At the beginning of the Second World War in Europe, the German army draws the first lessons of battle it had delivered in France and Poland. Conscious of its weakness in the field of armored vehicles, Germany wanted to have a heavy tank, called “tank hunter”. After the work done by German armament engineers, the 184 SdkfZ prototype was built in 1942. In July of that year, production began, and this huge tank was nicknamed “Ferdinand” (in memory of Dr Ferdinand Porsche), and also “Elephant” in connection with its imposing mass. Built in haste in anticipation of the German offensive into the Soviet Union, the first models faced many technical problems that engineers were unable to resolve. However, the “Ferdinand” (or “Elephant”) tank was sent on the eastern front and it was particularly effective against Soviet tanks. Despite these successes, it was at this time a defensive weapon and many Soviet soldiers managed to destroy some SdkfZ 184 tanks, especially during the Battle of Kursk, where the “Elephant” were engaged for the first time. In September 1943 all surviving Ferdinands were recalled to be modified based on battle experience gained in the Battle of Kursk. During October and November 1943 48 of the 50 surviving vehicles were modified by addition of a ball-mounted MG 34 in the hull front (to improve anti-infantry ability), a commander’s cupola (modified from the standard StuG III cupola) for improved vision and the application of Zimmerit paste. This and other minor armor changes increased the weight from 65 to 70 t. These improved vehicles were then unofficially called Elefant, and this became the official name by Hitler’s orders of May 1, 1944.

As for this Dragon kit,( kit 6126). In typical Dragon fashion the Elefant has plenty of parts and has been designed to share many parts with the Ferdinard. Parts are molded in light gray and have crisp detail and I found construction to be straightforward with the parts mating together nicely. Key features of the kit are are a one piece lower hull with large separate parts for the upper hull and fighting compartment. These major parts fitted together well and did not have any warpage. The upper hull has been designed to allow for either the Elefant or Ferdinard’s engine vents to be fitted. There is fine detailing with crisp molded tools, hatches, periscopes and other small detail. In typical DML fashion, many of these fittings are often made up from multiple parts,as mentioned above.While there will be those who complained about the now standard DML single link tracks, these are actually quite spectacular. DML found a new method of molding the links so that they are formed without injection pin markings on the links themselves. They will necessitate careful removal from the sprues, however, as they are rather firmly connected (the injection pins are on the sprue next to the links, which is how they neatly got around that problem.) With its crisp detail, positive fit and general high level of accuracy, it is hardly surprising that Dragon’s Elefant has proven to be a popular kit. Overall the Dragon Elefant is  one of the more enjoyable kits that I’ve built. Definitely recommended.I used Cavalier Zimmerit,used Testors Model Master enamel paints ,Winsor and Newton oils,and pastel chalks and Hudson and Allen,for the light dust effect.

 

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