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  1. 1:35 Faun L 900 including SdAh 115 Das Werk Catalogue # DW 35003 Available from around €69.00 (RRP) The Faun was one of the heaviest German trucks in service at the time. It weighed 8,800 kilograms and was 10.4 meters long, 2.5 meters wide, and 2.6 meters high. It required a crew of only one, that being the driver. It was powered by a 150hp Deutz F6M5171 diesel engine and could carry a total cargo load of up to 8,800 kilograms. The Faun had no armour protection or armament, and it had six wheels, four of which were the drive wheels. Its primary purpose was transporting and carrying small tanks and armoured vehicles, hence the abnormally long body and powerful engine. The Faun could carry up two small tanks at a time using a special vehicle trailer. The Faun was produced by a variety of manufacturers, including Büssing-NAG, Vomag, Faun, Fross-Büssing, Krupp and MAN. Not many of these trucks were produced, and even less were converted into SdKfz 4 half-tracks. The Faun was mostly used from the early to mid-part of World War II, as it was primarily used to carry and recover small German tanks such as the Panzer I and Panzer II. It's usage throughout the war was then mostly limited to the transportation of heavy equipment, troops, and other light vehicles. Extract from World War II Wiki The kit Thanks to Uschi van der Rosten and Das Werk, those of us with a Facebook presence have been watching this kit come together for a short while now, with regular updates on CAD, packaging and also a test shot build from Alex Glass himself. As I write this, this kit is on the cusp of release, and modellers should be able to get their hands on it later this month or early January. You can see why Das Werk are proud of their product. The presentation alone is a bold statement of their faith in the product with an attractive artwork by Jason Wong, who also produces artworks for the likes of Takom. If you look carefully at the lid, you’ll note the product name and company logo are finished in gloss, while the remain is a nice satin finish. On the box side we see profiles and schemes for the vehicle. For those of you who don’t know, Das Werk is a collaboration between Uschi van der Rosten and MBK Distribution. In the case of this release, work has also been done in conjunction with Pete Hamann and CustomScale. The box itself is quite weighty, as it should be as it contains two model kits; the Faun L900 3-axle truck, and also the SdAh 115 flatbed trailer. Inside the box, all sprues are separately packed, except for the two which are supplied twice. In total, there are NINE sprues of light grey styrene, and one of clear. There are also two packets of vinyl tires, a number of brass rods and a small decal sheet. An instruction manual is provided for each of the models, both Faun and SdAh 115. Instead of rolling through text for each sprue, bearing in mind that I’m fairly unfamiliar with the characteristics and breakdown of such vehicles, we’ll look at each sprue in photographic form, but now I’ll also explain some of what features this kit offers in terms of options etc. From the outset, it became pretty clear that the Das Werk team wanted to create a model that could be used in any scenario that could be thrown at it, and as a result, the load bearing elements of this kit would need to be able to be modelled in a fashion that was realistic of the completed scenario. With the Faun, there is always the possibility that this flatback vehicle could be travelling empty, or with moderate or heavy load. To that end, the designers of this kit have included three separate sets of leaf-spring suspension arms so cater to all three possibilities, and of course then allowing the finished model to sit lower on that suspension when carrying heavy equipment. That is a fantastic little touch. You’ll also see that the kit has some lengths of brass wire. These are designed to be bent around a supplied plastic former so as to create the metal hoops that optionally sit over the rear of the Faun, and would possibly be covered by a soft skin. When the soft top wasn’t deployed, the hoops are stowed further forward. It is of course possible to build the model without the sides fitted too, and just the open back. There are so many possibilities. What the instruction manual also provides is a series of load images which will give you an idea about which suspension parts to add vs the weight carried. Whilst the Faun has a very nicely detailed cab, detailed underside/chassis and some excellent wood grain finish to the appropriate parts, no engine is supplied, so that really isn’t an option unless someone releases an aftermarket solution for this. The SdAh 115 trailer is also no less featured, with numerous options for the modeller. These include three load options and the ability to pose the rear axle away from the trailer and fit ramps for loading the trailer itself. Like them or loathe them, both the Faun and the SdAh 115 trailer have vinyl wheels, but these are actually very good! Seam lines are extremely minimal or even almost invisible, so shouldn’t be a concern for the average modeller. Now to the plastic! Faun L 900 Sprue A (x2) Sprue B Sprue C Sprue D Sprue E Wire Wheels Decals A single decal sheet is included which contains markings for the exterior as well as cab instruments. Printing company is unknown, but the decals are nice and thin, have minimal carrier film, solid colour and perfect register. SdAh 115 trailer Sprue F (x2) Sprue G Sprue H Wheels Instructions A separate manual is provided for both the Faun and the SdAh 115 trailer, and whilst there are some commonalities between them, there are some inconsistencies, such as no parts/sprue map for the SdAh 115 trailer manual. No real biggie though. Generally, both manuals are very easy to follow with the various illustrations reminding me very much of Wingnut Wings in their style and colourisation. There is also plenty of annotation throughout and notes on the various options. There are plenty of paint references given throughout too, with codes for RAL, Tamiya, Mr Hobby, Ammo, Vallejo, Humbrol and Mission Models types. Various schemes are also supplied, attributed to unknown units. Conclusion Production quality really is superb, rivalling other high-end contemporary kit manufacturers. I think I saw one little bit of flash that wasn’t bigger than a pinhead, and there are no defects such as sink marks etc. A major-league effort has not only gone into some very nice engineering, but also into the research and development of this new kit, and it really shows. With the jig to bend the soft-top support hoops etc. it’s pretty obvious that building this kit will be an absolute joy. If you have some money left in the run-up to, or after Christmas, you should consider treating yourself! My sincere thanks to Das Werk for the review sample seen here. Watch out for this kit soon, from your favourite online model retailer.
