by: Andras [ ]
Modelcollect has established itself to be a producer of high-quality 1/72 scale models of paper panzers (planned tanks), 1946 panzers (fictional tanks) and of Cold War Russian armor and other vehicles. As most companies they started out simple, and gradually built up a pretty impressive portfolio of multimedia plastic models. Most of the later models feature additional PE and metal barrel; something rarely seen in this scale. Increasingly they seem to venture into the very high-tech (1/72 scale models with full interior), and the very esoteric (or goofy, depending on your point of view) - absolutely fictional crawler tanks (German tanks with spider like legs instead of tracks, and an actual 1/72 scale E-1000 Ratte -about 50cm long kit with a turret with interior detail). Even if you don’t care about E-75s on legs, their more “ordinary” models - Cold War Russian tanks, armored personnel carriers, trucks, self-propelled artillery and ballistic missile launchers- fill an important gap in the market.
This model was one of the three of my very first order from Modelcollect; the other two were the E-75 with full interior and a T-80. I’ll take a look at those models later on. There is also an E-50 with interior available, and a T-64, T-72 with interior in the plans… which to be honest, are some of the most anticipated models for me in any scale.
This particular model is a somewhat feasible modification of the E-100 tank: the hull of the tank is mated with an AA missile launcher platform for the multi-stage Rheintochter 1 missile, forming a mobile anti-aircraft unit. As anti-aircraft missiles go, this one is enormous; it would probably have been pretty devastating against bomber formations. There are some issues with the concept: the operators of the weapon system seem to be placed outside by the launching platform just like if it was a regular AA gun (there WERE plans to use mounts from AA guns). The problem is unless the crew vacates the area before each launch (and go quite far away from the vehicle), they would be blasted away by the exhaust by the missile engine. The blast shield even directs the gases upwards and somewhat forwards… it’s definitely not someplace I’d like to sit when the missile lifts off. Even with the much smaller Nebelwerfer Wurfrahmen rockets the crew had to find shelter before firing. There’s also the issue of reload - it would be interesting to see an ammo carrier vehicle with a crane.
Regardless the concept looks cool, and when it comes to modification of fictional tanks, it is all that matters. (There are other modifications by the same theme: twin AA Flak guns, V-1 rocket launcher, and the same weapons on an E-75, E-50 platform.) Interestingly the missile was real enough; it even was launched a couple of times during testing.
The model comes in a relatively thin paper box with a nice artwork showing the vehicle in action. There are a few sprues, a small fret of PE, and the flexible tracks in a protective transparent plastic blister pack; very professional, and keeps the parts pretty safe. The quality of moulding is excellent, the details are good; there is no complaint there. The PE is small, but there’s really not a lot needed; the addition of engine deck grilles is a very nice touch. The instructions are simple and easy to follow.
The assembly is fast, but not without issues, though. I ran into some surprising problems. First, the running gear is quite flimsy; the connection points where the swing arms and the road wheels attach are not sturdy enough. Some of the roadwheels kept falling off, despite of being glued on with plastic glue during handling. During installation tracks also bent somewhat under the tension as you can see on the photos. Strengthening the idlers’ and drive wheels’ attachment points would eliminate this issue. There were some fit issues with the hull as well; nothing major, but it was a bit surprising because I did not expect any.
I’m not sure where exactly the missile should be sitting. If you place the missile towards the back of the launching platform, the frontal fins tend to interfere with the shield if the missile mount is depressed to travel position. Looking at the platform the back fins would probably cause some damage to the crew/vehicle during launch as they would not have enough clearance, either.
There is a full engine included, but it will be completely invisible once installed. I did put it in, but I think it’s better just to keep it as a spare for other projects.
The whole assembly took about a total of two hours (waiting time for the glue to set not included); the most difficult thing was the attachment of fins to the missile. I use this word in a relative sense - the model was not challenging at all.
Although this is a review of the model I feel have to add a few words about the painting as it did not come out as well as I intended.
I did muck up the painting stage a bit. Simply put I did not account for the scale effect -a rookie mistake. I was focusing on the pattern and masking and forgot about the colors themselves. Thanks to this at first the model looked quite colorful... I planned to strip the whole model and give it another go, but decided to use this mistake as an opportunity to experiment a bit instead. Subsequent layers of yellow/green/brown colored filters and very fine Tamiya Sand mist from the airbrush managed to tone the colors down and blend them together. (I have Robin and Matt to thank for the moral support and advice…) I used a large flat brush to distribute the last layers of filters with a downward motion, forming streaks on the side. With the help of pigments I added dust on the top of the hull, some mud on the sides, and a silver pencil helped to give some metallic shine to the tank.
Although the tank is pretty dusty (I kept to the artwork’s destroyed urban setting), I left the missile clean - it is supposed to be freshly loaded onto the launching platform. You can argue that the blast of the previous lift-offs would blow some of the dust away from the vehicle as well, but the blast-shield would direct most of it upwards. The missile’s paint scheme is completely fictional. There are some real-life examples you can use as reference, but since the whole vehicle is fictional, I thought I’d go with colors I like. (I have some real funky Citadel paints which I have not yet been able to use for anything really. After much consideration I decided against finally using Tentacle Pink and Warlock Purple. Their time has not yet come.)
Anyway, disregarding my mistakes the build overall is a quick one, and there is no real challenge involved. The model is reasonably well designed; there’s really nothing to complain about. The detail is good enough, there are no tiny fiddly parts. This 1/72 model is about the size of a 1/35 Panzer I, so it’s quite large. Obviously these fictional vehicles are not going to rock everyone’s world; they seem to be quite divisive within the community. If you don’t like them, this kit is not going to tempt you; but if you want to build something visually interesting as a weekend project, this model is probably a good candidate.