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Ironside 1/35 SSYMS Flatcar Kit First Look

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review July 2007 Manufacturer Ironside
Subject SSYMS Flatcar Scale 1/35
Kit Number IR027 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Interesting subject that will complement DML German railcar offerings Cons No part numbers on parts and no rails or roadbed parts
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $40.00

First Look


For almost as far back as railroads have existed, they have been used to carry fighting men and military equipment during wartime. During WWII, the vast railroads in Europe and Russia were used to carry military items closer to the front. In the case of tanks, this got them closer to the battlefield faster than if they had been driven there under their own power. It also left the tank crews fresher for battle.

One such piece of railroad equipment, used by Germany, was the SSYMS flatcar (subject of this kit by Ironside). This particular kit was used for carrying the Panther tank. The flatcar could carry the 44.8 ton weight of the Panther. Panthers were 6.87m long, 8.66m if the gun was forward, 3.42m wide and 2.99m high.

Ironside is a French modeling company. They do two types of kits. One type is all plastic and the other has resin and PE etc. in it. This second type is usually produced in lesser numbers than the all plastic kits and also more expensive. This particular kit falls into the later category.

The kit comes in a very sturdy tray and lid type box. The box art is very poor. Being a very inky and unclear black and white photo, printed on a separate sheet of paper which has then been glued to the box top.

The kit contains plastic, metal, resin and PE parts. Parts are cushioned with several layers of bubble wrap.

There are four trees of medium gray parts in a sealed cello bag with one small white tree of parts and four loose medium gray parts. Two more of this same white tree are in another sealed cello. There are eight identical white trees that are loose, but wrapped…4 trees each….with rubber bands. Two real small white trees are floating around loose. There is a long length of aluminum tubing and a long steel rod in the kit. A zip-lock type cello bag holds a small brass PE fret, two small white detail parts, four resin parts and four turned aluminum parts. A dry transfer type decal sheet and the instructions complete the kit’s contents.

The four identical large medium gray parts trees hold: the flatcar bed pieces, it’s frame, railings etc. (8 parts per tree). In the cello bag, with these parts, are four loose medium gray parts. Two are the pivot plates that the wheel trolleys mount to and two are the frame end parts.

Three identical white trees hold: brake wheels, tow hooks, brake shoes and a multitude of small fittings (25 parts per tree).

Eight identical medium sized white trees hold: control wheels, road wheels, more brake shoes, leaf springs, axles etc. (14 parts per tree)

Next are the length of aluminum tubing and the length of steel rod. The aluminum tube is used for the brake assembly axles.

The zip lock bag holds: the small brass PE fret (6 parts), two brake lines (molded in white), four bumpers (in turned aluminum) with their pistons molded in resin.

There are two identical small white parts trees that hold links that go on the leaf springs (14 parts per tree)

Unfortunately, none of the parts are numbered either on the trees or the instruction drawings. You will have to identify things by how they are drawn on the instructions. This may become tricky and could cause some errors. So, much care will be needed here. However, on limited run type kits like this, this seems to be the rule…instead of the exception at times.

The dry transfer decal sheet (all printed in white) and the instructions complete the kit’s contents.

The instructions consist of single small sheet that is folded over into four pages.

Page one of the instructions begins with a repeat of the poor box art. This is followed by an exploded drawing showing how to assemble the wheel trolleys as step no. 1.

Pages two –3 has a large exploded drawing spanning both pages. It shows the assembly of the frame and bed of the flatcar and the bumper units and railings. Footsteps for the flatcar have to be fabricated by you from the length of steel rod in the kit. Some parts are shown to be hot riveted, with a heated screwdriver, to assemble them and allow them to move afterwards. A couple parts have to be fabricated from plastic-card (not provided in the kit).

Page four gives the 3rd and last construction step. This is an illustration of where the stencil marks go on the flatcar from the dry transfer decal sheet. It says that SSYMS flatcars were painted panzer gray for metallic structures (Humbrol matt 67) or (Tamiya XF52).

DML did several railcars too. Some of them were armored. Ironside does a German boxcar, which I also have.

The kit does not include any track or roadbed. However, this flatcar will probably fit on the roadbed that DML has marketed.

This kit is very detailed and recommended to modelers over 14 years of age. I would say that it would be for modelers that have had some experience building a model kit that had parts made from different materials, that need super-glue to assemble.

Dry transfers have a shelf life and I think that my set in this kit has dried out and will no longer transfer…sigh. I do have an alternate, water slide type, decal sheet by a company called Ordnance Models (Japan) sheet no. G-103. it is good for doing a SSYMS flatcar that carried either the Panther or Tiger tank (you get different tonnage load limit stencils). This sheet is printed all in white and comes in a zip-locked cello bag.

Now, where did I stash that Panther kit?