Wednesday, July 19

In-boxed & Build Guide - Andy gets to building Takom's 35th scale Krupp Raumer S

A military vehicle like no other – the very futuristic looking WWII mine clearer the Raumer S from Takom in 35th scale looks JUST like a kit that Andy would like to build – so we unleashed him on it in a build guide, review and in the next part a painting and weathering guide. For now, let's see what is in the kit and how it goes together...

Review & Build Guide: Krupp Raumer S
WWII German Super Heavy Mine Clearing Vehicle
Manufacturer – Takom
Kit Number - 2053
Scale - 1/35
Price - ¥5,200 • $46.50 • £36 • €41 from Hobbylink Japan

Takom's roster of kits seems to be growing by the month at the moment, and while many of the recent releases have been of fairly mainstream subjects (King Tiger, M-47 etc.), they do still like to put on their crazy hats from time to time and release something that's a little more left field.
Today's review certainly fits into that category, being a kit of a one-off 130-ton mine clearing vehicle, built by the Germans, and discovered by American troops as they advanced into Germany at the end of the war.
Built by the Krupp works in 1944, the Raumer S (Selbstantrieb or Self-propelled) was an articulated mine clearer made up from identical cab units allowing the vehicle to be driven from either end, with each half having its own 360hp Maybach HL90 engine. Over 15 meters long and 4 meters high, the vehicle would roll about over a minefield using its huge 2.7-meter diameter wheels fitted with heavy steel pads to detonate any mines it crossed. The sole vehicle was captured by advancing American troops at the end of the war, but what happened to it subsequently is unknown, although in all likelihood it would have been broken up for scrap.
The Kit
The kit comes in a standard Takom box which contains a surprisingly small number of parts, spread over three duplicated sprues. In addition, you get two identical upper hull mouldings, the instruction manual and lastly the decal sheet. There's no photo etch or other extras included.

