Trumpeter 1/35 Panzerjäger Triebwagen 51 Armored Tank Hunter Railcar Kit First Look
|Date of Review||December 2009||Manufacturer||Trumpeter|
|Subject||Panzerjäger Triebwagen 51 Armored Tank Hunter Railcar||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||1516||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Interesting subject||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$119.95|
During World War 2, the German war machine relied on railways to provide forces at the front with weapons and supplies. These rail lines of communication were especially critical on the Russian Front where roads were few and far between. While these rail lines provided the Germans with the ability to move men and materiel quickly, Russian forces regularly tried to interdict these supply lines by land and by air. These threats to the German lines of communication lead to a number of unique solutions to protect the trains. Against air threats, FlaK guns were mounted to rail cars, then these led up to armored emplacements atop rail cars to increase survivability for the gun crews.
Threats from Soviet ground forces ranged from infantry to armored assaults. To defend against the latter threat, the Gernans employed surplus tank turrets on armored rail cars. One of the more lethal combinations was the Triebwagen 51 that was armed with two Panzer IV Ausf.H or Ausf.J turrets atop a sizeable rolling bunker. These Panzer IV turrets were armed with the 75mm KwK 40 L/48 main gun which was effective against most of the armored threats likely to be encountered.
Just when I thought Trumpeter couldn't produce another Panzer IV variant without releasing a complete tank kit, here comes the Panzerjäger Triebwagen 51 Armored Tank Hunter Railcar. I'm not complaining because I am also a model railroader and these unique armored rolling stock subjects to accompany the standard rail cars and locomotive subjects in 1/35 scale are most welcome! Who would have thought we'd have a 1/35th scale armored battleship on wheels in kit form?
The kit consists is molded in light gray styrene and presented on 14 parts trees, plus separately provided upper and lower hull sections and track sections. Four frets of photo-etched parts are also included.
Construction starts with the railbed which is rather essential to have completed before you can start on the lower hull. The track sections go together easily as with past releases and the rails slide into their slots on the railroad ties.
The lower hull is next with the four axle subassemblies which mount into place. You might want to wait on gluing the wheels and axles together until you've gauged them on the completed rails to you get a proper seat with the completed model. Likewise install one axle in front and one in the rear of the lower hull and let dry before installing the remaining two axles so you can seat the hull on the rails and ensure that the remaining two axles are properly aligned for a good sit on the track.
The kit statistic say there are 737 parts used in this project. There is no interior detail in the main hull of this kit, so all of those parts are used to dress up the exterior of the completed model. The access doors and hatches are separately molded and can be positioned open, but you'll need to scratchbuild your own interior.
While the main hull has no interior detail, such is not the case with each of the turrets. The KwK 40 gun and coaxial machine gun are completely rendered, so there is something to look at inside the turrets. In fact, there is lots of nice detail in these turrets including a complete turret interior crew platform. The exterior of the turrets are also addressed with nice armored skirts that were signatures of the late-model Panzer IV.
Markings are provided for a desert yellow armored rail car circa 1945.
This should be a simple build considering all of the parts and will be a definite eye-catcher for the scale model shelf when completed. For those of us who like modeling railroad subjects, this is a most welcome addition.
For those of us who've been waiting for Trumpeter to crack on with a complete Panzer IV kit, I think we're getting close. With all of the unique subjects that have been released with variations of the Panzer IV chassis and main hull, we know there are some incredible details coming there. With these turrets now completed, it is only a matter of time before we get a complete tank!
My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!