Sd.Kfz. 165 Hummel Late Production
Tamiya 1/35 scale
Reviewed by Brett Green
B a c k g r o u n d
The Hummel was designed in 1942 after the need for mobile artillery support for tank forces had been demonstrated during the invasion of the USSR. The self-propelled artillery already in service with the Wehrmacht had proven of limited value.
The first option considered was mounting a 10.5 cm leFH 18 howitzer on a Panzer III chassis, rejected in favour of the same gun on a Panzer IV chassis. One prototype was built.
This design was rejected in favour of mounting the more powerful 15 cm sFH 18 L/30 howitzer on the specially designed Geschützwagen III/IV, which combined elements of both the Panzer III (driving and steering system) and Panzer IV chassis (suspension and engine). The same chassis was also used for the Nashorn tank destroyer.
The engine was moved to the centre of the vehicle to make room for an open-topped lightly armoured fighting compartment at the rear housing the gun and crew.
Late models had a slightly redesigned driver compartment and front superstructure offering more room to the radio operator and driver.
The Hummel first participated in large scale combat at the Battle of Kursk, when some 100 served in armored artillery battalions (Panzerartillerie Abteilungen) of the Panzer divisions. They were formed into separate heavy self-propelled artillery batteries, each with six Hummel and one ammunition carrier. *
F i r s t L o o k
Tamiya released their Nashorn kit in 2014. Despite the apparent similarities in appearance between the Nashorn and Hummel, Tamiya has taken no shortcuts by presenting their Hummel kit as a late production version with the redesigned superstructure and driver's compartment.
In fact, the only common parts between Tamiya's Nashorn and this new Hummel is the lower hull and running gear.
Tamiya's new 1/35 scale Hummel Late Production kit comprises 432 parts in dark yellow plastic, four metal screws, one metal rod, small screwdriver, one length of black string, 32 polythene caps, markings for a choice of two vehicles.
The lower hull is provided as a single-part tub. Interior detail is then added to the rear section of the lower hull.
The new upper mid/forward hull is a single part, while the superstructure sides and rear are made up of individual panels. The track guards are supplied separately too.
The 150 mm gun is nicely detailed. The gun features a poseable breech block and the ability to elevate and traverse.
Likewise, the spare ammo boxes, radio, stowage and weapons on the inner sides of the fighting compartment are suitably busy and very well detailed. There are a number of ejector pin marks on the inside surface of the superstructure but these will all be totally hidden by these interior detail parts once they are glued in place.
The running gear comprises simple one-piece axles, springs and mounts, to which are added plastic two-part road wheels with separate hub caps.
The tracks are a highlight of the kit. This is the first time that Tamiya has provided link-and-length tracks on a Panzer III/IV family kit, and they are very welcome as they are by far the easiest way to reliastically depict the upper run sag typical of these "dead" tracks.
They are made up from a combination of sections of single links and short lengths, a long flat bottom run and a subtly draped upper run. Detail on the outer surface is very well done. There are some very faint ejecor pin circles on the inner surface. These will be easy enough to eliminate but if you don't feel like doing this, they will be very well hidden once the tracks are fitted.
Smaller detail parts such as tools, tow cable guides and the gun barrel travel lock are well moulded. Some of the detail on the tools looks a little basic now and might be enhanced with photo-etched clamps or after-market replacements.
The plastic parts are rounded out with three brand new crew figures in the process of loading ammo into the back of the vehicle.
In common with Tamiya’s recent figure release, they are all well moulded and the facial detail is particularly nice.
Multimedia parts include four small screws with a corresponsing screwdriver, a fine metal rod and a length of string for the tow cable.
Two simple marking options are provided for vehicles in service on the Eastern and Western fronts, both in the summer of 1944.
The instructions are well laid out over 46 steps with clear illustrations supplemented by brief text directions where required. The section dealing with the tracks is especially well done.
C o n c l u s i o n
This is a substantially new kit that has little in common with Tamiya's 2014 Nashorn.
Detail is very good inside and out, and the addition of link and length tracks is a first for Tamiya Panzer III and IV family kits. This is very welcome and I hope we see something similar on future Panzer III/IV family kits soon.
The three included figures will deliver an instant vignette too.
*Historical summary courtesy of Wikipedia.
Thanks to Tamiya Japan for the sample
Tamiya kits are distributed in the UK by The Hobby Company Limited for the sample.
Text and Images by Brett Green