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DRAGON MODELS LIMITED
7301, Sd.Kfz.165 Hummel Late Version. 1/72nd-scale injection molded styrene/multimedia kit. Contains: 148 styrene parts, two DS-100 soft styrene track lengths, two pieces of pre-formed wire, two photo-etched brass parts, six decal marking schemes and six pages of instructions in eight steps.
This is the fourth variation on the GW III/IV hybrid chassis to come from DML and it represents the late version of the 15cm Sfl. Most of the parts are taken from earlier kit (7244), with the most noticeable change being the widened (or full-width) drivers/radio operators compartment. Other differences are the later Pz.Kpfw.III drive sprocket without the hub cap over the axle mounting bolts (the earlier type is included as well), all-steel return roller wheels, plain exhaust pipes without muffler (with pre-opened ends due to slide molding) and re-positioned spare road-wheels. These last items are mounted in place of the muffler at the hull rear, on pre-shaped metal wire hangers.
Slide-molds are used to produce the bore end of the 15cml.FH18/1 gun tube, as well as the recoil slide and elevation spring housings. The gun is also movable in both elevation and azimuth. The mount for it is quite complete and there are a number of separate parts for it, including the gunners sight, his seat, and various hand wheels; the breech block is also a separate part. The projectile containers have separate tops (but are empty), while the charge racks are depicted as missing two cartridge cases. Other fittings for the gun compartment include various accessory boxes and racks, as well as three stowed MP40s. Although the brackets are given in the gun compartment, the very large gun travel lock fitted at the breech end of the piece is absent from this kit. This is a rather major omission.
Externally, the travel lock on the glacis is given as a two-part affair; it can be shown erected with the gun tube locked down, or folded for firing. The two hatch lids for the driver and radio operator are separate parts as are their forward visors; these can be shown opened or closed. The vehicle jack is a separate affair, while its block is a rather non-descript molding attached to the fender. The superstructure side, front and rear plates all have a subtle bevel for scale appearance to their edges; the rear plate has a separate two-part door that can be positioned opened or closed. Small U-shaped hooks are molded in place on some panels; they should be removed and replaced with fine wire for a better appearance. The engine compartment cooling air slats are separate parts to which can be added an optional cover made of etched brass (or a styrene part).
The suspension is the standard style seen on all previous Pz.Kpfw.IV-based kits. This means that each wheel pair is molded together using slide molds and that the hubs are separate, to be added later to ease painting. As always with these wheels, be careful that when trimming them from the sprues, you do not cut away the fine pin that will attach them to the bogie trucks. The bogie trucks themselves are separate parts; they are handed so be careful when mounting them so they are oriented properly. The idler wheels are two piece affairs and represent the more common welded tube affairs that were originally introduced on the Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.F. The tracks are provided as a single length for each side, in DS-100 soft styrene. They have some fine detail on their faces and can be glued with standard styrene cement.
The instructions are fairly easy to interpret, but I urge the modeler to ignore the first page, where on the parts diagrams, the fighting compartment floor is blued as not for use! There is a full-color painting guide for six vehicles, keyed to Gunze and Testors paints. Five of the six are described as belonging to an Unidentified Unit, when in fact one belongs to Panzerartillerie-Regiment 75, 3.Panzer-Division. The last one belongs to SS-Panzerartillerie-Regiment Das Reich, 2.SS-Panzer-Division.
Although not a bad kit and certainly worlds better that what small-scale modelers had in the old days, there are a couple of small problems with this kit, which may prove frustrating.
Frank V. De Sisto
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.