Kit, DML 6359, Soviet SU-100 Tank Destroyer Premium Edition
April 7 2007 at 7:15 PM
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DRAGON MODELS LIMITED
6359, Soviet SU-100 Tank Destroyer Premium Edition. 1/35th-scale injection-molded styrene/multimedia kit. Contains: 222 styrene parts (including 3 clear), two bags of individual-link Magic Tracks, one turned aluminum gun tube, three photo-etched brass frets, one piece of braided metal wire, five decal/marking schemes and eight pages of instructions in 18 steps.
DML continues their program of updating and enhancing older kits with new styrene parts, new etched brass parts and other metal items such as wound wire for tow cables and turned aluminum for gun tubes. Their SU-100 has just been given this treatment. So, if the modeler likes this vehicle and has been waiting for the right time to procure a kit of it, the time is now.
This model provides a new set of individual-link Magic Tracks first seen in the recent release of the Model 1944 Premium Edition kit. These duplicate those in the previous T-34/85 kits in that they are the 550mm waffle plate style. They come packed loose in two bags and fit together quite easily, but will not stay together without glue. Each link has a pair of ejector pin marks on their inner faces; they are subtle but the more fastidious modeler will wish to remove them. Since they are above the surface, a swipe with a sanding device will suffice; no filler will be needed.
The road-wheels are of the type with smooth dished surfaces and raised lines on the rubber tire rims. The idler wheel is of the all-steel type with ten perforations and ten ribs; the drive sprockets have six perforations and six ribs. All wheels, except the drive sprockets, have separate hub caps.
Separate swing arms and Christie spring housings (the T-34 did NOT ride on a torsion-bar suspension) are provided for the road-wheels, while a separate final drive housing and separate adjustable idler wheel axle is also provided. Dont fix the idler wheel axle in place until you have fitted the tracks. The final separate item related to the suspension is the track pin retainer plate.
The hull pan is from a slide mold; its sides feature molded-on bump stops, bolt patterns and the various openings for the suspension swing arms, etc. The belly plate has panel line details, access plates, drain plugs and separate panel parts. The lower bow plate is a separate part with fine weld detail, and the new nose plate is the sharp-edge style featuring excellent weld bead details. The rear panel/transmission final drive housing also features weld details, as well as separate hammerhead-style tow hooks; the final touches are separate etched brass keepers to hold the tow cables in place on the hooks.
The main superstructure part has excellent molded-on surface detail to include panel lines, recessed and raised bolt patterns, filler ports and engine deck. The engine deck features a separate access hatch lid, separate side and top air cooling grills (in styrene or etched brass), and a separate grill door panel. This last item is provided with an etched brass frame and screen. And, DML has FINALLY recognized the need to provide a pre-opened part for the screens (as they had done on their early T-34/76 kits). This is part P-1. If using the etched screen and frame, the inner engine deck is visible; DML thoughtfully provided the movable baffles that will be easily seen beneath the screen, as well as other baffles seen beneath the side intakes, as etched brass parts. Also, the intake grilles themselves, both on top and on the sides, have etched brass or styrene parts.
As given, the fenders are the later type with the hinged front sections, which have a sharp bend between them and the remainder of the fenders. They are both dented a bit here and there. The rear fenders can be replaced by etched brass bits, while the front fenders are enhanced by etched brass flanges.
The characteristic external fuel drums are also provided; the original parts are given in a distressed condition and include strap and filler cap details molded on. A new second set of drums is now provided depicting items that are not as yet damaged; this is a fine idea and it will allow maximum flexibility for modelers. New etched brass straps are given as are flat handles for the ends of the drums. New ice cleats and their attendant etched tie-down loops and straps are provided as are the usual grab-handles for the convenience of any mounted Desant troops.
Various tool boxes are provided; the larger one can be completely replaced with an etched brass item, while the smaller one can be detailed with etched brass parts as well. The typical two-handed saw is provided as a styrene or etched brass entity, while there are new parts in etched brass to help stow the tow cable, which itself is made from wound metal wire and styrene end loops. The head-lamp has a clear styrene lens part and can also be mounted on an optional etched brass bracket.
The casemate segment of the superstructure has been relatively extensively re-tooled. Unlike the original kit, the side armor panels are now separate parts (with add-on pistol-port covers and replacement etched brass tie-down loops) and there are two types of rear casemate armor plate sections; one has the lower hatch opening and separate lid, the other has a plain surface. Both have a pistol-port plug and a view-port slit molded in place, and there are separate triangular-shaped fillets added to them at each corner.
