Surprise! Another rail car from Trumpeter. This one is of the more heavy-duty variety; the Schwere Plattformwagen Type SSyms 80, which is able to transport larger vehicles like the Tiger (which is depicted on the cover). I won't claim any great knowledge of German rail transport. I am making some assumptions for this piece on the knowledge that it's more than likely something that actually saw war-time combat (as much as flat cars can fight wars). I mean the Germans did need to move heavy tanks to the Eastern front right?
This kit includes a lot
of plastic. The normal section of ground/track that Trumpeter usually includes on this type of kit is doubled due to the loading ramp included with this rail-car. If you look at the photo below on page 16 of the instructions (step 14) you will note the size and scope of this kit once completed. Indeed the Tiger tank shown in outline on the flat car takes up only about 1/6 of the length of the total kit.
The mechanism for loading heavy tanks on to this flat car is actually part of the car itself. There is a triangular load-bearing unit that is moved from the end of the car to the ground when loading. Then a ramp section is mounted on this support and a further hinged ramp is brought down over it. There are no pictures of how all these pieces would be carried on the car once loading if completed. I did find an older product by The Tank Workshop which depicts a pyramid canvas cover over one end of the car, but this doesn't seem to match with Trumpeter's version. And there is an excellent build of this kit by Ed Sarao
which has some period photos with Tigers no less. However in those photos I am still not seeing the ramp mechanism. More than likely the ramp was only needed for one car (in a convoy of many) as they would have been able to load the other cars from the ends, etc. However that is just supposition on my part.
The kit itself is typical Trumpeter quality and workmanship. Meaning good, solid, and well detailed (but not to extremes). The most detailed parts are obviously the road wheels and running gear, as well as the car hitches and bumpers. The rest is mostly steel and heavy supports, etc. I will let the photos speak to the this.
The instructions are well illustrated with limited prompts in English and Chinese. Lots of "Make 4" and "Make 6" references.
There is a decal sheet which includes white marking that appear mostly along the sides of the flat car. There is a painting and marking guide (illustrated in color) to give you an idea of a finished piece. The colors shown include field gray, Steel (actually misspelled "Stee") metal black, and "Wood Brown". The Mr. Hobby, Vallejo, Model Master, Tamiya, and Humbrol color codes are included (but not for all three in some cases).
If you are interested in German rail cars this will certainly be high on your list of candidates for your collection. It will obviously be very useful in diorama making for those massive dios we sometimes see brave hobbyists create. All in all this is another solid (very solid) release by Trumpeter. After many of these releases however I can't help but hope we start to see a few more unexpected items in the future. However that does not detract from this very competent release.