ARM: DML 1/35 scale RSO/3 w/PaK 38

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale =9139-=9145 Series Kit No.
6684; RSO/3 w/5 cm PaK 38 - Smart Kit; 518 parts (327in grey styrene,
144 =93Magic Track=94 single links, 44 etched brass, 3 clear styrene); pre-
order price US$47.95 via Dragon USA Online
Advantages: virtually new kit compared to initial DML release;
thorough chassis; PaK 38 kit included
Disadvantages: single link tracks very small; snow tracks add to
complexity
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all German WWII =93Ostfront=94 fans
As I noted when the initial DML release of the armored RSO tractor
came out, the Germans were no stranger to the concept of =93run what you
brung=94. This meant they had to use what was being produced in their
new satellite companies and that meant the Czech Skoda and Praga tanks
plus various Austrian armored and tracked vehicles. One of the handier
ones =96 if so incredibly noisy for the crew that it was nicknamed
=93Austria=92s Revenge=94 =96 was the Steyr Raupenschlepper Ost. The Germa=
ns
used it in three versions: one with a pressed steel cab, one with an
armored front end and a 7.5 cm PaK 40 mounted on it, or later in the
war the equivalent of an =93Einheits=94 cab made from wood. This kit is of
the latter =96 RSO/3 =96 variant.
Even from the days of the old Peerless Max RSO with pressed cab
version this has been a popular conversion, and now DML offers it as a
full kit. Only five generic sprues are retained from the original RSO
release (Kit No. 6640) as this one requires nearly a totally new cab,
body and other details.
Quite a bit has changed. The original kit came with a 49 part air
cooled eight-cylinder diesel engine but this one comes with a much
smaller (and less complex) supercharged four-cylinder diesel with
water cooling. No radiator is included nor are the radiator shutters
positionable on the forward cowl (part E2). You will have to leave the
cover (part E1) loose to display the engine, however.
As before assembly is straightforward. The chassis takes the first
six steps of the instructions (as this is a small and =93clean=94 vehicle
the directions are easier to read than many DML efforts). There were
some comments above drive wheels and brake drums, and this kit now
offers a new sprue with modified brake drums and backing plates.
The running gear is simple but nicely done, with the bogie mount and
springs as separate parts. The entire lower running gear forms one
giant bogie assembly when done. There is a lower chassis pan all of
this mounts on and it comes with separate frame risers and crossbars.
Note that the drivers and idlers on an RSO are nearly interchangeable
so you must keep them straight during installation.
The wooden cab offers a choice of either metal or wooden top bows for
the canvas (not supplied, albeit the side curtains are provided as
clear styrene parts to mask and paint). All of the primary controls
are provided as well as two canvas =93sling=94 seats.
The body is typical for open bodied cargo vehicles and also gives
several options, including folded sides and either metal or wooden top
bows for the canvas. Racks are provided from either styrene or etched
brass for stowing the snow track links on the body sides.
The latter items are apparently only for =93show=94 as the directions
take great pains of showing where they are stowed (either 10 forward
in a bin at the front of the body, or 20 with 10 on each side of the
cargo body) and are assembled =96 three parts to each one. But
installation is not covered very well, with the directions seemingly
saying the side stowed plates store inside out with metal frames and
cleats out with wooden frames.
The Pak 38 is a familiar item and comes on a single sprue with no
etched brass. It may be displayed set for firing or towed behind the
tractor.
But once again DML shows the =93Magic Tracks=94 assembled (67 links per
side) and simply slipped onto the running gear. Not gonna happen. Most
modelers know there are many ways to skin this mule but this is NOT
one of them without DS plastic one-piece tracks.
Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson are cited as the consultants for this
kit.
Finishing information is provided for six different vehicles and
three different guns; the tractors are called out but not the guns,
but most modelers can probably match the colors to the tractors. The
six are: Unidentified Volksgrenadier Division, Eastern Front Autumn
1944 (sand overall, WH 1655861); Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front 1944
(whitewash over sand, WH 5204247); Free French Army, France 1944
(whitewash over sand, Cross of Lorraine, WH 1566838); 21st Panzer
Division, Normandy 1944 (sand with brown and green stripes, no license
plate); 21st Panzer Division, Western Front 1944 (sand with brown and
green patches, WH 21516); Unidentified Unit, Western Front 194/45
(sand with brown patches, WH-295503). The guns are sand with
whitewash, sand with green and brown stripes, or sand brown overall. A
sheet of Cartograf decals with a =93number jungle=94 is provided for the
RSO.
Overall this again should be a popular model as it comes =93pre-
converted=94 and it is contemporary design and production quality. All
that is left is a new pressed steel cab version.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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AMPSOne
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