Panzefaerhe Faehrendeck mit Gepanzerte Landwasserschlepper Prototype No. II - Smart Kit
Reviewed by Cookie Sewell
|Stock Number and Description||Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale ‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6669; Panzefaerhe Faehrendeck mit Gepanzerte Landwasserschlepper Prototype No. II - Smart Kit|
|Media and Contents:||654 parts (406 in grey styrene, 216 “Magic Track” single link tracks, 22 etched brass, 9 clear styrene, 1 length of nylon string)|
|Price:||Estimated to be USD$59.95|
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||First kit of this vehicle in this scale in styrene|
|Disadvantages:||Requires first prototype to create a ferry (see text)|
|Recommendation:|| Recommended for all German Pzkw. IV fans
As I recently noted with the release of Prototype No. I (DML Kit No. 6625) like many combatant nations in WWII, the Germans were faced with river crossings roughly every 10 miles or so in European conditions. While taking bridges intact was obviously a priority and having engineer bridging units a must, they did not have any true means of amphibious crossings in hand during the war. The closest that they came was the boatlike Landwasserschlepper which was not armored. Later in the war Magirus was tasked with creating an armored replacement, and as such did produce two prototypes of the Panzerfaerhe (armored ferry) vehicle.
This it was not, as it was basically a large amphibious vehicle that carried any troops or cargo internally (ferries by their very nature carried their cargoes on open decking or at least on a main deck). As a result, experiments were made with a decking set that connected two of these vehicles together (and which was apparently tested with the two Magirus prototypes). But by that time (mid 1942) the Germans apparently saw such vehicles as a luxury they could no longer afford.
DML has now released the second part of this two-part model and this section also comes with the dedicated floating pontoon with decking which makes the two units into a self-propelled ferry. The second prototype differs from the first in some of its details, such as having three fixed vents on the deck vice the four folding vents with the first prototype as well as a hatch and combing on top of the casemate for the ferry commander’s use.
Like its predecessor, other than the road wheel sets from its line of Pzkw. IV kits, DML’s ferry is new from the ground up. The kit comes with a foam bumper over the mounting bracket for the vehicle’s tow hook (seen in action on page 119 of the Chamberlain/Ellis/Jentz “Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two” with an amphibious trailer in tow) which is a nice way to protect a fragile bracket.
Assembly is like that of the tank kits and begins with the suspension. It then moves to the propeller and propeller guard (I profess ignorance of the vehicle, for it seems to lack a rudder so I have no clue how it was steered!)
The deck and casemate are next, and while they all come with separate hatches there is zero interior anywhere on the model to show by leaving them open. The armored flaps on the front of the casemate may also be positioned.
The three vent stacks come next, and this kit offers an option between fixed stacks and the folding ones used on the first prototype. However, as before where they may be folded down for travel on the original the kit only provides for them to be shown in the up or operating position. With some work they can apparently be folded down. The winch and crane are next and neither one may be shown in any position but stowed.
Step 9 covers general assembly and adding the false bow (flotation chambers) before attaching the deck. The tracks are next (dark gray left, light gray right) as well as two curious lengths of chain at the front and rear of the hull. The tracks appear to be the earlier 38 cm tracks and lack traction cleats.
Note that there are a number of holes that must be drilled out during construction. Also this kit came with an addendum that notes if you leave the armored flaps open you need to cement the clear styrene windows into the openings from the inside.
The nylon line is used on this kit for the handrail stanchions and is not part of the winch or any tow cable.
Steps 10-12 cover the assembly and rigging of the decked pontoon. Note that the chains at the front and rear must be bent to attach to the pontoon. Also, and a major word of caution, the design apparently was that the pontoon has to float on its own and is only held to the Panzerfaehre vehicles for propulsion and control; this is not a rigid mounting at all and as such it means if a complete ferry is modeled it will have to be on a solid base with fixed attachment. Given the size of the kits and parts the base will have to be at least 12" x 18" (30 x 45 cm) so figure that accordingly.
Technical assistance was provided by Notger Schlegtendal, Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundsen.
Finishing directions are provided for Prototype II in the hands of an unknown unit (probably either the factory or a weapons/engineer test range). A set of white crosses are provided on a Cartograf sheet.
Overall this is again a nice model, but now the costs come into the picture. Right now DML offers via its Dragon USA Online site both kits at reduced prices: kit 6625 is $49.95, kit 6669 is $59.95, and kit 6669C – which apparently includes both Panzerfaehre prototypes and the pontoon in one go – is $99.95 as pre-order kits. It is likely that based on normal pricing kit 6625 will retail for $59.95, 6669 for $69.95, and 6669C for $119.95 when placed in general release.
A 45x2 Pzkw. IV Generic drivers, idlers and return rollers
A 81x2 Pzkw. IV Generic road wheels and bogies
B 1 Panzerfaerhe - deck
B 15 Panzerfaehre - deck details, winch
C 39x2 Panzerfaerhe - deck details
C 14x2 Panzerfaerhe - exhausts and blowers
D 39 Panzerfaerhe - casemate and hull details, propeller
E 9 Panzerfaerhe - clear styrene
F 7x2 Panzerfaehre - Decked Pontoon
L 108 “Magic Track” single link - left
R 108 “Magic Track” single link - right
X 1 Panzerfaehre - lower hull
Y 1 Length of nylon string
MA 22 Etched brass
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.