Sunday, June 11

In-Boxed: The 35th scale 30.5CM Mörser "Bär" from Amusing Hobby

Up for scrutiny today the new 35th scale 30.5CM Mörser "Bär“ with that massive gun on board via Amusing Hobby. As this behemoth never saw the light of day, there is sparse info to compare it with. However, we thought we would take a look at the kit and the colours, plastic & everything else in the box in our "In-Boxed" review.

In-Boxed: 30.5CM Mörser "Bär" 
From Amusing Hobby
1/35th scale
Kit No# 35A014
Kit features workable track links and open or closable hatches.
Price: ¥4,000/ $37.15USD/ €33.18 Euro At HLJ

Product Link on the Amusing Hobby Website
For those who have the large resin kit and don't want to fork out, of for those who like obscure heavy German tanks with BIG guns well Amusing Hobby has more for you. Taking one of the biggest guns we have seen on their latest kit just released at Nuremberg Toy Fair... but what about the real thing (is it even real who knows...)

In early May of 1942, a new design of Sturmpanzer, the Bär (Bear) was proposed. On March 4th of 1943, Krupp proposed the development of the new Sturmgeschütz armed with 305mm L/16 mortar and first drawings were ready in May. It was to be armed with a 305mm gun mounted in the superstructure, based on the modified chassis of the then new Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger (Tiger I) heavy tank and also it was to utilise some Panther components with new suspension developed by Krupp. The new vehicle was to weigh 120 tonnes.

Some Stats (proposed...)

30.5cm L/16 auf Sfl. Bär(Bear)
Crew: 6 Armament: one 30.5cm KwK L/16
Weight: 120 tonnes Traverse: unknown, rigidly mounted weapon
Length: 8.20 meters (sans gun) Elevation: 0o to +70o
Width: 4.10 meters Engine: Maybach HL230 P30
Height: 3.55 meters Gearbox: 6 forward, 1 reverse
Radio: unknown, most likely a FuG 5 
Speed: 20 km/hr

A drawing of the proposed tank...

This new Sturmpanzer was to be powered by a 12-cylinder Maybach HL 230 P 30 engine producing 700hp. This would have allowed the vehicle to travel at a (speculated) maximum speed of approximately 20km/h [12 mph]. The Bär was to be armed with a rigidly-mounted 305mm KwK L/16 gun installed in an armoured superstructure in the back of the hull. The main gun could only be elevated from 0 to 70 degrees and had a range of 10,500 meters [11,400 yards]. Each 305mm round weighed 350kg [770 pounds] and carried a 50kg [110 pound] charge. The interior storage space allowed for only 10 rounds.

Bär was to be 8.2 meters [26.7 feet] long, 4.1 meters [13.65 feet] wide and 3.5 meters [11.4 feet] high. Armour was sloped and protection ranged from 80mm on the sides to 130mm at the front. Sturmpanzer Bär was to be operated by a crew of six - commander, gunner, two loaders, driver and radio-operator. The project never left the drawing board but was a step in the development of the Sturmtiger.

The Bär was a large self-propelled vehicle mounting an awesome 30.5cm weapon. The running gear was largely to be taken from the Tiger tank, but rather than torsion bars, leaf spring suspension was to be used. These springs would have most likely resembled a larger version of the Panzer IV leaf spring mounting. Similar systems were suggested for prototype Jagdpanzers which were on the drawing board toward the end of the war. The gun was rigidly mounted, but a provision was made for a wide range of elevations. These features make the Bär closely resemble the Sturmtiger in capabilities and expected performance.

SO that leaves us with this new tank from Amusing Hobby – What's in the box?

The medium sized box reveals a fairly busy box. There are black and white paper A4 instructions, two colour profile son one colour printed paper sheet, a small decal and small Photo-etch sheet and one single brass tow cable along with poly caps, two small sprues of clear visors, thirteen brown track sprues and ten light grey sprues consisting the rest of the tank, these include the massive top and lower halves of the hull.

