This build up review follows a thorough in box review by Vinnie Branigan
first published on December 6th 2006. Vinnie's article comprehensively lists the contents of the kit and allows me to concentrate on the assembly of the model. The kit has been assembled out of box. Additional detail sets (3832 and 3834) can be added from Cyber-Hobby at http://www.universal-models.com/cyber-hobby.html
The moulding of this kit is flawlessly clean without a hint of flash. The fit of the model is equally impressive. A few problems arise if you follow the assembly instructions, I'll point those out.
Steps 1,2 and 4 concentrate on the torsion bar suspension. The only issue to be aware of here lies within the idler wheel base mount. Leave parts B2 and B3 off the base mount and do not adhere the idler wheel on to the base mount. On step 4 adhere the base mount onto the hull and then place parts B2 and B3. Once you're satisfied with the fit, then attach the idler wheels. As Vinnie stated in his review, by removing the small locating pin underneath the swing arms, you can articulate the suspension.
Steps 3 and 5 centre on the hull rear. A complex bit of work that once put together will mesh the mufflers, deflector plate, inspection hatch and idler base. An impressive bit of engineering.
Step 6 centres on the fenders, and the attachment of the tools. A fantastic bit of slide-moulding on these fenders, finely engraved tread pattern on both sides. Almost criminal to replace these with photo-etch! Potential problems arise with the towing cables, the instruction lengths given might not work for you. I would suggest that you attach one of the end loops G12 to the metal tow cable, insert the cable in the brackets C25 and then once the second end loop is attached to the fender, cut the metal tow cable to fit and insert to the second G12 end loop. Photo-etch parts MA12 is a reinforcing triangular support which where not present on all early model G's.
Step 7 centres on the commanders cupola, with seven periscopes which according to the Achtung Panzer No.5 is accurate, and the SF14Z scissors telescope. Part C14 has a solid plastic handle which should be replaced with wire.
Steps 8 to 10 moves to the fighting compartment superstructure which is accurate for an early model G. The interior is accentuated with a full radio setup, receiver and transmitter. Enough detail to allow you to open the hatches without fear.
Steps 11 to 14 details the engine deck and the steering brake inspection hatches. Problem free areas that have been engineered to allow you the option of opening them up with details on the inside should you wish to add an interior.
Steps 15 to 17 centres on the 7.5cm Stuk.40 L/48. The kit gives you a full breach assembly and recoil guard, all sitting on a fully detailed upper and lower carriage base. Excellent level of detail. Gunsight mount and Sfl.ZF1 gunsight round out the detail. Care must be taken on the fit of the recoil system compartment E2/E3, make sure you dry fit them in relation to assembly N (Step 16) as it is a tight fit.
Step 18 joins together all of the sub-assemblies, which thanks to Dragon's excellence, allows you to easily paint seperately without issues. Please note that my completed model is in sub-assemblies and any gaps visible are due to this.