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In-Box Review
135
Stu.Pz IV Brummbär
Sd.Kfz 166 Stu.Pz Brummbär early production with zimmerit
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by: Hilbert Zuijdendorp [ HILBERT ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction
The Brummbär was an armored infantry support gun during the WW2. The name Brümmbar did not came from the Germans. They called this tank, based on the Panzer IV chassis, the “Stupa” or SturmPanzer. This tank was designed for urban fighting’s. That explain the short barrel which is quite noticeable. The reason for this is that a longer barrel would be much harder to maneuver with in urban areas. The design was introduced in 1942 when Albert Speer ordered for 40 to 60 vehicles and full production began in 1943. In total 306 Brummbärs were build.
The Brummbär was intended for supporting the infantry. Therefore the upper structure housed the Sturmhaubitze (StuH) 43 L/12 which fired the same rounds as the 15cm Sig 33 heavy infantry gun. In the beginning the upper structure was too heavy for the chassis, which led to many breakdowns of suspensions and transmissions in the early versions of the Brummbär. The gun was redesigned to reduce weight. The new version was 800 kilograms (1800 lbs) lighter than its predecessor and was used on the next series onwards.
Just 4 from the 306 tanks that were produced survived and they can be seen the Musée des Blindés in Saumur, the Deutsches Panzermuseum, the Kubinka Tank Museum and the United States Army Ordnance Museum.
The kit
The box is a standard sized cardboard box with its typical box-art by Ron Volstad, The box itself isn’t thick but it is sturdy enough to keep the parts secure. The box nearly explodes when you open it, because of the huge amount of sprues.

The kit
The kit contains 23 sprues in light gray plastic:
2 sprues of clear plastic
Hull-Tub
Upper super structure
A small sheet of Photo-etch
2 sheets of very thin metal for the Schürzen
Right and left-handed Magic Track
Metal cable
Instructions
Decals sheet

The review
On first sight all the parts looks nice and crisp. Absolutely no flash on the parts. It seems this kit has a lot of parts used by other kits. For example the Dragon Sd.Kfz.166 Stu.Pz.IV "Brummbär" Mid Production & Mid Production Command Version (2 in 1) Smart Kit (DR6460). Not entirely astonishing. Most of the suspension parts are also used for the Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf. H.
The parts that received a zimmerit pattern looks quit realistic. The pattern is irregular and some small damage are along the edges and various other areas.. But, there is a downside. The zimmerit could be more pronounced and rougher as well. The parts what came in a zimmerit pattern are the glacis, bow, front and rear, hull tub, super structure, mantlet ring and smaller parts which are in line with places where the actual zimmerit was applied.
The tracks come in two separate bags. These are the panzer IV style tracks with open guide horn. These tracks are the well-known magic tracks. The tracks comes in two different colours (light-grey and dark-grey) which is a nice touch from Dragon to keep this left and right-handed tracks separate. The PE set that is included in the kit is not the normal sheet Dragon include in there kits. It is a small fret just with the necessary parts that really can’t made in plastic. These includes chains, some hooks and mesh for the grills.
The schürzen are made from a very thin kind of aluminum. It is an easy job to attach them to the tank and because it is so thin, battle damage can be modelled very easily.
The gun itself is detailed very well although Dragon did not include a metal barrel. The barrel is molded in one single piece, so you don’t have to clean up the seam that would appear. You can open the hatches but there is no interior provided. But, Dragon should include some more details for the interior. It is a shame they didn’t because the gun is detailed enough to make it look interesting. With some scratching building skills it would not be hard to make the necessary parts to create a nice very tight looking interior. I had a good look at the bottom of the interior the part has a very light grain over the bottom. It is hardly visible.
The parts are extremely well detailed. For example, the fenders, they are really nice. Although they are relatively thick the bottom has details too! Even the grid on the fenders is nicely molded. Everyone probably knows that this is a hard thing to accomplish because this detail is often quit soft. Dragon put their skills they gained in the past few years in this and upcoming kits.
This kit has also its disadvantages. There are too many parts that won’t be used for the build. I’m not talking for 10 parts or so, it is probably 40% of the box contents. Probably many people can use the parts for other vehicles and it is a nice addition to your collection of spare parts. I assume many modelers would rather have no spare parts for a lower price of the kit. Instead of these parts Dragon could include more parts as track links or maybe some personal stuff. As mentioned earlier, the fenders are too thick to have a nice appearance. Also, the parts (even the smallest ones) have those annoying attachments to the parts. If Dragon would let these off, the part would be much easier to clean up. I assume it is unnecessary.
The instructions
The instruction manual is the busy looking manual Dragon includes in all the new kits they have in production. But, if you are a experienced modeler it will not be a problem at all. For inexperienced modelers it could be harder to understand. For now I did not find any mistakes.
Decals There is only one option of decals supplied and one painting scheme. There were probably more tanks of this kind. The painting scheme is dark yellow with some random green lines all over it. The decals are for an Unidentified unit, Eastern Front 1943.
Conclusion
Despite its little disadvantages the kit is simply great. A lot of parts and so on. Although, many parts are not intended for this tank but it will fill your sparesbox with a lot of usable parts. Another disadvantage are the attachments on parts. In my eyes they are unnecessary and with Dragons high quality molding technology is it possible to avoid these.
All the parts included in the kit are molded really well. Almost no flash and seam lines are visible and the lines which are there, can be removed very easily. The zimmerit is a nice touch with some damage here and there. It could be a little heavier but it will end up in a nice representation of the real deal.
SUMMARY
Highs: Excellent kit with extreme detail. Zimmerit is nicely done.
Lows: Too many unused parts. Just one choice of decals.
Verdict: An extremely well designed model with details everywhere. Highly recommended kit for modelers who is looking for an interesting model.
Percentage Rating
90%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 6596
  Suggested Retail: $47.99 US
  Related Link: Dragon USA Item Page
  PUBLISHED: Dec 07, 2010
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.67%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 86.19%

