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  • Tamas Seres

Elefant (Zvezda)

Updated: Nov 6, 2020

Three years ago I saw one of the two surviving Elefant tank destroyers when it was a guest in the Bovington tank museum. I knew when I saw it that one day I would build it. That day has arrived when I entered my local model store and saw this Zvezda kit. When I found out that the zimmerit is also included I thought let's give it a go. The price is really friendly and the newer kits of this producer are quite nice.

The build starts with the lower hull and the wheels as always.

I decided to add the zimmerit as I build the kit. Zvezda provides water slide decal sheet to replicate this anti-magnetic layer on the tank destroyer. They seem to fit very well and not bad at all working with it. I was hasty and missed to put the side plates in place first, however it was easy to remove the decal and put it up again once corrected my mistake.

Then I bumped into a fitting issue. Annoying, but not critical: the horizontal armour in the front of the vehicle did not fit perfectly. However, bit of tamiya extra thin cement and some commitment does the job.

I decided to make some damage on the zimmerit as it was on the real tanks. Not too much, but neither wanted to build a brand-new vehicle. I have to admit, that here I had issues with fitting the decals as they didn't cover the entire surface properly

As I wanted to make the wheels and tracks first before moving on to the upper hull of the Elefant I sprayed the main colour (Tamiya Dark Yellow) on the model. I have to admit that I was desperate to see the zimmerit painted.

Then came the basic weathering. I had to do it now because later on I wouldn't be able to reach those areas behind the wheels.

I found a great way to imitate the running surface of the wheels as these vehicles didn't have rubber trimming: painted with tamiya dark iron followed by Mig's gun metal pigments.

Then came the tracks... And I really did not see that coming...

First, I spotted, that the two different kind of links are mixed up in the instructions: the one with the guiding horns are shown as H2 while they are H1 on the sprue. The ones without those horns are shown as H1 while they H2 in reality.

'It's not a big deal.' That's what I thought and assembled the tracks. They went together very well and fitted nicely on the model. They actually looked cool.

I was really happy and pleased with this. Then I had a terrible suspicion looking at the tracks a bit later. I have built quite a few German tanks over the past years: are these tracks put on backwards?

Immediately started to check my reference photographs and also googled for a few others, but it looks like they are backwards.

(Source: -

By this time the glue bonded and I had to accept that even if I remove the tracks and buy some friul ones instead, it would probably be too late. The sprockets would be so badly damaged that I couldn't save them. So, I left it as it is. I saw photos of other tanks with the tracks backwards, but not this one.

The funny thing is that even on the illustration photo of the model on the box has the tracks backwards.

After swallowing the bitter pill I sprayed the tracks with dark iron.

Then kept on building the rest of the tank destroyer. The carpet monster took a small part that I had to replace with a scratch-made piece.

After the misery with the tracks I was really afraid of assembling the upper hull. I have to admit I had no reason for that, at all. It fitted perfectly. And when I say perfectly, I mean it. It was indeed breath-taking.

Another inconsistency in the instruction, although it is not hard to find the right part on the sprue. G25 is actually G33.

There were 1-2 more misleading numbering especially on the zimmerit sheet, if I remember well. But the rest of the assemble was pretty straight-forward. The only thing I would highlight is that if you want to have the barrel fixed in the travel position watch out for the appropriate level of it.

The painting was started with a layer of light grey primer and some pre-shading. It was then followed by a thin layer of the base colour: the usual tamiya dark yellow.

At this stage I liked it so much I started to doubt my original plans to apply camo pattern on it. But I went forward and started to gently spray the dark yellow. Low pressure and well-diluted paint.

Than came the red brown.

A layer of gloss clear came next so as the decals can be added. The decals are really good quality, the carrying film is very thin and the printing quality is great. When I sprayed the flat clear on top of them they immediately looked like if they were painted. Especially after a bit of chipping.

The details such as the hammer on the back of the model, the front machine gun or the towing cables got their final colour, too.

In the last stage I applied some dark wash on the zimmerit. Added some streaks with rust and white wash.

Finally, I have added some details: extra tracks laid over the engine deck and a jerry can hanging on the left side. I wanted to hide the gaps on the sides as on the real Elefant they were all one piece. I should have filled the gaps in with putty if I paid more attention, but unfortunately I didn't.

Also finished of with Mig pigments, primarily on the tracks, but also on the main body here and there.

Wrapping up the build: it was a bit of rollercoaster. Deep down with the track, high up with the general fit and the decals. I am not sure if you can put the tracks on in the right direction or you need to buy aftermarket ones if you want to be historically accurate. Although I think it came out OK I would suggest to look around in the market before you buy this kit. You may find a bit less troublesome kits for a bit more money.

For more photos please visit the gallery.

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