Tauro 1/35 A7V Tank “Totenkopf” Kit First Look
By Ray Mehlberger
|Date of Review||August 2007||Manufacturer||Tauro|
|Subject||A7V Tank “Totenkopf”||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||106||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Neat kit of a WWI German tank||Cons||Some sink marks, weak track link pins, holes in track too small for weak pins|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$32.85 + postage direct from Tauro in Italy|
This kit’s version is practically equal to other A7V’s, nicknamed “Wotan” and “Hagen”. We can consider these tanks as the first example of a tank section showing a badge. the Abteilung 5. Therefore, we should not be surprised if the badge of the skull “Totenkopf” of the German troops in WWII had risen from the badge of the Abteilung 5.
Unfortunately, the very fragmentary history we have of these tanks does not tell us much.
It’s well known that this type tank was only built in no more than 25 to 30 examples. There is not very detailed history of their operative life.
We have proof that four tanks of this series were painted with the macabre badge of the skull and cross-bones and all of them belonged to Abtielung 5. The German tank troops loved to name their tanks with names from German mythology, and two of these tanks were named “Lotte” and “Mephisto”. This is not to be confused with the “Mephisto” shown in the Ausrian War Memorial of Brisbane (Australia), which is the only known surviving model of this tank series left. This example is very different from the tanks of Abteilung 5 and not the original tank that bore the name “Mephisto”.
We should not be surprised at these differences in the A7V tanks. In fact, though the production of the tank was very small, the differences, in some cases were remarkable, even in the armament.
This Tauro kit is the most common model of the A7V.
The kit comes in a large, sturdy tray and lid type box. The box art shows a A7V crashing trough a barbed-wire obstacle in no man’s land and with a second A7V in the background. Also, in the background is depicted a British Mark I “Male” tank. Side panes show the box arts of 3 other Tauro kits: the A7V with different box art, the British Mark I “Male” and a French Char Schneider C.A.1. To my knowledge, the Char Schneider was never produced yet by Tauro and I wonder if it ever will be.
Tauro was probably the first model company to tackle WWI tank subjects in 1/35th scale. Years later, Emhar did a few. It is an era that is still wide-open for more subjects and especially for more WWI figures.
Inside the box are 3 large trees of tan parts in a large cello bag. Inside this bag, and also in individual cello bags, is a bag of springs and pins for the suspension and tracks and another bag of black vinyl individual track links. The metal pins are to be used to hold these track links together. However, a friend of mine warned me that the pins do not fit the holes in the links. The holes are too small and pins are flimsy and easily bent. You have to get out the pin vice and drill the holes larger or find some steel wire that is stronger and the size of the existing holes.
The decal sheet and the instructions complete the kit’s contents.
The instructions are a large single sheet that accordion folds out into eight pages.
Page 1 begins with an actual black and white WWI photo of an A7V that has at least 12 German soldiers riding on top of it. It does not appear to have any markings on it at all.
This is followed by the history of the A7V in Italian and English. The rest of the instructions is also in these two languages.
Page 2 has the parts tree drawings with a name listing of all the components shown.
Pages 3 through 7 give us 17 assembly steps. These are called out alphabetically (A to P), rather than the usual numerical sequences seen in most kits. Different!
Page 8 has the assembly drawing of the single crew figure in the kit. He is posed with his left arm raised and holding the door of the A7V open. He is also shown wearing the unique chain-mail mask that crew members wore during WWI, at times, in this tank.
This is followed by two paint schemes for the Abtielung 5. Both are in wave camouflage of the same pattern. One has the numeral 5 on the side and the other has a Roman numeral “V”. Otherwise the two are pretty much the same scheme.
The first large parts tree holds the front, sides, roof and rear panels of the A7V along with some internal panels, the air intake grills and the single crew figure. He is divided into a body with separate arms. (16 parts)
The second large tree holds the floor and deck of the interior of the vehicle along with the machine-guns and main gun, more bulkheads, a ladder etc. (69 parts)
The last tan tree holds road wheels, return rollers, idler wheels, drive sprockets, bogies, etc. (87 parts) Some sinks were found on a few of these parts.
Final parts are molded in black and are the individual track links. There are 10 links per tree. 110 links are needed to do the two track runs (55 each side with a corresponding amount of the metal pins). There are a few extra links in the kit to take care of any mistakes, but very few extra..
The decal sheet holds the two markings mentioned above.
I feel that WWI has been pretty much neglected as far as armor and figure kits and this is really a nice kit. I wish that Tauro would eventually produce that Char Sneider shown on the side panel of this box.
Detail, by and large, is very good on this kit. The original molds are at least 20+ years old.
Highly recommended to modelers interested in the First World War.