• Brummbaer
The Brummbär has always been one of my favourite AFV’s of WWII. With its stout, blocky, aggressive appearance, it has always reminded me of an imposing bulldog, an impression reinforced by the knowledge that it was designed with the idea of taking down entire city blocks after the debacle of Stalingrad.

The earliest Dragon kit, # 6062 was notorious for some of its glaring errors: the backwards engine hatch hinges, the driver’s housing protruding over the front left brake inspection hatch, the too-short front hull plate, the incorrect schuerzen, to name a few. Some of these were corrected when DML re-released the kit a few years later as # 6026, the kit that I had. The latest offering of this kit is Shanghai Dragon’s #6081, which made even more subtle corrections. Both Dragon’s later #6026 and S.D.’s #6081 can still be found fairly easily today. In fact, I ordered a S.D. #6081 for the sake of comparison and as an aid in correcting my “mid” production run of the kit.

I should credit an indispensable article, which I used for reference in the building of this kit: “Detailing Dragon’s Brummbär” by Tom Cockle, which was published in the May 1997 issue of Finescale Modeler. This article thoroughly calls out the problems with the first Dragon kit 6062, and is highly recommended for its thoroughness.

Three become one
When I received the Shanghai Dragon kit, I started comparing parts between all 3 kits, the first one being called out in the FSM article. I found, much to my relief, that the engine hatch problem and the hull overlap had been corrected. The rear fenders—too short in the DML kit—had been corrected in the SD kit so I first set about constructing new rear fenders from .040 plastic card. I also thinned the rest of the fenders and removed the molded-on sides, later to be added with strip.

I then set about correcting the too-short front hull, which allows the bottom edges of the final drive housings to project beyond the bottom of the hull. To do this, I added a large piece of .040 plastic card to the front, and then also extended the front hull sides to properly protrude beyond the correction. I added the Cavalier zimmerit to the upper hull, and also added it to the lower hull using Squadron’s White Putty and the ol’ razor saw blade, as this is absent from both Cavalier and ATAK zimmerit kits. Another omission in all three kits, the lack of a fourth return roller, I corrected with a spare from a Jgdpz IV kit. I carefully “eyeballed” the locations from reference photos and glued them on, attaching only the inside return roller—anyone who has seen my “Indy Link Tracks” here a few months back will know that this is a vital aspect of my method for attaching my tracks.

Construction continued with the front/side fenders being thinned on the upper hull before being attached, and then the new rear fenders as well as the fender sides being added with .040x.010 strip, in two segmented sections, as is correct per reference photos. I was still unhappy with the placement of the two scribed-in transmission access hatches in the front hull; they seemed too long, so I scribed them in at about 2mm shorter. I filled the previous outlines with Squadron Green Putty. While I was on the front of the model, I added a wire to the light fixture, added the spare track and PE holders, a block of real balsa wood for the jack block, and the rest of the various small details. I also zimmeritted the gun mantlet collar with Squadron putty and a saw blade; I removed the six bolts on the face for ease of application, marking their positions with pencil so I could simply stick them back into the putty which effectively glued them in place.

On the rear, I added an early muffler, as I wanted to use the cool Aber PE muffler guard, so I stole one from the parts box—this was later replaced with one stolen from an Italeri Pzjg IV kit, which included both early and late mufflers as options. I then set about putting together all the various Eduard PE details on the upper hull.

A real problem on all three Brummbär kits is the total lack of detail on the inside of the commander’s hatch. To detail it, I used first added the metal parts that DML provided, and then traced an additional anti-aircraft gun mounting ring from the Aber set (I wanted to save most of the Aber parts for the Shanghai Dragon kit which I intend to build sans zimmerit). I cut out this ring from a card of .010 plastic, and by wrapping a piece of fine sandpaper around the shaft an Exacto knife, I was able to get a reasonably good even-diameter piece that fit perfectly as it should have. Additional detailing was carried out on the inside of the hatch, by referring to the Aber PE directions, and forming most of the details out of plastic strip and brass wire. I also then fashioned the actual anti-aircraft gun mount later on, and stuck that to the side of the ring.

