by: Mike High [ ]
IntroductionThe Sd.Kfz. 9, or schwerer Zugkraftwagen 18 ton, was the heaviest of the German half-tracks. This vehicle was commonly referred to as the “FAMO” after the company that built them; Fahrzeug und Motorenbau GmbH and was primarily designed to pull tanks, was unarmed and un-armored, with a crew of eight. It was powered by a Maybach HL 108 TUKRM 230 horse power, 12-cylinder engine and measured 2.85 meters in height and 8.25 meters in length and 2.60 meters in width with a 2.8 ton cargo capacity and an 18 ton towing capacity.
Kit ContentsThe kit consists of 310 parts – 200 of which make up the individual link track option:
1x sprue A – cab, engine, drive train, exhaust parts
2x sprue B – road wheels, chassis parts
1x sprue C – cargo/troop area parts
1x sprue D – dash board, radiator, additional drive parts, individual link track jig
4x sprue E – multi-part individual track links
1x chassis – frame, torsion bars, transmission
1x transparent parts – windshield parts
1x string – 600mm length for the winch
3x rubber tires
1x set of “rubber band” tracks
12 page instruction booklet
ReviewAs mentioned, the A sprue contains parts for the cab, engine, drive train, exhaust, fenders, and under body winch. The parts do have some very nice and fine detail. Considering the small size, the bolt detail on the engine, winch, and drive sprockets is quite crisp. There is some flash present and some seam lines, but they should not be an issue to clean up with a sharp #11 blade. One thing that needs to be mentioned is that just about any part with a flat surface has at least one or more ejector pin marks. The majority of the pin marks won’t be seen once the kit is assembled, however the pin marks on the underside of the fenders are quite extensive; removing the surrounding flash and filling the dimples will be necessary.
The two B sprues contain the road wheels, front wheel hubs, and miscellaneous chassis bits. The road wheels have nice outer side detail, but no detail on the inner sides and they have three ejector pin marks each. The lack of inner detail will not be a problem as it will not be seen once assembled. The front wheel hubs however are a different story and do not have any inner detail and that may well be seen if a “clean” model is built.
The C sprue has most of the chassis/cargo body parts. The main “floor” (cargo and driver’s compartment) has nice detail with a rendition of tread-plate on the driver’s floor. The detail on the bottom is fair but there are a lot of pin marks present, some of which will be seen after assembly. The cargo sidewalls have decent inner and outer detail, particularly the recessed and raised panel strengthening areas. This sprue also contains the hood (bonnet) and engine access panels with a reasonable level of exterior detail. Part C21 is the one-piece stowed rear canvas frame. The kit gives you the option to display this, via C21, in a stowed position or, by utilizing part C30 (a jig offering the proper length and bends), the builder can use 0.5 mm by 57 mm wire to create their own separate frame.
The D sprue has the nose of the hood with nice rendition of the radiator grill and additional drive sprocket parts. The gauge panel has decent representations of the gauge bezels but no markings for the dial indicators. There are two additional fender parts with a single large pin mark that will need to be filled. This sprue also has the individual link track jig and the instructions indicate that each run would have 47 to 49 links.
The four E sprues contain the two-part individual link parts for the track shoes and track pads. Both pieces have locator marks for easy alignment and the exterior of the shoes have nice detail. One will need to take care while removing the pads as these are quite small.
The one-piece chassis/frame has the bottom of the transmission and a couple of air tanks. The torsion bar system is also molded to this part. Unfortunately, there is a noticeable seam line running along the inside of the frame; this will take some care in scraping away. Considering the size of this kit, the detail on the exterior surfaces is pretty good.
The one small transparent sheet has the three windows and are clearly defined for cutting out with a straight edge and sharp blade. A 600mm length of string is provided and is woven tightly enough that I am pretty sure that when weathered, will make for nice cables. 350mm is designated for use for the winch and 65mm for the tow cable. Three rubber tires are included; two for the front end and one as a spare. There is a slight seam running down the center of the tread which will be easy to remove. Both sidewalls of each tire have “Continental” in raised relief. I cannot confirm that the tread pattern is correct – it is almost like a six-sided diamond pattern.
The last “parts” of the kit are the two rubber band tracks as an alternative to the individual links. My sample came nice and flat and, as these are quite flexible, those that prefer rubber band should have no problem installing them. The exterior detail is nice, but not quite as defined as the individual links but once painted up and weathered, I doubt the difference would be that noticeable. According to the instructions, these can be painted and glued using materials for normal plastic.
And finally, the instruction booklet. The first page indicates the model and has the “canned” instructions to be read before assembly. There’s also instructions for applying the decals, however, there are no decals included with the kit. Page 2 has the parts layout and pages 3 through 11 are the easy to understand instructions for assembly. Having gone through each step, I found no steps to be confusing or ambiguous. There are some misspellings, but they are irrelevant. The last page is the “Painting & Marking Guide.” Trumpeter’s recommended brands/colors are Aqueous Hobby Color or Mr. Color and suggest “tire black,” “sandy brown,” “flat black,” “metal black,” and “burnt iron.” I’m sure that the builder will choose their own colors and brands of choice though so the value of this will be somewhat limited.
ConclusionConsidering the scale and parts count, this kit should build up into a nice depiction of a schwerer Zugkraftwagen. At 110 parts, excluding the individual links, this should prove itself to be a nice and easy kit to build for a modeler regardless of skill level. The parts will need some clean up, but I’ve not run across one yet that didn’t. All in all, this should turn out to be an enjoyable build for a 1/72 kit. Recommended.