Dragon 1/35 Vollkettenaufklarer 38 w/7.5cm Kanone 51 L/24

KIT #: 6815
PRICE: $80.00 SRP
DECALS: Generic insignia
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Smart Kit

HISTORY

The Vollkettenaufklaerer 38 was originally an effort by Auto-Union to create a tracked reconnaissance vehicle suitable for Eastern Front operations. Auto-Unionís prototypes with an open-topped compartment appeared in early 1944, but they were never pursued. Czech company BMM followed up with its own version of a scout vehicle based on a Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer chassis, with a mockup ready by September 1944. This example based on a modified 38(t) chassis featured a 7.5cm L/24 gun and was the only one built. Also known as the Gerat 564 Pz.Aufklwg.638/12. Most of these prototypes carried either a single or twin 20mm Flak 38.

THE KIT

This is the third kit produced on Dragon's recent Hetzer. In this case, it is a true one-off prototype that was not chosen for production, though it would have undoubtedly been as effective as any other SPG.

What has been done in this case is to add their 7.5 cm Kanone 51 L/24 gun to duplicate this rare vehicle. Since a previous kit had new superstructure pieces developed for it, it was a simple matter to adapt this gun to the previous kit. The kit continues with the Hetzer's superb link and length track, which is preferred by many modelers.

The kit also includes a small photo etch fret for some details such as a muffler guard. Some kit modification will be needed, but it is minor and easy to do. Photo etch is kept to a minimum and is only used where it looks the best. The kit includes a full driver's position and transmission. Since it is open topped, there is a lot of sidewall detail with this one as well. Some of the new parts are external storage boxes and a new gun shield.

Instructions are nicely done and a bit busy so one will need to pay attention. The painting guide is for three vehicles, all from unknown units in 1945. All of them are really 'whiffers' as only the one vehicle was built and it is unknown if it actually saw action, though I'd be surprised if it did not. One is in a splotched pattern of green, brown and tan; the other in an 'ambush' scheme, and the third in overall white. The small decal sheet just provides insignia.

CONCLUSIONS

So here we have yet another neat adaptation of the basic Hetzer. It continues Dragon's current run of prototype and low production AFVs, which seems to be selling fairly well. Those who want a series of these vehicles, or just want something a bit different from the norm should be quite pleased with this one.

REFERENCES

February 2017

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