Dragon 1/35 SdKfz 184 Ferdinand "Kursk 1943"

KIT #: 6495
PRICE: $59.00 SRP
DECALS: Multiple options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken

Premium Edition kit


We all know that a Ferdinand/Elefant is a Tiger chassis with a modified 88mm cannon so here is a brief on its combat history.  All but two of the 91 available Ferdinands were put to use in the Battle of Kursk, the first combat the Ferdinand saw. Although they destroyed many Russian tanks, they performed quite poorly in other respects. Within the first four days nearly half of the vehicles were out of service, mostly due to technical problems and mine damage to tracks and suspensions. Actual combat losses to direct Soviet action were very low as the Ferdinand's very thick armor protected it from almost all Soviet anti tank weaponry. However, at this point in its development the Ferdinand lacked a machine gun or any secondary armament, making it vulnerable to attack by infantry. Most total losses of the Ferdinand occurred during the Soviet counter-offensive after the Kursk offensive, many damaged Ferdinands had to be abandoned as they were too heavy to tow and others were lost to mechanical breakdown during the retreat. The surviving vehicles saw further limited action on the Dniepr front during late 1943.

At this point they were recalled and modified at the works in Austria and received the name Elefant. While the modifications improved the vehicles, some problems could never be fully fixed. In 1944 the Elefants served on the Italian front but were rendered rather ineffective, as their weight of nearly 70 tons did not allow them to use most Italian roads and bridges. Due to a permanent lack of spare parts most of the units were not destroyed in battle, but abandoned and blown up by their own crews. One company of Ferdinands saw action during the Soviets' January 1945 Vistula-Oder Offensive in Poland, and the very last surviving vehicles were in combat at Zossen during the Battle of Berlin.

In terms of kills per loss, the Ferdinand/Elefant might well have been the most successful tank destroyer employed during the war, reaching an average ratio of approximately 10:1. This impressive ratio was primarily due to its extreme firepower / protection ratio, which gave it an enormous advantage when used in a defensive role. However, poor mobility and mechanical unreliability greatly diminished its offensive capability.


 As stated in the history, Ferdinands and Elefants were basically the same machine. The Ferdinand differs from the Elefant visually by not having a bow machine gun. Dragon's kit takes most of the goodies from their earlier Premium Edition kit, including the aluminum gun barrel,  and Magic Tracks individual track links, something that looks really good on this particular tank thanks to the major track sag to go over the upper surface of the road wheels. What is really new is the larger p.e. fret. I should mention that I did not see some of the bits from the big p.e. fret being used on the kit. It may be that this was left out of the instructions, something that happens with Dragon instructions. Most of the items on the larger fret are for racks and attached equipment boxes.

h and the sheet provides numerous detail bits. In many cases, these etched bit replace extant plastic pieces, so the option is there for the builder if he wants it. The kit also includes metal tow hooks as has chain to attach to the pistol ports if one wants to show those open. The usual wire section is included for a tow cable. The gun itself is nicely molded and while complete, the breech section will be hidden inside the interior. Hatches look as if they can be built open, though there is no interior to speak of.

Instructions are typical of Dragon kits in that the illustrations are well done with both Gunze and Model Master paint references. Optional bits are shown as are any modifications needed (such as those needed to install the aluminum gun barrel). There are two main camouflage schemes which seem to be mirror images of each other. The decal sheet allows pretty much any of the vehicles that took place in the Kursk battle to be done. A variety of numbers and unit markings are given along with a chart that shows which are used for which unit.


It is surprising that it took this long for the Ferdinand kit to be produced due to its likeness to the previously released Elefant. However, the wait was worth it as it should build into a superb replica.  



August 2012

Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. This should be at your retailer now, if not have them order it for you.

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