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In-Box Review
135
RSO mit Allwetterverdeck
7.5cm PaK 40/4 auf RSO mit Allwetterverdeck
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by: Kevin Brant [ SGTRAM ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

The Raupenschlepper Ost or RSO for short is translated to Caterpillar Tractor East. The versatile tracked vehicle was designed for the Russian front to deal with mud and snow. Based on the Steyr 1500A light truck, the RSO was used in multiple roles, including a cargo carrier and weapons platform.

In 1943 there were a large number of complaints by Wehrmacht anti-tank units concerning the use of trucks to move their gun. It was at this time OKW explored the idea of mounting the Wehrmacht standard 7.5cm on a RSO/03. Based on initial tests the vehicle proved worthy, but due to urgent needs the pre-production units, about 60 in total, were redirected to Panzer Jager and Grenadier units. A full order never reached production, and even though Steyr tested improvements, the 60 pre-production units were the only ones built.

Contents

14 sprues of plastic, including the chassis tub
2 small frets of photo-etched
2 very fine preformed wire handles
1 bag of Magic Track (144 links)
1 instruction sheet

Review

This is the second 7.5cm PaK 40/4 auf RSO/03 released by Dragon Models, the first being released in 2010. A quick scan of the contents, reveals this new kit is basically the original release with the all-weather cover added. Looking at the plastic, it is well molded with little to no flash, and from what I can see there should be no ejector marks showing after construction, with the exception of the four inside the cover, which would not be that visible, nor that difficult to sand out.

The kit does include a fully detailed chassis, engine, and suspension. I am rather impressed with the engine detail, but it will be covered, and some cutting would be required to have it shown. As for the running gear, Dragon has included new parts for the brake housings, which are more detailed then in the first release, a nice addition. To round out the running gear a bag with 144 links of Magic Track is included that should provide a great looking track.

The driver and passenger compartment is well done, with new molded parts included in this new release, that better profiles the floor of the RSO and adds some texture to the seats. The crew compartment hatches can be built in the closed or open position, with some nice photo-etched details of the latching mechanism for the open position. As part of the hatches, two VERY fine pieces of pre-formed wire has been included to represent the handles.

Onto the rear deck, Dragon has included in newly molded fighting compartment deck, that has a different layout of the under floor bins. Based on what little information I could find, it seems the original floor had the correct storage bin layout, thus I am not sure as to why the inclusion of the changed part. As mention, only the 60 pre-production units were built, it is possible that some may have had different under floor storage layouts.
From looking at the parts of the PaK 40, I believe this is the original gun released by Dragon in 2007. The breech and firing mechanism look to be well detailed, and should build up nice. The front shield does a nice attempt at representing the scale thickness with tapered edges, I would still look to an aftermarket shield to show truer scale thickness. The barrel is one piece molded with separate muzzle brake to be built and attached. The kit does include three options for the muzzle brake, I would check references to ensure you are installing the correct one.

A nice addition to the kit is the inclusion of plastic molded ammunition and boxes. Eight unfired and three fired shells are included, as well as the individual and box stowage. Now the instructions show decal application for the stowage, but the decals are missing from my review example and I am not sure if they are really included in the release.

The main reason for this release is the inclusion of the all-weather cover. While nicely textured with creases and folds, in my opinion it seems to be a little over done based on images I have seen as on the real RSO as the all-weather covers seems to be fastened down pretty taunt. While being molded a little thick, there is also no interior structure to the cover molded on. It should also be noted that in contrast to the box art, the cover is a full single piece, and would require some scratch building and cutting to represent the sides up.

As for the instructions, the kit is assembled over 22 steps, starting with the engine, then chassis, working to the crew compartment then fighting platform. As I have mentioned in past Dragon reviews, always double check the parts and dry fit, as Dragon has a history of making mistakes in their instructions.

Painting and Marking schemes are presented for four vehicles, two from unidentified units and two for Pz.Jg.Abt.152. Unfortunately I am unable to confirm the accuracy of these markings as my limited information show of the 60 pre-production units, they were supplied to Pz.Jg.Abtís 743 and 744 as well as the 18th Panzergrenadier Division.


Conclusion

Overall this looks to be nice kit, and the inclusion of the all-weather cover is a nice addition. The updating of some parts also makes the kit worth the purchase, especially if you did not purchase the 2010 release. Unfortunately, the missing markings for the ammunition stowage, questionable marking options, and limited display options for the all-weather cover does offer some draw backs. I would recommend this kit, especially if you did not purchase the original release, as this release does offer the modeler a few extra options in the build.

