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In-Box Review
172
Ersatz M10
Dragon 1:72 Armor Pro Ersatz M10
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by: Todd Michalak [ TRM5150 ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction


In December of ’44 as part of the Nazi Ardennes Offensive, more commonly known as the Battle of the Bulge, there was to be an embedded Panzer Brigade created that was to wreak havoc in the Allied lines and secure important bridges over the river Meuse before the Allied forces could destroy them all part of Operation Grief..

This unit was known as Panzer Brigade 150. This unit would be attacking behind the forward units; 1. SS-Panzer-Division, 12. SS-Panzer-Division and 12. Volks-Grenadier-Division. Panzer Brigade 150 was to be well equipped with 3300 men split into three battalions with support from captured allied armor and equipment as well as modified German armor made to look like the allied forces.

The Brigade turned out to not be equipped with the forces that were planned. The infantry was cut down by almost a 1/3 and there would be only 10 modified tanks; 5 Panther G tanks and 5 Sturmgeschütz III. Other equipment would be smaller captured allied equipment and German armor and artillery painted green in an effort to deceive the allied forces.

The Ersatz M10 would be made up using the Pz.Kpfw V Panther Ausf.G as the base frame to mimic the US’s M10 3 inch gun motor carriage based on the M4 Sherman chassis. Sheet metal was fashioned to the turret giving the Ersatz M10 a very convincing look. The commander’s cupola was removed and sheet metal placed in its place, the Panther’s glascious plate was modified with a false bow and the mantlet was altered. The equipment was then painted with the allied attack stars and there was at least two of the turrets of the 5 German M10’s painted with just the star and no circle around it.

Due to the limited size of the brigade the objective of the bridge captures was abandoned and the brigade was ordered to capture the town of Malmedy. The results were disastrous, to say the least for Panzer Brigade 150. Losing all of their heavy armor and around 450 men the unit was forced to retreat and subsequently disbanded.

Dragon has supplied another addition to their 1/72nd Scale Armor Pro Series with the Ersatz M10. These newer braille scale kits are becoming more highly detailed boxes of fun. This kit is packaged in the standard pop off top box with an artist’s rendition of the B7 Ersatz M10. There is 85 parts contained in this kit, less the Dragon DS tracks and decals. Out of the 85 parts, 65 parts are actually used to construct this tank.

Contents

  • 1 – Lower hull section molded in light grey styrene
  • 3 – Sprue trees containing 62 parts molded in light grey styrene
  • 2 – Dragon DS Tracks
  • 1 – Decal sheet
  • 1 – Set of instructions


Review

At first glance this is up to Dragon’s normal standards with the molds. The lower hull with the swing arm suspension molded in place is crisply cast with no flash. For this scale this part is nicely detailed.

The wheels are straight forward Panther road wheel layout. The sprockets, idler and road wheels are molded with all the detail of its 1/35th scale counterpart with raised bolt patterns and center cap features.

The upper hull section is laid out nicely with plenty of details on the engine deck. The fine screening for the intake vents is void from the cast for the obvious reason of being too small and delicate to mold. With a dry fit, I notice the front plate is a tad loose meeting the lower hull but would be and easy correction once glued in place using some filler and a quick sanding.

The turret is another fine mold. The faux M10 add-on plates are modeled to the turret already. There is a slight bit of flash along the side plates but will clean up easily with a quick sanding. There are three lift rings on top of the Panther turret on at least two of the 5 modified tanks as well as two large rings located on the forward section of the side plates and glacious plate. These molds made the attempt at these rings; however they are solid, half-moon shapes. My suggestion would be to carefully remove these three pieces and scratch-build the rings out of small gauge wire to give the appropriate appearance. The instructions call for part C6 to be installed at the rear of the plates as a support like seen on the original tanks. At best this will be difficult to remove from the sprue tree and clean up. I would suggest using a small piece of tubing or wire to simulate.

