by: Matt Szefer [ ]
Originally published on:
On August 1938, Henschel was authorized to lead further research on new tanks, continuing the DW project. Two projects were created - the lighter VK30.01 (H) and the heavier VK36.01 (H).
The heavier vehicle was designated with a view towards mounting a turret with bigger gun in it. For this tank three variants of armament were prepared: 75mm conical bore Gerat 0725 antitank gun, tank verison of 88mm L/56 cannon and 105mm L/28 howitzer. The hull had 60mm side armor with 100mm on the front, while the turret had 80mm frontal and 60mm side protection. Finally decided to use Gerat gun but delays in design work and then acute of tungsten shortages resulted in cancellation of the cannon project. The completed chassis was tested without the turret and as it turned out later this tank was never to undergo any shooting trials because the main armament was never mounted.
In May 1941 a prototype of VK36.01 and six pre-series chassis were ordered for the traction tests. The plans assumed the production of 116 vehicles in 1941 and 172 more in next year but only six vehicles were produced. The first prototype was used in mobility tests and next four chassis were re-built as armored recovery vehicles for the Tiger tanks.
After the Gerat 0725 anti-tank gun program was cancelled, research for next weapon that could be installed on promising VK36.01 chassis. The howitzer was available, but it was not an anti-tank weapon, the only serious alternative left was 88mm KwK 36 gun but it needed a bigger turret to be installed and bigger turret needed a bigger turret ring. The turret ring from VK36.01 hull was 20cm too small to use the turret equipped with 88mm gun. The only solution left was to build the new smaller turret armed with the 75mm KwK 42 L/70 cannon that was intended for the new medium tank. Rheinmetall started work on the new turret but before it was designated and built the VK6.01 program was cancelled altogether.
Inside The Box
Revosys is a new brand in the plastic model market. As its first product, the company released a model of the German prototype heavy tank Pz. Kpfw. VI Ausf. C / D otherwise designated as VK. 3601. This is the first injection model of VK.36.01 so it's 100% new tooled and it allows you to build a model with turret and fighting compartment interior. Due to the fact that no turret for this tank was ever built and mounted the manufacturer includes in this kit a lot of different options for the same vehicle component, for example there are three different guns, four gun mantlets, two commander cupolas and even two ways to put the ovm tools on the fenders. It leaves a lot of flexibility for the modellers, which is great for all who like the chance top choose.
The kit comes in big and deep box with open top lid, it promises a lot of parts inside. Interesting box art on the top shows the command version of this vehicle, painted in panzergrau, during the battle. On the sides of the box producer has placed more information about the kit, its features and advantages.
The box is sturdy and will protect the contents, so all parts come in great shape. For additional protection all sprues are separately packaged in plastic bags. Inside the box there are:
- 12 gray plastic sprues
- 1 clear sprue
- lower hull tub
- Main turret part
- 2 bags with track links
- 4 sprues with track connectors
- 2 pe sheets
- Decal sheet
- Correction note for the instruction
An initial inspection of the sprues show that the quality of all parts is excellent. There are no ejection pin marks, flash and seam lines also minimal. Overall all parts are crisp and sharp molded. What's more the kit is not over engineered; the parts are not unnecessarily divided into several minor components so it allows for the fast and trouble-free build. Only the single link workable tracks can be a little bit time consuming, but I'm sure that the final effect will be worth it.
The instructions are supplied in the form of a book. The first page is copied from the box art color picture of the VK36.01. Then, on the second page the producer has placed the clear sprue map. Next, on the black and white line drawings are 24 build steps. The instructions are clear and easy to follow, but it shows how to build this tank in two versions with three different guns, so attention while assembling is required. 15 steps are focused on the hull and suspension assembly, the remaining 9 show how to make the turret. On the next page is table with the color references for Ammo by Mig and Mr.Hobby paints. Above are printed the color pictures with interior details which show how to pain them. On the last pages are four paint schemes prepared by Ammo by Mig team. Of course they are historically incorrect because this vehicle have never been completed and armed but if it would be produced probably it would be painted similar.
A single piece lower hull tub is nicely molded with sharp details like two bump stops on every side or the final drive covers. There mountings for the U-shaped tow shackles or positioning holes for the other details are molded very cleanly. The welds are also really nicely done, visible but not over scaled. Even the details on the bottom of hull like the hatches, openings and welds are recreated with great care.
Wheels and Suspension
The suspension in this kit is well detailed, and can be fully workable. To do this you just need to cut off the positioning bolt on every swing arm. It consists of the separate molded swing arms, overlapping road wheels, sprocket and idler wheels. Every wheel comes from two parts so the suspension assembly is not complicated, what in the case of German tanks is not so obvious at all. All parts are well made but I especially like the road wheels with great bolt details and casted tiny numbers on the rubber tires.
