This super heavy tank project was started in November, 1941. By May of 1942, the size of this tank had increased varied from 70 to 120 tons, and its armament varied from 10.5cm to 15cm, finally settling on 12.8cm, then adding a second gun of 7.5cm. This project slowly progressed due to many changes, lack of adequate motors to propel the beast, and constant competing for materials and space in the production cycles. The plan was for 180 of the tanks, but only 2 were delivered to the testing center and were there at the end of the war. These two tanks were blown up by the Germans to keep the Red Army from capturing them. However, the Russians did find several hulls and turrets at the Krupp works and apparently “built” an example that is now in the Kubinka Tank Museum.
- Step 1 and 2. This step is the assembly of the idler wheel, drive sprockets, road wheels, and return wheels. There are no problems here other than the removal of a noticeable mold line on the road wheels. Then you mount the road wheel subassemblies to the body. Make sure these are correctly placed, as the side shields will fit onto the prongs and if you have the subassembly crooked, it is a pain to try and straighten them out. I painted the sub assemblies and the lower body prior to gluing them together. My plan was to build the tracks so they could be painted off the model. More about that mess later. I did glue the idler wheel in place, but left the drive sprocket off until the mounting of the tracks.
- Step 3. This step adds the few items on the upper hull. I suggest that you leave the headlights off until the very end as they will probably be broken off during the track struggles.
- Step 4. This step is building the tracks and mounting the upper half to the lower hull. My plan was to assemble the tracks using a technique that allows me to glue the tracks together, drape them over the road wheels, idler and drive sprocket, let them dry, then remove and paint them off the vehicle and remount them later in the build process. This technique did not work with the tracks provided. I recommend that you glue the tracks together directly to the idler and drive sprocket and paint them in place. Most of the upper run of tracks will be hidden by the side shield. You will need to open up the holes in the tracks to allow them to fit snugly to the drive sprocket.
- Step 5. This step builds the external fuel tank, rear brackets, and the barrel. There were no real problems here other than fixing the seam on the barrel.
- Step 6. This step mounts the barrel to the turret. The instructions call for you to paint the inside of the turret, but unless you want to have an open hatch you can skip that part.
- Step 7. This step installs external fittings on the top of the turret and the turret base. There are no real issues here.
- Step 8. This step adds the side shields and here there are some serious fit issues. The upper hull had a sag, and it was still visible after dry fitting the side shields. Remember, the side shields rest on the road wheel subassembly and click into the hull. I glued them together and used large clamps to hold them together and this minimized the sag problem. However, I did have to shave a lot of the side shield off to get them to match the hull profile.
Here is my saga involving the tracks:
These are NOT Magic Tracks that require no cleanup. There were ejector pin marks on the inner face of each track and they required clean up. These are not workable tracks so I needed to glue them together. However, the mating points between the individual track pieces are very small, and Tamiya super thin glue did not hold them together very well. I tried Tenax without any better results. I did get the tracks together with Micro-Mark’s SAMESTUFF. Using the method listed below failed due to the tracks coming apart (before using the SAMESTUFF). This is due partly to small contact points and partly to the type of adhesive I used. Eventually, I resorted to gluing the parts directly to the idler wheel and drive sprocket and did not worry about the looks of the run on the upper part as they are hidden by the side shields.
The method I use to glue normal individual tracks links together is as follows:
- I use a track jig that is adjustable. I place it on the work surface and put a strip of yellow Tamiya tape down with the sticky side up. If you don’t have a jig, you can use a ruler. Just tape it down and use it as a guide to keep the tracks straight.
- Then I “assemble” the track using the jig and tape to hold all the parts in place.
- I prepare the tracks one side at a time by adding a dab of Tamiya thin glue at each joint and letting this set for about 3 to 5 minutes. This will allow the glue to set enough to hold the tracks together but still be flexible enough to put sag into the tracks.
- I drape the tracks around the road wheels.
- Let them dry.
- Remove the tracks. Paint and weather them off the vehicle.
- Mount the tracks to the model, along with the drive sprocket and idler wheels.
- When you are happy with how the tracks look on the model, glue the drive sprocket and idler wheel into their permanent position. Make sure that the tracks are correctly aligned. One of the biggest mistake armor modelers make is to have tracks that are toed in or out caused by the improper alignment of drive sprockets and/or idler wheels.
This tank was in the testing stage at the end of the war. The paint schemes are fictional.
This is a repop of one of Dragons first kits and boxed with a figure set and sold at a good price. Generally, the molding was okay, there were few ejector pin marks that required filling, and the mold seams were subdued.
The instructions are simple and easy to follow for the tank. The figures did not show the add-on parts like the bread bag, etc. You have to pick what you want and add it.
Painting and Decals
The color call outs are for Testors Model Master enamel and Gunze paints. I continue to see a weakness in the painting instructions from all kit makers. Instructions for the small parts like the pioneer tools and travel lights are never listed or shown. Here you have to guess or mimic what someone else has done. The painting instructions for the figures were incomplete. It showed the main color, but nothing for the add-on items. The decals are by Cartograf and are up to their usual high standards. There are even decals for the weapons carried by the tank hunting figures.
This is a kit of two levels. The basic model less the tracks would be a great starter kit for anyone. However, the tracks move the kit almost to the expert level. The tracks require an inordinate amount of effort to get them correctly mounted. I can recommend this kit to all WWII modelers with the warning about the work required to get the tracks on.
For this variant are included in the following books:
- Panzer Tracts No. 6-3 Schwere Panzerkampfwagen Maus and E100 by Thomas Jentz and Hilary Louis Doyle
- The Maus Tank and Other German Armored Projects by Schiffer Publishing
- Special Panzer Variants by Walter Spielberger and Hilary Doyle
Of course, there are others available.
Thanks to Dragon Models USA for the review sample and IPMS/USA for the review space.