I love these crazy German Tank Destroyers that were too heavy, too cumbersome, unreliable and resource-intensive to build. So when this beauty showed up at my local shop I knew I had to pick it up. Ferdinands/Elefants are quite rare in my neck of the woods.
Inside the nice satin covered box with some nice artwork of an Elefant with Zimmerit applied to its hull and a tank commander we find a set of sprues: sand colored and metallic-ish grey plastic that contain the track links. On first inspection a lot of parts seem OK, but with one exception: the barrel of the mighty 88 mm gun is not exactly round and features heavy seam lines, flash and even ejector pinmarks. But the gun of a Tank Destroyer isn’t its most important feature, or is it?
Oh wait.. It is! So it’s a shame that Italeri didn’t spend some more time on that gun barrel. And it really is a shame, because most other parts looks fairly decent. The hull lacks the zimmerit depicted in the box artwork however, which was my first major letdown. But at least you get the chance to experiment with zimmerit application. The casemate features some OK detailing, but the real vehicle was just a rectangular steel box on tracks, so not a whole lot of details could be added to the casemate anyway. The hull looks a bit more detailed with exhausts, the engine deck and driver compartment. And of course the running gear. The sprocket wheels are a bit of a mess, but otherwise most parts are again OK with decent details. There is even a tank commander (which I’m assuming is named Flash Gordon), a set of 88 mm shells and even some interior detail for the front compartment where the driver and radioman/MG gunner sit.
But another big issue with this kit are the tracks. They come in the standard link-and-length variety that I dislike more than a (good) set of rubber tracks and they lack detail. They look like a product from the seventies but with updated moulds. They are also cast in a silvery plastic that looks a bit weird.
The kit includes a decal sheet the size of two postage stamps, with the largest decal being a Italeri logo that isn’t used at all. What is used are some numbers, a few Balkenkreuzen and that’s it. They are nicely printed by Cartograf. The real vehicle didn’t have a whole lot of markings either, so this is OK by me. I just wish they would use some different numbers, because 223 for example seems to be a really popular number at Italeri. If I used that number on all my Italeri kits I would have four vehicles with that same number. Sure, it’s a unit tactical number and weren’t unique, but some variety would be nice.
This kit has some issues, but I think it’s a great kit to experiment with. You can try to apply Zimmerit like the artwork, or do some experiments with camouflage painting. But if you’re looking for a weekend build I would look elsewhere, there are just too many issues with this kit. Not that it’s a terrible kit, but it isn’t up to modern standards.
Vehicle: Sd. Kfz. 184 Panzerjäger Elefant