Built Review
Summertree Kneebrace Bridge
Summertree Kneebrace Bridge for Heavy Loads
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by: Bill Cross [ BILL_C ]


One of the real problems the German Army faced during the invasion of the Soviet Union was the wretched condition of the infrastructure, especially the roads and bridges. Even without Stalin’s "scorched earth" policy of destroying as much as possible during the retreat, Germany faced the task of getting large amounts of men and matériel over the rivers and streams of that vast expanse. Various solutions, including bridge-laying versions of the Pz. IV were tried, but the nexus of necessity and Russia’s often abundant forests meant wooden bridges used as often as not for getting from one side of a stream to the other. Photos abound of wooden bridges, including ones that couldn't support the weight of super tanks like the Tiger I (see page 311 of Tigers in Combat, vol. 1).

There are resin bridges around, but now a Russian firm called Bastion 35 has come up with a line of real wood bridges, fences, gates, windows and other diorama items. Bastion 35's kits are made from real wood— I repeat, the kits are from real wood, not styrene, not resin, but that stuff that comes from trees! The parts have minimal staining, and the rustic look actually works very well right from the box (now, there's a concept!). The bridges are an especially welcome addition to the modeler's repertoire, since most resin versions cost upwards of 3-4 times the price of the Bastion 35 kits.

the kit

Inside a rather undistinguished pasteboard box are:

27 6mm x 11cm rounds
4 6mm x 5mm x 14cm beams
4 6mm x 5mm x 18.5cm beams
2 3mm x 3mm x 18.5cm beams
1 baggie with 12 misc. angled support beams
1 sheet of road bed planking
1 baggie of small planks and supports
2 misc planks

the review

Remember as a kid what fun it was building houses, forts and what-not from Popsicle sticks? You ate the frozen treat, then used the stick to make things. Well, the Bastion 35 kits bring back some of that guileless fun. This particular kit recreates what is called a "Summertree kneebrace" bridge, which I suspect is a Russian translation of something German, but it’s a rigid frame v-leg bridge design, probably as old as the Romans. The pieces require little or no clean-up, and the instructions, while basic, are good enough you can figure out which parts are the base (the rounds) and which are the surface (the flats that form a sort of road bed). To make matters even better, the pieces go together with cheap white glue.


I'm always glad to see niche companies putting out products that address a real gap in the hobby. Bridges are such an important part of even basic dioramas, and can really make a successful small display for both armor and figures. I will be reviewing three other items from Bastion 35 shortly.

And for you sticklers for detail: the Pz. I on the bridge is in Case White markings, but it's the only tank I had handy when I took the photos.
Highs: The price for what you get: a really nifty bridge in real wood for a fraction of what it would cost in resin.
Lows: The instructions are fairly basic and require a little intuition.
Verdict: Highly recommended for Eastern Front dioramas.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: W3505
  Suggested Retail: 9.90 Euros
  PUBLISHED: Feb 25, 2010

Our Thanks to Bastion 35!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Bill Cross (bill_c)

Self-proclaimed rivet counter who gleefully builds tanks, planes and has three subs in the stash.

Copyright ©2021 text by Bill Cross [ BILL_C ]. All rights reserved.


The reviews, in my opinion, are great. In this instance, this is a company that I would never find in any local shop, and even would likely not have found just searching around the internet. With a review, not only do I see the product up close, and get an opinion of how it went together, I can then (and did) go back to the manufacturer's website to see the rest of their product lineup. If all I could get was what was at my local shop, I'd have only Tamiya and Dragon kits, and only groundwork from the model railroad folks, which at least in my case, isn't too great looking.
FEB 28, 2010 - 08:04 AM
Thanks, Jesse. Some manufacturers remain skeptical about the power of the Internet. I should have Jim Starkweather, the boss, frame this email or send it to the companies who think print publications are the only things that matter.
MAR 01, 2010 - 03:38 AM
Quite a few actually.
MAR 01, 2010 - 04:06 AM
That's hard to understand, given the explosion of Internet selling & marketing. I'm really shocked at the companies who still stick to print pubs as if they were gods. I'm in marketing, and the print brands (newspapers, magazines) have fallen on VERY hard times, while Internet selling and marketing is waaaay up. Besides, the number of small manufacturers who've seen their review kits produce sales proves it work. When I reviewed the Wiener Modelbau Manufactur's SdAh.57 trailer, for example, the owner told me he got several orders right away. To Jesse's point, there is sooooo much coming out right now, it would be impossible for a LHS to carry it all (I know, we can dream about a Home Depot or Lowe's for modeling). Even the large Internet retailers can't carry it all. The "News" section is a daily read for me, both here and on Aeroscale.
MAR 01, 2010 - 04:19 AM
Perhaps it's a generational thing? Some of the manufacturers (two of the 'biggest' and longest established ones) make a token effort at being 'Net savvy (in reality it's minimal). they still spend a LOT of money advertising in the magazines. Also, there are advertisers out there who use their budget unwisely by buying space on Sites which have little traffic. There's also a mentality which goes for a 'National' rather than 'Global' marketplaces.
MAR 01, 2010 - 04:32 AM
e-Business (EBUS) 101 guys....some get it, some don't. Those that do will have happy days. I like Bastion's bridges; the look, pre-cuts, et al. Their "logs" will need the modeler to pull out the rough sand paper to make them not look like dowels, but we all "tweek" things, don't we? Regarding the FIRST picture; Bill, what do the surface planks scale out to? Mark-1 (uncalibrated) eye-ball pegs them as rather "thick." Thoughts? MIke
MAR 01, 2010 - 05:05 AM
Mike, they're 5mm wide, so I'd guess 1-1.5mm thick. Given that armor is going to cross over them, they don't seem out-of-scale, though definitely for building a house. The rough sandpaper sounds good.
MAR 01, 2010 - 07:52 AM
I was watching a film on Tiger tanks last night on a DVD that showed footage of the invastion of the Soviet Union, and there was the Bastion 35 windmill in the distance!
MAR 02, 2010 - 04:31 AM
Scott, Can you tell me the dimensions and what assembly is required for the German field engineers, H Class Bridge?
AUG 30, 2010 - 03:09 PM

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