Kit Reviews

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Dragon 1/35 scale Stu Pz IV Brummbär

By Jim Zeske
Published: October 7, 2008
Click the photo for a larger view
Kit: No. 6460
Scale: 1/35
Manufacturer: Dragon, from Dragon Models USA, 626-968-0322, www.dragonmodelsusa.com
Price: $46.95
Comments: Injection-molded, 592 parts (69 photoetched-metal), decals
Pros: Excellent molding; good drawings; parts fit well
Cons: Complex construction
Issue Published: December 2008
Kit: No. 6460
Scale: 1/35
Manufacturer: Dragon, from Dragon Models USA, 626-968-0322, www.dragonmodelsusa.com
Price: $46.95
Comments: Injection-molded, 592 parts (69 photoetched-metal), decals
Pros: Excellent molding; good drawings; parts fit well
Cons: Complex construction
Issue Published: December 2008
The Brummbär (Grizzly Bear) was an adaptation of the German World War II workhorse Panzer IV mounting a massive 150mm infantry howitzer. It was fairly rare but saw service on all fronts.

The Brummbär has been a popular subject, but this kit from Dragon has to be considered the ultimate. Most of the parts are new (rather than being pulled from Dragon's previous Panzer IV kits), including a full gun and mount, separate right- and left-handed tracks in individual links, photoetched-metal details, and precut metal side armor (schürzen).

Construction begins with the lower hull, suspension, and wheels, where you will spend a large portion of construction time - Dragon spared no effort in duplicating the Panzer IV suspension.

Test-fitting the upper glacis plate (Part E1) to the lower hull, I found a tab on both sides of the lower hull that interfered. Then I noticed there were four more tabs along either side of the lower hull. The instructions do not show them, and they need to be cut off to attach parts to the lower hull.

The massive gun compartment has impressive exterior features. All the hatches can be left open if you like; there are alternate parts for this with interior details. The pistol ports are separate parts. You even get photoetched-metal chain if you want to show them open!

The 150mm gun is nicely detailed but a complex build. Note that the gun is posable but not movable; the elevating gears are molded in a static position, restricting the movement. Aside from the gun compartment floor, there is no other detail.

After attaching the gun compartment to the lower hull, I noticed there was a small gap where the driver's armored box meets the glacis plate (Part No. E1). I had good fits elsewhere, so I'm not sure how this happened.

Test-fit to determine the best sequence for joining the engine deck, gun compartment, and lower hull. It helped to leave off the gun compartment roof until the end.

Many of the detail parts have more than one version, so check carefully for the small insert diagrams showing the options.

I decided to assemble and install the optional air cleaner. It was a tight fit; I had to trim Part F2.

Included are Dragon's signature Magic Tracks, which assemble well and are nicely detailed. I really appreciated that they were precut from the sprue. But, unfortunately, there's a molding mark on their inside face.

I painted with Tamiya acrylics. Decals are provided for three vehicles, all from the same unit in Italy. They applied well with or without a gloss undercoat. One comment on the markings: The unit they represent appears to have used the initial version of the Brummbär offered by Dragon's Cyber Hobby division!

I used Achtung Panzer No. 4 (Dai Nippon Kaiga) as my primary reference. The completed model matches the reference well. However, mid-production Brummbärs were covered with Zimmerit. Strange that Dragon did not replicate this as it has in some of its other recent kits.

The Brummbär took me 22 enjoyable hours to complete. It's an impressive model, but due to the large number of parts, I would only recommend it to modelers with intermediate-and-above skills. If you are into WWII German armor, don't miss it!

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