|DRAGON - Neubau-Fahrzeug Nr.1|
A look at another small-scale release from Dragon!
Manufacturer: Dragon Models
Serial Number: 7436
The Neubau-Fahrzeug was a series of vehicles manufactured by Germany around 1934, in an attempt to produce a heavy Tank. Neubau-Fahrzeug translating into 'New Construction Vehicle'. The tank was multi-turreted, the main turret being armed with a 75mm KwK L/24 main gun, and also a smaller 37mm KwK L/45. Two manufacturers produced examples, Krupp and Rheinmetall, each differing only in the placement of the secondary gun in relation to the main one - Krupp had their 37mm next to the main gun, and Rheinmetall had theirs above the main gun. In total only five vehicles were produced and used mainly for propaganda purposes, although apparently three of them were used in the invasion of Norway. As far as I can discover two of the vehicles were made from mild steel as prototypes, this model representing one of them, manufactured by Rheinmetall.
These small scale kits from Dragon just keep getting better. Inside the slightly larger than standard box there a small number of grey styrene sprues, a small decal sheet, and two lengths of tracks in Dragon tan-coloured DS100 vinyl.
The instructions are a small four-sided leaflet, in colour, beginning with the usual parts map, and then assembly beginning on page two. Construction begins with upending the one-piece slide-moulded hull and fixing the flat baseplate that represents the floor of the vehicle. The original vehicle was unusually constructed, and this is reflected of course in the model that represents it, with inserts consisting of an entire side of roadwheels that are inserted into recesses on the hull top. It's actually an ideal method of construction for this vehicle, and once in place, it's almost impossible to tell that all the roadwheels are moulded in one part per side. The tiny return rollers, four per side, are also moulded integrally with their mounting brackets, and again they've been done in such a way as to retain the maximum amount of detail, and it will be difficult to discern exactly how they're constructed once the model is finished. The tiny drive sprockets are provided in two parts, and the tracks provided in DS100 vinyl that can be cemented using ordinary styrene cement. In a nod to past complaints that such tracks have been found to be either too long or too short...dependent on which modeller you listen too, Dragon have helpfully included a short instruction on either stretching the tracks to the correct length or shortening them. To be truthful, I find this odd, since I haven't yet had a set of vinyl tracks I have had trouble with fitting. I just assumed it was common sense that the length might have to be adjusted on assembly, and was always slightly amused by complaints from modeller's that they had to adjust them to fit?
Once the tracks are on, the fenders can be fitted, of which two types are supplied, one with a tread pattern and one without, so the other version of this vehicle is probably in the pipeline too. Some of the on-vehicle tools are supplied as separate tiny parts, whilst others are already moulded onto the fenders. I still can't figure out why? Surely it would be better to supply all the tools of either one sort or the other?
The turret shell in the kit is supplied as a one-piece slide-moulded part onto which the floor and various details are fixed, as are the two small secondary turrets, and the circular grab rail around the main turret is also provided as a single, quite delicate part.
It's a tiny vehicle, and simple in its construction. I suspect the main enjoyment from this kit will be found it its painting and finishing! I'm still trying to figure out the turret, in that it's not the same combination that was released in the two 1/35th scale kits of this vehicle. As far as was aware there were only two versions, and this one has a main turret that was in neither? No doubt somebody will know why...but not me!
My thanks to Dragon models for the review sample.