The tracks included with this kit are individual track links provided in two bags and four sprues. In the bags are placed two types of the main track parts, with a molded pin on the side of the track and without, with the hole for the separate plastic pin. They are molded in brown styrene in pairs so they have only two connection points per link to clean up.
The four bigger sprues contain the track bridges with the hollowed guide horns which connect the links together and block the track pin inside. This solution makes the tracks workable and they work like in the real vehicle. There are also separate guide horns and pins for the spare tracks. To make the track assembly faster and easier the producer included a simple jig.
For me this type of tracks are one of the best, maybe they are a little bit time consuming, but the final result should be pleasing for all.
Front glacis and rear plate
The front of the hull is rather pretty straightforward to build. There is a single piece front plate with bow mg mounting and only the mg barrel and driver's vision port need to be added to finish it. The armored plate above the transmission also comes as one part and requires you to make two pilot holes for the shovel mounted on it. The shovel, as the rest of the tools in this kit have molded on clasps but the most delicate part is provided as a pe. This solution makes that finished clasps will look really good. Adding the spare tracks on the front of the vehicle ends work in this area.
The separate rear plate mounts the exhaust pipes with covers, tow coupler and C-shaped tow hooks. The kit contains two different types of the exhausts and two rear plates: one for each type. The same like the front plate this part need to drill some pilot holes to add the rest of the details but they are marked from the inside so it shouldn't create any problems.
Upper plate and fenders
The upper plate is a large flat part with a separate driver and radio operators hatch lids. They are detailed on both sides so it is possible for them to be left open. The engine access hatches are molded on in the closed position, it is a reasonable move as there is no engine included. This part also needs some drilling to add the rest details like the four s-mine launchers. Behind the main upper plate in place for the engine covers. The producer also provides two types of them, both are well made and both are covered by pe mesh.
The fenders in this kit have great imitation of ribbed sheet, one of the best that I ever seen on styrene parts. Each one comes from three parts, and the middle part can be in the open or closed position, so it is detailed on both sides. In German tanks most ovm tools are mounted on the fenders, the same is here so again drilling some pilot holes is necessary. In this model the producer provides two ways to place tools on the fenders and shows them clearly in the instructions with a view from the top. The tools look great, all are sharp molded but the jack block with wood structure and the multi part jack look just excellently. In addition to the tools on the fenders, there is also place for Bosh head lights and the horn.
In the rear part of the hull on the both sides is place for the antennas, normal on the left and the star antenna for command vehicles on the right.
This kit comes with the fighting and driving compartment interior. It's detailed as good as the rest of the kit. The quality of parts is high so all details look great. All components consist of many parts so the interior after assembly will be really crowded but the ribbed sheet on the floor, all wires molded on the firewall, spring details on the seats and finally the beautifully done radios mean that it will be rich with great details. The one thing that will make all look even better, the decal on the dashboard will be a great feature, but unfortunately it isn't included.
The main turret part itself is finely detailed and it look similar to the Panzer III turret. It looks great from the outside but has the ejector pin marks on the inside, in the kit without interior it is not an issue but in this case they must be removed. As is the case of the hull there are also a lot of optional parts to choose from. The producer provides three types of main guns, four different gun mantlets, two commander cupolas, full and empty smoke grenades etc. so the choice is very big. This kit gives a possibility to build two complete different guns with the mantlets and use them interchangeably.
Worth mentioning is the fact that all three gun barrels are well done but the 75mm with the muzzle brake and the 88mm look really great.
All details mounted on the turret look great; the commander cupolas are extremely well detailed. The loader hatch as well. The rest of the details are also on the same, very high level of execution.
This kit offers the full turret interior and the same as with the hull interior the level of execution is very good. The gun breech, coaxial mg, tower rotation mechanism comes from multi parts and thus the level of the detailing will be more than satisfactory. The same thing with the rest of the interior components, the clear vision ports, fire extinguisher, ammunition boxes etc. looks like the real things.
The producer provided different interior parts for the 75mm and 88mm guns so remember that depending on what kind of main gun and gun mantlet we use, the interior details may vary, so special attention in this construction phase is required.
The decal sheet is small and provides two kinds of German crosses and three kinds of numbers. The printing quality is very good; they are soft, thin and clear. I do not expect difficulties during work with them.
Summing up: This Revosys product is a great proposition for German WWII armor fans. The very good quality of the kit allows you to make a well detailed model straight from the box. Lots of options for selecting individual vehicle components leaves a lot of flexibility for the builder. Only the lack of the engine is an obstacle to name this kit as perfect, but this doesn't change my overall very high rating of this product, which I can safely call as worthy of recommendation.