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In-Box Review
135
VK3001(H) Pz.Kpfw. VI Ausf. A
German VK3001(H) Panzerkampfwagen VI (Ausf. A)
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by: Mike High [ TACFIREGURU ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

On 9 September 1938, Henschel received authorization to continue their work on a new medium tank in conjunction with the Durchbruchwagen (DW) development. Work on VK3001(H), which was a further development of the DWII began. Two similar designs were produced; the lighter 32 ton VK3001(H) and the heavier 40 ton VK3601(H). It should be noted that the VK3001(H) was classified as a medium tank. Both vehicles resembled the Panzerkampfwagen IV in the design of their hulls, but the running gear was a new design that consisted of overlapping road wheels.

There were only four VK3001(H) prototypes produced; two in March and two in October 1941. Originally, it was intended to mount the VK3001(H) with a turret that was armed with the 75mm L/24 or 105mm L/28 gun. However, none of the prototypes were actually fitted with turrets. Additional development was cancelled in 1942 in favor of development of the VK4501(H) - the Tiger I. Six of the turrets that were designed for the VK3001(H) ended up being used in permanent fortifications in the Atlantic and West Wall.

As another note to the VK3001(H)'s history, two of the chassis were converted into the 12.8 cm Selbstfahrlafette L/61 (Panzerselbstfahrlafette V) or "Sturer Emil" prototypes.

Contents

The kit is packaged in Trumpeter's usual sturdy cardboard box. All of the styrene parts come packaged in plastic bags and the hull halves are further protected by a cardboard insert. The VK3001(H) consists of 230 parts on five sprues plus the upper and lower hull sections, vinyl ("rubber-band") tracks, and clear parts for the periscopes. The parts are molded in light grey styrene and are reasonably flash free - though there are seam lines that will need to be taken care of. Additionally, Trumpeter provides a 12-page, easy to understand/follow instruction booklet, a color painting guide, and a generic set of decals.

Review

As mentioned, the instructions are easy to understand and follow, and the layout is quite clear.

The road wheels, return rollers, sprockets, and idlers all have fine detail; bolts, rivets, welds, and bolt keepers are nicely rendered. There are some seams that will be easy to clean up along with ejector knockout marks, but those will be hidden. The lower hull has nice detail for the suspension, and the road wheel arms are "keyed" so things should level out properly. Quite the "beefy" suspension. There is no lower hull interior included, so the builder will either want to "button it up" or fill the hatch(es) with figures. The rear panel, with the exhaust is well reproduced with the exhaust pipe molded hollow.

The "rubber-band" tracks leave a bit to be desired. My sample has quite a bit of flash on the edges and several "stubs" on the hollow guide teeth. Because the VK3001(H) was the predecessor to the Sturer Emil, aftermarket tracks should be readily available (Friulmodel, Modelkasten).

The upper hull has quite a bit of nicely rendered molded-on detail. The weld detail is sharp, but oddly enough, the engine panel hinges don't show any bolt detail (as show on the instruction sheet, page 7). This was a definite miss by Trumpeter, but should be easy to replicate with a fine drill bit and pin vise. The fender assembly has a nice rendition of the tread plate, and plenty of bolt detail. There are some large knockout marks on the underside that will need to be filled. The wiring for the headlights is also molded on. I dry fitted the upper hull to the fenders and to the lower hull; care will need to be taken in the alignment as the fit/alignment tolerances are very close.

The turret (proposed as it was) is the real treat in this kit and it takes up a full three pages of the assembly instructions. The weld details on the top and sides are nice, a full main gun (7.5 cm Kw.K L/24) is included along with a reasonably complete interior. This could conceivably lead to the turret hatches being left wide open.

The color painting and marking guide is quite simplified; it references three colors (tire black, field gray, and steel) and cross-references colors by Mr. Hobby, Vallejo, Model Master, Tamiya, and Humbrol. The markings (decals) are not displayed on this guide nor on any of the box art, so it'll be up to the builder to decide whether or not to use them, or to reference a similar vehicle for placement.