I fashioned some extra-realistic springs for the fenders out of 34-gauge stainless steel wire, wrapping around the stiff core of a guitar string, and cutting them to length. The rest of the PE details were finished up around the hull—PE tread plate and flaps on the rear fenders, small chain fittings, etc. I also chose an early style rear travelling light to go with the earlier muffler. Taking a deep breath, I then started on the side skirt rails—my least favourite part of any Pz IV-based vehicle; I can never seem to get all the attachment points for the rails and their respective mounts to line up! Luckily, they went together easily, and I added some damage to the left side, chipping the zimmerit as well to reflect that.

Finally, the stowage box on the rear was added and mounts on the rear of it fashioned from 010 X 040 strip. The figure in the photos was eventually replaced, as it was an SS soldier, and I am unsure if Brummbärs were ever issued to SS units. The model was then carefully washed to prepare for painting.
  • 3_thinned_fenders_front
  • 3_thinned_fenders_comparison
  • 5_rear_hull
  • 5_front_transmission_hatches_rescribed
  • 4_segmented_fender_sides_front_hull_extended
  • 4_segmented_fender_sides_front_hull_extended_2
  • 8_rear_details
  • 7_scribing_hatch_AA_ring
  • 7_hatch_AA_ring
  • 6_front_PE_details_added
  • 10_skirts_right
  • 10_skirts_left

About the Author

About karl logan (thedoog)

I am a professional musician, and have been a featured author in Finescale Modeler magazine, in Jan 08, Nov 08, Dec 08, and Jan 09. I am also featured in a special issue called "Essential Techniques for the Model Builder". I have won several IPMS "Best of Show" awards, and "Best of the Master Mod...


Glad you all are enjoying the feature! Thanks for all your comments and compliments! I do appreciate you taking the time to leave them!
APR 20, 2008 - 05:26 PM
Although I don't build Germen armour, I do have to say you've done an excellent job on the kit and the article. Thanks for taking the time to write it and sharing it with everyone.
APR 20, 2008 - 05:32 PM
Excellent job, Karl. The finishing of the tracks is especially interesting. Thanks for your time and effort making the article.
APR 22, 2008 - 11:40 PM
Thanks, Dave! You too Jesper!!
APR 26, 2008 - 09:30 AM
Doog great job as always.I am going to practice the oil dot method on an old panther I have will let you know how it comes out, good or bad.
APR 26, 2008 - 09:36 AM
Looking forward to those results, Steve!
APR 26, 2008 - 09:37 AM
Karl, A first rate piece of ART!!! You've captured the look and ruggedness of that beast of a tank. My favorite tank happens to be the Strumtiger and as Steve mentions, "and since that beast isn't entirely dissimilar to your Grizzly", I just had to go out and add one to my stash. Excellent article with plenty of great photos. This is exactly why I come here to ARMORAMA. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your build with all of us out here on the net. I will be trying some of your techniques on my builds. I especially like your use of figures on your builds. This adds life and scale to your subject vehicle making it all the more interesting. TOTOALLY INSPIRATIONAL. . . Keep up the excellent work! -Eddy
APR 27, 2008 - 11:43 AM
Karl, Awsome job, it is always great to read how you guys pull off those great builds. I am slowly trying to intigrate your techniques to my projects. Thanks for shareing with the rest of us.
APR 27, 2008 - 10:16 PM
Thanks Andrew and Eddy! As long as people appreciate them and I can continue to share this great hobby with you all, I'll continue writing these features! Thanks for the kind comments!
APR 28, 2008 - 08:09 AM
Doog, Finally had some time to catch up on reading and posts. Love the article and I really liked the detail in it. Thanks!
MAY 14, 2008 - 06:40 AM