One of many designs from the mind of Dr. Porsche in the 1940’s, the VK.45.02[P]V never quite made it off the drawing board making this a Paper Panzer. With use of the failed VK.4502(P) design, Dr. Porsche brought forth different variations; VK.45.02[P]H and the VK.45.02[P]V of which would call for the use of the same Krupp turret mounted on the VK.4502(P) chassis. This was actually leading the way for the turret to later be used on the Tiger II tanks. The stark differences between the two would be the turret placement. The VK.45.02[P]H, whereas the “H” standing for “Hinten”, meaning rear referring to the turret placement to the rear of the hull. The VK.45.02[P]V, the “V” denoting to the word “Vorne” meaning front, and referring to a forward mounted turret.
Equipped with an 8.8cm KwK43 L/71 gun this would have made the VK.45.02[P]V a formidable opponent. Yet due to the failure of the engine design coupled with the failure of this tanks predecessor, this version never made it much further than the drawing board. Recently, with the lure of the Paper Panzers and with a lot of help from the gaming world, new life has been brought into both VK.45.02[P]H and the VK.45.02[P]V.
- 4 – Light grey styrene sprue containing 92 parts (10 not used)
- 1 – Pair of Dragon DS tracks lengths
- 1 – Sheet of Cartograf Decals
- 1 – Instruction booklet
Common to Dragon’s Armor Pro
Series, the kit is brought to us in the standard top opening box. All of the sprues come individually packaged in clear, sealed plastic bags; well organized and in good condition.
The first thing I look at usually is the parts legend at the beginning of the instructions. Not uncommon is the irregular identification by letters to the sprue. There is one ‘A’, two ‘B’, one ‘E’ and the DS tracks being labeled as ‘Z’. This comes from the marrying of multiple kits by the manufacturer to create the basis for the new kit. There are 92 styrene plastic parts on all of the sprues, 10 of which are not used in the construction of this model. So with 82 usable parts, this is not too bad.
Taking a look at Sprue A in the kit we find the upper and lower hull sections, the rear plate, MG, a shovel, 3 shackles and 2 transmission hubs. The lower hull section is fairly straight forward whereas limited on the sides but most if not all of the side will be covered with the road wheels and tracks. There are a couple of ejector marks located on the bottom of the hull. With a quick filling and light sanding these should disappear with little effort.
The rear plate comes with the jack block, two tow shackles and the jack pre-molded on to it. Preferably the use of separate parts would have been a much better option. There is quite a bit of flash over the entire plate and the rear deck supports. This will be a task unto itself to maneuver any sanding tool around the moulded parts.
The hubs are cleanly moulded; however, these will be hardly seen behind and inside the drive sprockets. The shackles are moulded cleanly and there is 3 of them on the sprue. The instructions call for the use of two, so if you lose one you are in luck. The separate shovel is a nice touch as you may want to reposition it or leave it off completely. Sadly, the MG and its mount are moulded on a rather bad section of the sprue. There is an ejector pin located on the underside directly next to where the plate starts and there is a fair amount of flash coming from the back of the plate to the barrel itself. The removal of the MG from the sprue will be precarious at best. If you are careful and have a little patience you might just get this part removed unscathed. Personally I feel it may be easier to duplicate this part with tiny plastic or brass rod (wire) and a small piece of plastic card to the plate.
The upper hull is next on the inspection list. Moulded cleanly and free of voids and pin marks, the detail is not too bad and should paint up nicely but there two things that stand out from the start. First is the molded on tools and tow cables. As for the tools, there is the axe, hammer, wire cutters and pinch bar. If desired, all can be removed and scratch-built if you can. These are not totally out of scale and could be painted in place with a steady hand. The Tow cables are another thing all together. These are molded completely smooth and are rather flat in appearance. Being a Paper Panzer that never actually saw service, the cables could just be removed as if they were never installed. However, if you have an aftermarket 1/72 scale cable or if you can make one from scratch, go for it! The second issue I found with the upper hull is the two Notek lights located on either side of the glacis plate. These are both molded to the side and appear not round but more semi-circle. Again, if you happen to have a couple of Notek lights in the parts box or you are handy enough to construct some then you may want to replace the kit items. Being a non-production tank, you could also remove these and just go without if you like.
Next out of the box is the blue ‘B’ Sprue. This contains the swing arm suspension. This section of sprue is taken from an earlier release of the Elephant, Pz.Kpfw.VI(P) and VK.45.02[P]H kits. I am unaware of how the moulded condition of these parts was on these respective kits, but there is a large sinkhole present on each one of the six parts. This can easily be filled and sanded if you like. These parts are completely covered by the road wheels, but never the less, they could have been a better moulding.
Saving the black sprue ‘B’, I next inspected Sprue ‘E’; the road wheels and sprockets. The detail is not too bad on these parts and the sprockets are well moulded.
Finally the black Sprue ‘B’. This sprue contains the turret and turret ring, spare track links, lift rings, hatch covers, mantlet, barrels and breech for the gun. Starting with the turret, this part is moulded very nicely. There are three hatch openings on the turret, each with the corresponding hatch supplied. This is good if you desire to depict the model open or with a crew. There is a choice of two barrels for this kit; 8.8 cm KwK 42 L/70 and the 8.8 cm KwK 43 L/71. This kit also comes with the breech parts, another useful addition if you want to display an open configuration.
The 4 page instruction booklet is full color, in exploded view format. Step 1 covers the construction of the road wheels, step 2 covers the installation of the road wheels, step 3 is the construction of the turret and breech of the main gun and step 4 shows the installation of the barrel, upper hull to the lower hull, rear plate installation and the construction of the track.
On the back of the booklet are two full color renditions to show the decal placement and two color schemes variations both consistent with Unidentified Units with the German Army, 1945.
I actually need to look at this kit in several different ways to form an overall judgement. From the standpoint of a basic weekend modeller and some of the wargamers. This is not a bad kit for someone who enjoys picking up a small kit to have some fun gluing some parts and painting away for display, there are decently moulded parts that require little clean up. My second way to look at this is from the occasional braille scale avid modeler’s standpoint. In this case, the kit does need a bit of work to build it up to a level of acceptability, but it has the potential to make a find addition to the collection after some patience and extra work. From the point of view of the braille scale modeller, this would seem to be a bit of a let down as the kit is not designed to the level of detail we have come to expect from previous releases . Moulded parts where they could be separate and a lack of surface detail are not something that an avid 1/72 modeller has come to expect from Dragon . Again, if you do not mind the extra work and enjoy some scratch building to compliment a kit then this is a good buy for you.