Wednesday, August 2

In-Boxed: Amusing Hobby's Super Heavy E-100 - "Krupp Turret" Version in 35th scale...

The German Superheavy Panzerkampfwagen E-100 or Tiger Maus sure is an evocative machine. This mighty machine was in physical form by the end of WWII and it could have well-entered service if that conflict had dragged on in Europe any longer. Amusing Hobby has captured two models in 35th scale based on the Hull of the E-100, the dual barrelled AA Flakpanzer and this, the Krupp turret version of the E-100 main battle tank. We have already started building ours, but here is firstly what comes in the box for you all to see…

German Super Heavy Tank E-100 “Krupp Turret”
From: Amusing Hobby
1/35th Scale
Product No# 35A015
Plastic Injection moulded kit
Photo Etch parts included
Decals for Four marking choices from AMMO provided in the kit

On hearing that Amusing Hobby were making the E-100 with the angular Krupp turret I was instantly fixated. I love the way this tank looks and the thought of its sheer brute force of its presence compared with figures and vehicles of the same era and scale makes for a promising diorama idea. I know that Trumpeter had already released a boxing of this with the same turret, but with vinyl tracks and a few other differing parts and again a King Tiger-Esq turret that I am not too fond of. We thought we would get one to review and then build for you.

A lot of people will know the German E-100 through either “What-If” paper panzer projects or the game “World of Tanks”. I know that I hardly take my E-100 out of my virtual garage anymore, but I do love the look of the tank and the large menacing shape of the vehicle. Even fewer people know that the E-100 was a little more than a paper panzer – it was actually being built in a prototype that only made it to the hull, when the end of WWII in Europe halted its completion.

Nearing the end of WWII, Germany maintained the belief that super tanks could reverse the war’s outcome and help them emerge victorious. The Panzerkampfwagen E-100 was one of the super tank designs. In a need to look to standardise production and reduce costs and resources the E-100 hull was designed to act as a platform for either a heavy artillery system platform, a heavy tank destroyer, and even an anti-aircraft vehicle.

The two kits on offer from Amusing Hobby, Krupp turret and Flakwagen
The Waffenamt ordered the basic design making it a parallel development to the Maus during June 1943. The Maus, weighing in at 188 tons, never saw military service as only two were built, with only one turreted vehicle ever being finished. Plans were for the E-100 to be the heaviest of the Entwicklung “E” vehicle series and an eventual replacement for the Maus. The Adlerwerke Company from Frankfurt Am Main submitted a blueprint in March 1944 for their super-heavy tank that they called the E-100. This came after the initial proposal of the tank in April of the previous year.

The blueprints indicated that the tank would have a smaller 75-mm gun to the side of the main 149-mm gun. They proposed two different engines for the tank, one being a 700-hp Maybach HL230 with a Tiger II turning mechanism. Originally the Maus turret was slated to be used with this tank. However, the vehicle was never given any turret. I saw a comment the other day about this boxing, saying it was “fiction” – well yes.. you would be right about that, and ANY other turret that model companies put on it. People don’t think things through before writing sometimes…

Here is the captured hull being examined with all of the gear that could be harboured fromt the site with it.

The design featured side skirts that were removable. Rail transport was possible because of its narrow transport track design. It was similar to the Tiger-Maus’ original proposal, but it had road wheels that were much larger measuring 900-mm. The E-100 had a proposed top speed (cough) estimated to be 23kph. The other option was a 1200-hp Maybach with an estimated top speed of 40kmh (yeah right).
It also featured a new spring-based suspension added to the standard torsion bars seen on most tanks during that time. It had a newly designed turret that was supposed to be lighter and simpler than the turret on the Maus.

Here are all of the proposed turrets for the E-100 - none of them were ever added to the hull and some are downright fictitious.
The company was given permission to produce the tank with the potential of the E-100 being used as a destroyer that was equipped with a 15-cm StuK L/63 gun. Another option was to potentially use the 17-cm StuK L/53 gun. In 1942, Krupp suggested the creation of a 150-ton vehicle as a competition model to the Panzerkampfwagen Maus, designed by Porsche. First drawings of the vehicle now designated Tiger-Maus were made by the end of 1942. Further development was stopped in 1944.
Hitler ordered super heavy tank development to come to an end in July 1944, so work on the E-100 was placed on low priority with only three Adler employees being made available to build the prototype.

The first prototype, which was never fully finished, was found by the American forces’ 751st Field Artillery in April 1945. It was taken for evaluation by the British Army before it was scrapped during the 1950s.

E-100 hull during transport on a Culemayer carrier in 1945
The E-100 series from Amusing Hobby
At Shizuoka this year Amusing Hobby revealed this kit, as well as the twin barrelled Flakpanzer E-100 turreted version. They were both built up on display, and we could see their raw physical size and angular look on the modelling table. These two kits seemed to have some quality control about them also in their details of surface texture and finer points of interest on the hull and the turret. The sharpness of details was to us approaching those of the aftermarket speciality conversions for those "What-if" model makers out there who do a great job at taking a fresh look at alternative vehicle history.

