Saturday, May 21

Preview: Takom giving it both barrels - their 35th scale Versuchsträger 1-2

Takom's choice of subjects for their kits isn't easy to pick, but at least they are original. Their latest is a dream for the World of tanks balancing department, the twin-barrelled Versuchsträger 1-2 or VT 1-2. This unique machine has several interesting features that we look at, as well as the kit's finer points in our preview...

Preview: Takom giving it both barrels - their 35th scale Versuchsträger 1-2

Versuchsträger 1-2
From Takom
1/35th scale
Kit No #2155
Photo-etch included 
The Subject: The Versuchsträger 1-2
The Versuchsträger 1-2 (abbreviated: VT, meaning "test-beds" or "experiment carrier") were two German prototype twin-gun turretless main battle tanks. Since the early 1970s, a number of West German companies have been working on conceptual designs for a successor to the Leopard 1. This project had the name Kampfpanzer 3 (KPz 3). The KPz 3 project was temporarily a British-German joint project, until the UK withdrew because they wanted a turreted tank. The Germans had already developed the Leopard 2 and therefore didn't see the need for another conventional tank. One of the companies involved was MaK, developing the VT 1-1 and VT 1-2. The test programme ended proving that a twin-gunned turretless tank could be created with enough technical effort, but had drawbacks in both practical and tactical use.

The business end of the Versuchsträger 1-2 with its twin 120mm smoothbore guns with an automatic loading mechanism.
The first VT tank, VT 1-1, was built in 1974 by Maschinenbau Kiel (MaK). One year later they produced the second VT tank, the VT 1-2. For further testing of the mobility and the concept of a tank with two main guns, five Gefechtsfeldversuchträger (GVT, "battlefield test-beds") were designed and built-in 1975 and 1976.

The Versuchsträger 1-2 with double the danger (note the hazard tape on the barrels...)
The VT 1-1 was based on the shortened chassis of the cancelled MBT-70 tank. Since the tank had no autoloaders, a crew of four was needed to operate it. All VT tanks followed in some extent the traditional design of German Jagdpanzers like the post-war Kanonenjagdpanzer. The VT 1-2 featured a turbocharged engine, which was capable of 1,500 PS sustained and 2,400 PS for short periods of time. The tank had a three-man crew seated at the front, with a driver between commander and gunner. A comparison with the Leopard 2 was held, which proved that the VT 1-2 tank wouldn't have any significant advantages over the Leopard 2. The engine of the Leopard 2 wasn't defining the concept and could therefore be replaced by the stronger 12-cylinder engine of the VT 1-2 if required. The Leopard 2 also had a high first-round hit probability, due to its advanced fire control system, which corresponds to or even surpasses the calculated first-round hit probability of the twin guns.

The VT tanks were designed to:
- Reach a higher weapon efficiency through short reaction times, higher hit probability and higher kill probability by using twin guns in a casemate structure.
- To be more mobile by using a stronger engine and a new suspension.
- To have a higher level of survivability by reducing the crew compartment, using heavy frontal armour and the ability to use the Wechselkurs technique, i.e. driving sideward (like beating on land).

The VT 1-2 carried two 120 mm smoothbore guns equipped with 6-round automatic loaders. The GVTs were not fitted with guns, instead, they mounted two gun simulators. For combat simulations, they used Talissi laser fire simulators. The propellant gases were created with a 20 mm cannon mounted on the roof.

The new kit from Takom:
Takom's new 35th scale kit of the Versuchsträger 1-2. This is another in their range of just "out-there" picks of subjects. No one but the biggest scrooge could call them unimaginative in their picks!
This new kit features all of the 120mm twin barrelled smoothbore meanness of this prototype.  The kit has no artwork yet, just the CAD form and some interesting bits to focus on. The suspension is able to replicate the hydro-pneumatic stance of the original tank to pitch the nose up or down. The pattern of the fume extractor is replicated with some fine detail. The tracks are also carefully reproduced by Takom.

The kit should be available in July...

That is all we know about this release for now. You can see more about Takom's kits on their website or on their Facebook page