  2. 1/35 German E-50 Standardpanzer Das Werk Catalogue # DW3503 The Entwicklungseries (from German Entwicklung, "development"), more commonly known as the E-Series, was a late-World War II attempt by Germany to produce a standardised series of tank designs. There were to be standard designs in six different weight classes, from which several specialised variants were to be developed. This intended to reverse the trend of extremely complex tank designs that had resulted in poor production rates and mechanical unreliability. The E-series designs were simpler, cheaper to produce and more efficient than their predecessors; however, their design offered only modest improvements in armour and firepower over the designs they were intended to replace, such as the Jagdpanzer 38(t), Panther Ausf.G or Tiger II; and would have represented the final standardization of German armoured vehicle design. Indeed, nearly all of the E-series vehicles — up through and including the E-75 — were intended to use what were essentially the Tiger II's eighty centimeter diameter, steel-rimmed road wheels for their suspension, meant to overlap each other (as on the later production Tiger I-E and Panther designs that also used them), abandoning the interleaved Shachtellaufwerk roadwheel system that first appeared on German military half-tracks in the early 1930s. The E-50 Standardpanzer was intended as a standard medium tank, replacing the Panther and Tiger I and the conversions based on these tanks. The E-50 hull was to be longer than the Panther, in fact it was practically identical to the Königstiger (Tiger II) in overall dimensions except for the upper and lower glacis plate layout. Compared to these earlier designs however, the amount of drilling and machining involved in producing these Standardpanzer was reduced drastically, which would have made them quicker, easier and cheaper to produce, as would the proposed conical spring system, replacing their predecessors' torsion bar system which required a special steel alloy. Other sources show that a variant of the narrow-mantlet 'Schmalturm' turret designed for the Panther Ausf.F would have been used, coupled with a variant of the 88 mm L/71 gun. As indicated by its name, the weight of the E-50 would fall between 50 and 75 tonnes. The engine was an improved Maybach HL234 which had 900 hp. Maximum speed was supposed to be 60 km/h. Extract courtesy of Wikipedia The kit Das Werk are a fairly new name in our hobby, being an MBK Distribution and Uschi van der Rosten collaboration, and whilst only having a very small number of products available, I know there will be big things from these guys in the future. Watch this space. This release isn’t a Das Werk-engineered kit, but instead is based upon the 2010 Trumpeter kit of the same same, but this edition has a little spice added to it. It’s a sort of mini-compilation of kit and aftermarket, marketed under the Das Werk label. As well as the Trumpeter plastic, you also receive the Voyager E-50 upgrade set containing both PE and resin, and a rather nice RB Models metal barrel. So, everything you will immediately need, all in one box. The only thing this kit doesn’t have are a set of metal tracks to replace Trumpeter’s flexible plastic ones. Das Werk has used a plain white corrugated cardboard box for this release, with their own artwork added as stickers to the lid and side and folding under the bottom of the box on one side. The artwork is the same as the initial Trumpeter release but reversed and shrunken, and set against a monochrome, Germanic style illustration that is quite eye-catching. Opening up the box shows a little compartmentalisation with the upper and lower hulls (individually bagged) in a small sectioned off area along with the decals, resin parts and metal barrel. The main area contains all of the Trumpeter sprues, vinyl tracks, Voyager PE sets and the instructions. The latter are the original Trumpeter instructions and a glossy. Colour sheet for the Voyager. A cardboard sleeve protects the turret. Plastic The E-50 hull is very typical of model tank design, with a single-piece bathtub style lower hull, and a full length upper hull. The upper hull is moulded with separate entry hatches and cooling fan intakes, although the fore and aft grilles are a part of this moulding. Fenders are of course separate, and I’ll discuss the options soon. Other hull details are fine in depiction, although the welding seams aren’t as nice as we see on contemporary kits from the likes of Takom and Rye Field Model. The lower hull is quite simple in the fact that all external side details are provided separately. Access ports are moulded to the underside of this part. For such a large tank, the turret was relatively small. The moulding here is single-piece, with the forward and rear faces being separate. Of course, the cupola and other smaller external details are separate. Again, the weld seams look a little lacking, but you can of course bolster these with a little putty. In all though, still a very nicely reproduced part. The rest of the plastic parts are moulded across five light grey sprues, all bagged individually with the exception of Sprue A, for which two identical sprues are included. Trumpeter’s original kit states that there are actually almost 300 parts in this release, so that isn’t too shabby at all! Remember, there is no interior in