Big competition - the other E-100's on the market...
Apart from the various ( often really very good) resin aftermarket conversions that may have learnt this kit some impetus in being made int he first place, there has been two other mainstream injection moulded kits of the E-100 in 35th scale. However none with this turret (yet)

Trumpeter has boxed the E-100 about ten years ago with the E-100 "Ausf.B Prototyp (Henschel) turret" as they call it, which to me kind of looked like a larger King Tiger / E-75 turret. We have found out that Trumpeter's design took maybe a little too much out of Mike Rinaldi's concept for this tank that he came up with, and that this turret was never really planned at all in development. As for the kit itself? To me the details are pretty soft on these kits, the surface texture is not anything special and two Vynil tracks just do not cut it in this scale. The "Krokodil" TD was also released. This year there are planned another heavier TD version, as well as a Krupp turret (like this kit) is said to be in the works. but based on this same kit I am not that excited about what I think is trying to keep up with the competition on this vehicle. It does seem that Trumpeter announces a kit to spoil other companies' works. E.G. the Morser “Bär” SPG they announced just after Amusing Hobby's kit went to market.

There is also a Dragon model E-100 kit – complete with Maus turret in all of the four releases of the kit that was first moulded in 1994. We also have had a look at that kit, and it also has some simplified surface textures and some soft details that we didn't particularly dig. Come to think of it – having this only unmoulded variant – this Krupp turret version of the tank makes sense doesn't it? The one thing this kit does have is the infra red night vision system included in some of the boxings. However, Trumpeter also moulded this on their kit, but not as nice as this on the Dragon kit.

Ok down to this kit's contents...
The large box is so full of plastic the lid of the box is actually oversized. It sits just above the bottom of the box like it could not all fit in. This is more because of the large size of the one-piece turret rather than parts count inside. Box queens might be disappointed if there is a dent in their box art.

There are both a full colour four page colour camouflage guide and a ten page instruction guide on paper, mostly in black and white - for the completion of this kit. Let's look at the instructions first.

The sprue map showing the sprues, tracks and photo etch as well as the decals.

Although there are only nineteen steps, this build is no too cluttered and the diagrams were easy to follow. There really are not many options to take one way or another, so the build is REALLY simple.

On to the Plastic - and the thing that literally sticks out the most when you open the box - the Krupp version of the E-100 turret. You will notice the big weld seams and the rangefinder bar on the top of the front of the tank. Also on these pictures, you will see the pitted, rolled armour surface texture that Amusing Hobby has done a great job of capturing here.

The two turret holes are not very large, but they follow the proposed diagrams so maybe it is just the size of the turret that makes them seem so small.

The Hull of the tank is just MASSIVE. Here you can see the two halves, top and bottom joined temporarily together to show the look of the profile of the vehicle without the side skirts on the tank.

 A good view of the upper deck, glacis and the rear engine grilles. These engine grilles have some photo etch to cover the holes so you will not see the lack of engine and cooling fans inside. You have the option of opening up the engine cover, but no engine inside means you will need to steal one from your King Tiger kit or an aftermarket resin version. Hello, again Verlinden! The large size of the model is shown in the comparison to the ruler next to it.

A comparison of a line drawing - source unknown so it's only a drawing, but better than nothing huh?
The rear deck in closer detail. Smaller notches to house the lifting hooks, the open engine grilles and the holes for the fans which are on another sprue are shown here. Note the weld details on the hull.

the front glacis plate is a well-textured affair, with a  pitted grain of just enough on the rolled steel front plate to be seen. the weld seams on the joints are typical of the good (very deep) work we have seen on the other kits from Amusing Hobby. The picture also shows the front crew access with the provision for a pair of simple swing open hatches for the driver and Radio operator. The light cable for the front of the tank is moulded in-situ which is a saving on work from us. To make this finer you could run a scalpel below the wire for that depth effect(be careful tho). The separate bracket (a little thick in this scale) and the NOTEK light sits on top of that.

The other, larger part of the hull is net, with the bottom section moulded in one piece apart from the rear hull wall. Escape and maintenance hatches are moulded on the underside of this tank and we have a picture of a comparison with a surprising shot of the real Hull's undersides.

The lower hull front glacis again shows the pitted, rolled texture, as well as those large weld seams. It looks great to me, and the seams meet when you join the top and bottom together.

Sprue A (X2) are both identical, they are full of large road wheels, suspension, final drives return roller, shackles, exhausts and various inspection hatches, (large) shackles and the hooks to attach them to with a little swing arm support for attaching a pulley too. Unfortunately, the pulley and any chain is something you need to supply yourself. The addition of things like this could add more to the feel of value to the kit.

The large diameter road wheels and final drive wheels up close. There are three different road wheels and also return rollers with this kit. The bolt detail is hexagonal, and they all lock in together with little locating tabs.

