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RSO

Ace 1/72 RSO/01 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review May 2009 Manufacturer Ace
Subject RSO/01 Scale 1/72
Kit Number 72277 Primary Media Styrene/Photo-Etch
Pros Interesting subject Cons  
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $13.50

First Look

RSO Kit
RSO Kit
RSO Kit
RSO Kit

The Raupenschlepper Ost, or RSO, was a tracked utility tractor that was developed by Steyr to improve battlefield mobility on the 'Eastern Front'. Indeed, after the Germans' first winter in Russia, they learned quickly which type of vehicles could retain their mobility in the Russian mud and snow.

Given that the wheeled vehicles and half-tracks were not effective off-road in the Russian winter, Steyr developed this lightweight tractor that could be used as both a fully tracked utility truck and as a tow vehicle for artillery pieces and supply trailers. The RSO was powered by a 3.5 liter V8 engine developing 85 horsepower. One additional innovation of the type was the development of a floatation skirt that would give the RSO amphibious capabilities to cross bodies of water (as long as the waves weren't too high).

Here is an interesting kit from Ace. This is a 1/72 scale production of the RSO/01. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on six parts trees and one fret of photo-etched parts.

Construction of the kit starts with the chassis which includes the chassis, road wheels and suspension, drive and return sprockets, and the boat hull that makes up the floatation skirt.

What is interesting in this kit is the track - these are provided as photo-etch where you fold the top and bottom sides of the track over one another, then bend in the track teeth. Two sections of photo-etched track will do each side and the instructions are a little vague on how the two lengths of photo-etched track attach to one another.

Next comes the cab that includes the engine enclosure, driver's seat and tractor steering controls. This is followed by the wooden truck bed. The cab and bed mount inside the hull and receive a few more details to complete the project.

The instructions depict two different color schemes for this kit:

  • RSO/01, unknown unit, Poland, Spring 1944
  • RSO/01, unknown unit, Ukraine, Autumn 1943

Neither vehicle carried any sort of national or unit markings and only one of them carried a generic vehicular data block on the driver's door (included).

This looks like a nice little kit and the photo-etched track looks like an innovative way to a realistic sag to the track without dealing with individual track links.

This kit is definitely recommended!

My sincere thanks to HobbyTerra.com for this review sample!

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