Our Thanks to Dragon USA!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Hilbert Zuijdendorp (HILBERT)
FROM: ZUID-HOLLAND, NETHERLANDS

Well, About me. I started building models when I was eleven. But since 2004 I build seriously models. Nowadays I try to build models with some scratch or photo etch. An other hobby of mine is playing drums. Currently I study Facility Management on the Hogeschool Rotterdam.

Copyright ©2017 text by Hilbert Zuijdendorp [ HILBERT ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.


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Comments

The objection to the number of unneeded parts is based on a misunderstanding of the economics of kit production. By using sprues developed for other kits, Dragon is actually saving money. The unneeded parts represent only a few cents worth of styrene, but if they cut all-new molds to reduce the parts count, they would have to spend additional thousands of dollars on tooling, driving up the final price of the kit. Just look at the extra parts for your spares box as a bonus.
DEC 07, 2010 - 06:20 PM
Magic tracks and zimmerit? Nice move from Dragon! I second Gerald on the extra parts issue. It's simply just more economical to reuse already existing sprues than to make new ones containing the same parts. I got the mid-production panzer IV ausf.J currently on the workbench and that's quite a collection of sprues from different Panzer IV based kits. In fact, there's only one single sprue labeled "panzer IV ausf. J". Everything else is from previous kits. Makes sense to me, and my spares box isn't complaining either.
DEC 08, 2010 - 05:22 AM
Magic tracks and Zimmerit; got to agree with Eetu, nice move from Dragon. Shame they didn't put the Magic tracks in all the PzIV kits. As regards the mass of unwanted parts, I think Gerald is dead right; DML are making maximum use of their expensive dies. The "pips" moulded on a lot of parts are vents to let air out of the mould. This is because DML are pushing the boundaries in moulding technology; I would expect to see these on any parts with very thin sections, undercuts or anywhere else that trapped air could prevent the mould filling properly. I don't think you would be able to get the pin sharp detailing that you get from DML without these.
DEC 08, 2010 - 11:50 AM
I thought that they were to keep ejector pin marks off the parts, though they could do both.
DEC 08, 2010 - 06:02 PM
It is fun to read that other think different on the comments. My point of view was I would pay more money for sprues I probably won't use. That's a shame in my opinion, therefore we are paying more while dragon is more economical.. So, dragon is economical but we pay more money. In my eyes they are making profit cause 40% of the kit is some kind of useless [for me] lets say that's $20. No one can convince me that the production costs are $20 dollar for the unused parts. But it is a logical step for dragon to let us pay for all the sprues. All I want to say is that I would have seen less unused parts for less money. Ow, I don't want to make a huge discussion of this. I'm just saying how I think about it! Thanks Also, I didn't knew about the "pips" thanks for explaining. And again, the kit is simply great and give a good presentation of the real deal. Kind regards, Hilbert
DEC 10, 2010 - 03:34 PM
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