|1/35 Railway Flatbed Typ Ommr (2 Axle) w/MG Crew|
|Kit Number: 9114|
|Reviewed by Jim Stratton, IPMS# 20703|
Cyber-Hobby has released another kit under the "Orange Box" label. This Super-Value Pack is a re-release of an older Dragon kit, paired with 2 figure sets that include the Heavy Machine Gun and Crew and as a bonus the German artillery crew. What is nice is the artillery crew comes with extra arms for each figure giving a total of 10 figures and equipment. I believe the original release was Dragon kit # 6085 an Armored Flatbed, which has become very rare so many should welcome this release. Also released along with this kit is Cyber-Hobby #9115 that is the gondola car, also released with bonus figures. What is nice is the bases for these models can be joined together to accommodate more than one car. When I first got this kit for review I had no idea about the history of this railcar. I was able to search the web and found some really interesting stuff, most of it on a gaming site, that covered the basic history of the flatbed as well as the Gondola and the other armored railcars. Visit www.paradesquare.ca to learn more about the Deutsche Reichban armored trains.
Although not indicated on the box top, this is really a 2 in 1 kit. You could build it out of the box as an armored low-sided flatbed or leave off the armored sides and just build a straight flatbed. This would allow you to load it up with cargo or a vehicle or small tank that weighed less than 25 tons. The kit is a re-release of an older Dragon model that does not benefit from the company's latest molding techniques. As a result there are a lot of pin marks in visible areas that need removing. More on that later. This kit comes with over 400 pieces. 228 for the flatbed and another 211 for all the figures. Also included is a color Painting and Markings page that points out decal placement as well as color suggestions for the flatbed. The markings page indicate that the flatbed part of the railcar is painted flat black with the armored sides painted Field Gray. My research stated these were often painted Panzer Gray or a slightly lighter shade of Reichsban Gray.
The small decal sheet has all the typical data markings and serial numbers seen on rail cars.
Construction starts with the chassis side and end pieces. There are some small holes that need filling in these parts. Part H4 is the end pieces and identical, however, the holes that need filling are different depending whether the piece is the front plate or the rear plate. Moving on to the subframe, parts F9 and F10 are added. These are the mounting plates for the brakes. Be sure to note the orientation of the holes. This is important during the construction of the brakes. There are 4 brake assemblies, 2 for each axle. Part F2 that is the base of the assembly has 3 nibs on the bottom; these nibs need to be oriented with the holes in the base plates (parts F9 and F10) mounted to the subframe in step 2. The delicate brake assemblies went together without any problems and once the glue was dry were stronger than they appear. I chose to assemble the 2 subframes before adding the various assemblies. This allowed me clearance to clean up the join line without all the obstructions. Once the frame is completed and cleaned up the basic sub assemblies can be added. I found the following assembly sequence to work best. Glue the end plates part F1 to the frame first. Then add the springs part F5. Now feed the axle ends through Part F1 and secure in place with part A3 being sure to glue A3 to the top of the springs and to part F1. Finally add the brake assemblies.
Use care when cleaning up and attaching the truss and its supports to the frame. The long truss pieces part F4 has small holes in the bottom plane. These are to accept the small nibs on parts F7 and F8. The small parts have nibs on both ends. 1 nib goes on the truss and the other on the frame. This went together pretty easy, however I had to reinforce the top where it joins with part G1, with superglue. This join opened up when I glued the assembled frame to the chassis sides and ends. When adding parts H7 and H8 to the sides of the chassis I found it easier to remove the nibs on the bottom and glue this piece straight to the chassis sides. The addition of the small rings (part F18) to the chassis sides and ends is time consuming but the added detail is well worth the effort. Once the chassis sides are completed the wooden planked floor is added. This floor consists of 12 pieces. The join line between the 2 is right at the edge of a plank and the seam is virtually invisible when completed.
Once this assembly is completed the frame is added to the chassis. If you have decided to build a straight flatbed railcar all that is needed now is to fill the mounting holes in part H3. These holes are for mounting the armored sides. If you have decided to build the armored sided version then construction of the sides and end pieces is next. This is where I think the kit falls down a little. Parts H13 and H14 are marred by several pin marks that need to be removed. The armored sides are supported and mounted to steel beams. Attached by bolts, which are in the middle of the beams. There are pin marks in the middle of these support beams and are extremely difficult to remove without damaging the surrounding detail.
The sides consist of 7 sections and each section had 4 large pin marks to remove. The removal of these pin marks took a considerable amount of effort and time. I didn't remove the pin marks in between the I beams for fear of removing detail I didn't want to replace. There are 20 armored shutters and handles that need to be assembled. In my kit one of the handles was broken and the piece missing. I made a replacement handle from copper wire of the correct diameter.
