|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
One of Germany’s last desperate gambles of WWII was its offensive in the Ardennes on 16 December 1944. Known today as the Battle of Bulge, the aim was to split British and American forces in half and drive all the way to Antwerp. Panzer Brigade 150, commanded by Otto Skorzeny, had a role in this plan. This formation was supposed to create surprise and confusion with clandestine armored vehicles. His force included several Panther Ausf.G tanks physically disguised and painted to resemble U.S. Army M10 tank destroyers.
Modifications included removal of the Panther cupola and stowage boxes on the rear of the hull. Sheet metal on the hull front, turret and turret overhang was fabricated to disguise the form of the Panther. The transformation was completed with an olive drab paint scheme and Allied stars painted on the turret and glacis. This handful of vehicles was designated Ersatz M10.
For this particular kit, Dragon has added two new sprues to what is basically their Panther ausf G kit. These sprues consist of the sheet metal mentioned in the historical background to disguise the tank to look like an M 10. For the specifics, I'll let the Dragon PR folks list the details:
- Extra turret panels realistically represented to scale thickness
- Two types of mantlet newly produced
- Newly tooled turret
- Newly tooled glacis panel can be assemble in two styles
- Newly tooled panel on lower hull front
- New step and detail on lower panel
- Newly tooled fender w/great detail
- Two types of rear fender provided
- Newly tooled extra rear armor
- Newly tooled exhaust pipes
- Multi-part slide-molded muzzle brake in great detail
- One-piece plastic gun barrel
- Upper hull realistically reproduced
- Rear hatch with interior hinge detail can be positioned open/closed
- Commander hatches can be assembly open or closed
- Weld lines and already built in - minimum touch-up for modeler
- Engine deck hatch with interior details can be modeled open/closed
- Turret-top pilzen authentically modeled
- Accurate toothed ring for turret
- One-piece slide-molded hull bottom with superb detail
- Armored deflector for rear deck air intake
- Gun assembly recreated in detail, complete with breech
- Driver's and radio operator's hatches with interior details and support arms
- Brand new U-shaped tow shackles
- Track links for sprocket section have guide horns as separate pieces for maximum accuracy
- Idler wheel in maximum detail
- Detail tooled idler wheels
- Full suspension assembly with road wheel and idler arms that can be positioned on uneven terrain
- Slide-molded headlight assemblies with maximum detail
- Optional MG ball mount plug
- MAGIC TRACKS with slide-molded guide horn details
- Road wheels exhibit fine detail
- Armored guard for cooling air outlet grills
- Authentically recreated armored guards for cooling air intake grills
- Engine radiator details with 2 types of fans
As usual, the instructions are very nicely done, providing both painting information (Gunze paint references) and any optional parts you may wish to consider. As you'd expect, there are some modifications that will be needed, but they are quite minor and anyone who has built a Dragon military kit should have no trouble at all with them. I like it that Dragon keeps the photo etch to a minimum and many will like the operating suspension for a more dramatic pose. Two markings options are provided, both in overall OD with very similar markings.
If you like the unusual, then this is definitely one for you. Thanks in part to the individual track links, there are over 650 parts to this one, and should provide many hours of modeling pleasure.
My thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local retailer or on-line store.
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