Dragon 6386 Sd.Kfz.164 Nashorn (3 in 1) Für Military Vehicles Plastikbausätze
Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale '39-'45 Series Kit No. 6386; Sd.Kfz. 164 Nashorn 3-in-1 - Smart Kit; 1,103 parts (798 in grey styrene, 240 "Magic Track" links, 35 etched brass, 24 clear styrene, 2 springs, 2 coil springs, 1 length of wire, 1 turned aluminum gun barrel).
Advantages: virtually new kit; changes are obvious from past kits
Disadvantages: massive number of parts to this kit, very small parts may be fiddly; no DS tracks
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: to all German fans
I'm not sure if it is a good thing or a bad one when DML pops up with a virtually new kit of a subject right before another company releases the same subject. In this case, this is an "in your face" tour-de-force kit of the Nashorn being released before AFV Club can release their new mold kit.
This is NOT a revamped version of their 2006 "Premium" version of the Nashorn No. 6314) albeit it does use some of the sprues. It uses modified or updated versions of seven of the sprues from that kit plus several more new ones and sprues from the more recent Hummel redo.
The kit uses a new hull base with sponson floors in place and a new upper hull, with a nicely done set of positionable hatches and viewers. As with all Smart Kits most of the detail parts are provided from styrene with optional replacements in brass.
The suspension is straight from the Panzer IV "Smart Kits" and as such is easier to assemble than the earlier Panzer IV kits. The "Magic Tracks" are still with us, and the only thing to recall is left bag - left track, right bag - right track as you look at the header card. DML calls them "dark grey left - light grey right" but too often the colors are not well differentiated. As I repeatedly note there is nothing wrong with them other than they are tedious to assemble and many modelers today want to spend their dwindling modeling time on a vehicle, not its tracks.
The upper hull is completely new. The much maligned louvers of the early kits are now "slide molded" from styrene and separate parts (F25). The walls are also about half the thickness of normal parts (0.050" or 1.25mm seems to have been the default in the past; these are about 0.020" or 0.5mm with thinned edges) and look more like sheet steel parts than plastic.
As with the add-ons to the "Premium" kit there are a number of parts for the ammo lockers, and now provides a good selection of options. 16 rounds of 8.8 cm ammo are included as well as racks and rack locks.
Generic detail sets provide the OVM details as well as an MG34 machine gun and ammunition.
Three different versions are attributed to the kit: initial production, modified initial production, and early production. Each one has different or rearranged details and each is called out in the directions. Most of the changes are what are termed "fiddly bits" but to the purists I am sure they do stand out. Also note that different parts may require being drilled out and as usual DML's warnings are tucked into the periphery of the directions and are easy to overlook.
Project supervisor was Hirohisa Takada, with technical support from Minoru Igarashi, H3 Design Office, and Dragon engineering; technical assistance provided by Notger Schlegtendal, Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
Decals and finishing directions are included for six guns, two of each type: Initial Production - s.H.Pz.Jg.Abt. 655, Russia 1943 (tricolor camo with black crosses); s.H.Pz.Jg.Abt. 650, Russia 1943 (two-color camo, black 232); Modified Initial Production - s.H.Pz.Jg.Abt. 655, Russia 1943 (tricolor camo with black crosses); s.H.Pz.Jg.Abt. 650, Russia 1943 (tricolor camo, red 131); Early Production - Pz.Jg.Ers.u.Ausb.Abt. (Training Unit), 1943 (sand overall - yellow 305); and, 2/s.H.Pz.Jg.Abt. 560, Russia 1943 (wavy two-color pattern, black 231). A sheet of Cartograf decals is provided for all variants.