Trumpeter 1/35 VK3001(H) Pz.Kpfw.VI Ausf.A Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||February 2009||Manufacturer||Trumpeter|
|Subject||VK3001(H) Pz.Kpfw.VI Ausf.A||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||1515||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$59.95|
The VK3001(H) was a prototype concept for the upcoming Panzer VI tank. It was a medium weight vehicle that, paired with the VK3601(H) heavy prototype, allowed Henschel to explore the right combinations of armor versus mobility that would be needed in the Panzer VI. Four VK3001 hulls were completed, though none were reported to have turrets installed.
The designs featured a new roadwheel concept that involved overlapping wheels which provided additional protection from anti-tank fire as well as redundancy against a single-shot mobility kill. In the end however, the prototypes were not put into production for the Panzer VI as another design, VK4501(H) would ultimately be selected for what would become the Tiger tank. The VK3001(H) chassis wasn't completely abandoned either. It would become the basis for the Sturer Emil prototypes.
Trumpeter has returned with the chassis from their Sturer Emil kit and have rendered the original VK3001(H) chassis prototype that Henschel had hoped would become the design for the Tiger tank. This kit is still in the 'what if' category as Trumpeter has also provided the turret that might have been installed on the hull had the design advanced to the next stage of development. While turrets were developed, these were shipped off to become turrets for bunkers while the chassis were adapted to other uses like the previously mentioned Sturer Emil.
The kit consists is molded in light gray styrene and presented on five parts trees, plus separately provided upper and lower hull sections and fenders. One tree of clear parts is also provided which consist of the periscopes for the commander's cupola and turret.
As with the Sturer Emil, this kit has a nice suspension and wheel set which replicates the early overlapped wheel system. There is no interior in the main hull, and you'll probably want to assemble the kit with the driver and machine gunner's hatches closed.
The turret is another matter. The kit features a nicely detailed main gun as well as crew seats and periscopes up in the turret, so you can easily leave the hatches open to reveal some of that detail. You might want to add some additional detail (and who is going to argue with you since this is a 'what if' design?).
The kit comes with a set of generic tactical numbers should you want to add these, but the prototypes were otherwise unmarked. You do have a wide range of color options to paint your VK3001(H) as long as they are all Panzer Gray. If you opt to deploy your prototype to the Eastern Front, you can add any number of crew-applied camouflage schemes depending on the region and season. The real character of the vehicle will come out with effective weathering.
This will be a simple build that portrays one of the many Panzer designs that didn't get too far from the drawing board. The modeler has the choice of building this sans turret to replicate the road trial prototypes, or with turret to depict the tank as it might have appeared had it made it to production.
My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!