Trumpeter 1/35 Grille 30 30.5cm L/16 Morser 'Bär' Kit First Look
|Date of Review||July 2017||Manufacturer||Trumpeter|
|Subject||Grille 30 30.5cm L/16 Morser 'Bär'||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||9535||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||New tool kit||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$59.95|
The Bär (Bear) was one of the combat vehicle concepts that was under consideration based upon the Tiger II chassis. The Bär featured a redesigned chassis that superficially looks like the Tiger II, but has the engine compartment moved forward, just behind the driver and hull gunner compartment. The suspension was also to be revised from torsion to leaf spring. A fully enclosed fighting compartment sat at the rear enclosing the huge 305mm L/16 mortar, crew, and a retractable pedestal/base plate underneath to keep the suspension from absorbing the recoil of the 700+ pound projectiles being launched downrange. While the Bär didn't make it off the drawing board before war's end, another cousin, the Jagdtiger, did enter service that was also based upon the Tiger II chassis.
So you haven't heard of the Bär before? Don't worry, not that many people have either. While the concept exists today as a footnote in Tiger II development history, the vehicle does exist in some online gaming systems. The Bär did find its way into kit form in the usual way, as a resin kit of subjects that were never progressed beyond the drawing board or prototype stage. In the last decade or so, we've seen more of these obscure subjects appear as injection-molded kits because it seemed (to someone) like a good idea. What's more, you might see the same obscure subject appear from different companies as competition is fierce, especially between Chinese hobby companies. Amusing Hobby and Trumpeter are both releasing the Bär in 1/35 scale in injection-molded styrene.
Molded in gray styrene, this kit is presented on seven parts trees (duplicate trees not shown) plus the upper and lower hull halves, one fret of photo-etched parts, and one set of rubber (vinyl) tracks.
Among the features and options:
- Detailed lower hull and suspension
- Positionable recoil baseplate under the hull
- 305mm barrel is one-piece slide-molded
- Barrel can be posed in travel lock or can be elevated 0-70 degrees
- Pioneering tools and tow cable stowage on hull exterior
- Crew hatches can be positionable but are portrayed closed in the instructions
- Two 305mm rounds are included
The box art is interesting - the vehicle is portrayed with the mortar ready to fire (elevated) while there is a vehicle commander (who looks like a recycled U-Boat skipper) standing out of his hatch. The background shows the dust and smoke of combat to the east of the Brandenburg Gate (the Russians are near) and yet there are two youngsters with their Panzerfausts looking at the commander as if asking 'are you seriously going to shoot that here?' Don't worry, even if this is 1946, with that smoke and destruction so close to the Brandenburg Gate, there is certainly a T-35/85 about to emerge and dispatch this thing into oblivion.
The Amusing kit has individual track links that must be built-up for their Bär, Trumpeter took the vinyl track route to keep this build simple (which it is). If you decide later that you prefer individual track links, you can acquire Tiger II links in the aftermarket.
The retail and street prices between the two are very similar. If you are a builder of combat vehicles that might have been, this will be a nice addition into your notional garrison. On the other hand, if you enjoy notional subjects that never will be, this kit has many possibilities in the anime, science fiction, or even Warcraft universes. Who is going to argue the accuracy of your model?
Kudos to Trumpeter for not over-engineering this kit. You might find it may take longer to paint and weather this model than building it, unless you opt to undertake your own modifications along the way. In any case, if you're looking for a subject with a 'big honking gun', look no further!
My sincere thanks to MegaHobby for this review sample!