by: Vinnie Branigan
The kit is attractively boxed and presented. Apparently the first kit of the Hornisse in this scale and from first look at the contents, probably the last, since any more would probably be inferior to this one. There are 191 parts. 172 of which are in grey styrene, 17 etched brass on a small fret, 2 in tan DS 100 plastic (the tracks); price US $10.95
On first look the parts look immaculately moulded, although I did notice a small amount of flash on the front of the hull when I cam to build it. The instructions looked easy to follow with a full colour painting guide for six variations included. Dragon include their now familiar parts map with parts not to be used marked with a blue overlay. Although I did find during the build that all of these parts were actually called for during the building, so letís hope there is not anybody out there who discards the Ďparts not to be usedí before beginning the build eh?
stage 1 & 2
These stages deal with the construction of the lower hull and running gear. Everything fit as it should although as mentioned, there did appear to be a little flash around the front of the hull, but on closer inspection it actually seemed that this was damage when the hull was removed from the mould. A quick sanding cleaned this up. The road wheels come with inserts for the middle, which I should imagine makes painting them a lot easier, although I elected to complete the build before beginning any painting.
The rear idlers also seemed to be slightly out of true and not perfectly circular, although at this scale I decided that this did not matter and could probably not be seen when the model was finished. The tracks were just the right length, and the rear idlers can be adjusted to take up any slack, so donít cement the idler axles until the tracks are adjusted!
stages 3, 4 & 5
These stages begin the construction of the gun assembly. I had to keep telling myself that it was a 1/72 scale kit during these stages. The amount of detail is quite frankly, amazing. This assembly will take a lot of care to assemble properly. My advice is to dump the styrene glue and obtain some super glue Gel. Some of the parts are so small and delicate that trying to hold them in place until styrene cement dries will inevitably lead to breakages.
To give some indication of the finesse of these parts, imagine a separate breech blockÖ.in 1/72? The muzzle brake is fantastic! It comes as one part, so no seams, and has all the correct holes. Itís a miniature work of art! There are even springs moulded beneath the gunnerís seat, and remember, all this in 1/72 scale!
stages 6 & 7
Here we come to the assembly of the hull superstructure. Everything drops into place and the only disappointing feature is the fit of the hatches. Driver and co-driversí hatches both needed sanding to obtain a good fit, and the vision port for the driver was slightly too small. Itís during the building of the superstructure that you will have to decide whether the construction of the side vents on the hull will be that much improved by using the photo-etched set supplied.
. I have to admit I decided against using them. I have no doubt that when built they would look beautiful, but in this scale my skills were just up to the task! I did however, use one of the covers for the ammo boxes inside the open compartment, leaving the other open to show off the supplied ammo.
This short stage details the construction and fitting of the glacis plate, the travel lock for the gun and the union between vehicle and gun, along with fitting small details such as Bosch headlights etc.
I was not sure my usual methods of painting would work for this scale, but decided to deal with any problems this might throw up as they came. The kit was totally finished, all parts attached, then given a base coat of dark grey. Over this I misted a coat of Tamiya Nato green which had been lightened slightly with some flesh. I used Nato brown for irregular patches, and then brush painted the centres in Tamiya dark yellow. Over this I the applied a misting of the original green to tone everything down and tie it all in together.
I then touched up all the details including the tracks with Vallejo acrylics, before giving the model an all over coat of gloss acrylic. This then allowed me to proceed immediately with a pin wash of burnt umber in turpentine, followed by a dry brush of Humbrol matt black.
I then began to apply a fairly liberal dusting of Mig pigments European dust, and then with a wet brush I streaked the hull in a downwards direction. The final touch was to rub some powdered graphite over the tracks and various bits and pieces such as the traverse and elevation wheels of the gun, and the compartment floor.
I am not really a 1/72 scale modeller. If this kit is an indication of what is out there in this scale, I may well become one. The detail and fit amazed me. From all accounts itís accurate too. I enjoyed building and finishing this model much more than I thought I would, and I intend to build more. If 1/35th is your Ďthingí, then give this a try. I think you would enjoy it too. In my opinion, itís another winner from Dragon.
My thanks to Dragon for the review kit.