That may not seem like much, but the real vehicle was pretty basic, and Takom have included everything you need to reproduce it in one of the most straight forward and economical builds I've seen in a long time.
Sprue A (x2)
The first pair of sprues holds just five parts each, those being the wheel halves and the floor plate for the hull. Everything is incredibly cleanly moulded, with no seam lines or other imperfections to remove. The wheels have several sprue gates to remove but they're all on the edge, and are later covered by the wheel pads, so you don't need to be perfect on clean-up here.
Sprue C (x2)
These two sprues hold the numerous wheel pads, each of which will need careful removal and clean-up to avoid any visible scars on the finished build. They're not quite as arduous as indi track links though and don't take long to deal with. The other parts are details for the hull and the articulated coupler.
Sprue D (x2)
The final two sprues hold more hull details and the mounts for the wheels. Again, like the previous sprues, you're getting strong, sharp detailing and clean mouldings. This is one of the best looking kits 'on the sprue' I've seen in a while.
Main Hull (x2)
The main hull/cab parts are fantastic looking single-piece mouldings. There'll be no worry here about aligning multiple panels, and despite being a complex slide moulding, there are no visible seams from the mould sections to remove. The only prep work to be done is the removal of two tiny moulding pips on the roof plate. You also get some idea of just how big the final model will be, as each cab section is nearly 9 inches long.
Nicely printed, with a slightly matt finish. The US stars have the inner area between the star and border filled with carrier film, but they should be fine as long as they go down over a gloss finish.
These come in one of Takom's standard landscape format booklets, although with fewer pages then you'd be used to with most kits. The build itself is covered in only three pages with just 9 build steps in total. The final two pages fold out to reveal the marking options.
Paint Schemes
Four marking options are given, provided as usual by Mig Jimenez's AMMO brand. The first scheme is based on the actual appearance of the sole Raumer prototype, which was finished in red primer. The remaining three options are all 'what if' schemes, one in US colours, one in a German splinter scheme, and the final one painted in a tundra camo for a German 'New Swabia' Antarctic operation. Paint references are for AMMO colours.
Time to dive in and get started then, as this should be a fairly rapid build. The first step is to add a couple of small panels to the inside of the hull, after which the floor plate can be dropped into place. The resulting assembly is incredibly solid. In fact, I think you could almost stand on it without damaging it. Actually, don't try that, but it is very strong, and there's no danger of it warping or distorting in any way.
Although the hull detailing is very good, one thing that's not represented are the sections of armour plate from which the hull would have been constructed. These are easy, if a bit laborious to add. The edges of the panels were scribed out using a panel line engraver and a steel ruler, then the edges of the plates were textured by scraping with the tip of a knife blade.
After that, lengths of stretched sprue were glued into the engraved panel lines to represent weld beads. The sprue lengths were textured with the tip of a pointed needle file while the plastic was still soft. I worked around the rest of the hull, adding weld beads to any areas that looked like it needed them.
Most of the rest of the build is simply a case of adding small details to the hull. Most of these are ready to go as they are, but I added some extra detail here and there. The exhaust pipes have their ends moulded solid so I sliced these off and replaced them with short lengths of styrene tube. I also replaced the bolts on the brackets as there was a seam running across the moulded ones.
The brackets for the headlights had their edges thinned down as they were a bit on the thick side straight from the box. This is about the only part that would have benefited from being supplied in photo etch, but thinning them doesn't take long, so it's no big deal.
There's a box section that, once built up, drops into an opening in the hull roof. I left this loose for the time being, so I could paint the inner sections, as they'd be hard to access once it's permanently fitted.
One of the few things missing from the kit are handles for the various hatches on the roof. To be fair, there are no photos showing the upper hull, so who knows what was really there? I added some handles to the hatches with copper wire, and also added a few grab handles/tie downs around the edge of the roof. They're pure speculation, but they add some detail. I also added a longer grab rail to the side of the door openings and a simple boarding step.
I felt the large armour plates that make up the hull looked a little flat and plain, so some texturing was added with Gunze Dissolved Putty stippled on with an old brush. This step needs to be done with some restraint as we're not trying to replicate a heavy cast texture here, just the slightly roughened surface of rolled armour plate. Once the putty was dry, it was sanded with a medium grade sanding stick to even out the texture.
With the hull done, the wheels are next to build up. This is one of the few occasions in the build where there's a difference between parts, with two of the wheels having a short axle fitted, and the other pair having a longer one. This gives the wheels a different spacing between the front and rear hulls. Once the wheels are together the pads can be attached. I gave mine a few dints and scuffs to show some use.
The wheels attach to the hull via mounts that plug onto two pegs on the under side of the hull. The wheels push fit onto the mounts and don't need to be glued, so they can be slid off later and painted separately.
I assume there should be some kind of drive mechanism or prop shaft connected to the wheel mounts, and it does look as if something should attach to the round peg on the bottom of the hull between the wheels. Nothing is supplied in the box though and, to be honest, you can't see this area on the finished build, which is probably why Takom didn't bother including anything.
The hydraulic coupling that connects the two hulls is articulated, although you don't get that much turn before the rear corners of the hulls touch. It's probably best to leave this off for painting and attach it at the end.
The last thing to do was paint the inner sides of the box section on the hull roof mentioned previously. They got a coat of black primer as did the exhaust pipes before adding the angled shrouds that cover them.
And that's the build finished and ready for paint. Takom have created a fantastic kit here. It's quick and simple to build, but still has a good level of detail. The extras I added are entirely optional and the kit would look great built strait from the box. The final build is very imposing in scale, coming in at almost 17 inches (43cm) in length.
The only thing to do now is decide what colour scheme to go with. The kit options are a good starting point, but here are a few more 'what if' markings that could be used.
...And finally some shots of the model, ready for the paint shop
Andy Moore
Thanks to Takom for sending this it to us to build and review