by: Ted Hayward [ ]
AFV Clubís new Nashorn represents a giant leap forward in moulding technology. The first thing noticed when opening the box is the welcome departure from the usual green-colored styrene. The new tan color, similar to Tamiya styrene, is very appropriate for a German vehicle.
The scale-thickness of the fighting compartment walls and cooling louvres, once only possible in PE metal, are now moulded ultra-thin. This heralds a new benchmark, by which future kits will be measured. Other nice features include separate roadwheel tires (moulded with raised lettering), for easy painting. The moving suspension thankfully contains no springs. It can be posed for use in a diorama setting with uneven ground.
Included are realistic rubber boots for the gun equilibrators, separate cooling fans behind the intricately-moulded louvres, positional release locking mechanism and tiny springs for the travel lock. I thought the inclusion of PE metal frames for the radio racks, much more robust and easily-constructed than the plastic ones from the 251/C kit, are a particularly nice touch. I was also impressed that the fine anti-slip texture of the front fenders is replicated on the bottom side! A plentiful supply of 88mm ammunition, empty shell cases (but not hollow), and wood ammo boxes add value.
All optics equipment Ėan entire sprue in itself, is moulded in clear. This release includes a few separate (workable) spare track links, without hollow guide horns. The jewel of this release would have to be the superbly-moulded ammunition storage locker -an issue in the earlier Dragon Nashorn kits.
Nicely-printed decals are included, to depict five different vehicles.
Very little flash will need to be cleaned-up, while no ejector-pin marks are visible anywhere. The fit is comparable to any modern Tamiya kit, and construction is painless. The only thing lacking is interior details for the driverís compartment, though a seat is in the extra sprues included from a previous 251 half-track release. The flexible vinyl tracks are well-detailed. Though meant to be cemented with regular adhesive, I opted for CA "instant" glue, for extra strength.
I am of the opinion that instructions in recent AFV Club kits have improved -I had no issues with construction.
Every photo I've seen of the real Nashorn (displayed at the Aberdeen Museum) is replicated in this kit. Though there is little difference between this and Dragon's latest Nashorn, AFV Club's is less money. A limited number of kits will also include a poster of the box art. At a price thatís approximately 50 percent cheaper than Dragonís latest Nashorn, AFV Clubís strategy of offering highly-detailed kits at an affordable price seems to be an appropriate answer to todayís economy. If you haven't built a kit from AFV Club during the last couple of years, you're in for a surprise!
Special thanks to Robert Kuo for providing images of the built model (photos, RIGHT).