Frankfurt, Germany-based Das Werk has released another trailer option for their Faun L900 series truck – this time a 5-ton, four-wheeled ‘unit trailer’ or Einheitsanhänger. As with previous releases, Das Werk continues to stick to its roots of providing interesting and imminently buildable kits for a good price.
Das Werk has gained a reputation for using only the best of materials and packaging, and this offering is no exception. The double-folded, sturdy box is small and compact, and, once opened, all parts are bagged and the decals are slipped inside the instruction booklet. The plastic is soft but not too soft, and the detail is crisp – although unlike the low-boy trailer I just finished building, the molding on my copy of this kit had a significant amount of flash and mold lines to clean up, especially on the smaller parts. This might have been a one-off issue, however, as I have not encountered this on any of their other kits. The number of attachment points and nodes, while many, are located in areas that are easily addressed.
The contents of the box include:
- 7 sprues of parts molded in light-grey plastic, including 5 sprues for the wheels
- 1 small decal sheet
- 4 brass canopy rods
- 1 21-page, half-size color instruction booklet, including a parts map and four four-view CAD color drawings to act as a painting and decal guide. All text and label information is translated into English.
- Markings for four trailers, all German Army WWII
The instruction booklet is excellent. Printed in color on high-quality, satin-finish paper, it starts off with a short history and a symbol guide to use for assembly and painting. At the end of the booklet is a color reference grid and a section for painting and decal information, with call-outs for standard RAL, Tamiya, Mr Hobby H-series, Ammo, Vallejo, Humbrol, and Mission Models. A nice parts map is included but no list of un-used parts. The instructions are separated into four well-illustrated steps. Images are rendered from several angles so you are never forced to guess about how things go on ‘the other side’. There are numerous images of, for example, the completed assembly for a given step, and other images of where specifically to put glue (to allow free movement of some parts, etc.).
The last page shows how to bend the included brass rod for adding a canopy (not included) using a bending jig – a perk that will make this tricky task a breeze if you want to add those. Different finishing options are provided showing German Grey, German Yellow, and two multi-colored finishes.
Das Werk has invested heavily in making an excellent set of instructions, and the quality shows through. Good job.
Things to Consider Before You Start
There are several options for building the trailer; 1) with all four solid wooden sides, positioned up and/or down, or 2) with a combination of solid wood sides and wood-frame/mesh sides, also positioned up or down. Four (mesh-less) frames are included in the kit and are in the parts map, but are not mentioned in the instructions. Also, no mesh is provided, assuming you would ‘roll your own’ as needed, I guess.
The wheels and tires can be assembled and attached at the very end of the build, after painting and weathering without any problem.
BTW – If you decide not to use the mesh frames for the sides of your trailer, it just so happens that the two long side frames fit the rear cargo area of Tamiya’s ubiquitous FAMO halftrack, if you are so inclined. Bonus!
Also, in my copy of this kit, there are four sprues AND four extra plastic bags of what appears to be tiny plastic pins – the kind you normally see with multi-part tank track. These would be the pins that you would stick into the track from the outside to hold the separate links together. All of this plastic doesn’t seem to have a place in this kit. The sprues appear in the Parts Map, but no mention is made of these pins in the instructions themselves. Strange.
Otherwise, that’s it. This build, like the rest of DW kits, was about as problem free as they get. Have fun!
Assembly starts with the front set of wheels. Each of nine wheels is made up of five sandwiched wafers, each of which represent a single tread section on the narrow tire. Eight of the tires have a ‘weight bulge’ molded in, assisting the modeler in fitting them together – the ninth tire (without the bulge) is for the spare. While this approach is successfully used by other manufacturers to represent tires with tread, the fit on these by DW falls a little short. The design doesn’t have enough firm attachment points to keep the modeler from going astray. After I messed up the first one, I paid real close attention starting with tire number two, going forward. The bulge helps, but even then, at least one or more of the tire ‘wafers’ didn’t want to seat correctly, leaving a gap that, thankfully, disappears with paint and weathering. The promise is there, but the design fell a little short.
One minor issue: On Page 5, Step 1.4, Part A11 is actually A12, and the un-numbered ‘Y’ frame it is attached to is Part A38 on the sprue.
