Dragon 1/35 E-100 Heavy Tank 'Nachtjager'
KIT: Dragon 1/35 E-100 Heavy Tank 'Nachtjager'
KIT #: 6011X
PRICE: $39.00
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Greg Ewald
NOTES: Huge tank model, well molded , very  little detail. 12”x5”x 4.5”

HISTORY

    This is one of Uncle Adolph’s craziest schemes, the “super heavy” tank. With a turret that alone is almost the size of a Sherman tank, this behemoth was made to stalk the countryside, eliminating every other tank in its path. It may well have, if the ridiculously underpowered engines had been corrected, as well as if the antiquated “land dreadnought” ideals been dipped. Having two large barrels, with one weight compensated, is not a very good plan for harmonics, and even though the Maus never made it to the battlefield, it is likely that the tank would have had little impact in the late part of the war. Yeah, it would have been terrifying, but one flight of British Typhoons would have settled the score. Boom, and see ya.

    The Russians had brought out the heavy KV-1, and it had certainly done some damage to the lighter Panzers, but the mud of the snowmelt would have proven to be a real pain in the tank for these 100 tons (plus) vehicles on the eastern front.

Idealistically, these huge armored tanks would have been used to repel the allied invasion on the French coast, at least, that was Rommel’s idea (hey, a sane German general?) As floating turrets, so to speak, the land cruiser Maus could have had a tremendous impact on the incoming armada. Luckily, they were very poorly engineered, underpowered, and overweight. All in all, a very silly design that sucked out money of the German corps to the benefit of the Allies. The E-100 was just crazy.

Ah yes, another wrecked Nazi tank, my favourite!

 The Germans were making a lot of leaps in technology in the 40’s, one of which was the vampyre system of infrared sighting for infantry assault rifles and the larger development of IR tank viewfinders, resulting in the incredible FG1250 .  Mounting this sight on a 185 ton tank was indeed a bold maneuver, though the money would have been better spent on more Panthers. The 128 mm cannon was backed up by the service proven 75mm, and plans were laid down for a much larger 150mm.  A number of these on the front lines of Normandy would have been horrific for the attacking forces, luckily, the UberCommand didn’t have a good game plan.

 The Maus also was so friggin heavy that it could never has crossed most of the bridges in Germany, but they did thoughtfully provide a snorkel for some of them. Midnight dip, anyone?  Gun ports are located on the port and starboard (hey, with a tank this big, you use nautical terms) for the STG-44,, truly a wonderful weapon, and any other smg. More STG’s, and less Maus, and the battle would have been worse. Thank god for morons.

April, 1944 near Zhitomir

    Oberlieutenant Reichman was furious. He stormed around the new tank, a hulking beast of metal, as his crew busily loaded in the ammunition.

   A light drizzle was melting the winter snow, and the water hissed as it hit the hot engine manifolds. The damn thing had broken down again.

    “This thing is a piece of junk!” he swore, and kicked at a tread. His beloved King Tiger was far superior and had never failed him, why he had been relegated to command a heavy platoon of these landcruisers must be some sort of punishment from high command. Whether Hitler liked them or not, the Maus was just inefficient.

   To make it worse, they had to be plastered with zimmerit in the field, since the bloody allies had bombed out the production facility, and they had only given him 5 cans of the stuff per tank! 5 cans? It wouldn’t have covered a Panther!

   Gunther leaned down from the high turret, “ Commander, there is a report of an inbound air attack.” His mouth twitched, and his face showed the same strain as the rest of the crew, deeply lined with fatigue. “The Luftwaffe was unable to hold them back.”

   “Damn airjockeys!” They got the best food, the best barracks, the best women. Here he was, a decorated tank commander, stuck in the snow again with a hulking piece of metal that was only good as a target.

   The loud rattling of his second tank came from the woods, and it slowly pulled up to a parallel position. The smell of fuel wafted out of the hatches as his second in command waved to him.  “Again?” was all he said, a look of disgust on his dirty face.

   “I’m telling you, “ Reichman snorted, “these things are just ridiculous.” He glared around the empty field, there were nothing but corpses and ruined T-34’s to see. His night fighting equipped tank, a vampire, was a sitting duck. He yelled to Gunther, “ Set the charges, we’re leaving this one here!”

   His crew clambered aboard the number two tank, and they rumbled into the cover of the woods. Hopefully, this other piece of junk wouldn’t break down before the allied ground attack aircraft arrived. Hopefully.

THE KIT

Very little flash, and an incredibly tight fit between the parts. The molding is so superb as to be almost unreal, especially the turret. Figures of  SS troops are included with the tank, but no tank crew. (?)

Unusually, there are very few parts to this kit, unless you add in the link and length tracks. It would have been nice to have turned barrels for the main guns rather than the half-n-half plastic jobs, but with a bit of puttysandrepeat, they turn out O.K.

The metal etching is very well done, and with some cleanup, looks fantastic.

Quite a lot of the detail that is well done is covered up by armor or covers, which is somewhat sad, though it does open up the door for a number of after market items or the intrepid scratchbuilder.

