Wednesday, January 2

Construction Review: 1/35th scale Waffenträger auf E-100 from Amusing Hobby

Straight from the fictional world of "What-if" and World of tanks comes the new kit in 35th scale from Amusing Hobby - the mighty Waffenträger auf E-100. The best review is a build review so we got to building this kit in a Step-by-Step to show you just what is in the kit and how it goes together...

Construction Review: Waffenträger auf E-100
From: Amusing Hobby
1/35th scale
Product No #35A026
Price: A$72.82 AUD/ $51.26 USD/ £40.36 GBP/ €44.79 EUR/ or MYR215.54 (Malaysian Ringglets) from Hobbylink Japan
Amusing Hobby Product Link

The new kit we are looking at today is in 35th scale from Amusing hobby. It is an adaption and an extension of the E-100 series that we built last year here on TMN. 
This time Amusing Hobby go even further into the "Paper Panzer" route with a vehicle from the lore of "World of Tanks"  with an even larger size than the E-100 and a more powerful gun, it is the Waffenträger auf E-100.

But first - what is this Waffenträger auf E-100 you ask?
This vehicle is completely made up by Wargaming, the people behind the popular "World of Tanks" game. On their wiki, it is said to be: "A proposal to mount a large-calibre antiaircraft gun on the chassis of the E-100 tank. The vehicle was to feature either a 128mm or 150mm guns with automatic loading system. However, the design project was never developed". That is the spiel, and the vehicle has since been retired from the game because it was "too OP (overpowered) however, this has not dulled the appeal of the tank in modeller's minds. 

The previous box art of this kit when it was in development.
Initially, in "World of Tanks" (the game,) it was supposed to have dual 128 mm guns, but due to a lack of multiple gun support, it received an AA gun with an autoloader. Soon it will be replaced with a much more realistic project found in the archives. The reason for this replacement is primarily that it's too different from other vehicles in the tank destroyer branch, and that ohh - it doesn't and never did exist.

A very good artists conception of the kit in WOT

What the Waffentrager Auf E-100 concept was based on:
Although this was never more than a fictional tank, we DO have pictures and information on the real E-100 hull (shown as the only hull to be made captured by the allies at the end of WWII) as well as the gun that has been cherrypicked to go onto this (made-up) tank if it ever came to fruition - the 12.8 cm Flakzwilling 40/2 (also seen here captured by the Americans in the shot below.)

The 12.8 cm FlaK 40 was a German World War II anti-aircraft gun. Although it was not produced in great numbers, it was one of the most effective heavy AA guns of its era. Development of the gun began in 1936, with the contract being awarded to Rheinmetall Borsig. The first prototype gun was delivered for testing in late 1937 and completed testing successfully. The gun weighed nearly 12 tonnes in its firing position, with the result that its barrel had to be removed for transport. Limited service testing showed this was impractical, so in 1938 other solutions were considered.

A twin-gun Flakzwilling 40 now kept at the US Army Ordnance Museum is a cousin of this kit, but too heavy to be practical. This was a developmental dead end for the Germans.
The eventual solution to using this gun effectively was to simplify the firing platform, based on the assumption it would always be securely bolted into concrete. The total weight of the Flakzwilling twin-gun mount system reached 26.5 tonnes, making it practically impossible to tow cross-country. In the end, this mattered little since, by the time the gun entered production in 1942, it was used in primarily static, defensive applications. There were four twin mounts on the fortified anti-aircraft Zoo Tower, and they were also on other flak towers protecting Berlin, Hamburg, and Vienna. It is claimed that during the Battle of Berlin the guns on the Zoo Tower were used successfully to support ground forces, "where the heavy 128 mm shells obliterated Soviet armour, especially when hitting from the side". The rush to capture the Reichstag led to dozens of tanks being destroyed. Approximately 200 were mounted on railcars, providing limited mobility.

128 mm schwere flugzeugabwehrkanone 40 (12,8 cm FlaK 40)
The Waffentrager Auf E-100 kit in 35th scale from Amusing Hobby:
It was only a matter of time then, that we would see this kit. Amusing hobby already had the hull in their E-100 series, and the gun in their 128cm FlaK kit of recent release, only the alien xenomorph- style turret top needed to be developed

A line drawing of the "What-if?" tank 
The box of the kit is a large one by anyone's standard. Not so much in length (39cm) and width (26cm), but in height at 12.5cm. This is noticeably about 5cm taller than most other boxes of tanks in this scale, and It piqued my interest as to what was inside.