Dragon supplies the Panther G rear plate with the exhaust installed to be used under the rear plating. The exhaust is not hollowed out. Drilling these out would be one option. The second option is to remove the two top sections of the exhaust tubing just above the top bracket and use one of the extra parts supplied on sprue A. There actually 5 different muffler and pipe sets included with this kit. Simply take the top pipe sections off of parts A11 (X2) and glue onto the rear plate to replace what you removed.

The barrel is a one-piece slide mold with one attachment point on the side of the barrel itself. The muzzle brake is hollowed out for the vents but is not molded with an opening into the barrel. A quick, careful drilling would solve this issue.

The tracks are Dragon’s standard DS set. They may need to be modified by stretching or cutting to fit accordingly.

The instructions are laid out with a standard black and white photo, exploded view of the construction. There are only five parts to the construction of this kit; installation of the road wheels, upper hull and rear plate, lower turret mount and barrel, exterior turret parts and finally turret to hull installation and the addition of the spare tracks on the side plates. The last page of the instructions shows the layout for two configurations of the Ersatz M10, both from the 150 Pz.Brig. in the Ardennes for 1944. One option is for representing the Ersatz labeled as B7 and the other for B4. B7 had a forward painted US attack star on the glacious plate and the star with no circle on the turret while the B4 tank had the circled attack stars painted on both sides of the turret, on top of the turret as well as on the glacious plate

Conclusion

Dragon has hit the mark with the newer 1:72 Armor Pro series. Clean molds with loads of detail for the scale have become standards of this series and the Ersatz M10 is just one more great little model. There is a tiny bit of scratch work alterations that may be needed by some but is not needed to build up a decent model rendition of these late war behemoths. The low part count and lack of excessively overcomplicated part constructions make this kit a plus in my book!

Build
A build of this model by the reviewer can be found via the link below.
Dragon 1/72 Ersatz M10 Build Live links

SUMMARY
Highs: Great molds, low part count, interesting subject support this being a fun kit to build.
Lows: The lack of screening material for the rear vents and a hollowed out barrel go against the kit but not a major findings.
Verdict: This is a great little kit at a reasonable cost. I think this would make for a fun build by anyone.
Percentage Rating
89%
  Scale: 1:72
  Mfg. ID: 7491
  Suggested Retail: 23.50
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: May 17, 2013
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 95.48%
  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 Todd Michalak (TRM5150)
FROM: MASSACHUSETTS, UNITED STATES

I am building what I like, when I like and how I like it; having fun doing it. I have been building and finishing models on and off my whole life but the past ten years things really exploded. Just about anything goes when it comes to hitting the bench, but wrecked armor, rusted hulks, ships or ...

Copyright ©2017 text by Todd Michalak [ TRM5150 ]. 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.


