German Br 57 Armored Locomotive

Published: December 9th, 2010     
Box Art
Box Art
Reviewed by: 
Tom Moon, IPMS# 43192
Scale: 1/35
Company: Trumpeter
Price: $189.95
Product / Stock #: 219

Roadbed parts come in a separate box and will make a roadbed long enough to hold the completed model.

This kit is a representation of the Br 57 Armored Locomotive. There was extensive use of armored trains by the Germans to provide rail security and to suppress partisan activities. Trumpeter has produced almost everything required to assemble an armored train except the tank carrier. This is only made by Ironside.

 

Sprues

  • A x 2 - This sprue has the engine wheels and associated suspension
  • B x 2 - has more of the suspension equipment
  • C - has the side armor and some steam piston parts
  • D - has the top armor and the floor of the cab
  • E - has more side armor and driving rods
  • F - has the engine frame, cab armor and connecting rods
  • G - has the front armor, cab frame and miscellaneous parts
  • H - has miscellaneous parts
  • J x 2 - has the tender wheels and associated suspension parts.
  • K - has the tender armor
  • L - has the tender frame and associated parts
  • M - has the tender floor and more tender armor
  • N - has the remainder of the tender and its armor

 

The kit instructions do not show any other options than those laid out in the instructions. The side panels over the running gear can be shown in the open position so you can display the wheels and driving rods. The cab window could be positioned open, but there is no interior to display. The panels over the boiler could also be shown open, but again, there is no boiler to display, just an empty space.

  • Steps 1 and 2 cover the assembly of the road bed and it goes together easily. If you want to show the engine in a diorama with other railcars and trackside buildings, it would be best to either fabricate your own sleepers (Cross ties) and rail, or use just the sleepers and rail from this and other Trumpeter rail sets.
  • Steps 3 and 4 start the foundation of the engine. The two side frames have the bearing boxes and suspension added at this point. This step also adds the pins to the wheels. Almost everything underneath the armor siding is not viewable. You need to determine how much work you want to put into the running gear as you will see very little of it and what you can see is out of the light.
  • Step 5 is the mating of the two side frames with the axles in-between them. The instructions show adding the 10 wheels at this time. I did not do this as the connecting rods and steam drive shafts take a little bit of adjustment to get them in correctly so that everything fits. I go back to my point that most of this will not be visible, so you could just do what the instructions say and not worry about it.
  • Step 6 is the assembly of the steam cylinders and the attachment of the driving rods. I found that only one steam cylinder should be detached from the sprues at a time. This makes the assembly go together without any problems such as potentially attaching the wrong part to the wrong side.
  • Steps 7 and 8 are where you need to take your time and get everything lined up by dry fitting before committing to gluing. The instructions show certain parts as being movable; however, in the end nothing is moveable. This is why you need to make sure everything is placed correctly as there is no opportunity for adjustment after things set.
  • Step 9 adds the brake shoe connecting rods to the underside of the engine. Again, these parts are not visible. But you will know they are there if someone asks. The floor of the boiler area is added at this time.
  • Step 10 is the assembly of the false front of the boiler. You will only need to make this assembly if you intend to leave the front armor plate doors open. This step also adds the bulkhead and frame for the cab. The front buffers and coupler are also installed at this time.
  • Step 11 adds the positional doors to the lower the side armor and the frames for holding the side armor to the engine floor.
  • Step 12 adds the two panels to the frame on the lower side of the engine. I recommend that you not glue the side panels down just yet. You will need to make some adjustments so that the panels will fit together without a large gap between them that will have to be filled in later.
  • Steps 13 and 14 cover building the upper armored side panels and the two lower armored panels that cover the steam cylinders and the coupling area. The instructions have you start adding the grab handles at this time. I suggest that you not do this at this time as you will need to adjust the upper, lower and top armor plates to get a good fit. This requires you to hold the model, turn it, lay it on its side, etc. These actions will break off the grab handles. You can add them at the very end of the build and avoid a lot of anguish over broken parts.
  • Step 15 builds the cab side armor and attaches it to the cab frame. This step also adds the lower panel door latches. I would not glue these in place until the very end.
  • Step 16 assembles the roof and the upper cab panels. This is where the entire panel fitting comes together. If you wait until now to install the panels, you can spend time making sure that the fit is correct and there are no visible gaps between them. This will make or break the model, as the armor is not supposed to have any gaps. This step also shows the addition of the grab handles. Hold off a few more steps before adding them.
  • Steps 17 and 18 are the assembly of the front armor plate. Here you will need to decide if you want the doors open to expose the false boiler front, or closed. Only after this is done do you go back and add all the grab handles and handrails that you let off in earlier steps.
  • Step 19 is the assembly of the frame and bearing housings of the tender.
  • Step 20 is the mating of the two frames with the axles and cross braces to form the tender base. The tender floor is also added in this step.
  • Step 21 builds the tender front where the coal is shoveled out and into the boiler furnace. The interior is well done, but if you attach the tender to the engine in its normal operating position, you will not be able to see this area. So do you glue in the grab handles and paint it? That is up to you.
  • Step 22 builds the rear panel and this will be exposed, so add all the appropriate bits and paint it up right.
  • Step 23 builds the coal hopper and rear deck area. The only reason to add these parts is that they form the frame for the armored panels that will be added in later steps.
  • Step 24 adds the doors and latches to the tender side panel armor. Here again I suggest that you leave off the breakable parts until after you have fitted and glued the armored panels in place. My kit did not have any gaps and required minimal adjustments.
  • Step 25 is the assembly of the top and rear deck cover of the tender. After these plates are attached and you are happy with the fit, add the grab handles and latches.
  • Step 26 is used to finish the tender and mate the finished tender to the finished engine. You will need to decide if you want to make this a permanent attachment or a temporary one. I suggest that you make it temporary as it will be easier to move and package for transport to the next IPMS Contest in your area.
  • Step 27 shows the finished engine sitting on the rail bed you built in Steps 1 and 2.

