In-Box Review
German Railway Gun
28cm K5(E) Leopold
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by: Jim Adams [ GOLDENPONY ]

The Krupp K5 railway gun program was started in the late 1930’s to help support the Wehrmacht. The first gun was was fired in 1936. Several different types were developed over the run of the program, the most famous being Anzio Annie. Several of the earlier guns were used to shell Dover across the English Channel. The K5 is also commonly known as Leopold, mainly because that was the name of one of the two guns captured by American forces in Italy.

During the production run 25 guns were made in the K5 series. Many different configurations were tried over the course of production. Smooth bore, larger caliber and even a gun mounted on two Tiger II chassis were worked on.

28cm K5(E) “Leopold” Specifications:

Caliber 28.3cm (11 1/4in)
Length of barrel: 21.538 m (70ft 8in)
Overall Length including projecting rear Bogie 31.1m
Maximum Elevation 500
Weight in Action 218,000kg (480,600LB)
Weight of shell: 255 kg (662LB)
Muzzle Velocity 1,120 m/s
Range 59 - 62 km
Firing Interval 8 shells/hour
Range 38.64 miles

The Kit
When this kit was introduced it advertised as the largest 1/35 scale kit in the world. While the Dora kits have since taken the title, this is a large kit. When mine arrived my wife called and said there is a LARGE box here for you. She was not kidding. The box is 27” x 17” x 4 ¾” in size.

The box is covered with a cardboard sleeve which features the gun in firing position just outside a railway tunnel. This must be someplace in Italy as the guns were kept close to tunnels so they could be hidden from Allied aircraft while reloading. The box containing the kit is a heavy duty construction and has a flip top lid. The kit contains 747 parts, decals, a small fret of PE, twine, and a length of fine chain.

Overall the parts were free from flash but full of detail. There were no sink holes noted on my kit. The main gun platform is molded in one large tub. The sides were free from warping straight and square. There are two different panels on the side that can be shown with the doors open or closed.

The main gun itself is molded in two halves. When joined they show the rifling on the inside of the barrel. The rifling does not have the proper twist to it, but this likely won’t be noticed when the gun is together. The barrel will need to have its seams cleaned up. Since it is a large focal point of the model, this will be important. The breech mechanism has a separate breech block and recoil assembly. When all of these are together they will make an impressive display.

The loading platform has some of the better details on the kit. In this section you can show electrical panels open or closed, depending how the gun is to be displayed. There is also the shell loading crane and loading system. The sections of chain are used in this area for the crew safety chains. The crane for loading the shells and the shell loading trolley round out the details of this part.

The two rail cars have a fair amount of detail to them as well. The suspension has the leaf springs and axle attachment in one piece; however they do have nice crisp detailing. The axle and wheel assemblies are designed to roll and are sandwiched between the suspension pieces.

There are eight sprues of railroad ties, rails, and hardware. These are very nice looking. Having spent a good deal of time around a railroad I can say these parts have the proper look. The under side of the rails have a mold seam, but it is out of sight. The tops of the rails will require some clean up of the attachment points. The ties have a nice wood grain effect and should look great when finished. The rail bed is made up of 9 different parts. These will require some filling when assembled to hide the seams. This might be difficult due to their rocky looking exterior.

The decals appear to have thin carrier film that should react with any finish and decal setting solution. However there are markings provided for only one gun, “Leopold.”

The instructions are typical Dragon quality. They offer clear views of the assembly. Paint schemes offer three different choices, all over dark yellow, overall grey, and yellow with dark red similar to the box top.

When I first saw this kit for sale, I thought it would be a while before I even thought about getting one and even longer before I would try to build one. After getting a chance to do this review, I feel I can build this kit and do a great job of doing so. If you are new to the hobby and want to build a very impressive kit feel free to pick this up. If you are a 40 year veteran and want a big project, this kit is for you. There are plenty of after market detail sets to go along with this kit so you can build it out of the box or spice it up as much as you would like.
Highs: BIG, full of detail, and not overly complex.
Lows: Might be on the pricey side for most modelers. Few written references. Where will you put it for display?
Verdict: An interesting subject and a nicely detailed kit.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 6200
  Suggested Retail: $99.95
  PUBLISHED: Feb 04, 2008

About Jim Adams (goldenpony)

Copyright ©2021 text by Jim Adams [ GOLDENPONY ]. All rights reserved.