this model, accounting for that figure. The first two sprues are identical and contain the parts for the suspension (no internal torsion bars in this release), road wheels, drive and idler wheels, plus towing hoops and parts for the exhaust and shroud, and rear plate track tools. On the next sprue you will see the fenders, rear hull plate, pioneer tools, jack, towing cable, tow cable ends (in case you wanted to use braided wire etc.), engine intake fan grilles, exhaust shrouds. With this release, you will ditch the plastic fenders in favour of the Voyager multipart options, giving the modeller not only something of a more realistic thickness, but also with the ability to remove sections and/or buckle them realistically. Sprue C seems to deal mostly, if not wholly, with the turret. The most obvious parts here are the turret front and rear faces, and the turret floor. Also note the cupola, cupola liner, cupola hatch, escape hatch and hinge, barrel mount and hinge, vents, grab handles etc. This next sprue concerns the barrels (two types, although only one is supplied as a metal alternative), and two types of mantlet. It wouldn’t make any sense not to use the metal barrel with this release, so your options are pretty much laid out for you, plus the Voyager PE is designed to fit with the metal barrel option. Two sprues of clear parts (K & K1) are included for the various periscopes etc. Not much to say here, but the clarity is excellent. Tracks Love them or loathe them, this kit comes with a set of black vinyl tracks. I know these aren’t the favourite for many serious modellers, but you can always replace with the Friul set, ATL-37, as these will give the model the much-needed punch required. Moulding of the vinyl is actually very good, with plenty of sharp detail. These are of course linked together with the melted pin method, aided and abetted by a little CA. As the model will be fitted with multi-part metal fenders for which sections can be left off, you may still want to go with the Friul set. Photo-etch, wire and resin Trumpeter’s original PE is not included with this release, but you don’t need it as the Voyager PE parts improve massively on this. There are FIVE frets of PE parts in this release, bagged into a tightly-fitting clear sleeve, with the smaller ones contained within another sleeve. These parts are all wide-ranging and to fit some of them, such as the pioneer tool clasps etc. will require a little surgery of the original plastic. This is hardly rocket science to a regular armour modeller. Other parts in these frets include a extra armour plating for the turret roof, mantlet fairing, hatch latches, pioneer tool shovel head, multipart fenders, escape hatch hinge detail, replacement mudguards etc. Some plastic rod and wire is included too. From the original Trumpeter release, the braided copper wire is also present. Barrel A finely turned aluminium barrel replaces the two-part plastic offering in the original Trumpeter sprues. This replacement is superbly and finely turned and a vast improvement over the original parts, with everything looking sharper and more defined. No surgery is needed here as it’s a drop fit. There is also rifling in the end of the barrel. Decals Only a small sheet here that caters to this kit, and no schemes are given. Everything is in the modeller’s hands. Printing quality is very good, being thin and with minimal carrier film. Registration is also perfect. Instructions Trumpeter’s original instruction manual is included in this release, being an A4 production covering 12 pages. All illustrations in line drawing format and should be very easy to follow with obvious parts location and no ambiguity that I can see. Optional mantlet parts are supplied, but only one of these will be scheduled to incorporate some of the Voyager upgrade metal. You’d be best to make your choice at the outset. Only simple paint references are supplied on the Trumpeter instructions. A single, glossy sheet is supplied for Voyager’s PE and resin instructions. These are actually broken down into pages, 2 per side of the sheet, and it obviously a legacy from the original aftermarket set by this company. Voyager’s instructions are always attractive and easy to follow with their minimal use of colour. The instructions make it easy to identify the original kit parts, resin and PE, and where the parts either replace the plastic, or supplement it. No colour notification here, but this is standard. Conclusion I’ve not been too acquainted with Trumpeter armour, and don’t really know much about it in terms of accuracy etc, but as this was a paper-Panzer, that doesn’t really matter too much. The plastic itself is superb, with plenty of detail and a reasonable parts-count. Overall detail of the standard kit is above my expectations, and along with the Voyager and RB Models updates, this makes up into a tidy little package. I like Das Werk’s idea with this release, in creating an all-in-one affordable package with everything under one box lid (unless you want those Friul tracks!). Whilst I’m familiar with their recent 1/48 Luftwaffe Jack Stand set, the armour is something new to me. I sincerely hope we see more compendium-style releases such as this in future. Highly recommended My sincere thanks to the folk at MBK Distribution for the review sample seen here.
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