Dragon 1/35  SdKfz 164 Bergepanzerwagen IV

KIT #: 6438
PRICE: $51.50 SRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Smart Kit

HISTORY

Most armor fans are aware that the Panzer IV was the most prolifically built large German tank of WWII. It saw action from the first to the last day of the conflict and many served into the 1970s with various countries around the world. It was exported to more German allies than any other German tank and built in probably more variants than any other.

One variant of which the Germans could have probably used more was the Bergepanzerwagen, or tank recovery vehicle. These sorts of vehicles were what was needed to pull stuck tanks out of ditches, or pull away those that had broken down for repair. Minimally armed, they were not designed to be in combat, but to perform a number of second-line duties that also included pulling turrets and engines out of tanks being repaired in the field.

THE KIT

Typical of Dragon's Smart Kits, this one has a ton of features, including many newly tooled bits and pieces. I'll let the PR guys at Dragon spell this all out as I'd undoubtedly miss something.

- Derrick crane can be portrayed in stowed position
- Crane can alternatively be modeled in deployed position
- Newly tooled front pulley system
- Brand new rear pulley system
- Newly tooled wood stand
- Driverís and radio operatorís housing w/splash guard
- Hatches w/internal detail
- Movable metal chain included
- Realistic pulley system detail
- One piece upper hull w/accurate engine-deck design
- Spare-wheel rack w/spare wheels on upper hull side
- Spare-track bracket on glacis plate w/photo-etched and plastic option
- Side fenders w/pattern detail on both top and bottom surfaces
- Injection-molded fenders made to thinnest possible dimensions
- New OVM arrangement on fenders w/clasps
- Spare-track bracket on lower hull front
- Air-intake covers have option of injection or photo-etched parts
- Realistic double-layered air intake
- Lower hull made by 2-directional slide mold: bolts and rivets delicately represented on hull bottom
- Detailed towing-eye brackets w/separate parts
- Accurately detailed idler adjuster mountings
- Great detail on newly tooled hull rear
- Road wheels and suspension w/multiple components exhibit crisp detail
- Final-drive housing w/details on both sides
- Separate armored cover for final-drive housing
- Sprocket wheels w/breathtaking detail and multiple delicate parts
- Two options for idler wheels
- Photo-etched parts for idlers to accurately represent undercut details
- Extendable jack w/separate parts
- Rear antenna included
- Fuel filler flap has open/closed option
- 40cm Magic Tracks
- Complete MG w/workable ball mount

Of course, the Magic Tracks make up a sizeable portion of the more than 780 parts in this kit. The usual photo-etch option is always welcome as is the fact that you don't have to use it if you are not comfortable with this medium. The instructions use the usual Gunze paint references, something that is becoming more and more difficult to find in the US since the company pulled out. Two markings options are given, both with a base of overall Panzer Yellow. Both are from unidentified units in Germany during 1945 and have minimal or no distinguishing markings. One has no additional colors while the other has blotches of brown and green.

CONCLUSIONS

Another superb armor kit and one that I can only guess the Germans did not have enough of, if I can believe all the photos of abandon tanks I've seen. The detailing and fidelity to the prototype is all you have come to expect from Dragon and will make for an excellent model when done.

Scott Van Aken

July 2009

Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local shop or on-line retailer.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

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