by: Vinnie Branigan [ ]
introductionDragon released their kit of the Ferdinand a few years ago, and even then it was a good kit. Now following hot on the heels of their recently released Premium Edition Elefant, it too gets the Premium treatment.
the kitAs is usual with all the Premium Edition kits thus far, you'd be forgiven for thinking the box contained a brand new tooling, such is the quality of what we're now being offered. Inside this box you'll find the now ubiquitous Dragon 'card', along with six very large sprues of grey styrene and 3 small ones. On the card itself there are two photo etch frets, a decal sheet by Cartograf of course, a transparent sprue, length of metal tow rope, and two small frets of grey styrene. Also contained within the card is a small strip of clear bags containing a length of copper chain, four towing shackles with their pins, and two hinge pins for the front fenders. Last but not least, a beautifully turned aluminium replacement barrel. Attached to the card there are two bags of Magic tracks, left and right-handed.
So what do we get that's actually different from the earlier Premium Elefant? Actually, quite a lot. The actual differences between an Elefant and a Ferdinand seems to depend on which references you consult. The differences in the kits as supplied by Dragon lie mainly in the area of the cupola, and what 'extras' are supplied. In the earlier released Elefant kit, the upper superstructure featured a round cupola, which has now been replaced by the rectangular two-part hatch. Confusing, until you remember that it was actually the Ferdinand that came first, and the ones that survived action, were retrofitted with the commander's cupola and ball mounted MG in the front of the superstructure. The layout of the sprues reflect these differences and supply the appropriate parts, with most of the sprues being the same as those supplied in the Elefant kit.
There are detail differences between the two releases, for example, the engine deck, which was supplied with separate grids in the Elefant kit, is supplied as one piece in this kit. We do get metal tow shackles though. Although the main PE fret is the same, the fender tool box doesn't feature the ribbing detail in this one. The second PE fret though, is not as extensive, as it does not need to hold the fender supports anymore. Anybody who has the Elefant kit will also see that the really nice extra rear hatch assembly that was supplied as a bonus in the Elefant has been left out of this kit, even though it was essentially the same. The tracks as supplied in this kit are brand new Magic Tracks, and again are not the same as the Elefant tracks, being the earlier raised, flat plate type. You get two bags of these, left and right handed.
It's still a hell of a lot of kit for your money though, and includes, as the Elefant did, a lot of very nice touches! The pistol ports can be displayed open or closed, the fenders are all photo etched, imagine how battered you can make them look! Various metal tool clamps are included, such as a complete frame clamp for the jacking block. The PE fenders are detailed on both sides. As I said.............nice features!
marking optionsThere are decals supplied for three vehicles, all of which were on the Eastern Front in 1943, and two of which are in two-tone disruptive schemes.
conclusionWhat can I say? When a manufacturer continues to release state of the art kits, but at the same time revisits their older ones and updates them, in such a superb fashion, then I for one, am extremely grateful. All the Premium kits are superb in my opinion, and this one is the same. Highly recommended.