|KIT:||Dragon 1/35 Heuschrecke IVb 'Grasshopper'|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||A number of new parts in with this one|
One thing you can say about obsolete or obsolescent tanks is that those countries operating them will find ways to keep them in use after they are no longer viable as their prime intent. No where else was this more obvious than in Germany during WWII where the myriad of developments of various chassis was near mind-boggling in number. Must have been quite interesting for those who had to fix them, especially as many were built in quite small numbers!
One such vehicle was the 10.5 cm leFH 18/1 L/28 auf Waffenträger GW IVb, nicknamed Heuschrecke (Grasshopper) (1943, 3 prototypes built): 105 mm self-propelled howitzer. The howitzer was mounted in a turret with full-round traverse on a slightly lengthened Panzer IV chassis. The turret could be removed by means of a lifting gantry built into the chassis and placed on a concrete base or on a wheeled carriage carried on the vehicle, while the vehicle itself could act as an ammunition carrier.
Dragon Models has a reputation for producing kits of variants that were built in small numbers and this one is no exception with only three being built. However, they have done a superlative job of it and based this on their fine Panzer IV kit. The sprues are far too numerous to lay out in the usual pattern, so I've scanned the instruction sheet to show you what you get with this one.
In addition to a nearly complete Panzer IV, you get all the new bits to make up this kit. That includes a new hull to incorporate the additional length, a fully detailed fighting compartment, new turret that can be dismounted and put on a display cart if one so wishes. There is more as not only does the turret swivel and elevate, but the lifting gantry on the hull is also operational through the full range. The kit includes different left and right sprocket wheels as on the real tank and has a number of additional accessories and ammunition to help complete things. This kit also uses the super Magic Track system for the track links. A photo etch fret is included for additional detailing.
Dragon provides their usual well drawn instructions with Gunze paint references. There are also two 'A' sprues so the builder will be doing a bit of hunting for the right part. With 22 construction steps this will not be a super fast build. Markings are for one vehicle in panzer yellow. With only three built, one does not have a ton of options.
Once more, Dragon has provided us with an unusual kit of a rare vehicle. I know that there is a ready market for these sorts of things and I'm pleased that Dragon has taken the opportunity to provide it for us. As with all Dragon kits, it will provide hours of modeling pleasure.
My thanks to the fine folks atwww.dragonmodelsusa.com for the review kit. Get yours at your favorite shop or ask them to order it for you.
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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