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DML 1/35 Sd.Kfz.165 Geschuetzwagen III/IV fuer Munition - Smart Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review December 2008 Manufacturer DML
Subject Sd.Kfz.165 Geschuetzwagen III/IV fuer Munition - Smart Kit Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6151 Primary Media 1,009 parts (629 in grey styrene, 288 “Magic Track” links, 78 etched brass, 11 clear styrene, 1 prebent steel wire, 1 twisted steel wire, 1 vinyl tube)
Pros Many new molds in this kit, changes are obvious from past kits Cons Massive number of parts to this kit, very small parts may be fiddly
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $47

First Look

Every artillery piece needs ammunition, and the 666 Sd.Kfz.165 “Hummel” SP 15 cm howitzers were backed up by 147 Gw III/IV ammunition carriers on the same chassis to bring up extra ammunition.

DML’s boutique affiliate has latched on to their very nice new late-production Hummel kit (No. 6321) and with a very few modifications turned it into either the base chassis or the ammunition carrier variant of the vehicle. As with the base kit they have used the proven parts from its Pzkw. IV series of “Smart Kits” with a number of new cut molds to get the best looking Gw III/IV chassis so far.

This repeats the use of a new hull base with sponson floors in place and a new upper hull, with a nicely done set of positionable hatches and viewers. As with all Smart Kits most of the detail parts are provided from styrene with optional replacements in brass.

The suspension is straight from the Panzer IV “Smart Kits” and as such is easier to assemble than the earlier Panzer IV kits. The “Magic Tracks” are still with us, and the only thing to recall is left bag - left track, right bag - right track as you look at the header card. DML calls them “dark grey right - light grey left” but too often the colors are not well differentiated.

The upper hull is completely new. The much maligned louvers of the early kits are now “slide molded” from styrene and separate parts (D29). The walls are also about half the thickness of normal parts (0.050" or 1.25mm seems to have been the default in the past; these are about 0.020" or 0.5mm with thinned edges) and look more like sheet steel parts than plastic. But etched brass components are provided for the thin armored shield used to cover the opening for the 15 cm howitzer on the SP version.

This kit is the first one to spend more than two or three parts on the ammo lockers, and now provides a good selection of options. 14 rounds of 15 cm are included as well as the propellant charges and other accessories. The projectiles also include the upper parts of the racks to hold them in place as separate parts, which is a very nice touch and permits the modeler to select precisely how much ammo he wants to have been “fired” by the gun. Decals are also provided for detailing the rounds before installing them in the racks. But as this is the ammo carrier vehicle – and one which should carry more than the base vehicle – it only comes with the same fittings as the original kit, which strikes me as wrong. I unfortunately cannot find out how many rounds the ammo carrier could transport, but I suspect it should be more than the 18 of the basic SP howitzer. cops out by providing a canvas tarp (from DS plastic) to cover the open fighting compartment.

Generic detail sets from DML abound and permit the modeler to add individual kit, weapons or the MG34 machine gun as he chooses.

Project supervisor was Hirohisa Takada, with technical support from Minoru Igarashi, H3 Design Office, and Dragon engineering; technical assistance provided by Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.

Decals and finishing directions are included for two vehicles: Unidentified unit, Germany 1945 (three color patch scheme with black crosses), and a test run of the chassis by Deutsche Eisenwerke Werk Stahlindustrie, Mulheim-Ruhr 1944 (overall sand with black crosses). A targeted sheet of Cartograf decals is included.

Overall while the new Hummel kit is the best so far this one seems to be missing some of its ammunition stowage. As such it may be a bit of a disappointment.

Thanks to DML for the review sample.

Sprue Layout:

  • A 37x2 Pz.Kpfw.IV Smart Kit - drivers, idlers and return rollers
  • A 81x2 Pz. Kpfw.IV Smart Kit - road wheels and bogies
  • B 9 Hummel upper sides and shield assemblies
  • D 74x2 Hummel ammo ands stowage, vents
  • F 38 Hummel upper hull components, ammo racks
  • G 10 German generic jack
  • K 29 German generic tools and accessories
  • K 11 Clear styrene
  • 10 Nashorn/Hummel - exhausts, spare wheel carriers
  • N 32 Hummel - interior components, travel lock
  • R 144 “Magic Track” right side links
  • S 144 “Magic Track” left side links
  • X 1 Nashorn/Hummel lower hull
  • Y 1 DS plastic tarp
  • Z 1 Twisted steel wire
  • Z 1 Vinyl hose
  • MA 67 Etched brass
  • MB 3 Etched brass
  • MC 2 Etched brass
  • MD 6 Etched brass
  • ME 1 Prebent steel wire
  • GA 64 German generic kit – helmets, canteens, gas masks, etc
  • WA 18 German generic weapons - 2 x Kar 98K
  • WC 29 German generic machine guns - MG34 and ammo