G'Day Before tackling this beastie I stromg;y suggest you get a copy of Armor PhotoGallery #12 "German Railway Gun Leopold 28cm K5(E)" by Jan Coen Wijnstok. This is a must have reference for any builder of either Dragon's or Trumpeters K5-lots of colour photos of the APG K5, scale plans in both 35th and 72nd and wartime photos of K5s in action and captured. There are "written references" around- just gotta know where to look. Have fun building it!! Cheers
FEB 05, 2008 - 06:17 PM
Luis, If you'd be willing to do a Build Review of the Trumpeter kit we'd be happy to have it. It's one that we are missing and would be of great value to have available to our users.
FEB 05, 2008 - 07:21 PM
Hello, Dear Bill, As I wrote, I already have a complete article on the building of Trumpeter K5(E), that was published on the last issue of Xtreme Modelling. I Believe that with some adjustments it can be sent to you to publish on Armorama. I can do it and send the article if you want. But I have some doubts on the time to publish things here, as I've been waiting for MANY months to see the complete article on my IPMS-UK (Telford) gold winner Panther II that I sent to Jim Starkweather to be published here on Armorama. I am still waiting. Don't you think that this previous article should be published first before a new one? Looking forward to hearing from you, Best regards, Luis Alho
FEB 06, 2008 - 12:47 AM
Perth has a very detailed comparison of the two kits. Unless it's a brand new Leopold, it's probably not worth the money. So far I have been toying around with the 1/144 scale guns -but if you can show me where to look for a cheap Trumpeter one, I'd be grateful (I think the gun on the 2 Tiger chassis was not a K5 one, but I'm not sure. I'll check.)
FEB 06, 2008 - 01:12 AM
Luis, I had the Features side of things for several months before moving over into Reviews in December and never saw or received the article from Jim Starkweather, so it's possible that it slipped through the cracks somehow. Best bet for getting items published is to deal with the Editor staff under our revised structure as Jim's a busy guy with all the technical machinery that has to be kept running and isn't involved in the day-to-day publication of items here on the site. I know your Panther II was entered into the DMoM some months back but that's the extent of it as far as I was aware. If you'd like to write up a Build Review of the Trumpeter kit (and you are able to do so without violating your arrangement with Xtreme Modelling) I can assure you that it will be handled promptly.
FEB 06, 2008 - 03:09 AM
Hello again, As I said my article on my Panther II was an exhaustive one on the corrections on the Dragon model with lots of scratchbuild parts including a new turret based on the Panzertracts book on the Panther F and II. I am still looking forward to see it published. Looking the performance on the DMoM I shell say that popular votes are very strange at least. I think most people vote not with careful eyes but on the model they like or they know the author. The other option is my photo wasn't good at showing the model. If you want to have the trouble, please ask Jim for my article and photos and read and see the model with your own eyes. Then let me know. Perhaps you could remember him on the article? I believe he may have forgotten it again. As on the review on the Trumpeter K5(E), I will try to modify my article for Xtreme Modelling on a near future as time permits and let you know then. Best regards, Luis Alho
FEB 09, 2008 - 09:46 PM
Luis, For Features articles, you need to talk with Henk Meerdink, perhaps send him a PM? I look forward to seeing your modified article as a Build Review.
FEB 10, 2008 - 01:11 AM
I realize this thread has been quiet for some time now, but im currently in the final stages of building Trumpeter's K5. So far its taken 10 months to build, and while in comparison to the Dragon kit it is extemely accurate, there are also some pitfalls. I dont know what Trumpeter was thinking when they made this kit, but they use about 20-50 ejector pins per sprew, its absolutely rediculous. Ive spent hours filling and sanding parts in places they should never have needed it, the main chassis peices have 3 large craters in them from ejector pins, and almost all the medium sized peices have at least one spot where a pin has put a mark into the peice. The deck on the generator car is the worst by far; the top is highly detailed, but the underside has about 20-30 holes in it on the visible part alone and another 10-15 on the hidden section, which is just fine. The people who designed the moulds could have done a much better job, ive found countless peices that have a beautifully moulded underside, yet the visible section is riddled with divits from ejector pins. On top of that, almost every peice has a small ridge from where the two halves of the mould came together, which is expected to some degree, but Trumpeter could have easily found a way to make higher quaility parts. All this does is add hour after hour of pre-painting work to your model which is already going to take a very long time to build. However, if this is not an issue for you and you have the time to finish the peices nicely, you end up with a beautiful kit that is (apart from the above) highly detailed. I would suggest aftermarket shells though, as the included ones dont even line up when the halves are assembled. The only other setback from the poor moulding of the peices is that the designers overlooked a few things, mainly the underside and interiror of the carriage; there are several sections where either wiring or copper piping is present on the real K5 (E) that has been completely overlooked, but this is easily overcome. What is the biggest dissapointment of the kit apart from the poor moulding of the parts, is that the designers slacked off horribly on the underside of the carriage. There are two sets of chains, one front left, the other right rear, that were (from what ive gathered through research) intended to connect the chassis to the railcars for some reason, im assuming in the event the chassis somehow became disconected from the railcar, but this is just a guess. What has been included, however, is the hooks these chains would connect to on the railcars, just have a look. on www.one35th.com , under the K5 (E) article, are some very useful line drawings from the original plans by Krupp, in one of these, the rear chain is visible in the intended position. Another overlooked detail is a section of rubber tubing i beleive to be for transfering hydraulic fluid from the generator car to the gun assembly in order to adjust pressure in the hydraulic cylinder itself. This tube exits the left side of the chassis from the opening in the framework as a section of piping and then the rubber tube is fitted. Here you can see the tube on the present day K5(E) Aust. C version: Click Here The final part left out are (i have no idea what they are used for) these large triangular parts that hang down at an angle from the chassis: Click Here Had the designers taken a look at the actual gun they were replicating, these parts would have been quite obvious. In the end though, its a beautiful thing to watch this kit come together peice by peice, and extremely rewarding.
SEP 01, 2008 - 07:52 AM
hello, I have the Dragon kit and I am very sorry I didn't buy the Trumpeter kit. The biggest disappointment are the bogies. They are not only missng detail, but also complete parts of the braking system. Even an Eduard PE set could to fix everything.
SEP 01, 2008 - 08:38 AM

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