FAUN L900/D667 Hard Top Cab
The FAUN L900 was in production from 1937 to 1939. They were primarily used by the German Army as tank transporters. The heavy Faun L900 with the 10to sd.Ah. 115 Trailer could transport two Panzer I's or II's and the other early war smaller and lighter tanks and AFV's. The heavy Faun L900 had a max cargo capacity of 10,000 kg and at the end of the war they were still in service. The large numbers of these vehicles that were available in the post-war period combined with their utility meant that quite a few were converted for civilian use. This new release from Das Werk covers the hard top version of this vehicle.
This kit is a rerelease of the Das Werk kit, DW35003, which was for the soft top truck and included the Sd.Ah.115 trailer. It includes new parts to correct some issues that were highlighted in the reviews for the original release and to add parts for the hard top. Rather than reprint the instructions with the edits for the hard top version, Das Werk decided to print an addendum booklet that highlights the differences for the new parts. This is not my first Das Werk kit, and I do really like their instructions. The instructions are clearly printed on heavy gloss paper with clear callouts.
All of the parts are well molded in a grey plastic and there were no noticeable sink marks. Included in this new boxing are 11 sprues of grey plastic, 2 clear sprues, several brass rods, and two decal sheets. The new parts included in the reboxing are injection molded weighted tires, new windows, new wheels, and a new sprue for the hard top cab parts. While building this kit I would recommend having both sets of instructions open, there are no callouts in the main set of instructions to show when a new part replaces an original. So you will need to refer to the addendum booklet often.
The build starts with building the frame for the truck and in the first step there is replacement part. Part C15 is replaced by the new part K4. Steps 1.0 through 1.4 are entirely dedicated to the building of the frame. I had no issues with the parts used in these steps and all of the parts fit very well. On page 6 there is a handy alignment diagram for the loadbed mounts that were assembled in Step 1.1. In Step 1.3, I left the exhaust off until final assembly to simplify painting. It is possible to thread this part through the differentials without issue. Also there is a misprint in the instructions here, there is a call out for A24, which is one of the parts of the differentials.
Be very careful when assembling the differentials, the alignment is critical and it can be tricky to get the angles right. Das Werk has helpfully included a QR code that will take you to their website if you need help with this step. Steps 2.0 through 2.2 cover the instillation of the front and rear suspension. In Step 2.0, you will need to pick what type of rear leaf spring that you want to use. This is one of the best features of this kit, they included 3 different options for an empty bed, neutral load and a heavy load. Be careful when installing the differentials to the rear leaf springs, it can be very easy to get these out of alignment while the glue is drying. My recommendation is to use a slow setting glue, assemble the front and rear suspension at the same time and get the vehicle up on the rubber wheels. This will allow you to add weight to the frame and ensure the proper alignment while the suspension sets.
Next up is Steps 3.0 and 3.1, these will take you through the assembly of the cab and it’s attachment to the frame. This is also the area with the most number of new parts when compared to the soft top version. B13 and B12 will be replaced with K20 and K19. Part K1 replaces B3 and there is a new rear window, L5. Part B2 is replaced by K2 and there is a new front window with windshield wipers, parts L1 and K12 respectively. There are also replacement doors and a new roof.
The interior surfaces of many of these parts did have sink marks, these will likely not be visible on the finished vehicle with closed doors but if you intend to keep the cab open I would recommend filling them. I had no issues with the fit of any of these parts and the build went smoothly. Das Werk also includes some very nice gauge decals, these did require a lot of MicroSol to settle down over the molded gauges but they are a nice touch. Lastly for the this section, I left the cab separate from the frame to make painting easier.
I also assembled to the bonnet and left it off to ease painting later. Steps 5.0 and 5.1 cover the assembly of the fuel tank and a large tool box. Both of these were assembled with no issues and as they would be the same color as the frame they were installed. Next up in Step 6 are the wheels and tires. These have been completely replaced in the re-release with injection molded, weighted tires. These are a huge improvement over the original rubber wheels and they are one of the best sets of injection molded, multipart tires that I have worked with. These were painted Tamiya Rubber Black and set aside for final assembly.
I skipped over the steering linkage in Step 6.2, these needed to be painted separately and installed later. Also skip over the step 6.0, 6.1 and 6.3 as these all deal with the original rubber tires. The next step is 7.0, which covers the load bed assembly. I built the load bed and kept it separate for painting. The only issue that I had was that part B1 was slightly warped on my version. This was very easy to correct with careful gluing and clamping.
Steps 7.1 and 7.2, are for the tool boxes for both sides of the frame. I had no issues with assembly of these parts but I did leave them off until after painting. I skipped over Step 8.0 and 8.1, these both deal with the fenders and are easier to install after painting. Steps 9.0 and 10.0 are the last steps that are needed for this build in the original instructions. Step 9.0 is for the jack and 10.0 is for the front end details. I assembled all of these parts but left them off the main assembly until after painting. The last steps to cover are on pages 6 and 7 in the addendum, these pages cover differences in details from the original kit. Both for the hard top roof and the rear of the truck. I had no issues with any of these parts but as usual, I left them off until after painting.
Next up is the decal and painting parts of the build. This release does include the original decals for the first release and second sheet with updated options. This means that there are a lot of options for final markings. From the original kit there are: 5 unknown units in German Grey with different unit numbers, one unknown unit in two tone German Grey and dark brown, one unknown unit it German Tri-color camouflage, and the vehicle from the original cover art with Erika decals on the doors. These are all for the soft top version and relate to the 2 in 1 part of this kit. The new decals included for the re-release include three new post war commercial options: one in off-white and black for Fredericus Pilsener, one in green and red for Huber and Frederich construction and moving, and another in white and black for Weihenstolz Weissbier.
For my build I chose the Weissbier truck, I painted the frame and everything black with Tamiya XF-69 NATO Black. The tires were painted Tamiya Rubber Black and the white surfaces were painted with Tamiya Flat White. As these vehicles were post war surplus, I chose to paint the interior of the cab Tamiya German Grey on the assumption that the interior would not have been repainted. Once the paint was cured I moved on to final assembly.
I had no issues with the instillation of all the parts that I left off earlier. This was particularly impressive as I had treated all of the body work as a separate subassembly. The only slight alignment issue that I had was with the left side of the hood where it attached to the cab. When following the addendum to install the new wheels be very careful to follow the instructions and make sure that the correct tire face is pointing out.
Once the final assembly was complete it was time for decals. The new decals were very well printed and had great register. I had a minor issue with the light blue decals that I had selected for my build. One of the large decals had adhered to the protective film, this damaged the decal slightly when I removed the film. The decals did settle down very well over a couple coats of Pledge Floor Gloss. The larger decals did require a little MicroSol to conform to the wood texture of the load bed.
This is a great kit. It builds up quickly and for the most part fits really well. It fills a gap in the market for a heavy tank transporter for early WWII. The re-release corrects some minor errors and adds some very interesting post war visions of the vehicle. This is not my first Das Werk kit and it certainly won’t be my last. This kit is highly recommended for anyone with a little experience and an interest in post war commercial vehicles or early war tank transporters. My thanks to Das Werk and IPMS for giving me the opportunity to review this kit.