There have been a lot of large rail-guns in recent years. Many of them from Trumpeter. In a continuation of this theme they will release a new kit based on a 'paper' Panzer that did not see actual combat but was in the late stages of development at the close of World War II. This 'Geschutzwagen' used Tiger II components and was designed to mount and transport the enormous 170mm K72 gun and would carry the designation 'Grille 17'. Production began on a prototype in 1943/44 by Krupp. According to Trumpeter one prototype was almost completed in May of 1945 when it was captured by British troops.
The kit can be built as one or two kits. The gun can be built and displayed separately or mounted in the AFV itself. The kit will consist of 556 grey parts according to Trumpeters press release. It will also include:
- Photo etch for the engine covers and dust-proof nets
- A complete interior including engine and transmission
- Marking will include green, brown, and sand camo options
- The set includes vinyl tracks
This test-shot is not of final production quality but the photos below and to the right clearly show the amount of material involved. Injector marks were plainly evident on this test-shot, so we can hope that the final production run will minimize these issues or there will be a lot of filling and sanding required on some of the panels.
Here is the official text from the distributor fact sheet:
The Germans often used parts from older armor to convert into more modern fighting machines later during WWII. In 1942, the German firm Krupp received orders to design a vehicle using Tiger II components, which was to be part of the Grille series. It was to be able to mount an enormous 170mm K70 L/50 gun - Grille 17. In 1943/44, Krupp started production of the prototype, while full-scale production was to start in mid-1945, but the end of the war cancelled any further development. Grille 17 had its armament mounted on the rail platform inside the hull allowing it to be dismounted at any time and used independent of the actual tank itself. It was also armed with two 7.92mm machine guns, and would be operated by crew of eight (driver, commander, gunner, radio operator, and four loaders). One prototype with 170mm gun was almost completed in May of 1945 and was captured by British troops at the end of the war, making this a rare find among military collections.
The suggested retail price for this kit is $119.95 USD which may seem like a lot until you factor in the sheer amount of plastic involved. The kit measures in at 13-14 inches long when complete.
This kit will certainly be another unique and interesting build for many modelers. And you can likely count on the aftermarket P/E manufacturers to provide update sets for such a large beast.
If you would like to see more images of the test-shot built (by Trumpeter) please check out our news story here
I would like to give a special thanks to Stevens International for sending us this early preview of the kit. The release date is set for sometime in October.
(Scroll down for more close-up photos below.)