Euromodel Plus

Kit Number emp-72003

1/72 Ardelt Waffentrager w/88mm Pak 43 L/71

Reviewed By Jim Pearsall, #2209

MSRP: Euros 17.77  (~$24 USD) 

This 88mm gun on a tracked chassis was one of those “last ditch / ride of the Valkyries” stories.  One vehicle saw action in April of 1945, near Berlin at Brandeburg with 3rd Panzer Jaeger Abt. attached to Infantry Division "Ulrich von Hutten".  The other prototype was taken to the Soviet Union for evaluation.  It still exists in a museum in Russia.

Ardelt is still in existence as a subsidiary of Krupp.  They built locomotives and railroad cars, both freight and passenger.

So this model almost qualifies for the “Wehrmacht ’46” series.  Hey, if the aircraft guys can speculate about what might have flown in the skies of Germany in 1946, what about the same idea for armor?  The only disqualification is that one Ardelt actually saw combat.

The Kit:

This kit comes in a small box, but one which will protect the contents from rough handling.  All parts are snugly held in place with a sheet of bubble wrap.  None of the parts were missing or broken when I opened the box.  There were approximately 65 resin parts, a photoetch with 3 parts and a turned brass barrel for the 88.  There was also a resin barrel which was quite adequate, but I did use the brass barrel.

I built this vehicle in 2 subassemblies.  I built the gun and then the chassis, and mated them.  I left the tracks off until last, which may have been a mistake.  It’s a method which works fine with “rubber band” tracks or “length and link” tracks, but these are cast resin, and present some challenges of their own.  More on that later.

I was impressed at how finely molded all the parts were.  The ends of the optical sight were recessed, and all parts were fairly clean.  I expect some flash and bubbles in a resin kit, but except for the tracks, this one was almost completely flash free. There were bubbles only in the chassis assembly at the very front, which were easily dealt with.

The challenges in this kit are not in the actual construction, but in the instructions, which is a single exploded drawing on a half sheet of paper.  Because of the printing method used, the lines look broken, and the location pointers are very difficult to follow.  I had a difficult time figuring out which part was which, and where that part went on the vehicle and gun.  (Hint:  When I scanned the instruction sheet for this review, it came out far more legible than the original!  I used 600 dpi color, which looks really good on an 800 X 600 screen.  Wish I knew that before I built the kit!)

The build was straightforward.  All chassis parts fit nicely, with no trimming needed, and the gun went together with a minimum of fuss, once I figured out where the parts went.  Painting was easy, overall panzer yellow with an overspray of green.  The tracks were steel, and I figured they’d never gotten a chance to rust.

There are no decals included in the kit.

My other problem was with the tracks.  As shown in the instructions, they expect the builder to just bend the resin tracks to fit around the drive sprockets and rollers.  Doesn’t happen.  I broke one.   I thought maybe I could put the track in hot water and form it.  Broke another.  I finally wound up cutting off sets of 2 links from the main pieces and individually gluing these on the sprockets and rollers.  This created the same effect as using “length and link” tracks.

Overall Assessment:

This is a craftsman’s kit.  The fine and fiddly parts are sometimes difficult to place, but overall the fit is great.  An improved instruction sheet would have saved me some grief.  The resin parts were marvelously molded, the photo etch was very good, and the brass barrel fit great.

Apparently Euromodel plus is/are model builders.  The kit reflects sensitivity to the requirements of molding a quality product, which can be built into a great representation of the original.  If they improve the print quality of their instructions, their future releases will be outstanding.

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