Sunday, June 4

In-boxed: Andy goes small scale with the very large Rheintochter 1 Launcher with E-100 Body from Modelcollect

"What-If's" are very much in vogue now with model companies and modellers who want something new – but familiar at the same time, maybe with a captive audience? Andy Moore has just one of these theoretical vehicles – the massive Rheintochter 1 Launcher with E-100 Body in diminutive 1/72nd scale – see what he thinks before he gets glueing tiny/big parts together.

Rheintochter 1 Launcher with E-100 Body
Manufacturer – Modelcollect
Kit Number - UA72076
Scale - 1/72nd
Price - ¥2,480 • $23 • £17 • €20 from Hobbylink Japan
Modelcollect have been on the modelling scene for a few years now, specialising in 1/72 armour kits. Over that time they've been steadily increasing their range, with a focus on Russian cold war and modern armour, and German WWII paper panzers. In the later line, they've produced several versions of the E-100 super heavy tank. They've also recently released a kit of the Rheintochter 1, a surface-to-air missile that underwent testing during the war, but was never used in action. What we have here is the two kits combined; the Rheintochter launcher mounted on top of an E-100 hull. Of course, this is pure fantasy, as neither weapon entered service, but it does make for a very dramatic subject, with plenty of what-if possibilities when it comes to markings.
The kit comes in a small but sturdy top-opening box with a very nice illustration of the Rheintochter on the front. Inside, the sprues for the E-100 have been bundled together in a single polyethene bag, while the extra sprues for the missile and launch rail are loose in the box. There shouldn't be any worry of damage to the parts though, as the sprues are packed fairly tightly, and won't be rattling around much. The tracks are in single flexible lengths and look to be of a similar material to the DS tracks used by Dragon. They come in a neat plastic tray to keep them flat and straight. You also get a small etch set and decal sheet, both of which are packaged together in a separate bag, and lastly the instructions, which come in the form of a single fold-out sheet.
Before we run through the sprues, it's worth noting that Modelcollect has included all the parts required to build the free-standing launch platform for the Rheintochter, so in some ways, you could almost treat this kit as a two-in-one. The flip side is that you don't get the additional parts (turret and main gun in short) to make a regular E-100. So let's have a look at exactly what you do get.
Sprue B
No sprue A as that's not needed for this version of the E-100. Sprue B gives you the hull sides and the large rounded side skirts. You also get an upper hull, but not the one required for this build so this one can go straight in the spares box.
The next sprue doesn't have a code letter, but it's actually part of Sprue B. It's been snipped off the previous sprue at the factory to allow it to fit in the box. Here you get the hull base, the rear panel and the engine deck. There's also a machine gun that, again, isn't needed for this build, so more food for the spares box.
The engine deck is very well detailed, considering the scale, and will look better still with the etched grills in place. In common with the rest of the parts, there are some quite large sprue gates here, some of which extend over the surface of parts. Inevitably there will be a little bit of clean-up required, but the plastic is nice to work with, so it shouldn't be anything too arduous.
Sprue D (x2)
Here we've got the road wheels and running gear. Most of the suspension units and swing arms you see here won't be needed. Modelcollect have included one-piece suspension units on another sprue. The ones here are used in some of the other E-100 versions that, amazingly, include real springs to make fully working suspension. Personally, I'm actually quite glad that the working suspension isn't included in this version. The thought of putting all those springs together on a 1/72 tank doesn't sound like fun.
The wheels have some nice bolt detail, but the rims vary in thickness in places so you may want to give them a quick sand to even out their profiles.
Sprue E
What we've got here is a full engine, complete with the radiators, fans and fuel tanks. Not something you'd normally expect to see in a 1/72 armour kit, but it's a nice inclusion, and the separate engine deck on the upper hull means you can show it off. The detail here, like the rest of the kit, is very nice, and actually comparable with a 1/35 kit.
All faces of the engine have been fully detailed, despite the fact that much of it is hidden away. And before anyone asks, no, I won't be doing it as a cut-away.
Sprue J
This sprue holds the new upper hull that's required for this build. It's actually identical to the existing E-100 upper hull that comes on sprue B, apart from the smaller turret ring hole designed to fit the Rheintochter platform. We also get the single-part suspension units here, which actually look just as detailed as the multi-part versions on sprue D.
The one-piece suspension units should really speed up assembly and don't compromise the look of the finished model, especially as little is seen of them once the wheels and side skirts are in place.
Sprue K
This is the first of the two sprues for the Rheintochter missile and its launch platform. This one has the missile itself together with all the fins and rocket nozzles. There's also the main launch rail and various smaller details. In addition, there's the ground stand which, although not required for this build, could still be painted up, and the Rheintochter could be swapped between it and the tank.
The missile body looks like a pretty good match for the real thing. The panel lines are maybe a bit on the heavy side, and the second stage rocket nozzles could do with hollowing out, or replacing with some tube. For 1/72 though, it's not at all bad.
Sprue N
This one has the remaining parts for the launch platform, including the mount that fits to the tank's turret ring.
The rubber-band style tracks come in their own tray, which has helped keep them fairly flat, although they still have a few kinks along their length. The instructions don't state whether they can be glued with regular styrene cement, but I'm assuming they can be.
PE and Decals
As far as I can tell, the etched fret and the decal sheet are both generic sets that are included in all the E-100 variants released by Modelcollect. As such, some of the photo-etch isn't used here, and the two marking options included on the instruction sheet don't feature any decals at all. Of course, since this vehicle will always be a what-if, you can choose to use any of the supplied decals if you wish.
The instructions come as a glossy, partial colour fold-out pamphlet, with the build, spread over 18 steps. The line drawings are clear and look pretty straight forward to follow, so there shouldn't be any problems during assembly.
On the back of the instructions are the two colour scheme options, with full five-view illustrations supplied by Mig J's AMMO brand, and colour call-outs for that paint range. Obviously, these are both what-if schemes, and they both look quite tempting, fitting in well with the '46 vibe that's so popular at the moment.
This is the first kit from Modelcollect that I've got my hands on, and I've got to say I'm quite impressed. The quality of the moulding looks excellent for the most part. There's a tiny hint of flash here and there, but nothing that can't be dealt with easily. The build looks to be very straight forward and having the single part suspension and band style tracks should make for a quick assembly.
All in all, I'm looking forward to getting it together and having some what-if fun with the painting.

Andy Moore

Pt.II: Build  Putting it together
Pt.III: Painting, Weathering &Finishing the V-I & Rheintocher w/E-100 Launcher

Check out Modelcollect's kits on their website for more info.