The “Entwicklungsfahrzeug” series of vehicles were experimental designs that fall into the “paper panzer” category and the E-10 is an excellent example of this, having never gotten off the drawing board itself. As a result, a kit of this particular subject can only draw on those plans and designs and Trumpeter has continued their recent efforts with other E-series vehicles in producing this particular kit.
The kit consists of over 517 pieces and contains the following:
• 1 hull tub in gray styrene
• 5 sprues molded in light gray styrene for the vehicle
• 10 sprues of individual light gray styrene track links for “Early” and “Late” styles
• 4 vinyl glue-able “rubber band” style tracks for “Early” and “Late” styles
• 1 large photo-etched brass fret
• 1 decal sheet of markings
• Exploded Diagram-style instruction sheet for 19 assembly steps
• Color finishing guide depicting 2 different schemes
Upon opening the kit, the simplicity of the vehicle design concept is apparent due to the fact that, aside from the parts count for the track runs, there isn’t a whole lot to this type of vehicle to begin with. The parts are all wrapped in individual plastic bags and were damage-free in my sample.
In examining the kit, it’s apparent that a little bit of deception may have occurred as one of the photos on the box side seems to suggest that the kit can be built with the hydraulic suspension in either the “raised” or “lowered” position, however a close inspection of the parts and instructions reveals that only the “lowered” position is possible as-is. The mount holes in the hull tub are “D” shaped, so with some careful surgery and gluing, it would be possible to lift the suspension if desired.
The tracks provide the option of vinyl one-piece or individual links, both of which come in the “Early” and “Late” styles. The tracks are 40cm Pz III/IV links and the “Early” style features a simple solid guide-horn and three-bar cleat face while the “Late” style has a crimped solid guide-horn and light-weight design cleat face. The indy links capture the “Late” pattern particularly well while the vinyl struggles with this. Both vinyl types lack detail in general on the track faces as you might expect from this type of track.
The large and prominent road wheels are provided with excellent detail and separate hubs. The suspension arms consist of two halves joined together, producing seam lines that will have to be dealt with depending although not much of the suspension will be visible unless altered to be in the “raised” position. The tools provided for the top deck are also well molded and include open square representations for the clamp handles, a move by Trumpeter to follow other manufacturers in this area. The one exception is the tow cables, the ones in my sample had some flash and the cable pattern was not well represented. The top deck also posseses some nice detail and the hatches could be altered to be posed in the open positions however there’s no interior provided as none actually existed for this paper panzer. Optional side skirts are provided in either PE brass or styrene with the styrene option requiring opening up holes in the deck. This is a welcome reversal from past practices for those wanting to use the PE option. It’s much easier to open holes than to fill them, especially given where these are placed. PE exhaust screens are also provided as are half-face periscopes with hollow faces for the top deck however the gunner’s sight and remote MG have solid faces and could benefit from being drilled out.
The prominent mantlet has molded-in cast texture provided and the main gun consists of two halves to be glued together but could easily be replaced with an aluminum barrel for the PaK 39 as used on the Hetzer. Last but not least, the paint/finishing guide provides suggestions for two different 3-tone schemes suitable for a late-war vehicle however the decals are generic and your imagination can literally run wild in how you choose to finish this one given its paper panzer status.
A welcome kit of an unusual subject sure to please the “Panzer ‘46” enthusiasts. The kit design is simple and straightforward with good molded detail provided for the main features. Options for PE or styrene for the skirts and vinyl or indy links for the tracks means there are options for multiple skill levels in the same kit. The relatively high price of the kit may be a deterrent to some but given the type of vehicle and what a resin kit would cost, the Trumpeter kit provides a more affordable option.
A Build Log by Ron Goins
is available via the forums to evaluate the fit and assembly .