by: Mike High [ ]
Beutepanzer - literally "trophy tank," refers to vehicles that were captured and reused. This was a particularly prevalent practice of the Germans during WWII; capturing a vehicle and then putting it back into German service. Dragon gives the Braille-scale modeler one such captured tank in 1/72nd scale.
The kit consists of 211 parts molded in light grey styrene (of which approximately half will be relegated to the parts bin), six photo etch parts, two DS tracks, and decals for one vehicle of the 14th Panzer Division on the Eastern Front in 1944.
I won't comment on a company taking a kit, make a couple of changes, then reproducing it as vehicle in captured service. The review will stick with the "kit in hand."
One of several of Dragon's Sherman's in this scale, the parts are nicely molded. There is very little flash, if any, on the parts and the detail at this scale is very crisp and sharp.
The instructions are well printed and easily understood. The drawings are clear and "optional" parts, along with areas to "fix," are clearly called out. Paint references are given for both Mr. Colour (Aqueous Hobby Colour) and Model Master and painted as called for in the instructions will certainly make this little kit "stand out" in the display.
This version calls for the "dished" road wheels versus the "spoked" type. Each bogie consists of four parts that are easily assembled without difficulty, and will facilitate the painting of the rubber portion of the road wheels.
There are only two parts that will require a minor amount of surgery; part D2 requires the removal of 0.6mm from the ends (see step 2) and part A4 that requires the removal of the "rivets" around the main-gun opening (see step 6).
The photo-etch fret has two oval access panels for the rear of the upper hull, two replacement headlight guards, and two small braces for the inner part of the front fenders.
The decal sheet, again for one 14th Pz. Div. vehicle, is printed in near perfect register (to these aged eyes, they look great!) and includes the white-bordered black Balkenkreutz and unit markings. Additional options would have been nice.
Love 'em or hate 'em, the Dragon Styrene tracks included nicely replicate the straight steel tread, cast steel linked T49 tracks.
Only one word of caution; because of the size, care will be needed when removing the parts from the sprues.
Considering the scale and parts count, this kit should build up into a very nice depiction of a captured M4A2 75mm Sherman. With well molded parts, the DS tracks, and a little bit of PE, this should prove itself to be a nice and easy kit to build for a modeler, regardless of skill level. All in all, this should turn out to be an enjoyable build for a 1/72nd kit. Recommended.