Inside the packed box, we find sixteen sprues of a tan plastic with the upper and lower hull in one piece each to add to the total. Several of these are the E-100 and Flak 128cm sprues put in together with one from the Lowe for tools for their armoured fighting vehicles. 
You can see here by looking at the sprue map on the instruction sheet the parts for the gun and the hull.  Also, the small photo-etched fret and limited decal sheet. So you know the pink shaded sprues in this kit are from either this release or the FlaK 128 kit. The white are from the E-100 heavy tank.
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.

Talking of markings - this kit has four different proposed schemes that have been made up from the guys at AMMO. These are of course linked to their paint codes to help the modeller - and the fact that this kit can be painted as nearly anything makes this a really attractive kit for "what-If?" modellers or paper panzer enthusiasts...
Some discolouring on the coloured paper guide on this one - not a real bother to the whole package though.
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.

Building the kit:
We will go pretty much step by step (SBS) through this build in this review. The best way to properly show you a kit like this - something different to the regular vehicles that exist and so accuracy isn't such a problem - is to build it for you - so let's get crackin'.

A seventeen-page booklet with thirty-one steps is the guide for this build. We will go thru it step by step now...
Step 1: The suspension brackets of the tank need to be strong, as is on the real hull the kit is not light (but not 100 tones mind) so these brackets are put into place and form a base for your spring suspension to be housed in.
The kit parts are a fairly simple construction, with the top and bottom brackets fitting into each other, and these - once combined, sit in lugs into the side wall of the lower one-piece hull. The rear (rather thick) hull portion of the kit fits in at an angle at this point also.
Step Two: Now anyone familiar with the E-100 build we did last year will know what is coming next, the coiled suspension springs (x32 springs in total).
These springs are fairly well moulded,  but the removal of these from the sprues takes a shitload of care, you need to snipe them close with as precise a pair of nippers as you have to not take too much off the round spring - or - too little so you have a heap of clean up left afterwards.
Here are my springs (I cut 36, plus the spares Amusing Hobby give you - thank you!) off the sprues to clean them. After last time building these for the E-100 kit, I had a plan to stop me from breaking these as I sanded and cleaned the nubs of remaining plastic from them.
Use a little bit of sprue to slide on the coil spring, this holds it in place while you go to town on cleaning anything off without breaking the flexible and easy-to-break spring. Once I did this I had no problem whatsoever in cleaning these off fairly quickly.
The springs then sit inside the upper hull housing. Two to each wheel, these springs are simply glued at top and bottom, and provide a (semi - because the weight of the kit itself compresses them a little) working suspension system that gives the vehicle a realistic look on uneven ground once completed.
Step Three: has us adding the swing arms form the suspension to the road wheels, these are captured by little caps inside so these can be articulated, again to give a workable looking suspension.
The usual poly caps to capture the suspension arm are replaced with simple plastic circles. As long as you put the glue to capture these on just on the tip of the capturing-housings you will still have a workable looking suspension. Wiggle them all after the glue is setting and also once it is dry to make sure you haven't boned yourself here.
Step Four:  in which we add the road wheels to the swing arms and suspension on the hull. Amusing Hobby has made these so you can turn them once the tank has finished construction. Not a thing I would do, but f you like that this is an option.
Cleaning off the road wheels, drive sprockets parts and return rollers took a leisurely evening in front of the tele. Although these are easy to mix up if you are not careful the numbers of each needed make sure you get the wheels in the right order.
To make sure the wheels can be turned, make sure you add the glue to where the casing of the axle meets the swing arm - thus capturing the spinning wheel inside.
The picture shows on the prototype E-100 hull featuring the roadwheels and bolt pattern.
Step five: sees us adding those drive sprockets and the return roadwheels along with the housings for the drive sprockets. These are all (again) engineered so they can turn once assembled.
These drive sprockets and return rollers will need the curved sections cleaned out of some flash of this extra plastic that remains there after the moulding process. Plastic caps are again inserted into these to allow for spinning roadwheels if you want them.
 Here they are together and apart side by side to show their simple assembly.
The E-100 prototypes (both heavy tank and mobile artillery) hulls showing both return roller and drive sprocket assembly.

