Neubau-Fahrzeug: Rheinmetall-Fahrgestell und Krupp Turm Geänderte MG-Türme

Published: July 8th, 2011     
Box Art
Box Art
Reviewed by: Marc K. Blackburn - IPMS# 42892
Scale: 1/35
Company: Dragon Models
Price: $79.99
Product / Stock #: 6666
Product provided by: Dragon Models USA

Short History

In the interwar years the Germans experimented with large, multi-turreted Medium tanks. The Neubau-Fahrzeug is the result of those experiments. Beginning in 1934, Rheinmetall-Borsig produced five vehicles, two prototypes and three 'production' vehicles. The prototypes were used for training and the production models eventually took part in the Norwegian campaign where one was destroyed.

What's in the box

The kit includes five sprues of parts, four sprues of clear parts, seven sprues of individual track links, two frets of photoetch, and a small decal sheet of Balkankreuz. The instructions are typical of Dragon and its subsidiaries. Each step includes an exploded diagram. Painting instructions are for either the Norwegian campaign or prewar Germany with a multi-color camouflage pattern. The pieces have no flash and are molded in a light grey plastic. Unfortunately, several of the pieces were malformed on the 'A' sprue and I needed to contact Dragon care to get new, fully formed, parts. They came quickly and were perfectly formed.

The Build

The undercarriage is very similar to tanks of the late interwar period like the French Char B1bis or the British Matilda. Rather than a torsion bar suspension, two parallel sets of bogies help propel the track. There are ten wheels on each side and four return rollers, so it takes a great deal of patience to build the suspension. Assembly is straight forward, though you have to take care to make certain that the road wheels are properly lined up. When it comes to mating the road wheels to the chassis, it takes time to make the assembly fit. The strip of bogies fits into the sponson on either side. As usual, dry fit twice and glue once.

After the undercarriage went together, the tracks went on. As with most Dragon kits these days, these are individual track links. They are rather fragile (they remind me of Panzer I track links) so they must be removed from the sprues very carefully. I broke several of them, but there are enough left over that some breakage shouldn't have an impact on finishing the entire track run. They just need some light sanding and piece together with a tab. They need glue to be assembled properly. There are over 100 links to each side. Patience is a virtue in this case.

As for the rest of the kit, there really isn't that much. There is a substantial air intake, a double exhaust pipe and various tools that litter the fenders. The only other substantial bits are the main turret and the two machine gun turrets. The two machine gun turrets bear a strong resemblance to what was found on the Panzer I except with one rather than two machine guns. The instructions give you the option of having the machine gun turret hatches open or closed. Since the kit has no interior, I chose to keep the hatches closed. If you elect to open the hatches on the machine gun turrets the hatch faces and brackets are molded in clear plastic. You also have a choice of several photoetch or plastic pieces for the machine gun turrets. I chose the plastic. The larger turret goes together easily, though there are some small photoetch hooks on the left and right of the front turret face that need to be assembled carefully. The carpet monster ate one of mine. The instructions show the antenna in the traveling position; I chose it to remain upright as though it was in use.

Finishing

I use Tamiya paint, though I usually provide an undercoat of primer that's from my local hardware store. I used German Grey (XF - 63) for the overall color. Looking at the box top, the camouflage looked to me closer to dark earth rather than dark brown. I figured that once I gave it wash of burnt umber and then a dull coat, you would never know the difference. I used Tamiya's Dark Earth (XF-52). To give the tracks a more realistic look, I used Tamiya Gun Metal (X - 10) then dry brushed them with Metallic Grey (XF-56). While the instructions omit the balkenkreuz, since Dragon supplied a set, I put them on the turret. A gave the vehicle a light mist of Testors flat to finish things off.

Conclusion

Over the last several years, there seems to be a propensity to produce every major and minor variant of German armored vehicle that ever existed either as a boutique kit or main stream. It's refreshing to see a minor but important vehicle hit the shelves of the hobby shop. The Neubau does not have a high parts count and is a pretty straight forward kit. While I am not a fan of individual track links, this kit gets high marks in my book. My thanks to IPMS and Dragon Models for giving me the opportunity to review this kit.

  • Assembled turret(s)
    Assembled turret(s)
  • Assembled hull and tracks portside view
    Assembled hull and tracks portside view
  • Assembled hull and tracks starboard view
    Assembled hull and tracks starboard view
  • Completed kit port view
    Completed kit port view
  • Completed kit front view
    Completed kit front view
  • Completed kit starboard view
    Completed kit starboard view
  • Completed kit top view
    Completed kit top view

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