Thursday, July 14

Preview: From paper to pixels, to plastic - Takom's O-I, Mäuschen & Vk.168.01P ....

Takom are hitting us with a "Behemoth Attack" of three super heavy tanks from the WWII era in 35th scale. The Vk.168.01P, Typ 205 "Mäuschen" & the Japanese O-I super heavy tank are all on the horizon. We cast our gaze on the O-I & the Vk.168.01P & Mäuschen in this preview...

Preview: From paper to pixels, to plastic - Takom's O-I, Mäuschen & Vk.168.01P ....

Takom are hitting us heavy with a 1,2,3 punch of four experimental Super heavy tanks in 1/35th scale. We have recently previewed the earlier announcement "Mammut" already here on TMN. Today we look at the new trio of Vk.168.01P, the Typ 205 "Mäuschen" & the O-I Super Heavy tanks.

The Subject - number 1: The Japanese O-I Heavy Tank
The O-I (オイ車 Oi-sensha) was a super-heavy tank prototype designed by the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War after the Battles of Nomonhan in 1939. The O-I is one of the Second World War’s more secretive tank projects, with documentation regarding the tank being kept private for over 75 years at Wakajishi Shrine, Fujinomiya. Surviving files pertaining to the design were acquired by the model company FineMolds Inc., and publicly previewed in mid-2015. The multi-turreted 150-ton tank was designed for use on the Manchurian plains as a supportive pillbox for the Imperial Japanese against the Soviet Union. 

One of the few official illustrations of the O-I concept in existence.
The gun was to be a 105mm with a relatively short-barreled gun, which, because of its short barrel would have been awful at anti-tank fighting. The large calibre meant a slow reload time. The multi-turreted layout simply reduced the firing arcs of the guns, and given that 3 of the 5 turrets only had 7.7mm machine guns, one has to wonder what the designers were thinking.

Some of the documentation acquired by FineMolds
The 100+ ton weight meant that in would have been an impossibility to transport to the islands in was supposed to be used on by anything other than boats. The O-I design used 8 road wheels supporting a narrow track. However, the O-I was designed to be used in the Pacific theatre, which meant jungles meaning that the O-I would have become a pillbox in short order. No Japanese vehicle during World War 2 was capable of recovering or towing a stricken/broken down super-heavy tank of such a weight, so once broken down, it would remain there.

the proposed armour layout of the tank
The engine and transmission would have been disastrous. The Japanese decided to use two aircraft engines mated together, producing a total of around 1000hp. Assuming they worked perfectly, this gives us 10hp per ton. This is equal to the Jagdtiger, which was notorious for being desperately slow and unable to crest hills. However, being aircraft engines, they produced relatively low torque. Additionally, cooling would have been a major issue. Aircraft engines required massive cooling systems in order to work, and that was impossible on a tank, no matter the size. The design speed of the O-I was 25km/h, with real life top speed likely being somewhere around 20km/h.

The closest the O-I came to real life, in the game World of Tanks
Finally, Japan had no heavy tank experience. Combined with the lack of experienced crew on any type of tank, this would have resulted in a crew that didn’t know how to use the tank. Air supremacy by the US would have made the O-I a sitting duck for CAS, and fuel shortages would have rendered the O-I immobile long before the transmission gave out.

Another of the retrieved documents of the design...
The project was disbanded four years after the initial development began, deemed unsatisfactory for continuation in 1943 after the lack of resource material for the prototype.

The second subject: The Vk.168.01P
The VK.168.01 (P) Super Heavy was based on an intermediate step in the development of the Maus, specifically the blueprint K.3384, dated to October 5, 1942. During the development of the Pz.Kpfw. VIII Maus, a redesigned blueprint, was presented by Porsche on October 5th, 1942. By October 28th, blueprint K.3384 was ready. 

Again, this tank is for the "What-if" lovers, as it never came to being past blueprints, designs / specification requirements.
The mass of the tank increased only a little compared to the late June version, a mere 10 tons. The tank, however, changed beyond all recognition. The new turret had a larger turret ring, so the sloped sides had to go. The turret is now placed at the frontal of the vehicle. The hull resembled a box with a sloped rear and front. There was a new feature, a machinegun mount in the hull. Due to the longer and heavier hull, there were now 8 road wheels per side. For ease of service, instead of one wide track, there were now two narrower ones, like on the VK 40.01(P).

From paper to pixels, to plastic...
In early November 1942, the tank was reworked again. By November 14th, blueprint K.3385 (Mäuschen) was ready, where the turret moved to the rear of the hull. Similar metamorphoses happened to the Porsche Typ 180 heavy tank (VK 45.01(P)).

Third up: The Typ 205 Mäuschen
The Maus line of tank development - The development of the Maus originates from a contract given to Porsche for the design of a 100-ton tank in March 1942. Porsche's design, known as the VK 100.01 / Porsche Type 205, was shown to Adolf Hitler in June 1942, who subsequently approved it. Work on the design began in earnest; the first prototype, to be ready in 1943 was initially to receive the name Mammut (Mammoth). This was reportedly changed to Mäuschen (Little Mouse) in December 1942 and finally to Maus (Mouse) in February 1943, which became the most common name for this tank.

From pixels to plastic, the Typ 205 Mäuschen is coming to injection moulded plastic.
The Mäuschen (Little Mouse) was a proposed tank that never came to fruition. A development step on the way to the later and heavier Maus super-heavy tank that was made into a few prototypes. In summer 1942, the Porsche company received an order for the development of an assault tank with as much protection as possible and a powerful gun. One of the results of the superheavy Maus tank's development was the Typ 205 Mäuschen, a design project with the same interior. As we said, it existed only in blueprints, so the modeller can make this kit into anything they really want!

Again, this tank never made it past the plan status, and the closest it came to reality was in World of Tanks.

The Kits: Takom's three new super heavy experimental / paper tanks
These kits are still in the late development stage at Takom. The three kits are sold separately of course, with kit number #2157 is going to be the O-I, kit number #2158 will be the VK.168.01 (P), while the 2159 is the Type 205 Mäuschen, all in 1/35th scales.
That is all we have on these three for now - keep tuned for more info on the kits themselves...

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