Reader Reviews
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Comments

I would have rated it lower. This is just another kit with all hatches moulded shut. This is a really cheap and lazy trend Dragon has gotten into in the last few releases. So now it's up to the individual modeler to cut, drill, file, and sand, and fabricate new hatches and hinges, etc., if he wants to put a commander figure in the hatch? And as for the radiator grills, didn't Dragon supply them with earlier Panther releases? Are times getting that tough that Dragon has to cut corners and costs? I find this very disappointing coming from Dragon!
MAY 17, 2013 - 02:40 PM
Thanks Sven...glad you like it! Thanks for the feedback B!! I can agree to a point with maybe the screens and as I would like to see removable hatches and such, I am still feeling for 1/72 scale this is a nice little kit for the money. These tens to be cheap weekend builds, start to finish IMHO. If I felt I was interested in hyper detailing a braille scale, the scratch-work probably wouldn't bother me too much. I suppose it is a preference call. I did managed to crack the box last night and most of the assembly is actually done including removing the solid molded lift rings and replacing with wire. Couple hours and a bunch of FUN...what it's about. Couple small items and I will be good to go on some paint. I will start up a build thread and pop the finals here in the review for references only!
MAY 17, 2013 - 03:13 PM
No reflection on the review but extremely disappointing to see Dragon pawning off what is almost a war-gaming kit as a member of their Armor Pro series. Armor Pro was always renowned for giving you "everything, including the kitchen sink" in a kit. This offering sadly appears to be their "strategy" with quite a few of their more recent releases. A truly Armor Pro version of this kit in the past would have at least had the sheet metal plates provided with a PE equivalent, to say the least. Again, disappointing! Thanks for the review Todd. At least with them the reader can make a smarter purchasing decision! Cheers, Jan
MAY 17, 2013 - 04:03 PM
Thanks Jan! Thanks for your thoughts on this too. I will agree that they may have rushed the kit out and this is for the lack of PE Plating or maybe they are just suffering in some areas to the "cutting back" fate. Odd because I have the chance to work with a Pz.III no too long ago and it was a gem of a kit I thought. I have made some minor alterations such as some lift ring modifications and whatnot. These tanks are a stripped down Panther G with a costume on..LOL!! I am looking at laying some paint down at some point soon! Still pretty fun slapping this around!
MAY 18, 2013 - 11:10 AM
Possibly the above but I have read on a few other sites that the prebuilt market in Asia is driving this drop in quality. The "simplification" in the kits is driven by Dragon's desire to simplify construction and thereby increase the productivity of their assemblers (ie- Fewer parts, faster build). At least from the one sprue picture of the running gear I can see that they at least "reused" it from their kit # 7205, the Early Panther G. The newer Panzer III's, while not too bad when done, have many "shortcuts" that have lost detail when compared to Dragon's previous Stug. III's. They eliminated several detail parts on the engine deck alone on the III's, Including all the engine louvres (to name some) and just moulded them on. I guess that for many of us that have been into Braille Scale for a while, this turn of events is disheartening. Glad your having fun with these kits and I'll be interested to see how this one progresses. Cheers, Jan
MAY 19, 2013 - 11:31 AM
Thanks again Jan! I can see more now how if you are into building 1/72 for your choice of poison in this modeling world, then the "simplification" of the kits is a drag to say the least. I had not build the StuG in this scale and judged the Pz III on it's own merit. This M10, albeit a plain tank to begin with, is much more simplified than the last kit. I also have the VK.45.02[P]V to take a look at for the Big A here. There is not a heck of a lot of parts in this as well, but there is molded on cables and a few other parts to add including open hatch options. All of this talk is opening my eyes to a number items on the braille scale front. This will most certainly help when looking at some other kits and reviewing still more in the future...thanks! BTW...if you are interested, I have started a build thread on this kit in the "Constructive Feedback" board: LINK Here is where I am at with it... Thanks again!!
MAY 19, 2013 - 12:00 PM
Todd, I "accidentally" found your post in the CF forum this morning. It's coming along very nicely. Being new to Braille, you might consider viewing some of the offerings in that scale as you would with a larger scale kit. They are by no ways the same but they were closing until about a year or so ago. BTW, I've started on the review of the VK.4502(P)H sample and it also sadly has the moulded on details. You might like to check out the Henk of Holland site for the fact that the suspension is from Dragon's Elefant kit and the turret is from their King Tiger (P) kit. That latter will show where Dragon was going in the past as the entire gun interior details are provided. Cheers, Jan
MAY 19, 2013 - 06:30 PM
Thanks Jan! I will have a look into soe of the othere. Looking forward to your review as well! I looked over the VK.45.02[P]V and Pretty much the same as with the H I would suppose...molded on tools and tow cable but there is a seperate shovel! The breach is present and with the option of open hatches it can be shown off which is nice...of course I think we might have to press the eyeball directly on the turret to see in there but the option is nice! I will be updating the blog as soon as I am done with the road wheels which I started last nigght. Clear coated too, so decs will be going on then the fun can start...weathering!!
MAY 20, 2013 - 04:51 AM
I see that you worked very hard on this, and the fished product looks very good. But this kit had Too Many short comings. I can only Asume that you have not seen this review..... LINK Or this Up-Grade which would have great helped you on this build. LINK As you can see in this Up-Grade, I have opened all the hatches, corrected the "lack" of the Bow MG, as well as replacing all the solid lifting points.
MAY 21, 2013 - 09:45 AM
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