by: Hilbert Zuijdendorp [ ]
Introduction The Brummbär was an armored infantry support gun during the WW2. The name Brümmbar did not came from the Germans. They called this tank, based on the Panzer IV chassis, the “Stupa” or SturmPanzer. This tank was designed for urban fighting’s. That explain the short barrel which is quite noticeable. The reason for this is that a longer barrel would be much harder to maneuver with in urban areas. The design was introduced in 1942 when Albert Speer ordered for 40 to 60 vehicles and full production began in 1943. In total 306 Brummbärs were build.
The Brummbär was intended for supporting the infantry. Therefore the upper structure housed the Sturmhaubitze (StuH) 43 L/12 which fired the same rounds as the 15cm Sig 33 heavy infantry gun. In the beginning the upper structure was too heavy for the chassis, which led to many breakdowns of suspensions and transmissions in the early versions of the Brummbär. The gun was redesigned to reduce weight. The new version was 800 kilograms (1800 lbs) lighter than its predecessor and was used on the next series onwards.
Just 4 from the 306 tanks that were produced survived and they can be seen the Musée des Blindés in Saumur, the Deutsches Panzermuseum, the Kubinka Tank Museum and the United States Army Ordnance Museum.
The kit The box is a standard sized cardboard box with its typical box-art by Ron Volstad, The box itself isn’t thick but it is sturdy enough to keep the parts secure. The box nearly explodes when you open it, because of the huge amount of sprues.
The kit The kit contains 23 sprues in light gray plastic:
2 sprues of clear plastic
Upper super structure
A small sheet of Photo-etch
2 sheets of very thin metal for the Schürzen
Right and left-handed Magic Track
The review On first sight all the parts looks nice and crisp. Absolutely no flash on the parts. It seems this kit has a lot of parts used by other kits. For example the Dragon Sd.Kfz.166 Stu.Pz.IV "Brummbär" Mid Production & Mid Production Command Version (2 in 1) Smart Kit (DR6460). Not entirely astonishing. Most of the suspension parts are also used for the Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf. H.
The parts that received a zimmerit pattern looks quit realistic. The pattern is irregular and some small damage are along the edges and various other areas.. But, there is a downside. The zimmerit could be more pronounced and rougher as well. The parts what came in a zimmerit pattern are the glacis, bow, front and rear, hull tub, super structure, mantlet ring and smaller parts which are in line with places where the actual zimmerit was applied.
The tracks come in two separate bags. These are the panzer IV style tracks with open guide horn. These tracks are the well-known magic tracks. The tracks comes in two different colours (light-grey and dark-grey) which is a nice touch from Dragon to keep this left and right-handed tracks separate. The PE set that is included in the kit is not the normal sheet Dragon include in there kits. It is a small fret just with the necessary parts that really can’t made in plastic. These includes chains, some hooks and mesh for the grills.
The schürzen are made from a very thin kind of aluminum. It is an easy job to attach them to the tank and because it is so thin, battle damage can be modelled very easily.
The gun itself is detailed very well although Dragon did not include a metal barrel. The barrel is molded in one single piece, so you don’t have to clean up the seam that would appear. You can open the hatches but there is no interior provided. But, Dragon should include some more details for the interior. It is a shame they didn’t because the gun is detailed enough to make it look interesting. With some scratching building skills it would not be hard to make the necessary parts to create a nice very tight looking interior. I had a good look at the bottom of the interior the part has a very light grain over the bottom. It is hardly visible.
The parts are extremely well detailed. For example, the fenders, they are really nice. Although they are relatively thick the bottom has details too! Even the grid on the fenders is nicely molded. Everyone probably knows that this is a hard thing to accomplish because this detail is often quit soft. Dragon put their skills they gained in the past few years in this and upcoming kits.
This kit has also its disadvantages. There are too many parts that won’t be used for the build. I’m not talking for 10 parts or so, it is probably 40% of the box contents. Probably many people can use the parts for other vehicles and it is a nice addition to your collection of spare parts. I assume many modelers would rather have no spare parts for a lower price of the kit. Instead of these parts Dragon could include more parts as track links or maybe some personal stuff. As mentioned earlier, the fenders are too thick to have a nice appearance. Also, the parts (even the smallest ones) have those annoying attachments to the parts. If Dragon would let these off, the part would be much easier to clean up. I assume it is unnecessary.
The instructions The instruction manual is the busy looking manual Dragon includes in all the new kits they have in production. But, if you are a experienced modeler it will not be a problem at all. For inexperienced modelers it could be harder to understand. For now I did not find any mistakes.
Decals There is only one option of decals supplied and one painting scheme. There were probably more tanks of this kind. The painting scheme is dark yellow with some random green lines all over it. The decals are for an Unidentified unit, Eastern Front 1943.
Conclusion Despite its little disadvantages the kit is simply great. A lot of parts and so on. Although, many parts are not intended for this tank but it will fill your sparesbox with a lot of usable parts. Another disadvantage are the attachments on parts. In my eyes they are unnecessary and with Dragons high quality molding technology is it possible to avoid these.
All the parts included in the kit are molded really well. Almost no flash and seam lines are visible and the lines which are there, can be removed very easily. The zimmerit is a nice touch with some damage here and there. It could be a little heavier but it will end up in a nice representation of the real deal.