Once all the handles are attached to the shutters, they can be added to the sides and end pieces. They can now be added to the flatcar. There are holes located in the chassis sides (part H3) for mounting the armored sides (part H14). There are pins located on the lower end of the support beams molded on part H14 for mounting the armored sides to the chassis. However, there is only 1 hole on the chassis but 2 pins on the armored sides. You will have to remove the lower, smaller pins and leave the upper larger pins. Then you will have to ream out the hole in the chassis slightly to accept the pins. The sides will then sit flat on the chassis. Once the 2 sides are attached to the rail car you can add the 2 end pieces, finishing up the construction of the flatbed.
Turning now to the track bed and rails. The track bed base comes in 2 half's with 2 end pieces. These are held together by a small clip on the underside. If you are building more than one railcar and want to connect the bases just leave off one end piece and add the other track bed. The kit includes the splices for the rails so they can be joined together along with the track bed. There is even an extra wooden tie for this purpose included as well. Each tie has the part number and a direction arrow molded on the inside of the piece. In addition the track bed also has the corresponding part number and arrow molded on it so the orientation of each tie can be followed easily. Looking closely you can see that each tie is offset. When setting up the base for photographs I was able to slide the rail down through the ties as indicated in the instruction sheet. This was difficult due to the tight fit. I was concerned I would damage the rail by pushing too hard. Once there is a coat of paint on the ties and rails this may be even more difficult. After painting the rails and ties, I slid the ties onto the rails in the correct orientation and order. Then once all the ties were on the rails, I placed them on the track bed, pushing them down into the corresponding slot in the track bed. This worked fine and there was no damage to the rails from the tight fit. Once the track bed half's were joined with the end pieces there were join seams that needed filling. This completes construction of the armored flatbed and base.
There are 2 sets of figures included in the "Super Value Pack" kit. The first is the MG-42 and crew of 4 figures. There is the gunner and ammo handler and 2 observers. These are the older pre-Gen2 figures. The second Bonus set is the German Artillery Crew (Kit #6201) designed for use with the 60cm/54cm Mortars and Leopold. These figures come with a second set of arms for each figure. All these figures are standing and most won't find a place on this model but can be relegated to the spares box for use on other AFV models. In addition you also get an extra sprue of weapons and equipment with an additional set of heads for even more variety. Assembly instructions for the figures are the usual Dragon format for their figure kits. I didn't build the Figures as this is more of a vehicle build review and the figures are quite old.
Painting and Weathering
I painted the chassis and frame with flat black as suggested. I followed with painting the brake assemblies and other detail parts with steel. The wheels surface that rides on the rails was then colored with SNJ Buffing Powder to give the nice, shiny appearance seen on well used wheels. The armored sides were painted with Tamiya German Gray and the planked floor painted with Vallejo green-ochre and then with Burnt Umber oil paint for the wood grain effect. The instructions suggest painting the track bed in Field Gray; I painted mine with Tamiya Light Gray. I then painted the ties the same as the flatbed planks, starting with Vallejo green-ochre and then painting with burnt umber. The rails were painted steel and the top edge treated with the same SNJ Buffing Powder as the wheels to give that shiny well used look.
Once painting was completed I over coated the flatbed with Model Master Metalizer Sealer and added the decals. I Finished with a flat overcoat and started the weathering process. I started with a wash of burnt umber and then Payne's grey to give it that dirty railroad look. The track bed and ties were given the same wash as the flat car. Once that was completed I dusted the entire base and model with Tamiya Dark Earth to tie it all together. The construction took around 9 hours. About 4.3 hrs was spent on cleanup and elimination of the pin marks. Painting and weathering took another 6 hours spread over a couple of days. Most of that time was spent painting and treating the wooden ties and flatbed planks.
This was a quick build and well within the skill level of all modelers. The kit itself has several options for finishing that will appeal to many modelers. Now I am patiently waiting for Dragon to re-release their other armored railroad cars so I can put them together with this one to display an armored train. I highly recommend this kit for anyone looking to build something a little different. Also, for once it was nice to build a German subject that didn't have 32 road wheels to mask and paint.
While moving the model to photograph it for the review I inadvertently bent the base and split the middle seam. This resulted in the crack seen in the middle of the base. This may look like a substantial model but there is a lot of delicate detail and I should have handled it a little more gingerly.
I would like to Thank Dragon Models USA for the review sample and IPMS for letting me build and write this review.