Dragon Nashorn in 1:35 (#6386), with Diorama
This kit #6386 by Dragon is fairly recent, dating back to 2010 and represents the Sd.Kfz.164 Nashorn in a 3 in 1 kit edition. I opted for the initial version delivered to the heavy tank destroyer unit 655 at Kursk, Russia in 1943. Only a limited number of these vehicles were delivered in time for the “Zitadelle” operation and few actually saw combat in the Orel region. After the operation to encircle large concentrations of the Red Army was abandoned, the Wehrmacht finally lost the initiative on the Eastern front and these tank destroyers increasingly became “fire fighters” to counter Russian armor wherever it appeared. With the introduction of the Nashorn, the renowned Pak 43 antitank gun, caliber 71 on 88mm became mobile on the extended Pz III-IV chassis perfectly fitting the mid and late war German doctrine of anti-tank mobility.
Although this kit very attractive because of its high level of detail, photo etch, metal parts, an aluminium turned barrel in three different versions, it is not one for beginners. The main drawback is the crowded and sometimes incorrect instruction sheet which may lure even the experienced modeler into a dead-end at times.
As the kit has all elements to end up with a detailed model, the build was pretty much OOB. I only added some detailing features like figures (Dragon #6367), a scratchbuilt radio FuG/Spr and the like. While building this kit, you really need to get the parts bookkeeping right, otherwise you easily get lost. I use two different colors of marker to get the job done one for installed parts and one for parts to be added later. This is one of the longest builds I’ve ever done in armor, spanning almost one year (with interruptions and side-projects) and many hours also because the open fighting compartment adds to the complexity of the build.
I started primering the model in a red-brown oxide flat finish. I then applied three generous layers of hairspray and colored the vehicle dark-yellow. Some grid-like camo scheme was then added in green with my Harder & Steenbeck airbrush. I am quite happy with the end result! Although this scheme was not in the DML instructions, I imagine it to be simple enough for some crew to have chosen it for their Nashorn in the Summer of 1943 😛
I first dissolved the hairspray locally to get the red-brown patched allover the vehicle. As a next step, I applied two protective layers of dull cote. I opted for a burnt umber filter first before the post weathering started to embed the model best with its surrounding diorama.
I decided to place the model in a late Summer 1943 setting, after the Kursk operation had ended. I though about how I could best model a wheat field in Southern Russia. I found out that plumbers’ chord and fine (home made) sawdust did the job perfectly. To add some drama to the diorama, I cannibalized an old KV-1 kit (Tamiya) to add a turret that was blown free from the hull after a direct hit from the 88mm gun!
Here are some pictures for you to enjoy this project, comments welcome! I spent about 65 hours on this one including researching and building the diorama. I am quite pleased with the result. What do you think of it?
13 additional images. Click to enlarge.