|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Smart kit with DS Tracks|
The Hummel was designed in 1942 out of a need for mobile artillery support for the tank forces, the lack of which had first been felt during the invasion of the USSR. There were some self-propelled artillery vehicles already in service with the Wehrmacht at the time, but most were of limited value.
The first option looked at was to mount a 10.5 cm leFH 18 howitzer on a Panzer III chassis, but this was rejected in favour of the same howitzer on a Panzer IV chassis. One prototype was built of this design.
This design was again rejected, this time in favour of a more powerful solution: mounting the 15 cm sFH 18 L/30 howitzer on the specially designed Geschützwagen III/IV, which took elements of both the Panzer III (driving and steering system) and Panzer IV chassis (suspension and engine). The same chassis was also used for the Nashorn tank destroyer.
The Hummel had an open-topped lightly armoured fighting compartment at the back of the vehicle which housed both the howitzer and the crew. The engine was moved to the centre of the vehicle to make room for this compartment. Late model Hummels had a slightly redesigned driver compartment and front superstructure, to offer more room to the radio operator and driver.
Because the basic Hummel could only carry a limited amount of ammunition, the Munitionsträger Hummel ("ammunition carrier Hummel") was developed. This was basically a standard production Hummel without the howitzer (a 10 mm armour plate covering the gun mount) and with racks fitted to hold the ammunition. When necessary, these could still be fitted with the 15 cm howitzer of the normal Hummel; this could even be done as a field conversion.
By the end of the war 714 Hummel had been built with another 150 ammunition carriers using the same design. Some of these vehicles were fitted with the 10.5 cm gun of the Wespe.
Dragon has produced the standard Hummel before, but this kit has the smaller gun. Still based on their Panzer IV chassis and hull, this kit includes a retooled fighting compartment that had a unique arrangement due to the smaller size of the 105mm artillery rounds. The ammo storage racks are also new. Also newly tooled is the gun shield, since it isn’t the normal one associated with the leFH18 howitzer.
The kit has the same myriad of road wheels as well as detailed suspension attachment points, sprocket and idler. Over all this fits a set of Dragon's DS tracks. the driver and radio operator's vision ports can be displayed open and these parts take a few of the etched parts. Also included on the etched fret are two shield covers that fit on the outside of the side shields, plus some other equipment hold downs and brackets.
Since the fighting compartment is open, you are provided with all the various bits and pieces that fit on the inside, including the ready ammo bins. Several shells are included to place in the holders. Of course you also get the very thin shield pieces and a nicely detailed 105mm gun that makes up a goodly portion of the build. This gun is able to move in elevation and in azimuth though the azimuth is understandably restricted by the big shields.
Instructions are well done and a bit crowded, so one will have to pay attention during construction. Painting information is provided for three vehicles, all based in Germany during 1945. The decal sheet consists of three insignia.
Those with a fondness for SPGs or German military vehicles will be pleased with this one. It is a kit that will be a nice addition to your display shelves and make for a nice contrast with the standard SdKfz 165.
Thanks to dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. You can find this kit at your favorite hobby shop or on-line retailer. If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contactthe editor or see other details in the Back to the Main Page Back to the Previews Index Page
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contactthe editor or see other details in the
Back to the Main Page
Back to the Previews Index Page