Painting and Decals

The color charts shows the reference numbers for Tamiya, Humbrol, Mr. Hobby, Vallejo and Model Master. The paint scheme is an overall dark yellow with more or less vertical dark green and red brown wavy camouflage. The undercarriage is a Dark Grey. The sleepers are wood brown and the rails are steel. There is no painting suggestion for the rail bed ballast. There are no decals in the kit. In the references that I have for this engine, the photos do not show any markings of any kind.

Conclusion

The build is at two levels, an intermediate level for the basic slab side armor plate due to the fit issues, and advanced for the running gear. This is due to the complexity of the assembly, not with the size or number of parts. The molding is crisp with no flash and minimal mold lines. The kit is impressive, due to its size and unusual paint scheme, for most armor builders. This is the center piece for building a complete armored train that will have upwards of 13 rail cars and be over 10 feet long. The only defect I can find is that of a missing tender. All the reference photos I have show a tender at both ends of the locomotive. This was due to the long distances between water stops, especially in captured Russian territory. I can recommend this kit to all German vehicle and rail road fans.

Thank you Stevens International and IPMS/USA for this review sample kit.

  • Front page of instruction booklet
    Front page of instruction booklet
  • Parts trees shown in instructions
    Parts trees shown in instructions
  • Sample assembly instruction page
    Sample assembly instruction page
  • Sample assembly instruction page
    Sample assembly instruction page
  • Completed kit painting instructions
    Completed kit painting instructions
  • View of molding quality
    View of molding quality
  • View of molding quality
    View of molding quality
  • Completed model on roadbed
    Completed model on roadbed
  • Completed model front view on roadbed
    Completed model front view on roadbed
  • Completed model showing the tender
    Completed model showing the tender
  • Rear view of locomotive tender
    Rear view of locomotive tender

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