German E-100 Stug in 1/72...
...an impressive 'Paper Panzer' from ModelCollect
This is a recent kit from ModelCollect and features one of the designs that Germany was developing at the end of WW2. They wdid not go into production but have gained more attention in the last couple of years, thanks largely I think to the popularity of the hugely popular online game, World of Tanks. The E-100 was the largest of the series of Entwicklung (German - 'Development') desings they were working on that was intended to utilise as many common components as possible and to simplify production that would also allow them to speed up production. They covered a range of weights indicated by their designations, the lightest being the E-5, then E-10, E-25, E-50, E-75 and the largest of them all, the E-100. In fact there was one prototype chassis nearly completed, and which was captured at the end of the war. That 1 example was shipped to the UK for assessment, but apparently was sadly scrapped in the 1950s. It was planned to have a turreted tank version, along with SP artillery and in the case of this model a powerful tank hunter. It look rather like a Jagdpanther on steroids and was one that I like the look of.
The kit is nicely done and the fit of parts is good, though the suspension is one of the most fiddly arrangements I can remember building. In place of the torsion bar system used on earlier German tank designs, this used external springs which reduced the number of holes to be drilled in the armoured hull, and one of the simplifications to speed up production. The road wheel arrangements onvolve 8 stub axles on each side. Also there though is a long bar section which has sixteen metal springs (included in the kit) and a bottom piece which fits to two springs and has a hole for a pin on the inner face of the axles. The instructions indicate assembling the suspension unit and the complete unit to the hull side. I couldn't see that working, so I fitted the long bar (part D17) to the hull side. Then the metal springs are superglued to the location stubs. Next was to superglue the lower elements (parts D6) to each pair of springs. Then the road wheels are fitted to the stub axles, 4 inner and 4 outer pairs, and these are inserted into the hull sides and the second pin inserted to the holes in D6. It is a bit fiddly, but I found the second side easier to do. The sides are then fitted to the lower hull plate. If you are careful when applying glue to the hull sides, then the suspension actually works! The other nice feature is that the engine, cooling fans and fuel tanks are all included as well. Mind you, that is the extent of the interior detail.
The other feature of the kit involves some brass. Most notable is the turned brass gun barrel, which is provided as well as as the conventional plastic one moulded in two halves. This does remove any issue of having to deal with the mould seams if you use the brass one. However, though not noted in the instruction, to use the brass barrel, you need to remove the bottom section of the plastic barrel and use that to fit on the end of the brass one, before fitting the brass one into that and onto the mantlet. I hope that males sense but if you hold the brass one alongside one of the plastic barrel halves you will see what I mean. The result works rather well in face. The last thing to say about either barrel is that there is also an etch brass part with the distinctive perforations around the muzzle brake. This simply wraps around the muzzle. It helps to heat (anneal) the brass part before fitting as that takes away the 'springiness' of the brass and makes it easier to bend it round.
That's as far as I have got so far, so an update soon...
Tiger Hobbies here in the UK are now importing the ModelCollect range.