German Panzerlok BR57 Armoured Locomotive in 1/72...
...a kit from HobbyBoss
The BR57 was a series of Prussian G10 locomotives built between 1910 and 1925. Designed as a goods train, with a 0-10-0 configuration, over 2,500 were built. At the end of WW1 over 200 of them were allocated to foreign users. They continued in service in Germany right through to the late 1960's. During WW2 some were converted by adding a covering of armour plate, when they formed the centrepiece and motive power for armoured trains that were used on anti-partisan operations, especially on the Eastern Front. One of these was the at the centre of both BP42 and 44, well documented armoured trains.
One of these has already been done by Trumpeter in 1/35 and now HobbyBoss, who are part of the Trumpeter organisation, have released it in 1/72. It is quite a simple model to assemble and comes complete with a good length of track bed to mount it on. The main body of the train itself and the tender are moulded as single pieces. The detail is neatly done, though the hand rails which are well illustrated on the box art are moulded as solid ridges, so could benefit from being replaced with wire. Perhaps it is an opportunity for one of the aftermarket companies to release an etch metal upgrade set for it. Just as with Trumpeter's larger scale version, there is no detail in the cab of the engine, you wouldn't see it anyway, though there is detail on the inner face of the tender (which you also won't see). For the armoured trains they had two tenders, one at each end of the engine. There is only one in the kit but maybe at some point they will release an additional tender as a separate kit. The drive wheels are simple enough and largely hidden by the armour skirting. Both the engine and the tender have a bottom plate to which you fit the wheels but the chassis detail is otherwise limited, presumably on the basis you won't see it anyway. It builds easily enough and the fit of parts is good.
What this provides is a good small scale kit of the armoured locomotive. Now if HobbyBoss will do the same in downsizing the various armoured railcars, maybe we will eventually get all the components to create a copy of a complete armoured train, such as BP44. That would be good, and in this smaller scale, a bit more realistic to be able to keep in your house than the larger scale alternative. Here's hoping...
I got mine when I spotted it on the stand of Pol Models at a recent model show.