The unique to this tank rear is slightly different to the heavy tank, and in Step Six we see this new piece secured to the rear of the hull and the top secured on to the lower hull at this point also.
 The "T" shaped rear hull piece goes straight into the place made for it. As the hull is one piece, there are no alignment issues. the two tow brackets for the rear slide into place. These I will add some welding texture to later on in a simple process.
 A look at the lower hull with the top part added to it (just placed in position to check the whole lower hull is right so far.)
Step Seven sees us adding detail to the top part of the hull. Engine fans, vents and door of the engine bay are added at this point.
The one-piece upper-hull is the "top of the sandwich" that holds the hull together. while the gun deck is on the rear, the engine, driver and radio-man's compartment is in front of that.
The front glacis plate is very well detailed, with hatches that can be posed open or closed. You will have to add a figure to plug the hole if you show it open due to the lack of an interior. the driver's periscope hole on the right of the picture. The driving night light wire runs down the centre of the front glacis plate. the thing that most impressed me was the pitted steel texture of the front glacis plate. Just enough detail in here for most people to add weathering effects too. The front interlocked seams of the glacis joint are shown with weld texture also - very nice.
A reverse view of the glacis
You will see the sides of the front of the tank are also filled with the same pitted steel, weld seams and smooth plastic detail also depending on what method of metallurgy are needed to make these parts. Again very nice and can be left as-is or added to as is your taste. The circular stubs are for the optional side spaced armour that I used on the heavy E-100 tank but will not be included on this kit (picture below).
It really is a second line brawler that needed to save weight to try and get that gun to the places it needed to be rather than duke it out in front (in my imagination anyway).
The large, flat rear deck is seen with a mech anti-slip pattern. Most of this is covered wit ht e massive turret but a nice inclusion and added detail.
Step Eight gives us the options of open or closed hatches for crew and the engine, driver's periscope glass and the light on the front of the tank's glacis plate.
Here is the finished and yet to be finished middle engine deck of the Waffentrager showing how it looks with and without the grills on. On the right are the grills in place over the deck and fans, while on the left below are a view of the engine fan. Notice the lack of any engine in the open or closed engine bay - this will take some work if you want to portray it open. I don't.
Step nine has the modeller adding the small hooks for lifting the engine cover by a crane as well as the hatch handles on the exterior of the crew doors. There are no internal door mechanisms on these doors so you know although they do pivot to the side to open, so nothing is usually seen here.
Part of Step Ten is skipped for now, as we will add the tracks last. The other part of this involves adding the grilles to the engine deck.
A little super glue around the rim of the insides of the engine decks and there you have it! I also really like to add wear at this point simply by finding a gentle rounded off surface to push these grates back into the frames as if they have been trodden all over and sunken unto the open holes as they would in real life...remember - "push lightly"
In step eleven we add the two rear spades that this tank would have used to did in to reduce the recoil and improve accuracy when firing. these would be tucked up when the tank is in motion, but no way of showing these clamped up is given in the instructions.
You can see on the picture below the spade on the right not cleaned up and looking pretty bad in the short shot of the part in the tip of the blade. On the left below are the large seams removed for the bracing arm and the blade squared up and sharpened up as you would have it on the completed model. Not too much work involved but an important job to get right.
The spades in place - note the large seams to fill on the rear hull where it meets the top deck that require 15 minutes fo sanding to fill also.
The last part of Step eleven is to add the two exhausts out of the tank. These are seen in a vague position in the instructions. Instead of adding these right now I prep them, and in making the tank look a little more "used" I smother these exhausts with glue, then wait for them to partially dry before I squeeze and release them - then squeeze/release, squeeze/ release repeatedly until the glue dries. 
This makes the glue stick to my fingers but more importantly, leaves a great rough texture to the exhausts to recreate a pitted and corroded this metal exhaust look. A simple technique that I love to use on tanks with exhausts like this.
In step twelve we place the tank hull aside and start to make the big gun.
Firstly, the rail the gun is mounted on with the tooth elevating/ depressing gear put together in four actions.
This is a not as interesting to me as is making the rest of the tank so I am a little more vague on construction. There is nothing really to note here except there is a lot of little bits to clean up and sand on the journey.
 A reverse angle of the rail...
Step thirteen: Making the gun's breach with the movable breech block is next. the sight goes on top of that into a detailed but again straightforward set of smaller steps.
 The main parts before they were put together to form the breech mechanism.
The gun itself has the choice of three muzzles, two being pretty long, but the third with the even longer squeeze bore barrel being just too ridiculous - even for this kit. It has not stopped people already turning these barrels out on Ebay!
Step fourteen shows you how to construct the barrels. two of these are very similar using the main parts of the barrel while a third, the longer squeeze bore barrel gun having its own components.
A look at all three of these barrels with a handy ruler next to them - this shows you just how long this gun is and makes the reader think a little more about the scale of this thing. These barrels can be swapped out during construction so you can choose whichever you like. One thing to note is that the aluminium two-part barrel on the bottom is also supplied in this kit! who needs Ebay huh? 
 Nothing special of note to see about the insides of the barrels or a rifling texture - but they are seam free and clear at the end which is a great thing.
 Here are three of the shells types included in the kit. With some full shells added to the kit.
At step fifteen the barrel is added to the elevating rail of the gun. At this point, you chose which one you want, but with a little wiggle this can come out and you can swap barrels if you like (or you are just indecisive).
The barrel locks into the hole here on the breech...
The gun's cylindrical recoil system and the brackets it sits on are added now in step sixteen. a simple process of construction.
Here we see them together before all of the extra bracketing, autoloader and cradle are added to the big gun. The small ejector pin marks in the teethed section of the gear I did not even see until looking at this picture and are well hidden once the kit is completed so do not waste time on eradicating them.
Step seventeen has us putting together the hydraulic rams that keep the gun in the right position before and after the gun has fired.
 Completed, this little pair of rams are the process of ten minutes work on the seams.
The pivoting brackets are secured by glueing the two "feet" for a better word - together as we see in step eighteen.
 Here they are completed from both sides showing you what they should look like.
The hood of the gun (I am not sure what this part does I won't B.S, you here) is put together in step nineteen.
 Both sides of the constructed gun hood are seen here...
 These two parts I have no idea what they do are next in step twenty. this secures to the two rams we built earlier and provide some strength to the whole repulsing mechanism.
 Easy to locate, but make sure you test fit these parts first as mine did not fit without some trimming.
  A view from above just in case - and remember to test fit these parts...
Step twenty-one of the build is a fairly tricky one in only that the way to glue the supporting parts tot he autoloader's tray that the round sits in when transferred to the gun breech. Looking at this a few times I kind of worked out how to do it...
This aspect shows you a little better how the ammo loading "tray" for want of a better word sits. It pivots to the drum and then down to the area behind the breech.
The two rams we made earlier secure at this point to the base of the gun in step twenty-two.
Here is a view from below showing the extending and retracting arms which were mounted on the gun base.
The side brackets or cradle of the gun are added to the base next in step twenty-three.
There are some sink marks on these brackets and on the insides of the cradles. None of which you will see once the gun is constructed, but I did not have that hindsight at the time so I filled them and sanded them in a quick quarter of an hour after the putty dried.
 It all goes together now in step twenty-four. 
 Notice we do not glue the notches that the gun sits on because then we can pivot the gun upwards, it doesn't really have much depression though.
Step twenty-five has us making the gun gauges and dual controls for the gunners to operate the autoloading mechanism of the gun.
 The two pictures below show just how and where this mechanism sits on the gun as well as a little overview of the gun so far from different angles...
The two mechanisms that the gunner's wheel controls are imputting into are secured to the right-hand side next in step twenty-six. 