CONSTRUCTION

I started this beast by washing the whole thing in soapy water, then after it was dry, I primed it with Krylon gray auto primer. A light coat of flat aluminum followed, and was let to air dry in our lovely Phoenix breeze for 12 hours. Yikes.  Since the styrene didn’t melt, I decided to push on further, doing a light salt sprinkle to give this booger a bit of a worn look. I like trashed German ww2 tanks.

Bogies: The fit of the painted styrene is so tight that you have to tap on the bogie frames with a small hammer, or in my case, a large X-Acto knife.

Turret:   The massive barrels of this tank are well done, go together easily, and require just a little bit of psr. The turret itself is magnificent, how it was molded so perfectly it is actually on of the questions I have for modern model companies.  How the heck did you do that?

The turret hatches are also well done, but since we are doing the “nightfighter”, make sure that you glue the command hatches to the rear, as the hatches will interfere with the Uhu style light amplification gear.

The kit metal etch is wonderful, I would recommend annealing (heating and then cooling down rapidly) the entire fret. I didn’t, and really regret it. 

TRACKS

If you haven’t used link and length tracks, this is a good starter kit, as the tracks are so huge. I like to glue the first series to the spoke driving wheel, then rotate it around to meet the bottom, it saves a lot of grief. Using AC glue, just add on each separate piece slowly, you can work on one side, and then the other, just keep on flipping the beast!  Once again, the parts fit together tightly, so take your time and work slowly. I find that about 30-45 minutes of track assembly is good enough for me, then you need a cold one, and a bit of a stroll. Repeat. Over and over and over. Link and length can try your soul.

 The night vision systems are somewhat complex too,  the entire series are molded in clear plastic, I suppose to give you the opportunity to somehow have a visible line of sight. Squint. Hard. Hey, these things are about ½” long. The clear bits are very well molded, but the location marks are pretty much invisible. Like Wonder Woman’s jet, but without the pretty pointy parts.

 The main barrel is something of a nightmare. If you have annealed the brass photoetch, like I didn’t, I am sure it would be much simpler, but I can not figure out why they just didn’t cast a plastic bit for the end, instead of making the modeler try to wrap a cylinder of etch around the barrel. Sigh. Use a pencil and gently roll the brass back and forth until it gets into the right circumference. Glue, and go out for another stroll. Look at the stars and try to forget the model for a bit..

 All in all, the construction is very simple, and the biggest thing to deal with is: Painting! 

COLORS & MARKINGS

Inspired by another commentary about a different build, I decided to once again try the unusual. spaghetti. The entire frame was primed, sprayed in flat aluminium, salted, and then primed in  Krylon red. Wash off the salt with a 3M pad, and then hit it with a light spray of Africa Desert Yellow (Dark Tan), thinned down about 70 percent.

Silver and black Sharpie pens were used on the bogies for the steel look, be sure to not spray over these with any sort of clear gloss, as it will make the ink run.

I applied the theoretical field applied zimmerit using a tinted paste with a bit of razor saw, and set the whole affair off to the side to dry.

Wet spaghetti is draped over the model, and allowed to dry for about one hour, then a light spray of white is applied for the winter camo. Allow the whitewash to dry overnight, and then gently remove the pasta. Viola! Yeah, well, it didn’t work.

I used a typical sludge wash for the wheels, but varied the exhaust marks by using the detail  Hansa  airbrush with some ink and black acrylic.

Since the  Maus never really saw service, the sky is the limit for colour patterns. Tell the jmn’s to get bent if they give you any grief .I did stick with the typical 1944 series of paints, just to be normal. Chuckle.

Turns out that using wheat pasta, which is what we had in the pantry, is just about useless. Perhaps I will try normal pasta for the next build. Wheat spaghetti may be healthier, but it sucks for masking. Hey, it was an experiment. Using the Badger Hybrid, I put in some green line camo, and a wash of black.

  I love building wrecked German tanks, it fills a void in my spirit. The backstory of this huge Maus sitting on an open snowy plain was just too good to resist. The base came from Michael’s craft store, and after staining, a thin coat of wood glue was applied. Powder it with some drywall compound mix ( I like the 20 minute set stuff), and a little bit of sugar, and you have snow. Some greenery was added from Woodland Scenics, and I had a plot for my tank (my tank) to sitz on. The undone treads were added after the bulk of the painting had been accomplished. 

CONCLUSIONS

  The kit is simply, and I do mean simply, magnificent. Other than the tracks, it goes together with a shake and bake feel, the fit is wonderful. I can’t really say enough good things about it !  If you like German WW2 armor, pick this one up, just be careful, it might eat your Sherman in the middle of the night. Or your cat.  After all, this one can see in the dark!

Yes, some of you purists will be frothing at the mouth by now. The E-100 and the Maus are not exactly the same, but are so close that I think we can just blink a little. Neither one made it to combat anyway, and the parts were intermingled after the war.

REFERENCES

 “My Tank is Fight” Zack Parsons, 2006  (possibly one of the best military books of all time)

 “My Tank” by Darkest of the Hillside Thickets  ( I hummed this tune through the whole build!)

  Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the review kit. Ask for this at your local shop or have them order it for you.

Greg Ewald

May 2008

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