Ersatz M10 - Smart Kit
Reviewed by Cookie Sewell
|Stock Number and Description||Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale ‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6561; Ersatz M10 - Smart Kit|
|Media and Contents:||751 parts (533 in grey styrene, 170 “Magic Track” links, 14 clear styrene, 47 etched brass)|
|Price:||estimated price about US$59.95|
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||Pre-converted version of an popular if oddball subject.|
|Disadvantages:||No major ones noted except still uses “Magic Track” links and not DS single piece runs|
|Recommendation:||Highly Recommended for all Battle of the Bulge German armor fans|
One of the odder German deception plans was when during the Battle of the Bulge they modified a number of Panthers to look sort of like US M10 3" GMC vehicles to lead their columns. The idea was that the Americans would not recognize them as Panthers in the winter weather until it was too late and by then the Panther (and the rest of the German armor and troops would be amongst them. There are still discussions today as to how well this worked, but overall the German deception efforts did not appear to go well at all and they were more successful against green American replacements.
While if anyone was paying attention I doubt the markings would have passed muster – they were marked as “B Company 10th Tank Battalion 5th Armored Division” and any American soldier would know immediately it should have had Army markings and a XXXAT code on the left – it was a respectable effort with new sheet steel shrouds attached to the turret and the hull. But this vehicle would have been much larger than the M10 and its Maybach engine would not sound like the twin diesels of the M10 either.
The fake (or ersatz in German) M10 has always been one of the more popular modifications by modelers to Panthers, as it gives them a chance to copy American markings and paint schemes on German armor. This kit adds a number of new parts to the basic Ausf. G kit (No. 6268) that provide for all of the modifications needed, including a choice of two different fake gun mantlets which weld over that of the base Panther.
It wisely uses one of the better base kits as it has more use of “slide molding” than any previous DML kit, and the goal seems to be to permit modelers to get “multimedia” kit finish and part definition with a minimum of actual multimedia parts. But here as there are more “bits” on the American vehicle the number of etched brass parts has grown from 13 to 47.
The lower hull is a one-piece “slide mold” part with all of the torsion bars complete and separate parts. Fine details such as “bump stops”, “pin knockers” and braces are all separate. The kit provides the rubber tired road wheels, but for a change of pace it also has two sets of “steel” road wheels for the last road wheel station on each side as an option. The model may be built with or without the small return roller wheel on the final drives, and both types are provided in the kit.
The hull rear plate is covered over in this version and the exhaust pipes feed up through the fake hull rear (part F9). On the hull top braces, locks and handles are provided for the “flip up” style of crew hatches. The engine deck is very complete, with radiators, radiator fans, screens, louvers and a large number of separate access ports and lids provided. All grilles replicate full castings and are separate parts as well. Again, no engine or interior are provided with the kit, but the interior is set up for relatively easy installation.
The hull side trim attaches over the base kit sides and the new track hangers are an attempt to simulate the ones used on the M10. Ditto on the glacis but note that based on which variant you select there are different sets of holes to drill out. OVM is cut down as most of the American OVM and its positions did not resemble German OVM.
The turret comes with two different fake M10 mantlets, and each one has its own detail parts. The gun does have a minimal breech assembly but no other interior parts are provided except for the self-defense weapon (mine thrower) in the turret roof. The commander’s cupola has been correctly replaced with two flat covers.
Technical assistance was provided by Steven Van Beveren, Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
Two finishing options are provided – vehicle B4 or B7 in OD with white surround stars. The directions (for once!) call out the build differences as you go through, and a nice set of Cartograf decals completes it.
Overall, this should to prove to be a popular choice even though the prototype was a pretty desperate gamble and a failure. But it has always struck a cord with modelers and now they can have one in a kit.
A 1 Ersatz M10 - upper hull
A 52x2 Engine deck details and fine details
A 3 Hull and engine hatches
B 54 Turret
C 55 Hull details and sponsons
D 27 Radiators and hull rear details
E 47x4 Road wheels, torsion bars, individual “wrap” track links, wingnuts
F 45 Ersatz M10 turret, side extensions, glacis, mantlets
G 37 Drivers, final drives, steel wheel sets
J 8 MG-34 bow gun
K 9 Tools and OVM
L 14 clear styrene
P 1 Turret shroud
X 1 Lower hull
Y 170 “Magic Track” links
M 43 Etched brass
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.