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Dragon 1/35 scale Sd.Kfz. 184 "Elefant"

Manufacturer: Dragon, distributed by Marco Polo Import Inc., 532 S. Coralridge Place, City of Industry, CA 91746, 626-333-2328 www.marcopoloimport.com
Kit: No. 6126
Scale: 1/35
Price: $39.98
Comments: Injection-molded, 482 parts, decals
Pros: Excellent detail, good fit
Cons:Tricky track and suspension assembly
When the Elefant took the field in 1943 it was the most massive armored vehicle in service anywhere in the world. Derived from the chassis of the rejected Porsche prototype for the Tiger heavy tank, these turretless tank destroyers were armed with a powerful 88mm antitank gun. Following a disastrous introduction at the battle of Kursk, the Elefant fought on in Russia, Italy, and finally the battle of Berlin.


Dragon's all-new Elefant is most welcome, offering an up-to-date kit of this well-known armored vehicle. The post-Kursk version which added a hull machine gun and commander's cupola is the subject of this kit. (Dragon will also produce the earlier "Ferdinand" version.) The kit is cleanly molded with no flash, and includes separate track links, a detailed gun breech, and positionable hatches.


The four-piece suspension arms are nicely detailed. They will articulate if you don't glue them into the horizontal position. When adding the front drive sprocket mount (part No. E5), I found no positive alignment indicator, so I matched it to the curve of the lower hull front.


I had added the rear mud scrapers, before installing the drive sprockets and their mounts as the instructions weren't clear. Big mistake! The drive sprockets won't attach as the scrapers interfere. I removed them and installed the drive sprocket assembly, then guided the scrapers into place. The front sprocket assemblies should be treated the same way.


The gun's elevation parts are simple, but do a dry run to figure out the assembly process. The gun mantlet is nicely detailed but is marred by two ejector-pin marks on the shield surface. The gun travel lock has several small parts and is tricky to assemble.


The hull features excellent detail, especially on the engine deck. The upper and lower hull went together very easily. I used a small amount of filler at the corners of the upper hull.


The tracks are well molded - clean with no ejector pin marks - but they were a challenge to assemble. They had a tendency to curve easily after a few links were glued together. I finally resorted to a straight edge to keep them aligned but an assembly jig would be more helpful. I kept the front drive sprockets movable to help adjust the fit of the track during final assembly. Even though they are shown on the box art, no tow cables are given.


Since the Elefant was always covered in Zimmerit anti-magnetic-mine paste, I figured my model wouldn't look right without it. I used tube putty and a razor saw blade to create the effect. As there are many bolts covering the sides and back of the hull where the Zimmerit is applied, I decided to cut some of them off and replace them after the coating was finished. I carefully marked their position on paper templates to aid me later. It added extra time to the project but gives the Elefant its distinctive "hide!"


I painted my Elefant with Polly Scale's World War II German armor paints. Decals were given for three vehicles - two from the Russian front and one for the Italian theater. I had no problem applying them over a gloss coat.


My primary reference was Wydawnictwo Militaria 52 Ferdinand/ Elefant. I also found The Combat History of Schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 653 by Karlheinz Munch useful. The finished model looks right compared to the references.


My Elefant was built in 38 hours, many of which went into the Zimmerit application and the track assembly. If you have built a few kits with separate track links, Dragon's Elefant will be an enjoyable project. I highly recommend this kit to armor builders.

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