What's in the box - Instructions:
In their usual fashion, we have a largely black and white instruction booklet from Amusing Hobby. There are some coloured sections in here, but it is pretty simple to follow and not that remarkable. However, it is meant to do just one job, and this set of instructions are clear and concise. Only eleven pages with twenty-one steps in there, nothing crammed in or hard to follow for what looks to be a very simple build.
Colour schemes
On a double sided coloured shiny grade paper in A4 we see two two different proposed seams from AMMO. These are simple and pretty conventional schemes that look pretty common to something you might see in a King Tiger in a mid to late war scheme. Still pretty nice, the opportunity to make this kit into anything you fancy looms large. although these are nicely presented and well executed, the temptation will be here for those modellers with imagination and a mind to the unconventional could come up with some great schemes.
To support these schemes there is a standard, but a little simple for my liking, set of dual numbers in red and white for modellers to use. I would like to see alternate number styles/ colours in here if possible.
Photo- Etched sheet.
This small photo-etched brass sheet gives is engine grill covers. Just the minimum here then, and that - keeping with the rather simple nature of this build, is right on the money. 
Brass Cable
A replica of a towing cable is provided in this instance with twenty-eight centimetres of twisted brass cable. I have untangled this cable and let it sit straight down on the table for you to see if it was too stiff or not. I can say that it is a flexible one. There are cable clamps that these fit into on the kit, slide moulded so this wire fits straight in the end.
Poly Caps
Simple poly caps are provided to secure big gun on its pivot points and enable it to elevate or depress. This is useful, many modellers will simply glue their gun rigidly in place I would think, or have it sit int he travel lock - anyway it's a good feature to have
Clear Sprues (X2)
Two clear sprues are provided for the viewports of the turret hatches. These are taken from the earlier Amusing Hobby "Lowe" kit. There might be a few spares in there we think!
The Tracks (da da da dummmm)
In my last build of an Amusing Hobby kit (the otherwise great Jagdpanther II), I hated the tracks supplied with it and to be very honest I was dreading making these - Happy days however - as these are fresh from the "Lowe" kit again, and although not great, they are a fairly simple set of tracks in an easy construction. My little heart just stopped palpitating thank goodness.
Seven and six sprues in brown plastic make up the 110 links for each side of the tank's tracks.

Here they are in close up - ejector marks are small, and only on the inside of the track links so with a combination of some careful sanding to visible parts, and dust and weathering - these will be not much of an issue.

Amusing Hobby gives you a plastic jig supplied with the kit to make these in a fairly easy method. Be careful when making these with Tamiya extra thin - you don't want the glue to secure the tracks to the jig! Use Revell Contacta or something like that on these if you want them to stay unsecured to the jig...

Here is the end result with the Lowe kit. Flexible links fairly easy to make - (and we all breathe a sigh of relief).

The Plastic
Amusing Hobby sure has plastic moulding down to a tee - as the plastic on offer here is moulded sharply, no flash and the slighted of seams to be eliminated from it. the ejector pin marks that are there are hidden on the inside of the kit, to be hidden from all but you. 😈

I like the combination of both pitted rolled steel and orange peel like cast steel surface details offered by Amusing Hobby.

Sprue A

The largest sprue here. This light grey runner features the larger parts of the kit that are not the hull main halves. The supports for the gun, the curved front side mantlets for the gun, and the large cylindrical socket for the 30.5cm to fit into. Rear mud flaps, posable hatches and the rear flat plate of the tank are included here along with the flat, rectangle plate that acts as a brake when the tank shoots, they are all here on this sprue.
The gun is a major part of this tank's being ( if not the only reason) - and it is replicated here in one part, so no messy joining or seams up the middle of a very exposed and open barrel. Nicely, the thick rifling of the barrel is present, with a little flash on the ends of the tip of the barrel to be removed. The large, cylindrical pivot mount of the gun is also here on this sprue.
The sides of this massive gun mantlet are thankfully not needed to blend into yet more cast textured material. They simply meet the sides of the hull in square edges, so this is both nice to have in this detail, and not much work for the modeller with a contrast in detail between this and rolled steel texture fo the hull provided by Amusing Hobby.

