-100 tank struck a mine and could not be recovered by the T-28
tanks escorting it. (They had to come back the next spring with the SMK
and prototype KV tank to pull it out.)
Even the Germans seem to have found it hard to grasp this concept. The
idea of recovering a 56-metric-ton Tiger in combat with three 18-ton halftracks
does not seem to have undergone a great deal of thought, or somebody figured
that the Germans couldn't lose so would not have to worry about pesky
things like enemy infantry and artillery in the area as it would be recovered
behind German lines.
Someone appears to have been much brighter in regard to the 65-metric-ton
"Ferdinand" and "Elefant" 8.8 cm SP antitank guns,
as they were not likely to be saved by anything short of a similar vehicle.
As a result, three of the vehicles were converted to retrievers –
bergepanzer –by removing their casemates, giving them a truncated
armored casemate and a collapsible jib crane for repairing their fellows.
They were assigned to sPzJgAbt 653 in Russia, where they would be needed
and their crews would have surely appreciated the protection and pulling
power of the chassis.
DML has now provided the fourth kit on their new series Porsche Tiger
chassis, the Bergepanzer Tiger (P). This kit is similar to the others
but adds two new sprues of 78 parts with the new casemate and the jib
crane, as well as more parts for tow cables and external kit. They also
provide a sprue from a StuG III kit, apparently just for the close defense
machine gun mount.
This kit also provides some brass and nickel bits, as well as two single-piece
tracks made out of the new Dragon "DS-100" glueable plastic.
They are in a light tan (the current giveaway for the material) and can
be cemented together with normal plastic cements. This solves the problem
of getting the tracks to lie down properly on the wheel sets (photos show
the tracks should run along the tops of the numbers 3 and 4 road wheels
when in adjustment) but the modeler will have to plan ahead. This means
keeping sections of the tracks free of paint and also cleaning off the
tops of the road wheels with sandpaper or a knife in order to get a good
bond. (I do not recommend using ACC cement – "Superglue"
– as it is harder to get a good fit and clean up afterwards in this
situation. The paint is easier to touch up and leaves no messy "fillet"
where it seeped out like ACC does.)
DML claims if done right the chain hoist on the jib crane will operate,
and if careful I have no reason to doubt that claim. Modelers will want
to dunk the copper chain in a model railroad "blackening" agent
first thought as they are very hard to paint when done, and this looks
much better. If not, separate parts are provided for the crane in the
Painting and marking schemes are included for all three vehicles built,
with 1st Company, 2nd Company and 3rd Company of sPzJgAbt 653 in mid-1944,
as well as one of them in late 1943. The 1944 schemes are more attractive
but more complex.
Overall this vehicle should provide a nexus for a lot of dioramas on
the Eastern Front, as it gives the modeler a lot of options for it to
"not just stand there but do something!"
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
DML kits are available from retail and mail order shops. For details
see their web site at: www.dragonmodelsltd.com.