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Pz.Sfl.IVa

Trumpeter 1/35 Pz.Sfl.IVa 'Dicker Max' 10.5cm SP Gun Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review May 2007 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject Pz.Sfl.IVa 'Dicker Max' 10.5cm SP Gun Scale 1/35
Kit Number 0348 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Excellent interior and exterior detailing Cons  
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $42.95

First Look

Pz.Sfl.IVa
Pz.Sfl.IVa
Pz.Sfl.IVa
Pz.Sfl.IVa
Pz.Sfl.IVa
Pz.Sfl.IVa
Pz.Sfl.IVa
Pz.Sfl.IVa
Pz.Sfl.IVa
Pz.Sfl.IVa

In 1939, the Wehrmacht recognized the need for a dedicated 'tank plinker' to accompany the panzerwaffe on the battlefield and deal with tough subjects. Krupp was given the job to create two prototypes for a panzerjager and they married up the Pz.Kpfw.IV chassis with the new K-18 L/52 10.5cm heavy field howitzer. The combination of gun and chassis was quite potent as the Dicker Max could deal very effectively with heavy emplacements as well as 11cm tank armor at 2000 meters.

For whatever reason, the Dicker Max never entered into series production. Despite its capabilities, a variety of other tank plinkers were developed on captured Czech tank chasses and using the deadly 8.8cm gun.

The two prototypes were pressed into service with the 3rd Armored Division on the 'Russian Front'. While the two vehicles were having some good success against the T-34s, the Russians were able to mount a concentrated attack and destroyed one of the vehicles. The other vehicle was eventually withdrawn from service.

It was rather interesting to see Trumpeter release their 1/35 'Sturer Emil' kit which was a model based upon two prototype heavy tank plinkers developed by the Germans in World War II. Now Trumpeter is back with the Dicker Max, a 'smaller' tank plinker (only a 105mm main gun versus 128mm on the 'Emil'). This too was a prototype vehicle that only two examples were produced. What is even more amazing is that DML jumped into the mix and pushed their Dicker Max onto the market slightly ahead of Trumpeter. So which one is better?

First of all, you can read Cookie Sewell's take on the DML Dicker Max here.

According to the statistics, this kit consists of 631 parts presented on 18 parts trees molded in light gray styrene, and a single fret of photo-etched parts. The chasis shares many of the same parts as the recent Karl ammo transporters that were also based upon the Panzer IV chassis. I must say that this kit is impressive, but that isn't unusual for Trumpeter, is it?

From what I can gather on the two kits, each has its pros and cons. In the case of the DML kit, it includes a turned aluminum main gun barrel and Magic Track. The Trumpeter kit provides a styrene gun barrel (but an upgrade set is to be available separately with an aluminum gun and more photo-etch) and your choice of individual track links or vinyl tracks.

One area that the Trumpeter kit really shines is in the driver's compartment. This area is fully detailed with the transmission and driver's station. the down side to this is that this area of the model is all but invisible after assembly, but you could easily use these parts in your next superdetailed Panzer IV project.

While the DML kit has more photo-etch details, it is also nearly 400 parts more complex than the Trumpeter kit. The average modeler can take their choice between these two kits - a quicker/simpler build (Trumpeter) or a more intricate build (DML). Of course the AMS modeler will likely consider acquiring BOTH models and combining the strengths of both kits.

If Trumpeter can engineer models this nice based upon a couple of prototypes, imagine what they might be doing with this Panzer IV tooling in the future!

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