Helpful little red lines are not included in the kit, but the "L"-shaped notches are, and it is here that these two assembled control "brain" mechanisms secure too.
You can see these on the real thing in the picture below along with the control wheels and gauges which are looked at in the next step.
In step twenty-seven we put together the two manual controls for the gun. These will need a little careful clean up with some flash on them.
 The "saddles" and control wheels are shown here made up...
In the twenty-eighth step, we see these controls and seats added to a rail on which it sits, attached to the cradle/ frame of the gun.
 The whole set-up here are shown together. notice the dials are moulded in which is probably controversial. I would have preferred decals with the dials on them and added clear t this over them.
 ...on the rail ready to be assembled to the gun cradle...
Step twenty-nine has us making the square-but-oval autoloading cartridge. this sits on to pf the mechanism we earlier made for the left-hand side of the tank.
 A lot of careful placement when glueing this magazine in half means you will not really have any seam issues on the curved sides of this magazine which should be avoided at all costs.
As an illustration here is a WWII era picture of the twin autoloader used with an AA 150mm gun of a similar type and potentially the thought behind this autoloading setup?
This completes the construction of the gun! Here are a few pictures of mine if this helps you in your construction process

Also for your reference, some pictures of the (AA Flak) 128mm that has been restored in a museum. Take note the details of the sides especially are different on this AA version without autoloader.

