by: Darren Baker [ ]
Trumpeter some time ago now decided to release a series of fictional vehicles based on the German intentions during World War Two to release standardized vehicles, there were six classes or weights of vehicle intended which were the E-5, E-10, E-25, E-50, E-75, and E-100. To the best of my knowledge only one vehicle type was advanced beyond drawings which was the E100 and even then it only got as far as a small number of hulls being manufactured. One of these hulls was brought back to the UK for tests but unfortunately it was eventually sold for scrap. This German E-75 Flak Panzer from Trumpeter is I believe a complete work of fiction with the possible exception of the hull design. I cannot find any reference for the turret portion of the kit but it looks the part. The turret will make this a great looking build and being fictional also means you can let your imagination run riot when it comes to finishing this model.
Inside the standard box that Trumpeter uses to package their products in you will find;
A 12 page construction booklet
A full colour painting guide for a fictional three colour finish
Five light grey sprues
One clear sprue
The upper portion of the turret
The hull top
The hull bottom
Two rubber band tracks
A small photo etched fret
A length of twisted copper wire
I am going to start this review with a quick look at the packaging of the model which is very good. All of the plastic sprues including the two hull portions and the turret top are individually packaged inside their own sealed plastic bags with the exception of the wheels and suspension parts which are packaged together. As the parts are well packaged this should result in the model parts arriving with you in the same condition they left the factory. The rubber band tracks while loose in the box run the length of the box and are not folded over which is a bonus when it comes time to use them as no shape will have been memorised by the track material. The photo etched fret is packaged in a plastic bag with the copper cable but there is a card insert to prevent one part damaging the other.
The instruction booklet with the model uses the line drawing method to guide you through construction, and consists of 12 pages with 15 steps to follow. There are not that many parts to the model and the steps will be easy to follow as no step is overly busy, for that reason I believe that with the possible exception of letting a young child loose with superglue this kit is easily within the ability of any modeller regardless of ability.
Stages 1 through 6
These stages concentrate on the suspension for the vehicle which is easy enough to follow and contains some nice detail. Stage two for example just shows you how to join the two ends of the tracks together. The wheels are all steel wheels which look to be loosely based on the King Tiger, however with this being a 75 ton based vehicle I would have expected more than eight interleaved wheels on each side and I suspect it will look a little odd wheel wise.
Stage 7 and 8
These stages cover assembly and attachment of the rear of the vehicle. Stage 7 is one of the busier stages but it has been split down into four steps within the stage. The rear engine deck and for that matter the lower hull generally looks to be loosely based on the King Tiger which I believe is a logical supposition by Trumpeter for this model.
Stages 9 through 11
These stages assemble and finish the upper hull including adding it to the model. Stage 9 is broken down into two steps and for the most part adds the vehicleís tools to the vehicle, the driver and radio operatorís hatches, and it is also in this stage that you start on the engine deck. Stage 10 is also broken down this time into three steps, which I believe is not because it is busy but to clearly show the correct application sequence. It is in this stage that you add the photo etched engine deck grilles but for reasons known only to Trumpeter they have only included the two round grilles and none of the four oblong grille covers that I would expect to see. Stage 10 only shows the attachment of the upper hull to the lower hull and the two front mudguards and side skirts. The front mudguards are one area that does not follow the classic King Tiger lines and after this stage the hull is now finished which just goes to show how little work is involved in this kit.
Stages 12 through 15
These stages all relate to the turret with Stage 15 only covering the mating of the turret to the hull. Stages 12 and 13 are split down into quite a few steps which again is just to ensure the correct sequence is followed. There has been some nice detail put into the turret such as the targeting device and turret machine gun. The barrels are good enough but if suitable turned barrels can be found they should improve the finished look of the model as the muzzle flash suppressors could look better.
The parts on the sprues are by and large very cleanly moulded with no obvious flash or seam lines to contend with, and the only ejector marks I could find that will need attention are on the inner faces of the mudguards and side skirts where there are a few marks that will require filling and sanding.
Despite this vehicle being a complete work of fiction it will build into an eye catching model with no issues that are obvious to me. There are a few areas that could be improved such as the flash suppressors on the main guns, however some careful work with a small drill bit could also improve the look of this area. The wheel layout looks a little odd for a vehicle of this size and proposed weight, but I cannot be sure of that until I build the model. I suppose all I can really say is that if you want an eye catching model of an anti-aircraft tank this could meet your needs, and will be a great kit for introducing younger modellers to photo etched parts beyond engine grills. The model can also be improved if wished by the addition of after-market photo etched sets such as PE35469 from Voyager Model.