Sd.Kfz.164 Nashorn /AKA Hornisse/ is a German tank destroyer from the Second World War. Based on Panzer IV chassis, it is was made in approximately 500 examples. Nashorn was an open-top vehicle, with thin armor, but effectively armed to destroy enemy tanks. We won’t try to insult your intellect continuing with the very basics, because we are pretty sure that you know a lot about it, being already here. Modelers are well educated and knowledgeable people, who usually got their interest ignited while researching about those exact facts we are gonna skip here.
Modeling-wise Nashorn is an explored subject. It is not new. Just the contrary. Dragon did it quite some time ago, then we had AFV Club and Tamiya following those footsteps. Among those two, it is difficult to pick one that stands out, but if we must, we would suggest AFV Club. Explanation why, you will find later in this article. But let’s start with DML kits and explore the options that we’ve had so far, before ending up with the new, upcoming 2023 tooling from Border Model. Latter one are quite exciting news, but we will fuel the fire even more.
Dragon released two toolings of Sd.Kfz.164 Hornisse – one in 1992 and one a decade later – 2002. Newer one was re-packed couple times, but it is still a tough one to be found at a local hobby shop. The reasons are many, but most important ones are that it is a very good kit, definitely surpassing the ’92 tooling and as you know – DML are sometimes either too abundant or on the other end – quite rare. Here we have the second option. Nevertheless, if you can snatch one from anywhere – it is worth it. Not too complex, nor too simple. Abundant in detail, crisp and with some finishing touches – almost perfect! The good ‘ol Dragon armor kit.
Then we have Tamiya. Released in 2014, it is 4 years younger than AFV Club. It is the typical Tamiya tooling, easy going, pleasant to get through and good for any level of modeling experience. It is nearly perfect for youngsters as well as for masters who would want to spice it up with some aftermarket goodies. Adding those is mandatory though, if you would want to reach the level of Dragon kits. Tamiya are great, but are sometimes referred as over-simplified at some areas. Especially track-wise. With that said though, aftermarket companies offer superb photo-etch detail sets, including gun barrels, the complete side walls and of course – tracks, weapons, stowage and what not. You are all set if you want to go the Samurai way.
Then comes the one we quoted above as “The One That Stands Out”: the AFV Club Nashorn. This is a kit that too, cannot be built without an aftermarket if you want to turn it into real DML competitor. The reason for that are the tracks. Here, we have vinyl one-piece track lengths per side, which – for the experienced armor modeler is like a walk on Elm Street at midnight for a 12 year old girl. Once you substitute that though, things are gettin’ pretty serious with AFV release. Their Sd.Kfz.164 is abundant in details /at areas way too much actually/, making it a tough cookie for the inexperienced builder. That combination gives birth to a strange animal. At one end, you are looking at a superb miniature, with excellent details and way-above average results for a 2010 tooling. At the other – a kit that has tricky engineering and a very weak point – being the vinyl tracks, usually ruing it for the whole set. Because we all know that the weakest link in the system is defining of its quality. But let’s not judge it harshly – it is fixable. And there are quite some track offerings lately.
Then… Border Model enters 2023 with a bang. Not only they are promising 1/35 Fw-190, but on the armor arena, they are about to give us 2 in 1 Jagdpanzer IV L/70 (A) and – luckilly a new Nashorn tooling, challenging the competition. Why would that be so exciting you might wonder? Well, AFV Club is a demanding kit. Missing tracks and complicated, sometimes exhausting build. Tamiya is somewhat simplistic solution. Fun, but not too satisfactory once completed. DML is definitely in the middle in between, but it is rather old tooling, missing from the shelves and at some places very, very expensive. Other than that, it is the golden middle in between the other two. Enter Border Model Hornisse.
It might be tough cookie for some to swallow – the inevitable comparison with Dragon, but in all honesty, it should be considered. Border are not RFM in terms of details and sub-assemblies. But they are no Tamiya either. Tracks should be fine – we don’t have confirmation yet, but we can bet on that knowing their Pz.IV series. What’s else to expect? Metal gun barrel, PE parts, several paint options and hopefully some ammo? Let’s not forget that the set is announced as a Early Command with four figures included. For the others /except Tamiya/, that comes as an add-on that you have to pay for. It might not be much of a bonus, but it is something!
Of course, we cannot guarantee that this will be the perfect Nashorn kit. Nor that it will be the most accurate. But we know that it will be a new tool of the Hornisse, based on proven Panzer IV history coming from same that model maker. It is also a fact, that Border Model are easily discoverable and are not overly-priced. All that, tempting statements, even for the devoted DML afficionados, or for those who happen to have stashed all the Sd.Kfz.164s released so far. There will be misses with this kit. There is no perfect tooling of anything…yet. But we have to give it to Border Model with their constantly expanding line of work on the armor arena. They are definitely challenging the others. And if they have done their homework properly, they will probably obliterate AFV Club, Tamiya and even DML Nashorn toolings. If not – well, we’ll let you decide: which is the one you want most.