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German Railway Gun 28 cm K5(e) 'Leopold' with Artillery Crew

DML 1/144 German Railway Gun 28 cm K5(e) 'Leopold' with Artillery Crew Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review July 2004 Manufacturer DML
Subject German Railway Gun 28 cm K5(e) 'Leopold' with Artillery Crew Scale 1/144
Kit Number 14503/14504 Primary Media 77 parts (45 in in grey styrene, 24 in grey PVC plastic, 7 in etched brass, and 1 turned aluminum gun barrel)
Pros First kits of this gun in this scale; very nice details and turned barrel is a plus Cons Some fudging on scale (see text), some PVC parts may not be popular with modelers
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) TBA

First Look

DML has led the parade so far with their new series of 1/144 scale armor kits, and the latest pair are these two interpretations of the famous 28 cm K5(e) "Leopold", better known to most Americans as "Anzio Annie" and currently resident here at the Ordnance Museum at Aberdeen Proving Ground.

This is a much more useful and "buildable" model of the big gun, as in this scale it works out to about 6" long (180 mm). Fiddly bits such as handrails come molded to the sides of the main carriage and the end sections or bogies, so they are not a problem for assembly. They are very thin and do not look visually offensive, so most modelers will be happy with them.

The gun also comes with a small sheet of etched brass (see through grille work, too!) and a turned aluminum gun barrel, which is about the size of a 1/35 scale 76mm gun.

The gun can be made to elevate with some care. However, while it comes with a really nicely done crew and even six complete rounds (included three "fluted" projectiles) they are all made from PVC vinyl. I am sure many modelers will complain about this, as it is hard to paint them due to "flex" in the plastic. However, in a sidebar conversation DML noted that they had to switch to this material in some cases to get the "right" level of detail in a figure, and these do have beautiful details. He also stated that the plastic is of the "glueable" type and can be attached using standard model cements. The choice of the grey plastic was to minimize painting here (no pun intended) due to the "flexing and flaking" problem.

The kits only differ in that 14503 comes with two sections of straight track with end caps and 14504 come with two switches (one LH and one RH) with four end caps. As noted in the "Disadvantages" the model fudges a bit on scale; correct gauge (4'8 ½" or 1435 mm) would be just at 10 mm and the model has 9 mm track. This is more useful in the long run, as 9mm is the standard track gauge for US (and European) N Gauge model railway equipment. However, the wheels for the gun's bogies are fixed and do not rotate, so it would take some work to add working bogies and couplers to the model. It does mean that standard European N Gauge engines and wagons (of the right period, of course!) can be used and displayed with the model.

A very nice decal sheet comes with the kits for "Leopold" and provides both white and black versions of the data, as the "straight" model is shown in grey and the "switch" model is show with a sand-and-brown finish.

Overall these are very nice little kits, and should please both very small scale modelers as well as model railroaders looking for something COMPLETELY different on their layouts!

Thanks to DML for the review sample.