Kit Review: cyber-hobby.com 1/35 scale Kit No. 62 (Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale =9139-=9145 Series Kit No. 6666); Neubau-Fahrzeug - Rheinmetall-Fahrgestelle und Krupp-Turm Geaenderte MG-Turm (2011); 627 parts (569 in grey styrene, 44 clear styrene, 14 etched brass); pre- order price US$69.95 via Dragon USA Online
Advantages: first kit of this vehicle in styrene; extensive use of slide molding for the upper hull and details
Disadvantages: Model is prototype No. 2 and not an armored O-series vehicle
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for =93real=94 German armor fans
One of the items many people either ignore or do not know is that prior to their open rearmament the Germans had a clandestine program of cooperation with the Soviet Union on armored vehicles and artillery weapons. Both countries were fascinated by armor developments in the UK and as such tried their own versions of things.
One of the first efforts where they both tried their hand at copying British ideas (which the USSR felt too expensive and the Germans of course were not supposed to be doing at all) was the Vickers =93Independent=94 design with five turrets. The Soviets used it as motivation to built the T-35 heavy breakthrough tank, and the Germans built a prototype of a large rhombic single-turret tank dubbed =93Grosstraktor=94 (large tractor). The prototypes were shipped to the Kama River area in Russia for testing.
While both countries were also looking at the Vickers =93Sixteen Tonner=94 again nobody wanted to pay the seemingly exorbitant prices Vickers wanted. Germany and the USSR then both designed a medium weight (20-25 ton) tank with twin machine gun turrets and a single turret for a heavy gun.
But where the Soviet design evolved into the T-28 medium tank, the German design only produced five prototypes: two in mild steel and three pre-production models with face-hardened armor plate. But these tanks were not shared designs with the Soviets and were totally German in nature.
Dubbed the =93Neubaufahrzeug=94 (new construction vehicle) or Nb Fz for short, the vehicles used Rheinmetall developed hulls and first a Rheinmetall rolled plate turret and then a faceted Krupp one; Prototype 1 hade the former and Prototype 2 the latter design, and all three pre-production machines used the Krupp design. The Rh-B turret also mounted its unique twin gun arrangement (one 3.7 cm antitank gun and one 7.5 cm support howitzer) one above the other, whereas the Krupp turret placed them side by side (7.5 cm on the right). Initially the small turrets mounted twin MG 13 7.92mm machine guns, but later they changed to single weapons. A fifth (third) MG 13 was mounted in the mantlet of the main turret as well.
While all of them were built between 1934-35 they were still under test in 1940 when it was decided to send the three O-series tanks to Norway. One was destroyed but the other two were later returned to Germany.
The Nb Fz is one of the ugliest of German tanks, but when viewed with contemporaries is no worse than the Soviet T-28. As such, hardcore German tank fans have always wanted one even though it was decided it was not going to sell like Tigers or Panthers. Now cyber-hobby.com has provided a full new kit, and I can only recognize two small sprues in this kit from previous releases.
Basically DML did the molding and cyber-hobby.com the marketing on this kit. The model is of Prototype No. 2 with the squared-off Krupp turret and side-by-side guns and the single machine gun turrets.
The entire upper hull and sponsons are molded as a single piece with many of their details in place, and it is a spectacular piece of work. The lower hull is actually a single piece belly and two running strips for the suspension units; each one consists of a four-piece bogie assembly that attaches to a spring on the running strip and twin swing arms for alignment (note the directions are typically DML in this area =96 e.g. unclear.) Step 2 also indicates a number of small rivets must be removed from the side sponsons. A rear section (A30) completes the lower hull in Step 4.
Tracks are a unique single link style but one which comes on seven 40- link sprues - no DS and no =93Magic Tracks=94 here. The tracks are Step 5 and the fenders Steps 6 and 8. Exhausts go on the right fender and are part of Step 8.
Step 9 covers the fender tips and Step 10 the rear radiator air exhaust shroud (another hidden nub needs trimming here). The vent grilles may either be styrene or etched brass (the option needing that nub shaved).
Step 11 covers the two =93wing=94 turrets but while they come with lovely clear styrene viewer assemblies there is no breech or ammo for the MG13 and therefore will have to be either built up from the parts box or the turret hatch sealed shut.
The main turret comes with a four-piece =93dustbin=94 cupola and separate side hatches but again, no interior. The sight aperture comes with a separate flap, but again no sight. Each gun is a single part which cement together and then to a mantlet rotor with the entire assembly then attaching to a rotator/peg inside the turret.
Odd for a DML/cyber-hobby.com kit =96 this one came missing a single piece. That was MB 1, which is an etched brass =93eyebrow=94 rain guard for the driver=92s position viewer.
Technical credit is given to Notger Schlegtendal, Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
Only two bare finishing options are given: Versuchsfahrzeuge (prototype) in Germany, 1935 (green, sand and brown camouflage) or Versuchsfahrzeuge in Norway 1940 (grey with brown, standard early Wehrmacht camouflage). A tiny sheet of four Cartograf decal white crosses is provided.
Overall this is a nice idea and a totally new package - as noted only two small reused sprues (the OVM and early jack) out of more than 600 parts speaks of a dedicated project.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.