German Tank Destroyer ‘Elefant’ Sd.Kfz. 184
Zvezda, 1/35 scale
Reviewed by Graham Tetley
F i r s t L o o k
Two years ago, on my 49th birthday, I had the pleasure to get up all close & personal with the Elefant at Bovington. Standing next to it, it is a huge, impressive, beast and one cannot fail to be impressed by its bulk. The Elefant was a development of the Ferdinand and its main improvement was the addition of a bow machine gun for close-in defence.
This is a natural development of Zvezda’s previous Ferdinand kit and, whilst not as detailed as the Dragon kit of recent years, comes at a very reasonable price.
So how does it compare, and is it any good? Read on.
Coming in a very sturdy cardboard box protected by an outer sleeve, we have eleven sprues moulded in sand-coloured plastic. On my example the standard of moulding is flawless with no flash, sink marks or blemishes present at all.
Detail ranges from simplified, to good, to excellent, and worthy of note are the tracks that come in link and length with sag moulded in. We have a new sprue containing the bow glacis, machine gun, re-tooled engine deck to depict the grilles as separate parts, new superstructure sides and a few other new bits.
Not mentioned anywhere on the box, but you will find inside a set of Zimmerit decals. Now, the texture on these is very uniform and not as good as Dragon’s moulded on stuff, but most will be happy with it.
The single-piece hull tub is straight and true, and I have to say that I had no fit issues at all when I built my Ferdinand following that review.
Clear parts are provided for the periscopes and the tow cables are all in one piece & shaped to fit the hull as well.
There are only 300 parts to this model and the only construction options we have are whether to have the gun crutch and the rear superstructure periscopes up or down. There are no etched parts included although we do get a piece of nylon mesh for the rear engine grille. For the internals, we get a very basic gun breach so there is at least something to see if you want the hatches open.
Markings are provided for two vehicles, one of which (not surprisingly) is for vehicle ‘102’ of s.Pz.Jg.Abt 653 which the Allies captured at Anzio in 1944. This is the same old girl that I flirted with on my birthday!
Consulting my references as well as the photos of the real thing, this is how the kit compares.
So, measuring it to the 1/35 plans that I have I can say that the main parts are spot on. Zvezda have missed very little on this model and I am now kicking myself for not taking a tape measure with me to Bovington. However, it is dimensionally okay and very well detailed.
The instructions are clear, well-drawn, and with no errors so far that I have spotted. There are 16 construction steps with the sub-assemblies drawn outside of the main ones, making construction remarkably easy to follow.
C o n c l u s i o n
It does not have the finesse of the Dragon offering but at the current UK retail price of around the £30 mark you are getting something that is great value for money. It scales out within acceptable limits, is very well detailed, has a great fit of parts, and comes with link and length tracks. The Zimmerit decals are a nice touch as well. The instructions are good enough for any modeller to get to grips with it. It gets a solid 9/10 from me.
Thanks to The Hobby Company Limited for the sample.
Text and Images by Graham Tetley