Just the kind of kit to provoke disdain in some quarters: 1/72 scale, rubber band tracks, moulded on tools, tabs for handles, moulded mesh, and worst of all, spare track moulded to the turret. But ’46 Paper Panzers seem popular, and Jim wanted a build review or a feature, so it fell to me to cut the bits from the sprue.
Starting with the customary history, from the box side: “Super heavy tank designed as an alternative to the Maus, it used a modified Maus turret with the 150mm KwK 44 with plans to upgrade it to the 170mm KwK 44…” Stop. This kit doesn’t use the modified Maus turret with the 150mm or 170mm KwK 44. Its turret was designed by Panzermeisterkünstler Michael Rinaldi in 2002, using a 128mm Jagdtiger barrel. The hull may have existed as a one-off, but the turret is pure fiction. Trumpeter have been here before, releasing a 1/35 kit in 2008, followed by an agreement over copyright between Trumpeter and Mr Rinaldi, with the “hypothetical” aspect acknowledged by the use of that word on the web page for the 1/35 version, but not repeated on the page for this kit. Remarkably, Modelcollect have this year released their 1/72 version of the same design, with the statement “Design Copyright by Michael Rinaldi 2004” on the box top.
No such mention on the lid of this Trumpeter E-100 (photo 1) - instead something stranger: a photo of their 1/35 scale kit! Unnoticeable at first, because it’s normal for Trumpeter’s 1/72 kits to feature a photo of a not too well made and painted model, so that you could reasonably confuse this photo of the over a foot long 1/35 version for braille scale. The first thing that gives it away is the not-moulded-on spare track; then the bolts around the mantlet; then there’s the separate tools, the turret lifting rings, engine deck lifting hooks, open handles, periscope lenses, and etched mesh. The final – quite undignified – confirmation that the model ON the box isn’t the model IN the box is that the wheels are on the wrong way round, the wheels with the long bolted hubs being on the outside, a mistake impossible to make with the 1/72 kit as the inner row are moulded as one piece, so you could never make such a silly error.
Anyway, that’s all quite entertaining, but on to building and reviewing the contents of the box. So I’ve already given away that the kit has various unappealing features, and at first I pondered if I could build it, and present a one word review, that just said “No.” But something started to happen as the parts came off the sprue, and it was that thing that we all look for when building models: enjoyment. Putting aside the simplifications and shortcomings of the kit design, and a couple of awkward moments that we’ll get to, this kit has very nice mouldings, goes together easily and quickly, and for a small scale model, it provides an unusually big, uncluttered canvas for painting.