The roof plate features molded-on hinges and torsion bar details, as well as separate cast vent covers and hatch lids; the latter feature separate periscope heads and covers, as well as etched brass detail parts. The commanders split-hatch lid cupola has been enhanced with etched brass parts for the view-port innards, as well as internal details for the periscope heads. A separate fairing blends the cupola in with the side plate; it has an attached antenna mount that is also enhanced with brass parts.
The front plate has an opening for the separate inner and outer cast mantlet (with excellent texture and details on both parts) as well as the separate drivers hatch lid. The former features a choice of a slide-molded, pre-bored styrene gun tube, or one in turned aluminum. On my kit the styrene gun tube had some sink marks at its thickest point (down near the collar, where it joined the mantlet). If this was the only means of replicating this feature provided in the box, it would be considered a problem. But, since there is also a turned aluminum gun tube as well
The drivers hatch lid is new and includes separate clear styrene periscope heads as well as etched brass detail enhancement parts.
Molding, Fit and Engineering.
I have built enough of these kits to state with confidence that there are no issues with the fit of most of the styrene parts. The new casemate configuration (remember, it now has separate side plates) means that extra care will be needed here, but a dry fit of the parts indicated that there should not be any major problems. If there are, a bit of filler will suffice.
I have no scale plans to compare this kit to, other than those from the various T-34 books listed in the reference section. Where parts are similar, such as the running gear and the engine decks, they match plans in the cited references quite well. Photos indicate that the rest of the kit is properly rendered, with the caveat that we all see things differently.
These consist of traditional line drawings and should be easily followed, especially since they contain only 18 main steps and the SU-100 is not a very complicated vehicle. As usual, colors are keyed to Gunze and Model Master paints.
Decals and Markings Information.
Water-slide decals for five different vehicles are provided by Cartograf of Italy. They are in perfect register, have crisp, sharp edges and excellent color saturation. They depict the following:
White 433, unidentified unit, Bohemia 1945*.
White K-17, 7th Mechanized Corps, Hungary 1945.
Red star, unidentified unit, Germany 1945.
White 8-23, 1st Guards Mechanized Corps, Hungary 1945.
White 482, unidentified unit, Czechoslovakia 1945.
Where I was able to find photos, the scheme marked with an asterisk checked out as accurate; I have no information, one way or the other regarding the others.
As a modeler and consumer, I applaud DMLs policy of upgrading their older (usually very sound to begin with) kits in the Premium Edition series. I would presume that other modelers feel the same way; if youre one of them, then this kit is for you.
Frank V. De Sisto
References consulted for this review included, but were not limited to the following books:
1. T-34/85 Medium Tank 1944-1994, Osprey New Vanguard 20, by S. Zaloga & J. Kinnear.
2. T-34 in Combat, AJaKS Military Press, by Z. Lalek, R. Sawicki & J. Jackiewicz
3. T-34/85 Bloody Peacemaker, AJaKS Military Press, by P. Skulski & J. Jackiewicz.
4. T-34 in Action, Squadron Armor 20, by S. Zaloga.
5. Soviet Tanks and Combat Vehicles of WW 2, Arms and Armour Press, by S. Zaloga & J. Grandsen.
6. Russian Tanks 1900-1970, by J. Milsom.
7. Soviet Tanks in Combat 1941-1945, Concord 7011, by S. Zaloga.
8. Russian T-34, AFV Weapons Profile 47, by J.M. Brereton & Maj. M. Norman, RTR.
9. Camouflage of the Tanks of the Red Army 1930-1945, Armada, by M. Kolomiyets & I. Moshchanskiy.
10. Toadmans T-34-76 Model 1943 and T-34-85 Model 1945 Photo Detail CD, Toadmans Tank Pictures, by C. Hughes.
11. Sowiecka Artyleria Samobiezna 1941-1945, Wydawnictwo Militaria 171, by M. Kolomyjec & M. Makarow.
Reviewers note: Since May of 2005, I have been working on books for Concord Publications, a sister company to DML. The reader may wish to take this into consideration. For my part, I will attempt to maintain an objective viewpoint when writing these reviews.
DML kits are available from retail and mail order shops. For details see their web site at: www.dragonmodelsltd.com.