SUMMARY
Highs: New parts, all-weather cover, new options
Lows: Missing decals for ammunition, questionable marking options, limited option on use of all-weather cover, mostly the original 2010 release.
Verdict: Not a bad kits, few new parts make it worth purchase, if you don't have the original
Percentage Rating
70%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 6679
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Mar 23, 2014
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 88.35%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 86.19%

Our Thanks to Dragon USA!
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 Kevin Brant (SgtRam)
FROM: ONTARIO, CANADA

I am an IT Consultant and father, with a passion for plastic models. I mostly prefer 1/35 Armor and 1/48 Aircraft. My main interests are anything Canadian, as well as WW2 German and British Armor and Aircraft. I have been building models since I was a young kid, got away from it for awhile, but r...

Copyright ©2017 text by Kevin Brant [ SGTRAM ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.


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Comments

Yes, the old Italeri kit is better dimensionally. The seats and their mounts are a problem, as the Eduard PE set, which has the seat mounts, is also incorrect. They are way too high. And if they were so high in reality, the driver's head would be sticking above the cab roof. To sum it up, as of yet there is no acceptable kit of this very important vehicle. But for Dragon releasing four incorrectly dimensioned kits of the same vehicle is really appalling. Cheers, bob
MAR 23, 2014 - 07:30 PM
"11 mm too narrow"? YIKES! Too bad as I wanted to tackle one of these new kits after building 2 of the Italeri kits. Jeff
MAR 23, 2014 - 07:36 PM
Bob can I ask where you got your measurements? I did a measurement of the kit, and it looks to be less then 1mm to wide. The actual width of a RSO is 1.99 meters, or 199cm, scaled down to 1/35 scale that is 5.68cm and the cab and cargo bed measure just of 5.7cm, thus the I do not see where are are getting the 11mm to narrow measurement? Could you please explain? Kevin
MAR 23, 2014 - 09:08 PM
I no longer have the DML /03 kit so cannot verify the incorrect dimensions on that one...although nothing looked way off on the completed model as far as I can recall. As far as the DML /04, chassis, cab and bed scale up well within tolerances with the scale drawings I have. So don't write this one off
MAR 23, 2014 - 09:50 PM
Building models back in the 70s and early 80s I always found Italeri kits to be horrible in terms of fit and overall quality of the molding (sinkholes, etc.) Consequently I continue to avoid anything with an Italeri label. Have they improved significantly over the years? If so, then I might open the aperture a bit to allow them back onto the bench.
MAR 23, 2014 - 10:43 PM
SgtRam, you are correct regarding the width of the actual vehicle. It was 1990 mm wide, which scales down to ~57 mm in 1/35 scale. On the DML RSO/01 and 03 kits (DML #6684 and 6691) the cab and cargo bed are 45 mm wide. So, these DML kits are even 12 mm too narrow, not 11 mm as I stated initially. If what you are saying refers to the RSO/04 kit dimensions, that means that DML got this one right, which is even more puzzling. The cab and cargo bed being too narrow on the 01 and 03 kits is very evident, as on the real vehicle they were wider than the track edge-to-edge distance, while on the kits the tracks are showing from underneath the cargo bed and cab when viewed from the top.
MAR 24, 2014 - 09:10 AM
Bob When you refer to a RS0/4, not sure what you are refering too, as I can only find reference to RSO/01, RSO/02, and RSO/03. Which refer basically to the cab variants. I also don't understand how the previous release can be as you mentioned, as the parts for the original release from Dragon are in this box, and I measured them as well, and they measure the same. Can you please reference the kit you are talking about so we can clarify this? Thanks Kevin
MAR 24, 2014 - 10:26 AM
Just another note, on the RSO/01, as seen in pictures of the actual vehicle, the cab is much narrower then the track and cargo bed. I cannot confirm the actual measurements as I don't have those kits. Kevin
MAR 24, 2014 - 10:39 AM
Kevin, the RSO/4 version is the one with the PAK 40 mounted on the cargo bed. I took my measurements on kit #6684 (RSO/3), which I still have. I checked instructions for kit #6691 (RSO/1) and found out that the cargo bed sprue was the same as for the RSO/3, so I concluded that for that kit the cargo bed was also too narrow. The cab for RSO/3 is definitely too narrow as I stated before - I got the cab width from the website, btw on this version the cab was ~as wide as the cargo bed. I also compared DML kit dimensions with the old RSO kits dimensions (Peerless, Italeri) and with those in the available drawings. All comparisons indicated that the DML cab and bed for RSO/3 were way too narrow. I am not sure about the RSO/1 cab width. But, here is the ultimate sanity check - try to take an average 1/35th scale sitting figure and fit it in the DML cab. On the RSO/3, 1/3 of the figure was "hanging" outside the cab. bob
MAR 24, 2014 - 07:41 PM
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