Assembly continues through the various bogie mechanisms without any issue. The well-illustrated instructions show parts from multiple angles to assist in getting everything right. You are given an option in Steps 1.9 and 3.3 to add wiring (which would require the use of alternate parts) as well as options for two different trailer hitches in Step 3.1. The wiring is not included in the kit.
The main cargo box came together perfectly and really looks nice – great detail here, including beautiful molded-in latches. The sides and rear can be attached in the ‘up’ position, or folded down.
Step 3.7 brings together the spare wheel and wheel housing. I made the mistake of not fitting this assembly before letting it dry, and the two cross members (Parts A29 and A30) should be at more of a ‘X’ cross angle than a ‘+’ cross angle in order for the whole thing (with wheel) to fit where it goes up underneath the trailer. By the time I realized this, the delicate cross members had dried fast and could not be bent into the proper shape. My bad. The annoying thing is that I had actually done a real good job with the tread wafers on that tire!
Included in the kit are five brass rods to bend into shape, forming a canopy for the trailer. Das Werk thoughtfully included a plastic jig to use as a bending form to make the task as easy as possible. If you also purchase their Faun L900 truck, the same brass rods are included in that kit as well, to form a matched set. The instructions show you how to drill the holes in the trailer’s sides to accommodate the canopy rods.
And that’s it! Once the wheels are assembled, the rest of the trailer comes together in a snap.
Painting, Decals and Finish
I decided to paint my trailer in the same overall German Grey scheme that will adorn my Faun prime mover. I used paint and finishes from a variety of manufacturers, listed below.
Before painting, I made a sticky board for the nine wheels, and treated the tires by dropping them in a plastic baggie holding ‘a few shakes’ of Mig pigments (European Dust, Dark Mud and Dry Mud). After giving the bag a good shake, I put on a pair of surgical gloves and brushed off the excess pigment into a capture tray using a short-haired paint brush and my fingers. The latex-free gloves allowed me to rub a nice dull sheen into the sides of the tires (and keep the mess to a minimum!)
For the trailer itself, I started by applying a coat of rattlecan Krylon Flat Black Paint/Primer on the lower chassis and underneath the main bed for my dark, primer/pre-shade coat. Surprisingly, this low-cost enamel solution sprays on easily and dries very thin and level – replacing a time-intensive task I normally use an airbrush and more expensive paint for. I use a dark primer coat to fill in the recesses - creating a shadow effect near the flat surface edges and adding depth for the subsequent coats to come.
After the primer had degassed, I followed the pre-shade coat with an overall coat of Tamiya XF-63 German Grey, following that with a post-shade coat of 50% German Grey, 25% Flat White and 25% XF23 Light Blue.
Once the paint was dry, I shot the whole trailer with Pledge Floor Polish (Future) to prepare it for decals and washes.
The Das Werk decals went on without any problems using Micro-Sol/Micro-Set decal solutions, the wood grain being no problem for the ubiquitous decal duo to handle.
I then gave the whole trailer a series of washes using AKI Wash for Wood, Streaking Grime for Panzer Grey, and Rust Streaks along the grain of the wood. Highlights of Buff and Ochre AKI Oil Brushers seemed to disappear into the enamel background, so I pulled out Tamiya Buff and Desert Yellow and drybrushed thinned swatches with the wood grain, which worked well.
Next, I went over the edges and latches with a sponge holding Vallejo Camouflage Medium Black Brown to represent paint chipping. I followed this with a ‘road-dusting’ coat of Vallejo Model Air Light Brown and then shot the whole thing with Vallejo Flat Varnish to kill the shine.
I held off with the pigments and bling until I could mate this up with its prime mover, when I’ll be a be better able to judge what’s needed.
Great little build over several nights of modeling bliss. Das Werk should be commended for producing this kit, and their low-boy trailer, unglamorous as they are. They add a lot to a prime mover and these kinds of subjects have always been underrepresented by model manufacturers. Thank you DW!
While the tires were a little fiddley to get right, the rest of the kit simply fell together, and the wood grain and latch representations are superb.
This is an unusual vehicle, and will no doubt attract a lot of attention on the showroom tables behind some kind of cool prime mover – like their Faun L900 truck!
I would like to thank Das Werk and MBK for providing this kit for review, and to IPMS USA for giving me the opportunity to build it.