Conclusion

Trumpeter brings us another unusual subject with the VK3001(H). The molding is nice and there is great detail present throughout, especially in the area of the suspension. The turret interior is a very nice addition. The short-comings are certainly in the vinyl tracks as noted. The instructions are clear, but the markings given (decals) and the marking guide don't show placements. The "pros" certainly outweigh the "cons" as the necessary fixes are easy enough. With that, this kit is still recommended for those that enjoy the curious German topics.

A Build Log will be started on the Forums to evaluate the kit construction.


SUMMARY
Highs: Well detailed kit, nice moldings, turret interior, and clear instructions.
Lows: A lot of flash on the vinyl tracks,
Verdict: A very nice, well detailed offering of the VK3001(H).
Percentage Rating
80%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 01515
  Suggested Retail: $59.95
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Apr 19, 2009
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 88.85%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 84.63%

Our Thanks to Stevens International!
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 Mike High (TacFireGuru)
FROM: COLORADO, UNITED STATES

Like most, I started out in my young years; building Monogram armor and aircraft. Joining the Army at 17 in 1981 put a stop to my building for many years, I retired in 2001 and ran across Armorama....I've been re-hooked since. I'm a notoriously slow builder and seem to have more than one buil...

Copyright 2017 text by Mike High [ TACFIREGURU ]. 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.


Reader Reviews
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Comments

Rudi, Geraint - thanks for the comments. On the top of the turret are two hatches, more or less framing the front of the Commander's cupola. On each side of the turret is a vision port...though not "made" to be opened, they could be I guess. Also, on the rear of the turrent, on both the left and right, are pistol ports(?). Those aren't designed to be opened up. Mike
APR 19, 2009 - 10:42 AM
Here is another's take on the kit... or parts of it http://www.missing-lynx.com/gallery/german/concretepanzersz_1.html
APR 19, 2009 - 02:58 PM
Thanks James...neat! I did some more looking around and I wonder: There's a picture of the VK3601(H) on the net....that one distinctly shows one of the storage boxes. Is it possible that they made this kit and utilized something from that? Wish I had the Panzer Tracts for this..... Mike
APR 19, 2009 - 04:09 PM
It goes together easily.I would have preferred the link and length system trumpeter used on the KV 2 series,however. The turret interior is basic,but I guess there weren't many good references for the true layout. I agree the molding was okay,I was reminded of mid quality Tamiya in some areas. The lifting hooks on the turret front corneres were not as well detailed as i hoped.
APR 19, 2009 - 05:02 PM
Nice to see the kit built up, yes those tracks do look rubber bandy. Nice to see Steve Zaloga 's opened up turret on ML lots of possiblities. Still like the chunky box light shape. Thanks all cheers Geraint
APR 20, 2009 - 12:57 PM
Personally for such a basic kit I was rather nonplussed at the inclusion of rubber-band tracks on a kit that costs as much as this one does. Ditto on the lack of interior detail for a kit that set me back this much. As to accuracy of detail: as a prototype I would imagine that they changed features on it on a frequent basis. They would, I'm sure, try one feature, get feed back during troop trials, and then modify accordingly. Its all good. Except for the lack of interior details. And individual link tracks!
DEC 29, 2016 - 04:25 PM
Frank, Have you been enjoying your journey through Armorama history, or are you a necromancer raising corpses for some sinister scheme?
DEC 29, 2016 - 05:27 PM
(Long pause). May-beee...
DEC 30, 2016 - 11:21 AM
Actually I'm currently building this kit and was hoping for some insight into it. I was thinking of modelling it without the turret, replacing this with the weights that they used to simulate the turret during trials. So yes, I'm trawling through old stuff, but I'm hoping to "resurrect" the conversation that might have benefitted from a few years of thought.
DEC 30, 2016 - 11:39 AM
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