Sd.Kfz.184 Ferdinand

Kit #: 07205 Review by - Al Magnus

The kit comes spread over 6 sprues, one photo-etched fret and a separate hull and casemate pieces, totaling 254 plastic parts and 9 photo-etched parts overall.

The decal sheet offers only one marking option which isn't identified. From what I can gather the markings are for Ferdinand number 211 of the Schwere Panzerjäger Abteilung 653, circa the Kursk battle in 1943. The decal option doesn't match the artwork on the box top.

I figure the best way to describe the construction is to present my observations and changes in relation to the steps in the instruction sheet.

Step 3:
The bogie units for locations on hull are reversed in the instructions. Sub-assemblies A should be mounted in the B axles, and sub-assemblies B should be mounted on the A axle locations.

Step 4 (which is shown as a duplicate Step 2 on the instructions):
Tracks are link and length variety, with each piece having a female and a male fitting. The female to male joins fit reasonably well together though there are a few where the join makes a piece of the track stand a bit proud. Also watch out for the male/female join on the long track length part A4. The male end doesn't fit well because the female end lacks the notches to accept the male inserts. A major error is in the track assembly diagram, which does not instruct the modeller to make enough track length to go completely around the wheels. I needed to add 3 x A5, 1 x A1 and 1 x A2. There is enough track pieces available on the sprues to do this, it's just not shown on the diagram that they are needed.

The tracks were built in three runs to lessen the work when the painting the tracks and to make installation following painting easier. Though this did make painting much simpler I discovered that adding the parts afterward made alignment somewhat difficult and I wound up with a vehicle that has a bit of a 'knocked knee' look to the tracks when viewed directly from the front or rear. I think the problem arose with the mounting of the run that I had built around the drive sprockets and idlers. When I added my super glue to the axles and pushed the idlers and sprockets onto the axles they wound up too close to the hull in relation to the bogies resulting in a minute jog in the tracks. The road wheels fit poorly to the axle stubs. Most of the holes on the reverse side of the wheels are too big for the axles, so some care is needed to ensure they are glued on straight.

Step 5 (which is shown as a duplicate step 3 on the instructions):
I drilled out the holes in the hitch (part C7).

Step 7:
I replaced the molded on screen on part C42 with wire mesh. I also replaced the photo-etched splash guards (part PE1) with plastic strip as I found the kit parts too thick to bend.

Step 8:
The two small handles for the front fenders (part B1) are too short to fit in the opening provided so I replaced them with some plastic rod.

Step 10:
I drilled out the holes in the handles located on the engine cover (part D12). I wanted to replace the molded on handles with wire substitutes but there just wasn't enough room to accomplish this.

Step 11 & 16:
The instructions didn't offer the option of mounting the gun without the travel brace. I changed this because I wanted the gun in the fighting position sans brace.

Step 16:
The mating surfaces on the hull and the casemate need sanding to get a nice flush fit, otherwise there is a gap to be dealt with afterward.

Step 17:
The interface between the hull and the casemate stands a bit proud, which creates a gap when the covers (parts C38 & C39) are added. I had to bend these slightly to remove the gap.

Thread is provided for the tow cable but I found it to be too wispy to use and replaced it with some strands of thin wire twisted together. The cable is not even shown in the parts diagram on the instruction sheet nor is there any instructions as to how and where to place it on the model. I made some covers for the cable ends from some plastic rod, drilled holes in each end, and glued the cable and hooks into the holes. I wanted to route the cable as seen in most Ferdinand photographs but I inadvertently made my cable a tad too short so I improvised and routed it from side to side around the rear of the vehicle.

I drilled holes for the antenna mounts and use some guitar wire for the aerials. The instructions say to use heat stretched sprue but I like the look of guitar wire better. The instructions also provide no information on how long the antennae should be so I guessed the length from photos found on the world wide web.

The carpet void claimed a few pieces on this kit, which was unusual for me. I lost the door handle (part C32) so I made a replacement from some thin copper wire. I also lost one of the headlight covers (part D5) which forced me to replace them both with a pair found in the spares box.

To make painting easier I left the door off and used the hole to insert a handle. Decals were excellent. They snuggled down tight after some dosing with Microsol solvent.

All in all this is a nice kit, but the building proved that the great looking moldings in the box had a few issues with fit that make this kit more of a challenge than it first appears to be.

Review sample purchased by the author.

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Article Last Updated: 13 June 2009

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