by: Darren Baker [ ]
Following the end of World War One Germany was forbidden to build tanks and armoured vehicles, but that did not stop the Germans working on tank designs. These early tanks were usually trialled in Russia, but this again was quickly forgotten by Germany who called these new tanks tractors; I suspect in an effort to hide their efforts from the Allied countries that forced the treaty of Versailles upon them. The Leichttraktor Rheinmetall 1930 was trialled but never went into production; I am led to believe that this was due to it being unable to take the gun that it was intended to have.
I have to say that I have been really looking forward to the release of this model from ICM as it is the only tier 1 tank from World of Tanks that I have retained and still take out from time to time. So letís take a look at what we get here.
This release from ICM is packaged in the usual manner, of a cardboard tray with flip top lid, and a separate card lid with an image of the product printed on it. Inside there is a single re-sealable plastic bag containing all the parts for the model. Loose inside the box is an instruction booklet, with the decals nestled inside for protection. In the bag are two further bags containing rubber tracks and a clear sprue. There are five grey sprues, three of which are identical due to containing the parts for the suspension and wheels. Many of you will be aware by now that I am not a fan of putting everything in one bag and the fact that one of the pins for mounting the return rollers was broken and had to be repaired is proof of my concerns.
I have to say here and now that I am itching to build this model more than any other kit I have had in some time, so forgive me if I swoon a little over this little tank. The hull of the tank is a box like structure that is not an appealing shape, but ICM has done a great job of replicating the detail on the model that was present on the limited number of photographs that are available of the vehicle. The engine and crew hatches have been supplied as separate parts and so if desired could be left open provided the modeller is willing to tackle an interior for the model. I am also pleased to see clear lenses for the main lights on the vehicle. The exhaust for the model has a good degree of detail on it and even has a hollow end present. My concern here is that the ribbed section of the exhaust has been produced in two halves and I am dreading having to hide joints seams, but I am hoping the rusty appearance favoured by many modellers will easily hide such issues as may be present.
Moving onto the wheels and suspension I found two distinct wheel set ups, one is open sided and has fewer ground wheels and at least one larger wheel at the front station similar to that of the Valentine tanks. The version offered here has a large shield over the suspension and has twelve ground wheels of the same size that reminds me of the Hungarian tank designs. I will say that as the wheels are on separate sprues and as ICM likes to offer a full range of vehicles I expect to see the other version within six months. Mudguards are present on this vehicle and ICM has used a method I have seen elsewhere in that the underside is tapered to give a visual impression of a thinner profile.
The tracks for the model are as mentioned earlier in vinyl rubber and requires that two lengths for each side be attached to each other. The detail is very good and reminds me of the wooden block tracks seen on World War One gun tractors. Providing these tracks are a snug fit they will look quite reasonable as they do not appear to have track sag in the images of the vehicle I have found online. I cannot comment on as yet if these tracks can be easily glued together or will require an alternate approach.
The turret has been moulded in two halves and has separate side hatches, I like this as a figure could easily be displayed in situe. The reason for this is that ICM has supplied a good breach for the main gun and the machine gun or more accurately the Maxim gun. The main gun has been designed to allow it to be elevated. The main gun is a single piece except for a small section near the muzzle that replicates the needed hollow look.
ICM has supplied a three colour camouflage pattern listed as for Leichttraktor Rheinmetall Germany 1930, but I would have expected an all grey finish or a brown and grey finish. So I will leave that argument to yourselves to fight out as I look forward to the build. I will say that some images do seem to indicate a three colour pattern being present.
This is a model I have been really looking forward to since it was announced and it has not disappointed. I was a tad upset at a part being broken but it was easily repaired. I really like that clear lenses for the lights were included rather than trying to paint plastic to represent lenses. I am suspicious of the finish and so will be looking online for further guidance. SO all that is left to say is where did I leave the glue and snips?