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AFV Club 1/35 scale Nashorn

Armed with an 88mm gun, the Nashorn, German for rhinoceros, was an effective tank destroyer that served  from 1942 until war’s end.

Kit:No. 35164 // Scale:1/35 // Price:$65
AFV Club, from Merit International, 626-912-2212
Separate tires for bogies; working travel lock for gun; ammunition crates and shells included; turned-metal barrel
Many small parts easy to break or lose; poor instructions
Injection-molded, 907 parts (51 photoetched metal, 6 vinyl, 1 turned-metal, 2 springs, 1 nylon string, 1 wire), decals
AFV Club’s Nashorn kit is its first based on the PzKpfw IV suspension. The sprues are molded in a dark yellow styrene; vision blocks, scopes, and gunsights are molded in clear styrene. There is a small amount of flash, usually on the smaller parts, and a few mold seams and ejector-pin marks that need to be removed. AFV Club has captured all of the detail, down to the smallest part, so be prepared to spend a lot of time on your hands and knees looking for parts that jump off your tweezers. Many of the parts are attached to the sprue from the bottom. As I removed each part, I sanded the remaining nub down to the part to help prevent damage. Also included is a metal gun barrel, photoetched-metal fret, springs for the travel lock, vinyl springs for the gun, nylon string for the tow cable, and wire. AFV Club has added its 88mm ammo set to fill the ammo lockers. A color poster of the box art is also included.

The directions have many errors, starting with the history – it’s for another vehicle. I varied from the assembly sequence right away by assembling all the major components of the hull first. Make sure to drill the hole in Part B1 for the travel-lock pulley before gluing it to the hull. I left all of the more delicate parts off the hull until the end to prevent breakage.

In Step 6, the track-pin plate is not numbered. It should be No. L5. Instead of gluing the halves of the fenders together as called for in Step 14, I glued the front parts of the fenders to the hull first, then glued the rear fenders to the hull. I drilled out the ends of the mufflers but left them off to make painting easier. I also drilled out the interior heating tube (Part A38).

The fit of the drive sprockets was poor due to imperfections where the halves meet, leaving gaps that needed filler. The tires for the road wheels are separate with the tire company logo printed on the outer surface. I left these off for ease of painting. The suspension is movable if you’re careful gluing the parts together. (They are very fragile.) I broke two of the suspension units handling the kit during construction and painting. The tracks are one-piece vinyl that are supposed to be glued together. Both of mine broke at the glue joint and had to be stapled together. (Consider a set of aftermarket tracks.) A set of individual track links is included for the spare tracks, but there are no assembly instructions for them.

AFV Club gives you the option of assembling the ammo lockers open or closed; same goes for the tool locker. In Step 25, the photoetched-metal gun racks are misnumbered. (They should be O17.) I left the rear panel (Part A5) off until after painting the interior. The directions do not show how to fold the photoetched-metal stowage rack (Part O11); a photoetched-metal bending tool is a must to make the complex folds. In Step 27, the antenna mount should be numbered D37 and the antenna should be numbered D27.

I left the gun-barrel assembly off the carriage to make painting easier. Do not glue the elevation gear (Part E36) if you want the gun to move up and down. Glue Part D29 to Part D28, but leave it free to rotate around the barrel. This will allow you to align the gun barrel with the travel lock when the gun is installed.

Five marking options are included. Option E is mislabeled as being part of sHPzAbt 88; the markings are for a vehicle of sHPzJgAbt 519, and this is the vehicle I chose to model. I painted the model Tamiya dark yellow. The decals are very thin but are strong enough to be moved around for proper placement, and there was no silvering after they were dry. After applying several coats of Dullcote, I used Silly Putty to mask off the markings. I dusted the upper hull with DOA white to replicate a winter whitewash. Mig washes, dry-brushing, and MMP powders finished off the weathering.

The finished kit’s high degree of detail shows what AFV Club put into the engineering of this model. It took 40 hours to assemble. Two sources that come in handy are Allied-Axis: The Photo Journal of the Second World War, Issue 16 (quarterly magazine from Ampersand Publishing) and Nuts & Bolts Vol. 14: Nashorn (by Tony Greenland and Detlev Terlisten; no ISBN). They both include pictures of the interior, and the Nuts & Bolts book has a detailed history and plans.

Due to the kit being a multimedia affair with sketchy instructions and a large number of small parts, this kit would be best for an experienced modeler.
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