by: Vinnie Branigan [ ]
introductionThis latest kit from Dragon depicts an example of the Bergpanzer Tiger (P), this was based on the Porsche design for the Tiger, and although eventually not used, the Henschel design that was eventually to become the Tiger 1 did use the turret and 8.8cm gun from the Porsche design. This Porsche design eventually was used however, as the basis for the Ferdinand and Elefant, and several of the sprues in this kit are from Dragons’ earlier releases of these kits.
partsOn opening the box, all the sprues are individually bagged with all the metal ‘goodies’ in small ziplock bags fixed to a cardboard insert along with the tracks. Since a few of the sprues are from earlier Dragon kits there are a lot of parts that will find their way into your spares box.
Sprue A is from the Ferdinand kit and very little is used apart from 4 small pieces. Sprue B and a different sprue A, this time from the Elefant kit are much the same with very little being used and most parts again going to the spares box. Another 9 sprues make up the bulk of the kit, and now we come to all those ‘goodies’.
The tracks included in this kit are made of the Dragon styrene DS100, which apparently can be cemented using normal styrene cement. Personally I would have preferred the more usual individual links for this kit, but I reserve final judgement until I have built it.
There are two metal tow ropes provided, which look fantastic and don’t spring back when bent, which makes me look forward to using them. There are two photo etched frets included, one of tool clamps, and the other for the MG shield, which is present on only two of the four vehicles represented in this kit. More of this later. For the winch assembly Dragon include three lengths of copper chain, of two types, and very careful assembly and application of cement will allow the crane to work. Although a working crane is not essential it does help when placing a vehicle in a diorama setting. The moulding looks very sharp indeed, as we have come to expect from Dragon, with no flash present whatsoever. I have heard people complain about the number of ‘nodes’ on Dragon parts, but it must be noted that the presence of these mean there are very few if any injection knockout marks, which mar the mouldings of a few other companies.
instructionsOn the front page of the instruction booklet is a parts map, and again, you will be surprised at the number of parts that are not to be used. Construction as is usual, begins with the running gear and lower hull, and as all of these parts originate with earlier Dragon releases and were used in the Tiger (P) kit, several alterations involving the removal of bolt head detail and drilling of holes are indicated.
Construction continues with the rest of the lower hull, then hull superstructure etc. and great care when referring to the instructions will pay dividends, as for example, two sets of track guards are supplied, one for the earlier Elefant kit. These are very similar to the ones for the Bergpanzer; make sure you use the correct ones!
optionsAs mentioned earlier, the kit can be made to represent one of four versions, two early and two late Bergpanzers. If you wish to model one of the late Bergpanzers then it means removing the moulded engine grills from the large hull deck plate L1. Although at first glance it might look a little daunting to the inexperienced modeller, Dragon have made it easy by attaching them with small tabs instead of all around, and complete removal should present no problems. As I also mentioned earlier, the rear MG34 is only present on the two late versions. Apart from the engine grills, the MG and some minor differences all clearly indicated on the instruction sheet, there are no other differences between the early and late versions, apart from the fact that both of the late versions have a coating of zimmerit applied to the lower hull. So, before you begin the build you really have to decide which version you want to represent, early without zimmerit, or late with zimmerit.
The four marking options are:
1. sPzJgAbt 653, Eastern Front, Late 1943. Mainly dark yellow with green streaks. No zimmerit.
2. 1st Company, sPzJgAbt 653, Italy, early 1944. Dark yellow with green and brown round splotches. No zimmerit.
3. 2nd Company, sPzJgAbt 653, Italy, Summer 1944. Dark yellow with brown and green splotches, although the instructions do give the green as being H18, which should be steel. Further references might be need to clarify this. Zimmerit applied.
4. 3rd Company, sPzJgAbt 653, Russia, July 1944. Same scheme as above.
conclusionsThis is one that begs to be built! The diorama possibilities are endless. Dragon seems to be including as standard, things that we used to have to pay extra for. This can only be good for the modeller. As far as the meagre references I have available go, there isn’t much wrong with kit, Dragon have again done their homework and produced a model which must be recommended to all German armour fans out there and anybody else who fancies building something a little different.
A full-build review will follow shortly. Our thanks go out to Dragon Models for providing the review sample.