Review: Trumpeter 1/72 Pz.Sfl. IVa Dicker Max

The Dicker Max, or to use it full name: Panzer Selbstfahrtlafette IVa ‘Dicker Max’ is a product of the ‘lets slap a the biggest gun available on a proven chassis’ train of thought that seemed to have hit the Germans. Based on a lengthened Pz.Kpfw. IV chassis the Dicker Max had Krupp’s 105mm K 18 L/52 gun mounted in an open-topped casemate. Originally intended as a tank destroyer and for use against the Maginot Line the two prototypes were produced late 1940 and early 1941. The Dicker Max saw service on the Eastern Front and because of it’s 105 mm gun it was very effective against the T-34 and the KV series of tanks.

The kit

Let’s start off with the box. The box features an example of the kit the way it will look out of the box. But instead of the clear photography you would expect Trumpeter used a shadowy picture, much like car companies like to use to present new models. And this is for a reason: what you can’t see is a small problem that’s obvious to anyone who has done at least some research on this vehicle: this example doesn’t have the compartment for the radioman. You can see the drivers compartment, but on the other side of the gun mount there should be a similar looking compartment for the radioman. It’s not a real dealbreaker for me, but people who care about such things might want to get the styrene sheet out to fix this. But it’s weird that this compartment is visible on drawings in the instruction sheet.

With the ‘mystery’ of the missing compartment out of the way, lets continue with the review. Apart from the slightly strange box-art we find a box full of sprues. All sprues are bagged separately and a few even have foam wrapped around some really delicate parts. Two parts are even wrapped in bubblewrap but  more on that later. The instructions are nicely printed and offer a step-by-step guide with exploded views. It’s not my favorite style, but they are clear enough and easy to follow.

Then, carefully unpacking the parts we find really intricate details for a plastic kit. One thing that struck me immediately was the tow cable molded on the casemate. Personally I would try to remove this because it doesn’t look good. But the rest of the casemate is wonderfully detailed. The A sprue carries most, if not all, of the gun related plastic and it’s full nicely molded parts. And the same goes for every other part. There is no flash visible on any of the parts and there are no obvious fitting issues that I could see.

But what about these bubble wrapped parts? You may have noticed I didn’t talk about the running gear or the tracks. That’s because the entire assembly is contained in these bubble wrapped parts. The bubble wrap is really needed in this case, as the entire running gear and tracks are molded as one piece. And I must say: this looks beautiful. You only have to glue in a few roadwheels to complete it and then mount it on the model. Nice!

Decals and color schemes

In terms of color schemes and decals there are a lot of options, as long as you choose German Grey and the Panzer Jäger Abteilung 521. The decal sheet is the size of a small post stamp, and one third of that is taken up by the name and number of the kit. Just two Balkenkreuzen and two unit emblems are available. Since there were just a handful of Dicker Max’ this isn’t a big problem.

Conclusion

This kit suffers from a few problems, but it’s really well molded and has lots of detail. If you like German tank destroyers this is a kit for you. For others the looks may be a little too weird, but the nice detailing out of the box makes for a interesting kit.

Score

8.5/10

Info

Vehicle: Pz.Sfl. IVa Dicker Max
Manufacturer: Trumpeter
Scale: 1/72
Kit#: 03183
Number of parts: 104
Length: 106 mm
Width: 40 mm
Price: €16,50
Released: 2013

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