scale Morser Karl may be ordered online from Squadron.com
The Germans and French have always had diametrically opposed views of
artillery. The Germans always thought that if one round could do the job right
the first time, get a bigger gun. The French concept was a lot of little rounds
fired very fast can do the same job. Both got their test during WWI, and both
sides found the wisdom and folly of their choices. The French found that their
concept was a sure winner as an infantry killer, but the Germans found that
their concept was a fortress cracker and excellent suppression weapon.
When the Germans began to rearm for WWII, they still saw a need for fortress
crackers. But the one drawback to their WWI version, the 42 cm "Big Bertha", was
that it was very slow and very hard to maneuver due to its huge size and the
number of loads it had to travel in. They therefore took its new progeny, a 60
cm ultraheavy mortar dubbed Geraet (Equipment) 040, and put it on a specially
designed self-propelled chassis. While the complete weapon still went around 124
metric tons in firing order, at least it only need to be broken into two
components for movement and could position itself once it arrived in its firing
position. One prototype and five production guns were built.
Later, while the 600mm projectile was found to be perfect for eliminating pesky
Soviet defenders a block at a time, it was too short-ranged and the guns were
always in danger of simple enemy counterbattery fire. As a result, a smaller 54
cm barrel was designed which gave the weapon a 50% increase in effective range
while still throwing a nearly 3,000 pound projectile.
The guns were all given names, just as with the German superheavy railway guns:
Adam (I), Eve (II), Thor (III), Odin (VI), Loki (V) and Ziu (VI). Eve and Loki
were captured by US forces in 1945.
This is a stunning vehicle in size and concept, and has been done in 1/72 scale
as a plastic kit and by several manufacturers as a resin or combination kit.
Now, in honor of its 10th Anniversary, Dragon Models has released a very
impressive kit of this monster.
First off, it does not come in a normal model box but rather in a heavy
cardboard crate. The model box is so large that unpacking the review sample
literally made my granddaughter's day with its size and the amount of excelsior
used to protect it! The box has a two-sided cardboard sleeve with the
traditional excellent Ron Volstad artwork on both sides.
Once inside, the kit is essentially a typical Dragon affair but on steroids. The
hull alone is a single-piece molding with all 22 road wheel axles molded in
place and is over 31 cm long. There are unfortunately ejector pin marks right
above each of the axle mounts, but they appear to be easy to remove; remember
it's hard to get something this big and as rigid as it is out of the molds
without some help.
The model comes with a complete running gear and to the sighs of relief of many
modelers, this kit uses "link and length" track rather than complete single link
assemblies. Alas, each shoe has two injection pin marks, but these are easily
removed with a small file. The road wheels are all hollow backed, but
considering the gun comes in the "down" position, the wheels are closely spaced,
and there is little room above them, this is basically an inconsequential
The actual gun mounts are big, but DML has tried to ensure that they do not wind
up toy-like in the fashion of the old Renwal Atomic Cannon. The parts are
assembled in structures so that they replicate the massive frames of the
original and appear reasonably convincing when compared to photos. The rammer
assembly is included and likewise is built up from smaller parts to create
something that appears able to deal with a 5,400 pound shell.
The gun itself is MASSIVE and takes a lot more parts than I would have thought.
Some may whine as the main gun tube is a two-part styrene assembly and not
turned aluminum, but at the size of the tube it would either weigh six or seven
ounces or cost more than the rest of the kit, so DML can't be blamed for its
choice. The tube is – surprise! – rifled, so they did try to do it right and I
give them credit for expediency over silliness.
The driver's position is supplied as well, but most modelers will probably just
wish to use the cover (part B10) to conceal it. As this wasn't a full-up
cross-country chassis, it's pretty spartan as well.
In order to help keep the massive breech in battery, the model uses two springs
mounted inside the recoil carriage. The small steel axle mounts on the left
upper side of the cradle, but appears to serve no strengthening function that I
can see. The shell is a nice touch and is big, heavy and neatly turned.
The model comes with two options: an RLM gray scheme for "Loki" (Gun V) or a
three-color camouflage scheme for "Ziu" (Gun VI).
At this time it is not known if DML will produce a tender vehicle with more
projectiles, or offer the projectiles separately as Tamiya did for its
Overall this appears to be a really nicely done kit, and one which will keep the
after-market folks busy with conversions and add-ons. Right now it can use (but
does not need) an 80-wheel mobile barrel transport trailer, a 24-wheel carriage
transport trailer, the railway carrier sections, the 54 cm barrel option, a
Munitionswagen IV ammo carrier, more ammunition, crew figures, etched brass,
markings for the other four guns – everyone in the armor modeling fraternity
should find something which will enhance this kit and make it a showstopper.
Thanks to Freddie Leung of DML for the review sample.
Review Copyright © 2003 by Cookie
Page Created 23 February, 2003
Last updated 24 August, 2003
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