1/35 Nashorn 8.8cm Pak43/1 auf Geshtzwagen III/IV (Sd.Kfz.164). Tamiya kit.

In action somewhere on the eastern front during the winter of 1944.

This was a great kit by Tamiya and one I had my eye on ever since it was released a few years back. It has lots of possibilities for a diorama and I chose a winter scene to match the winter white camouflage depicted on the box art.

Starting work on the hull which had lots of fine rivet detail.

The Nashorn (‘Rhinoceros’) is equipped with 8.8cm Pak 43, a gun based on the successful anti-aircraft weapon and an awesome weapon it is too! For the chassis, it was decided to use the Panzer III/IV as time was short and a vehicle was needed urgently to counter the overpowering Soviet T-34 tank.

In October 1942, Hitler ordered the production of 100 examples by May 1943, in time to join the summer offensive at Kursk. In total, 439 Nashorns were built, ending in March 1945.

I painted the wheels and bottom of the hull before proceeding with the tracks. I left off the drive sprocket until attaching the tracks, which came as lengths of single piece rubber.
The gun mechanism was quite complicated with lots of fine details. I managed to break one half of a traversing wheel shown here by the gunner’s seat but was able to repair it with a scratch build!
I quickly airbrushed the usual deep yellow/red-brown/green camouflage knowing that most would be hidden by the winter whitewash. The unpainted tracks are visible behind the model.
The Nashorn had a five man crew. The driver would have sat in front of the gun compartment. The figures really make the model come alive and are wonderfully animated. The winter white battle fatigues were reversible with a standard coloured pattern on the inside. The gunner is looking through his gun sight while the commander observes with binoculars. Note the periscope behind the gunner. I painted the shells with a mixture of gold and brass. The discarded spent shells needed the tops hollowing out but easy enough with a pin vise.
Weathering the model was a lot of fun using various powders, pigments, washes and even oils. The external figures and dog came from the Tamiya briefing set. The German shepherd is a nice touch. Dogs were used for scouting and warning of the enemy at the front, just as they are today in the Ukraine conflict in the Donbass! Note the slight sag on the tracks to make them look more realistic. Achieved with a touch of the indispensable superglue!
Note the soldier carrying a Panzerfaust, a type of early RPG, which dates the scene late in the war.
Mmm Meine Uhr funktioniert nicht mehr-billiger Sowjetschrott! ‘Mty watch has stopped-cheap Soviet rubbish’!
‘Those fascists are in for a shock!’ A Soviet soldier is creeping up to lob a grenade. Actually he is a Soviet mountain soldier from the Zvezda set but the only one I could find in a suitable pose!
Beautiful box art. As with most Tamiya kits, you get a beautifully engineered, flaw free fitting, quality plastic model.

According to Tamiya:

‘The Nashorn quickly proved its value in live combat, causing havoc among Russian tanks in its maiden deployment, as part of the 560th which provided cover for the flanks of the 4th Panzer Army in the 1943 German assault on Kursk. It is also said that in action with the 525th in the Battle of Monte Cassino, January 1944, a Nashorn destroyed an M4 Sherman from a range of 2,800 metres’ (!).

From December 1943 to March 1944, Commander of the 1st Platoon of the 1st Company, Lt. Albert Ernst, destroyed some 65 enemy tanks in the Vitebesk area of Belarus for which he was awarded the Knight’s Cross.

Overall, the Nashorn was a very effective weapon and if it had been introduced into mass production earlier in the war it might have had a decisive effect.