The hollowed out exhausts have some flash around the exit, while the fan is pretty much only a replica in shape only to the real thing, While the final drive which houses the front wheel is here also with one of the turret hatches - again pretty simple, but as it swings to the side you cannot see any of it anyway.
The round rings are the keepers for your suspension arms on the inside of the hull, while the shock absorbers are a fairly rough version of the originals. None of this will be seen once the hull is together.
Sprue B has most of the parts for the Krupp Turret on it. there are only one or two parts on other sprues, including the top one piece turret top, that you need to make this the Krupp version. The large gun mount is simplified and is hinged here on the turret base. The mantlet and rear turret door mechanism are also included so you can open the rear hatch if you like. There is no real interior in the turret so it is probably sensible to close the turret hatches or place a figure or a night vision device inside them.
The one piece gun barrel is devoid of the need to glue it together, the breach simply sits on the end of it, while the base of the gun sits inside the cast steel textured mantlet. Nice texture again that I may even enhance on the build.

The large gun on the E-100 is not the same as the Maus gun in the photos of the E-100 so don't look at that in references. This one has the slotted version, with a tip that is slide moulded you can also see the underside of the turret periscope and the simple interior rear hatch in this shot.

Sprue C is a busy one, it houses the large moulded side skirts, with the towing anchors for front and rear (X6 in all) with the rear glacis plate for the hull and top engine cover and the vents that sit on the rear of the deck. the long thin parts are the mounts that the suspension springs ( not seen int he photos of the real thing) rest upon.

The rear engine deck is simple, and after dry fitting, it sits very nicely on the kit when you are making the model. Cast steel texture is on the inspection port doors.

The three parts either side are optional, and they do not sit on the kit without glue. SO it is your choice to either have them on or off the kit, no option is given for easy insertion or removal, however on the build, you will see that it is very easy to engineer a way to make these removable or replaceable as per your taste. Again there is some nice pitted texture here and fastener detail.

The tool Sprue. This is pinched off the Löwe kit, and it presents a problem. Although some of the tools can work with this kit, most of them are unsuitable,  so use what you can, like the fire extinguisher, shovels and tools, but the towing hook clasps and gun rammer probably won't work on this kit. The whole "where are the tow cables?" question raises its head whenever I see this sprue.

Sprue T - this is five of the same sprue housing the connector parts of the track pads 
with four connection parts each, as well as the coiled springs for the suspension. 
These suspension coils look OK at first glance, though some of them suffer from an almost disjointed casting where the coil simply does not match up. This is not seen however when in place as so much of the cradle and suspension swing arms cover them when in place. They are also a little delicate, but in the build, I show how to trim them without breaking them, and just how much effort you need to give to cleaning them up. There are spares in the kit which is nice.

There is a bag of main track pads, with only two connection points on each which is helpful. As it is the tracks are a great part of the kit, as they simply click together, and for the most part they stay together... some links need glue to remain in place.

Here they are together - flexible and easy to use - thank goodness! 102 links on each side, this was an easy part of my build
The real tracks back in 44
The small photo etch sheet included is a six part mesh cover for the engine grills.

The Decals are a simple affair, with some numbers and some  Balkenkreuze here to cover a few possibilities and visual styles. I would have preferred a sheet of numbers you could mix and match maybe in a few styles. If they thought about it they could have one full sheet of these a little like Zoukei-Mura makes for their aircraft with several colours and numbers for their "Luft-46" aircraft. With all of their Paper Panzer projects they are into right now, it makes sense to do that. Maybe not fiscal sense, but it would add to the kit's feel.
One thing that has had some attention is the "what-if" colour schemes from Mig Jiminez' team. Colours are in his own brand's shades (of course) but at least there are the list of colours if you prefer another brand or type of paint. These four schemes are pretty interesting. I do tend to stay away from overly neat schemes on late war vehicles, who has the time to make them look good when you are fighting for your life without break? I will stop now, because I am looking for the reality where there is none again. 😄

So that wraps up this kit's contents. What do I think about it?

SO the simplicity, lack of certain optional details that could easily have been included to make this kit a real great model is obvious. Features missing, like the lack a winch or pulley, no real suitable tools and no cable to tow the vehicle. The decals could also be flushed out a bit more. You might think we don't like this kit...

...However, we looked at the kit, we looked at the competition, the limited history of the vehicle, and the need to not apply the known history of this particular turret type and we come out with a kit that is very nice indeed. Just enough for a lot of modellers and a base for further detailing for those who need to fill their time with aftermarket. It is also the best base to use with some of the aftermarket resin conversions due to its ease of construction and nice surface detail on the hull.

In fact, we have already built this kit over the weekend - over three days of relaxing modelling from start to finish. The tracks are great and go together well, and the ability to drastically change the kit with the side skirts which can be attached and detached at will, I really like this kit.

And I think It might give me the impetus to play a bit more World of Tanks in my E-100. But not if it gets in the way of my modelling...

Tune in next week for our build of the kit here on the news...

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Amusing Hobby for sending this kit to us to build and review.