Tuesday, January 17

Takom let a pair of Maus loose in der hause....

Takom has stunned us again with their new release of not only one - but two Maus super heavy tanks in 35th scale. It appears two of the original prototype shapes are now in production - This is what we know about both of the kits so far...

Zwei Maus lose im Haus von Takom

We know that there is an older Cyberhobby kit of this massive machine, but since that release, there has been more access to the only example of this tank - and so there must be a new one in the works? We have been waiting for someone to crack - and now Takom are off the mark with their new Maus kit in 35th scale. Let's look at the two variants planned...

Maus V1 (The first, turretless prototype)
from Takom
1/35th scale
Three markings are included from AMMO
Photo-Etch parts included

Maus V2 (Turreted version)
from Takom
1/35th scale
Three markings are included from AMMO
Photo-Etch parts included
These two kits will feature three markings each - probably a lot of "what-if" markings could be applied to these - especially the non-turreted version which could be shown on the proving ground, in a factory or even somewhere later on hidden away at some secret forgotten location.
The turreted version could be modelled in a similar way - but as you see by the "Octopus" camo style on the front, there are many ways this could be shown off by a modeller - partially destroyed or in working order on a late war battlefield. If you had twelve or so half-tracks you could even show it being towed...
A little about the Maus for those who don't know much about it:

SdKfz 205 Panzerkampfwagen VIII (PzKpfW VIII) "Maus"

The heaviest tank ever to be constructed was Germany’s Panzer VIII. Its designers weren’t without a sense of humour – they named the 180-ton behemoth the "Maus" (mouse). Had the Maus’ manufacturing plant not been bombed by the allies and subsequently overrun by the Soviets in 1945, the Germans would have built more than just the single fully operational prototype. The Maus was intended to punch holes through enemy defences in the manner of an immense "breakthrough tank", whilst taking almost no damage to any components or the crew inside.
The complete vehicle was 10.2 metres (33 ft 6 in) long, 3.71 metres (12 ft 2 in) wide and 3.63 metres (11.9 ft) high. Weighing 188 metric tons, the Maus's main armament was the Krupp-designed 128 mm KwK 44 L/55 gun, based on the 12.8 cm Pak 44 anti-tank field artillery piece also used in the casemate-type Jagdtiger tank destroyer, with a coaxial 75 mm KwK 44 L/36.5 gun. The 128 mm gun was powerful enough to destroy all Allied armoured fighting vehicles previously in service, some at ranges exceeding 3,500 metres (3,800 yd)
The armour on the hull front was 220 millimetres (8.7 in) thick, the sides and rear of the hull were up to 190 millimetres (7.5 in). The turret armour was even thicker, the turret front was up to 240 millimetres (9.4 in) and the sides and rear 200 millimetres (7.9 in). The gun mantlet was 250 millimetres (9.8 in), and combined with the turret armour behind, the protection level at that section was even higher.
In fact, the Germans built TWO Maus tanks. One with, and the other without a turret. These underwent trials in late 1944.

Prototype V1
The first, turretless prototype (V1) was assembled by Alkett in December 1943. Tests started the same month, with a mockup turret fitted of the same weight as the real turret. In June 1944 the production turret, with armament, was used for tests.
The Maus was too heavy to cross bridges. As a result, an alternative system was developed, where the Maus would instead ford the rivers it needed to cross. Due to its size it could ford relatively deep streams, but for deeper ones it was to submerge and drive across the river bottom. The solution required tanks to be paired up. One Maus would supply electrical power to the crossing vehicle via a cable until it reached the other side. The crew would receive air through a large snorkel, which was long enough for the tank to go 7.9 m (26 ft) under water.

Prototype V2
In March 1944 the second prototype, the V2, was delivered. It differed in many details from the V1 prototype. In mid-1944, the V2 prototype was fitted with a power plant and the first produced Maus turret. This turret was fitted with a 128 mm KwK 44 L/55 gun, a coaxial 75 mm KwK 44 L/36.5 gun and a coaxial 7.92 mm MG 34. The V1 prototype was supposed to be fitted with the second produced turret, but this never happened.
By July 1944, Krupp was in the process of producing four more Maus hulls, but they were ordered to halt production and scrap these. Krupp stopped all work on it in August 1944. Meanwhile, the V2 prototype started tests in September 1944, fitted with a Daimler-Benz MB 517 diesel engine, new electric steering system and a Skoda Works designed running gear and tracks. There was also a special railroad carriage made just for transporting the Maus prototypes.

In Action:
The working Maus prototypes remained at Kummersdorf after being tested at Böblingen. Maus V2 was ordered to Wünsdorf to protect the OKH, probably V1 was ordered there, also, as a support for the V2 if it drove into mud or to help with diving through rivers (where it would have served as generator unit for V2). V2 ended at the Hindenburgplatz, in front of the bunker Maybach I, where it was destroyed by the Germans by placing charges in the engine and fighting compartments. Because it had ammunition stowed under the turret, it was damaged more extensively than V1, with the turret being more or less intact. Maus V1 did not reach this area.
Maus recovered by the Soviets...
The blown up Maus in 1945 in a very sorry state:
The turret close up:
 The Maus was so very heavy that ti took six half-tracks pulling together were needed to move it:
Most Maus accounts say this turret was placed on the hull of the V1 Maus and taken to Kubinka to the tank proving grounds in Russia.
This is it on a rail car for transport back to Russia.
The last surviving Maus at the Kubinka Museum in Russia Today.
So we can expect these two new kits from Takom in the next two months we expect. Keep your eyes on the news here at TMN or the Takom Website for more on these two...

Within MINUTES of posting this - Trumpeter announced that they are making their own Maus kit with a full interior... Coincidence or "trumping" the opposition? You decide. Soon, with the Cyberhobby/ Dragon kit of old, we will have three kits to choose from in this scale, which is a good thing for modellers 🐭🖰🐁