DML 1/35 10.5 cm 'Dicker Max' SP Gun Kit First Look
Images by Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||April 2007||Manufacturer||DML|
|Subject||10.5 cm 'Dicker Max' SP Gun||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||6357||Primary Media||1,015 parts (654 in grey stryene, 288 "Magic Track" links, 67 etched brass, 4 clear styrene, 1 turned aluminum gun barrel, 1 length of twisted steel wire)|
|Pros||First kit of this vehicle on the market; fighting compartment interior complete||Cons||"One-off" vehicle with few options|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$44.98|
I have to admit that I come from a long line of merchants who were successful at selling goods to the public (my grandfather sold Al Capone his trademark white hat back in the 1920s as a case in point) and the rule of thumb for success was either find a niche nobody else can fill or be better at competing with them in general goods. I am thus always a bit disappointed when one model company announces that it is going to sink its resources into a very low production rate or prototype vehicle and the next thing we see on the market are competing products.
DML is now first to the market with its kit of the 10.5 cm K18 auf Panzer Selbsfahrlafette IVa, better known as "Dicker Max" (Fat Max). Originally conceived as a bunker buster able to close to point-blank range and dispatch it with a 10.5 cm round, two were built for testing in 1941 and used in Russia. The chassis chosen was that of a Pzkw. IV Ausf. D, but the "a" indicated a change from rear- engine to mid-engine location. Testing went well and the guns found themselves very effect against tanks as well as bunkers with the high-power 105mm gun, but one was knocked out and the other withdrawn. The 10.5 cm K18 gun did not go into production as by that time the Germans were pursuing other weapons, and the 10.5 cm leFH 18 was considered better at basic artillery missions and newer weapons in the 8.8 cm range more useful and lighter in tanks. The remaining gun apparently did not survive the war.
Accompanied by an eight page "brag book" on the features of this model, DML cites the fact that researcher Thomas Anderson actually did find the original plans for the weapons and used those to assist DML in making the kit. The kit itself borrows heavily from the DML Pzkw. IV Ausf.B to E kits released over the last two years, and as such has most of the parts fine-tuned and many of the early problem areas corrected or replaced.
The kit comes with the basic lower hull and tracks of the Ausf.D version of the kit, with carded "Magic Tracks", separate tires, one-piece idlers, and all of the B/C/D/E kits. I am not sure about the arguments over the location of the drive wheels or not, but the chassis appears to be the most recent one.
The actual "Dicker Max" elements amount to some 239 parts and provide for a new bow section, casemate and interior, gun assembly, and all of the specific "Dicker Max" detailing. As it is mid-engined there are tall air intakes on either side of the gun assembly, as well as venting and channels around the fighting compartment.
The gun itself, based on photos, comes with two different "slide molded" muzzle brakes, a standard German style twin-chamber type and a "tulip" shaped one. A solid styrene barrel or optional turned aluminum one come in the kit as well. Note that for some reason the aluminum barrel does not show up on the directions.
The kit does abound with nice touches. The head lights (J-2 and J-3) are clear parts with an etched brass mask over the front to replicate the vehicle's headlights. The amount of detail is amazing, and as it does not look to be trumped up or "swaged" as some have been in the past, the moldmakers do seem to have access to the blueprints.
A disclaimer comes that as the vehicles were only used as prototypes with two units – the 521st Panzerjaeger Detachment for a proposed attack on Gibraltar and later with the 3rd Panzer Division in Russia – the markings are based on surviving photographs of the two "Dicker Max" guns. Ergo, there is no good way to tell which gun is which from the markings. The only color offering is grey. At least the small decal sheet is from Cartograf.
Overall this is a lovely kit, but I still wonder at the wisdom of slugging it out with two kits of two vehicles and passing over some more deserving and underrepresented ones.
Thanks to DML for the review sample.