by: Vinnie Branigan [ ]
introductionThe Nashorn, along with the Hornisse (the early variant) and the later Hummel, were based on an elongated Panzer IV hull, with Panzer III components as well. Dragon initially released the Nashorn as kit number 6001, which was savagely criticized at the time for being wrong in so many ways! Dragon rectified their mistake a few years later with the release of kit number 6165 Hornisse (Nashorn Early Variant). This time they had it right, and the kit was applauded at it's release. This Premium release brings it back to being a state of the art kit!
the kitThe basic premise of the 'Premium' range of kits offered by Dragon is to update their older kits, with the addition of aluminum barrels, photo etch frets etc. However, these kits are much more than the inclusion of a few 'extras'. For example, the recently released Panther Ausf.D also had 80% of it's styrene parts re-tooled, and this kit of the Nashorn has so much that is new, that it is, essentially, a brand new kit.
I'm not privy of course, to Dragon's manufacturing methods, but since I've been lucky enough to receive all the Premium release so far, I have noticed that even where a sprue is supposedly from the 'old' release, it is always much 'sharper' in detail than the old sprues when compared side-by-side. It would seem obvious therefore that new tooling's are prepared, and this really pays dividends for Dragon, since there really is a 'sharpness' to all their mouldings these days, and this includes the sprues supplied in these Premium re-workings of 'older' kits.
Onto the kit itself! Which in this case is supplied with new box art by Barry Crook, and now includes the ubiquitous 'Dragon card', which holds two rather nice sets of Cartograf decals, one large and one small, more on these later, a large photo etched fret, a small sprue of transparent plastic holding four periscopes, an aluminium barrel, and a small sprue, TF that has a slide-moulded muzzle brake.
Also in the box, are two small bags of 'Magic Tracks', these being left and right-handed, and 13 sprues of Dragon's usual light-grey styrene. Also the instructions, these being of the older 'photographic' type, although of course these have been updated to allow for all the new parts.
There are 2 of sprue A, containing the drive sprockets and other parts, which were included in the original release, and also sprues B & C holding mainly superstructure sidewalls etc., which were also in the original release. Sprue D which contains the parts for the PaK43 is from the earlier release too, as is sprue E (road wheels), sprue F (idlers), and sprue Q (return rollers). The hull is the last part of the original kit, and comes complete with moulded on bumper stops, and return roller mounts.
As mentioned earlier, the tracks are of the new 'Magic Track' type, and in this case are left and right handed, so careful attention will have to be paid when assembling in order not to get them mixed up and on the wrong side! They all have hollow guide horns, and click easily into place, but they will require cementing, and there are two almost invisible ejector pin marks on each link that I should imagine most modellers will want to remove. From a personal point of view I don't find these to be a problem, since if they designed to be perfectly smooth, such are the limitations of injection moulding, some of them would require filling.......... a situation that I would find irksome.
So.......what do we get for our money that is brand new? Well the Magic Tracks for a start, but a lot more besides. The old sprue H is replaced completely by a new sprue...... M. This holds the front gun shield along with the travel lock and a new injection moulded barrel, should you choose not to use the aluminium one for some reason. The addition of a small transparent sprue was noted before, holding as it does the three periscopes. A newly slide-moulded muzzle brake is included on a small separate sprue - TF. A brand new sprue - N holds new ammunition racks for the fighting compartment along with 7 racked ammunition rounds and one ready round. As mentioned, there is an aluminium barrel for the PaK43, and two small WB sprues, which hold machine pistols and rifles from the generation 2 figure sets. There is also a small extra sprue holding a rabbit's ears binocular 'scope. Lastly that large photo etched fret.
The brand new photo etch fret contains quite a large number of parts, the most obvious being the replacements for the engine intake grills. The construction of these is quite ingenious and should be a relatively simple procedure for even the novice modeller, and will look superbly in-scale once complete. Also included is a radio rack for inside the fighting compartment, (oddly enough Dragon don't supply a radio?), various fitting and fixtures, also for inside the fighting compartment, a scalloped angle iron bracket for the rear hull, which will require some bolts (not supplied), and superb racks for the ammunition lockers, along with replacement doors which can be positioned open or closed. Also supplied is a small welded patch for the gun shield where an older type of sight was discontinued, brackets for the clear periscopes and on vehicle jack.
marking optionsAs mentioned before, there are 2 decal sheets supplied, one rather large, and the other somewhat smaller. Dragon certainly haven't skimped in the options department, as there are markings provided for eight different vehicles. There are three winter whitewashed schemes, three 3-tone schemes of brown and green over a dark yellow basecoat, one of green over yellow, and one of brown horizontal stripes over dark yellow.
s.H.Pz.Jg.525, Italy 1944
s.H.Pz.Jg.Abt.519, Russia 1943-44
Quite good really considering there were only two options presented in kit number 6165!
in conclusionTo all intents and purposes this is a new kit. And what a kit! Forget the superlatives........there aren't enough of them. Buy one. Highly recommended.
My thanks to Dragon Models Ltd for the review sample!