Sprue B (X3) - Next up, we see three sprues of the running gear of the Bar. These are the same again as the Lowe parts. with inner and outer interleaved wheels. Also, the drive sprocket in three parts and return rollers are here. The wheel nut detail is nice and defined.
Shackles, headlights and exhausts are also here on this sprue
Here is a closer look at the detail on the wheels, enough to satisfy most modeller's tastes.
Sprue C (X2) - There are two copies of this next sprue. It is not THAT interesting as it houses lots of the smaller parts of the superstructure of the kit. The cable hooks, headlight,  a cooling fan and hard grill to cover it, however, the large calibre shells which come with the kit are a nice inclusion.
I have no idea if these shells are the exact type that would have been fired from this tank that never left the drawing board, but they look OK to me. The fans for the engine deck are again the same as the ones on the Lowe kit, Not very efficient looking to me!
Sprue D (X4) - Again more of the running gear - this time six inner road wheels ( like the others steel wheels with no rubber) and again with very nice bolt details, the suspension rods that are flexible and slot straight into the other side of the hull's bottom are here along with some shells that are a remnant of this sprue belonging to the previous Lowe kit (again) I am beginning to think this kit is a little too simple to make.
A close look at the main elements of this sprue and the ammo for what must b the onboard machine gun? (joking) - the Lowe armament not needed for this kit but good as a spare.
Sprue F -  this is the sprue that you will get with amusing Hobby's kits for German tools. Shovels, a jimmy bar, jack handle, a wooden jack block and a simple jack, redundant long barrelled gun cleaning rods, a fire extinguisher, axe and large towing hooks are included with also the ends of the towing cables that attach tot the brass rod. Pretty standard stuff really, but not sure detailed. Some might go for aftermarket Photo-Etch to enhance some of these.
The Lower Hull
This lower hull is on one large slab of light grey plastic - speeding construction and making the kit very rigid. A lot more detail that I would have expected, a bit spurious I would think, but nice to see as something but a flat surface. A well-educated guess is better than no idea at all.
 There is plenty of detail here although most will never see it. The escape hatches for the underside of the tank and the weld seams on the hull are well done.
 Also on this sprue is the aforementioned plastic jog for the tracks to be constructed. - handy - but like I said - use thick glue so you don't have a tank attached to the jug by the tracks :-) Aaaand NO, you do not have to make the tracks while this is attached to the hull lolz.
The Upper Hull
This upper hull is pretty plain, and it matches mostly the draft plan that we have sourced ( at the head of this review)  so we were happy enough with the shapes but like anything not ever made you can't really do a measured comparison apart from the shape of the big lump of metal that it represents. 
The size - big, but not as big as it is vertical. The size of this thing in real life would have been a difficult element to hide in the bushes. Notice here which hatches on the top of the hull and front for the driver and radio/ MG gunner on the front of the hull.
although you can not see it that well the thing that impressed my a lot about the kit - any kit-  is decent, restrained surface detail. This glacis plate is an example of the pitted, holed, surfaces on what is meant to be rolled steel. Growing up around a welder's yard I saw a lot of steel plate of all types and this looks really really nice. Don't run it with too much paint guys as it is very well done. Thi sand the cast steel on the front gun shields are really nice. The interleaved welds on the joining plates are nice also.
 The engine deck is able to be posed open, but you will have to rely on an aftermarket version of the powerplant to fill that void. Nice to have the choice tho. Notice again the weld marks on the seams of the steel, and the MG mantlet. Again, with this kit, there is a simple MG mantlet set up which is just so nice. Nothing worse than making a six or seven part MG and then hiding it all inside a closed hull. 
A last, nice view of this kit's big behind... 
This kit screams "build me - it won't take you long" - and I think this time it would be right. The tracks are the most difficult part of the build, and they are pretty simple to make I can say from my experience of the Lowe kit. The sides and hull are pretty much already made up, so it's all about running gear and suspension, then start on the hull.
An easy build with great detail, and at a cheap price I see online, what's not to like?

"C'mon it won't take long..."

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Amusing Hobby for sending us this kit to build and review - It is now available from Amusing Hobby's Distributors...

These pictures are from the Amusing Hobby website, where you see the kit built up from an isometric kinda view - simple construction and some basic photo etch covering the engine grills, notice the rifled inside fo the barrel and heavy weld seams on the slabs of armour?
With a lot of spare tracks, tools you could probably afford to strap some extras to the hull.
The obligatory tracks running over something picture shows the suspension will move just a little…