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Mike

German Panzerlok BR57 Armoured Locomotive 1:72

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German Panzerlok BR57 Armoured Locomotive

1:72 Hobby Boss via Creative Models Ltd.

 

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During the 20s and 30s, the German National Railway dropped their previously dismissive doctrine regarding the use of armoured trains and realised that the armoured train was an effective way of pushing the railway further toward the front line, with sufficient protection for the locomotive to counter all but large calibre, high velocity rounds.  A standard 1910 Prussian series G10 locomotive (0-10-0) with was fitted with armoured plates of thickness to render them almost invulnerable to small arms fire and air attack, permitting the loco to carry on unmolested unless the track was damaged.  This type of loco became the standard in track clearing duties, and often pulled/pushed armoured and armed wagons mounting surplus gun turrets, seeking out ambushes in advance of important consignments that would follow.  The BR57 often pulled two tenders and both pulled and pushed a couple of such wagons from the centre of the train.

 

 

The Kit

Although Hobby Boss don't immediately strike you as a producer of railway kits, they and their associate company Trumpeter do have a long-running and infrequent habit of producing (mainly military) engines, rail guns and wagons to go with such things.  I have a couple of these in my collection, such as the Trumpy Leopold, the BR52 loco and a Panzerjägerwagen, as well as a diesel shunter the name of which I can't quite remember as I write this.  This armoured loco is a new tool, and arrives in a standard HB box with a small card divider within, protecting the bodywork and under frame from damage, with the rest of the sprues individually wrapped, and in places protected by additional foam sheet.  Take heed regarding the wrapping around the chassis ends though, as it is quite tightly wound, and could damage the delicate details underneath if removed roughly.

 

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Inside the box are seven sprues and two separate parts in sand coloured styrene, a glossy A4 painting sheet, instruction booklet and no decals, which I'm a little surprised about, as military vehicles of all types usually have at least a few stencils.  Moving on… The detail of the slide-moulded upper shell parts is excellent, with bulky rivets and panels on the surface.  The purists will want to replace the grab rails on the loco sides with wire ones for ultimate fidelity, but care will need to be taken here not to damage the surrounding detail.  The overall part count is fairly low due to the fact that much of the structure is covered by armour, but what is there is finely moulded to a high standard.  Construction begins with the lower chassis, which is a long narrow ladder into which the bearings, leaf-suspension and brake blocks are added on the inside face, with the wheels on the outer face.  The wheels and their connecting rods are applied to the outer face, with a good level of moulded-in detail on the single part, given the limitations of plastic moulding.  More parts including the pistons at the front of the wheel runs and the connecting rods are added before the running gear is mated with the lower floor of the loco.  The boiler front and tread-plates are fitted to the front of this over the pistons, and plates are added to the front and rear.

 

The armoured body is pretty much a single part, and is moulded with three tabs on the lower edge of each side, which must be removed before it is installed over the floor.  Mirrors, couplings, a short funnel, and cheek plates to the pistons are then installed to finish off the loco.  The tender has a wider, shorter chassis with three pairs of wheels added inside the frame, and suspension detail moulded to the outer surface of the frame.  This and the loco coupling are fitted to the underside of floor, with the armoured shell fitting over the top with steps, grips, buffers and couplings fitted to the exterior.  A small valance is fixed to the shroud around the accessway, and a plate is glued to the rear underside of the loco to fix the link between the halves in place, completing the build.

 

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Happily, Hobby Boss have included a stand, which consists of four track bed lengths with end-caps that result in a 60cm base that is covered in faux ballast, which if I'm being critical is a little bit too regular.  The sleepers/ties are moulded into the ballast, and you slide eight lengths of rail into the cleats, linking them together with bolted plates as per the real thing (before welded rails became a thing of course).  This gives the (roughly) 25cm loco and tender plenty of space to float around, and an additional truck or two could be added for a mini-diorama.

 

Markings

There are no decals in the box, and only one colour scheme included on the sheet, which is a base of Dark Yellow, over which is applied Red brown and Field Green stripes in a similar fashion seen on Panzers of the time.  Given how filthy railway gear got due to the soot and grease, there is then plenty of scope for the modeller to express themselves with weathering.

 

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Conclusion

A nicely moulded kit that would have benefitted from the inclusion of the footplate and controls, so that the sliding panels over the windows could have been left open.  The boiler front is also locked away behind a non-opening armoured door, which again would have been useful to be able to leave ajar for a more candid look to the finished model.  That aside, it's an appealing addition to a collection of military railway hardware, which I seem to have been indulging in without even thinking about.  Maybe that's where my son gets it from afterall?

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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Ooops! 1:72. My apologies :blush: I was on 1:35 auto-pilot :lol:

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