Trumpeter 1/35 Morser Karl-Gerat 040/041 Kit First Look
|Date of Review||October 2004||Manufacturer||Trumpeter|
|Subject||Morser Karl-Gerat 040/041||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||0209||Primary Media||Styrene/Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Railway transport cars & track included, photo-etched details, optional 54cm and 60cm barrels||Cons|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$159.95|
The Germans had learned that the use of heavy artillery saved time and manpower when laying seige on populated areas. Rather than taking a city street by street, the Wehrmacht would employ huge railroad guns like the K5 Leopold and mortars like the Karl-Gerat to employ 'shock and awe' on their targets.
The Karl-Gerat 040/041 mortars were transportable by rail to within a short distance of their intended firing points, and once dismounted from its transport cars, the mortar was tracked and self-propelled to move it into position. Two different barrels were used on these unique vehicles, 540mm and 600mm, meaning that the size of the shells were HUGE!
Six of these monsters were build, and these were named Adam, Eve, Loki, Thor, Odin and Zui. Despite the enormous size of these weapons and their chassis, it took another chassis to accompany the mortar carrier and carry the projectiles. Due to the enormity of each round, a good crew could sustain a fire rate of about one shell per 20 minutes.
Despite its size and weight (over 120 tons), the mortar could propel itself at 10 KPH. The suspension would 'squat' during firing and rise again for movement.
This is a huge kit! The kit is second in size only to Trumpeter's previously-released Leopold K5 railway gun, also in 1/35th scale. Molded in tan styrene, the gun and the railway carraige kits comprise most of the 30 sprue trees in the kit. Two trees molded in gray and a number of sections of railway roadbed are also molded in gray, these making up the track rails, ties and roadbed that make up the base of the kit should you pose your monster mortar in its railway transport configuration.
According to the 40 page instruction book, construction begins with the track sections that make up the base, which take up two steps. The remaining 11 steps put together one of the highly detailed railway transport trucks which move the mortar across the country. Near the end of the 11 steps, they direct you to start over again to build the second truck which is identical in composition to the first.
The next 22 steps are focused on the mortar and its self-propelled chassis. In the second step, you are given the choice of posing the suspension in travel or firing mode, though the diagrams appear to be backwards.
In the 11th step of mortar construction, you're faced with your next choice - which version to build. The three mortars protrayed in the decals are Thor, Loki and Zui. All three were in the Gerat 040 configuration with the 600 mm mortar barrel. Thor and Loki were later updated to the Gerat 041 configuration with the longer barrel, smaller (540mm!) caliber configuration.
Aside from the vast number of parts that make up this kit, construction appears to be straightforward. Each of the steps is well-illustrated and not overly complex.
When you get to the 23rd step in the mortar sequence, you have one final choice to make - portray the mortar it its railway transport mode, carried by the two transport trucks, or sitting on its own to tracks. If you do opt to pose the mortar on its own, you are also given the parts to display the railway trucks in their own transport configuration as they are moved around when not hefting the huge mortar around.
According to the fact sheet, this kit uses virtually all of the 1251 parts (with the exception of options) and this project will definitely keep you busy!
Two frets of photo-etched parts are included to represent engine grilles, hinges and other details.
As I mentioned earlier, markings are provided for the last three mortars:
- Nr.IV, Thor
- Nr.V, Loki
- Nr.VI, Zui
In addition, extensive stenciling is also provided for the two rail transport trucks to conform with the German Reichsbahn placards standards.
This is another incredible model from Trumpeter! I've seen several of their earlier Leopold railway guns assembled and those builders were all enthusiastic about the details and the ease of construction. This kit does not appear to be any different. This kit is definitely recommended to the armor modeler and the detail lover alike.
My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!