ARM: Review - DML 1/35 scale 7.5 cm

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale ‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6640; 7.5 cm Pak 40/4 auf RSO - Smart Kit; 495 parts (311 in grey
styrene, 144 “Magic Track” single links, 40 etched brass); price US $45.95 via DragonUSA Online
Advantages: first totally new kit of this vehicle in 35 years; very thorough chassis; accessories included
Disadvantages: single link tracks very small
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all German WWII “Ostfront” fans
    The Germans were no stranger to the concept of “run what you brung” and as the war progressed more and more vehicles were converted to self-propelled artillery of all types - antiaircraft, light and medium artillery, and of course antitank guns. In 1943 the Austrian Steyr Raupenschlepper Ost or RSO was selected for such a conversion. This tiny tractor received a new cutdown lightly armored cab and a fixed mount for the top carriage of a 7.5 cm PaK 40 antitank gun. Only 60 of them were converted in this manner.
    While these vehicles did not really have a major impact on the war, they did their bit. Over the years this conversion – admittedly one of the neater ones done by the wartime German industry – has proven popular with modelers. Back in 1975 when Peerless Max came out with a kit of the standard prime mover version with pressed steel cab, many modelers bought it and the Italeri Pak 40 (a near contemporary kit) to convert them into this variant.
    Now DML has introduced a completely new from-the-ground-up version of this little beast using the top carriage of their Pak 40 kit. This kit is typical of recent DML efforts as it has a very detail suspension and includes an amazing 49 part V-8 engine. Unfortunately little of it can be seen when the model is completed if the front body is cemented in place! (My bet is that the prime mover with pressed steel cab is not far behind on DML’s list.)
    Assembly is straightforward. The chassis takes the first six steps of the instructions (as this is a small and “clean” vehicle the directions are easier to read than many DML efforts). The engine is composed of several subassemblies and each of the 16 rocker arm covers is a separate part. The twin blower fans for the air-cooled engine are each four part assemblies as well.
    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 have to keep them straight during installation.
    The armored body section consists of a one-piece shell, a separate rear panel and a floor. All of the primary controls are provided as well as two seat pans (no backs - nobody ever said this was a nice ride) and two seat-back shaped “jump” seats for two of the crew members mounted on the back wall. Covers are provided for each crew position for either storage or combat.
    The Pak 40 is a familiar item and comes with three different styles of muzzle brakes, two different cradle caps, and a thin two-part gun shield with a brass rider plate for the central slot. The new mount is built up from 14 separate parts and mounts through the body to the subframe. The sides may be installed in either travel (up) or combat (down) positions as can the travel lock.
    The one dumb thing in the directions is that DML shows the “Magic Tracks” 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.
    Surprisingly with as few built the directions provide finishing information for seven different vehicles: five are unidentified and the other two are for Pz.Jg.Abt. 152, 1st Ski Jaeger Division, Eastern Front 1944 (one in tricolor mottle and one in whitewash). A small sheet of Cartograf decals is provided for the RSO but only one - WH-427932 – has a plate. A much larger sheet is provided for the Pak 40 and its ammunition.
    Overall this is going to be a popular model as it comes “pre- converted” and it is contemporary design and production quality. Now on to the prime mover version!
    Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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