by: Russ Amott [ ]
After the first world war, several countries experimented with multi turret tanks, thinking they would make the ideal "land battle cruisers". Britain had their Vickers A1E1 Independent. The Soviet Union built the T-35. The concept even continued into more modern types such as the French Char B-1 and US M3 medium. In Germany, a secret project was begun, called the "new construction vehicle", or Neubau Fahrzeug. The tank was to be equipped with a 7.5cm low velocity gun paired with a 3.7cm anti-tank gun and have independent turrets armed with a machine gun. Both Rheinmetall and Krupp were awarded contracts to build the vehicles, with the Rheinmetall placing the two guns in a vertical arrangement. In 1934 Rheinmetall built two prototypes of mild steel as test platforms. They were slow, complex (even for German engineering) and the gun arrangement was difficult to work with, and were only used for propaganda purposes and as a test platform (although the three built by Krupp, with a different turret and gun arrangement did see action in Norway). Nevertheless, they provided the German army with valuable experience.
Dragon has released a 1/72 scale model of the Neubau Fahrzeug, Nr.1 prototype as part of their Armor Pro series as a follow up to their previous release of the the 3-5 prototype tanks.
The kit comes in a small/medium top opening box with artwork of the prototype tank in overall dark gray with dark brown and dark green mottled camouflage. Inside the box are 7 sprues in gray styrene, one hull upper, and on a cardboard backer a small baggie with three turrets, two DS styrene track lengths and one small decal sheet. I did not notice any sink marks, flash or any other flaws.
The kit is not parts heavy. Tools are molded in place on the track guards for simplicity. Detail is excellent and all parts are very crisp and neatly molded.
Sprue A is from the previous release and most of the parts are marked not for use. Of note is the dual exhaust with the pipe ends hollowed out. There are four smaller A sprues, two each of drive sprocket, return roller and idler wheel, and of the smaller turret lowers and mantlet. Two additional A parts, slide molded turret uppers are bagged separately. Detail on these turrets is impressive.
Sprue B, also from the previous release, has the road wheels and hull tub. Both are well molded with very clear detail. A separate jack and cleaning rod are included here.
Sprue C is for this kit exclusively and includes the Rheinmetall turret with vertical gun arrangement. The guns are molded in two separate pieces with hollowed out muzzles. The track guards have skid plate texturing on both the top and the underside.
A separate C part is the main hull upper, slide molded for maximum detail on a single part. The multi-faceted surface of the hull is very well represented.
Part D is the main turret, a single slide molded upper. Again, detail is excellent all around.
The two track lengths are well detailed, straight and can be attached with regular modeling cement.
The decals consist of white crosses, although in the painting guide no markings are indicated on either of the two schemes.
The instructions are printed in simple pamphlet form, consisting of 6 steps. They are clearly laid out. A painting guide is included, with paints in GSI Aqueous Hobby color and Mr Color ranges, as well as Testor's Model Master enamel paints.
The two color schemes, both indicated as being from the well known Unidentified Unit, 1938, show the tank first in the overall dark gray scheme as well as in the dark gray with brown and green overspray that is shown on the box top. Both schemes are presented in four views, consisting of both sides, front and rear. I very much like the full color painting guide.
Having finished taking photos of the kit, my son, Andrew, raided my stash and quickly built the kit. He is impulsive and tends to build quickly, non stop, and can get ahead of himself in the instructions. When he completed the build, he reported no issues with the instructions that he could see. Parts fit was excellent. That would be a bonus for this kit as being a good choice for a newer, younger modeler.
This kit was supplied through Armorama, but searching online, I found prices ranging from $18-24 dollars US, before shipping.
This kit is very well detailed, fairly easy to assemble and I really like the full color painting guide. It is of a one of a kind tank, so is somewhat obscure. Overall, I think this is a very good kit.