by: Vinnie Branigan [ ]
The Hummel (Bumble Bee) was an attempt to provide artillery support to armoured units. The vehicle was developed on a lengthened Panzer Iv Chassis, but used components from the Panzer III. It first appeared in 1941, and this kit represents an Early version, with the extended compartment for the Driver on the left-hand side.
The box contains 3 main sprues of light grey styrene, plus small sprues containing drive sprockets and idlers, roadwheels and return rollers. There is a separate hull, a small bag of road wheel hubs, and a small photo etched fret. along with decal sheet and two vinyl tracks. The instruction sheet of course, is also included.
It becomes difficult to find new things to say about these releases from Dragon, since their moulding quality has become of late, immaculate. This kit is no exception. Flawless. I would be really surprised to open a Dragon kit these days and find any trace of flash....it just doesn't happen anymore in a dragon kit.
Sprue E is a new sprue and contains parts for the superstructure and gun shield. The detail moulded into these parts is amazing for this scale. Parts of note include the gun platform, the engine slats, cleaning rods, ammunition storage lockers, some moulded empty, and the fine rivet detail on the gun shield. There are even 3 tiny MP38 guns on this sprue for the fighting compartment walls! The front hull roof is provided separately, presumably so that a late version can be produced....later. As mentioned before, the detail on the styrene engine slats provided is amazing, and yet Dragon supply a rather nice alternative in the form of a small photo etched fret that contains parts to represent these in metal.....not only would this allow the modeller to improve the detail, but it would also allow him to depict damage.
Sprue A also contains parts for the upper superstructure/fighting compartment. Parts that are particularly well done on this sprue are the drive housings, which have the finest detail. Sprue G contains the parts for the 15cm sFH 18 Field Howitzer. Again, exquisite detail, although as it's a fair sized barrel, even at this scale, it would have been nice had a metal barrel been included.
The running gear supplied is I believe, the same as that supplied with the earlier Hornisse and Nashorn kits. The roadwheels have separate hubs, which will aid painting, and there are also two pre-bent tiny wire brackets included for attaching spare road wheels to the front of the hull.
There are 5 marking options provided in the kit:
1. Unidentified unit, Eastern Front, 1944
2. "Das Reich" Div., Normandy, 1944 (Green, brown edged stripes)
3. Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front 1944 (Whitewash scheme)
4. "Das Reich" Div., Normandy 1944 (Brown, green edged stripes)
5. Pz.Div., Russia 1944
An excellently produced, accurate miniature of the early Hummel. Excellent value for money and Highly recommended.
My thanks to Dragon for the review sample.