On the home straight now - Step thirty sees the addition of the turret floor and the gun base to the tank's hill. This step also calls for part C19 to be added to the top of this to lock it all in place whilst being able to rotate the turret. I left this off as I found that the weight of the turret and hold of the socket.
 Although the inside of the turret bottom has several ejector pin marks these are not really seen once the gun is inside the turret. 
The ejector pin marks before they are sanded on the turret floor.
While you are at it test fit the rectangle base that the turret sits in to ensure the fit is correct. Mine was slightly off centre to the right for some reason. Notice in the centre I have sanded down the ejector pin marks in the turret floor.
Of course, fearing the worst at the time and not knowing that I will not see them I sanded the ejector pin marks in the turret floor off. I also noted the gap in the floor between the gun cradle and floor needs to be pushed down a little. I used clamps to secure this down tighter than you see here in the finished product.

Step thirty-one sees the securing of the top of the turret to the bottom. I did this with my turret separated - as I did not fall for that C 19 part to hold my turret down!
Before we put it together with some sprue shots of the top of the xenomorph looking turret. Note two things, the fine weld beads between sheets of welded steel, and the front arch shape where the gun-sight would poke thru - this is moulded closed so opening the provided door would mean all you see is plastic. 

The turret bottom and top, placed together in a test fit show no fit problems. There is, however, a nasty seam down the front right-hand side joint of the turret that will take some attention to seal up.
An easy fix is to the gun sighting door cut that arch shape out if you want to show it open (which I may do in the future). Here is the turret all together with the aluminium gun that I want to use from the kit in place - It looks like what I am used to seeing in World of Tanks! 
OK, now the hull, the gun, and the turret are ready to put together in one package what is left? Lastly, I am putting together the tracks so I did not need to worry about them becoming damaged during construction.
The two-part solution to these tracks actually takes longer to clean up than to put together - not that they have that much flash on them at all - but because they are pretty simple to link up. One hundred and two track links on each side which allows for some sag when the tracks are together. My tip is to push them all together upside down on a flat desk then feed them down through the top of the suspension and secure them upside down in the centre below the tank before a dab of glue on each of the joints.
 Here you see the result of the simple construction and a look at both sides of the tracks...
 Once together I sealed both of the tracks up at the underside - and we are done!

 So here we are - first a walk around some of the details - the engine and crew compartment decks...
 The welded seams and sight door of the turret
 That very cool front glacis and side detail - added weld details on the front towing hook stations ( I forgot to add the kit -supplied tow shackles oops!)
A picture of the tank with only a slight angle of elevation. (Note I have only shown the kit with the barrel I would place on the kit)
A little better of an illustration of how high the gun can elevate...
 The rest of the completed vehicle from several angles...
 This is what you can see once the hood is on. 
 Here we have a couple of comparisons - first, with a German tanker of the same scale showing the immense size of the kit.
Then with an early WWII Lorraine tank destroyer - showing just how for 1946 would have been from 1939!
So that is all he wrote...

The kit - like the E-100 heavy tank it is easy to make, detailed finely enough and the moulding is nicely done without too much flash or problems. The instruction manual is very good and not crowded, only a few times did I get stumped on what angles or where to put parts.

I was a little frustrated by the used of the duplication of sprues AB & C from the FlaK gun kit which sometimes lost me when looking for a part. I also think that a few more details on this kit would have been nice, a proper gun sight in the turret that opens up is one that comes to mind.
But then again if that is all I have to pick out about the kit I haven't much to complain about. The model is impressive in size and you and paint it however you like as this is a figment of "what-if" imaginations and that to me at least, is pretty liberating.

Amusing Hobby - great vehicle selection, easy to make and the sky is the limit to your imagination in painting and finishing the Waffentrager.

This new kit from Amusing Hobby is available now - thanks to them for sending it for us to make up for you.