Kit # 5003
- Al Magnus
this is a very nice kit. There are only 31 parts in total, making it
quite simple to put together.
The plastic is a dark grey and fairly soft. Fit is reasonable though all the joining surfaces for the body panels will need some sanding to get a better join. Even with that I found there were the odd places where I had to apply some filler and sand. This must be done very carefully so as to not remove too many rivets.
The kit was basically built straight from the box, with a few minor modifications to make it a bit more accurate. The Landships web site provides a some good info on the A7V and was quite helpful in identifying the changes. I was also able to get my hands on a copy of the excellent book, “The German A7V Tank and the captured British Mark IV tanks of World War 1” by Maxwell Hundleby & Rainer Strasheim, published by Haynes Publications in 1990. This book is a must read for anyone who has an interest in the A7V and captured British Mk. IV tanks used by the Germans, and even more valuable for the wealth of pictures and history on the A7V and its kin.
From my references I found that the early A7Vs did not have exhaust pipes nor the foot steps beneath the doors, so the exhaust pipes (parts 10 & 18) were not mounted and were tossed into the spare parts box, while the molded on foot steps were shaved from the body’s side panels.
My kit had a prominent seam on one of the track units that I tried to remove as best as I could without creating a flat spot along its length. The rear faces of the bogie units (parts 8 & 9) are molded hollow. I covered these over with some plastic sheet and built up the assembly to resemble the front side of the bogies. I didn’t put too much detail on these as they are mostly out of sight when the tank sits on the ground. The teeth molded on the front idler wheels were removed. I also added axles from some plastic rod between the drive sprockets on the bogies and the transfer case at the rear of the body pan (part 7).
The barrel for the forward gun (part 13) was drilled out. Take care while assembling the front gun mount as shown in Steps 1 and 2. The instructions direct the builder to put the mount in backwards. I didn’t notice this until I had glued it in place. Then I had to cut it out of the hole in the body and put it in the proper way.
The machine guns are molded so as to be moveable. Since I had no desire to have moveable guns, all of the machine gun mounts (part 17) were glued in place to the body panels to ensure there was no chance they would fall into the body when I added the guns later. To ease construction I cut excess plastic from the small balls located on the rear of the machine guns so I could slide them into place in the gun mounts and glue them after all the painting was complete.
Replacement door handles were fashioned from some thin wire.
Decals are not the best but are usable. The white on the images is a dirty off-white and not a nice pure white, plus the vehicle names are bit too large compared to what is shown in the A7V photographs I found. The decals did snug down well after a few applications of Microsol.
Markings are provided for 4 tanks (note that the comments inside the square brackets are annotations that I have added from info found in the Hundleby & Strasheim book) :
1. A7V #506, Mephisto in early markings, skull and
crossbones markings [Mar. 21, 1918]
For markings I went a different route than suggested in the instructions. The Hundleby & Strasheim A7V book contains a couple of pictures of A7V ‘Baden I’ just after the battle of Villers-Bretonneux and Cachy in April , 1918. In one of the photographs “Baden I” displays no German Iron Cross markings of any sort, which I felt would make for something out of the ordinary, and I just had to finish the kit with these markings.
Below is a historical look at the history of “Baden I’ that I was able to extract form the Hundleby & Strasheim book.
Combat History of A7V Chassis No. 505 ‘Baden I’
St. Quentin, March 1918
Tank Commander: Lt. Voss, Abteilung 1.
the advance against the British in heavy and dense gun smoke, 505
became entangled in
Villers-Bretonneux and Cachy, April 24, 1918
Tank Commander: Lt. Bürmann, Abteilung 3.
Tasked to advance west in support of Reserve Infantry Regiment 93 in taking the southern edge of Villers-Bretonneux and the northern part of the Bois D’Aquenne. Starting at about 07:00hrs the advance was successful and 505 was able to get to the west side of the town. At about 10:40hrs while 505 was advancing along the Roman Road approaching its junction with the Fouilly to Cachy road it received fire from a British field gun which fired three shots. The first shot missed, while the second shot hit forcing 505 to retire. The third shot was a near miss. 505 returned to the field between Villers-Bretonneux and the Bois D’Aquenne, joining sister tanks, 541 commanded by Lt. Block and 507 ‘Cyklop’ commanded by Lt. Hennecke.
three tanks then supported an attack on the Bois D’Aquenne by
Reserve Infantry Regiment 93 and Garde-Grenadier Regiment 5, and at
about noon helped repulse a counter attack by the
Later in the afternoon 505 was released and returned to base and eventually returned to the repair shops to have the damage inflicted by the British field gun fixed.
The River Matz, June 9, 1918
Tank Commander: Lt. Lappe, Abteilung 3.
Assigned to support 227th Infantry Division in their advance on Orvillers and Biermont, 505 initially became stuck in a trench but was hauled out by 507 (commanded by Lt. Fritsch) and then advanced through Biermont and the Bois de Hagrand towards Bois de Sechelles.
east of the Bois de Sechelles, 505 then supported an attack by Infantry
St. Etienne, October 7, 1918
Tank Commander: possibly Lt. Lappe, Abteilung 3.
Assigned to support Jägerregiment 8 of the 195th Infantry Division. 505 along with all the other tanks of Abteilung 3 were unable to cross the River Arne because it was twice as wide as reported before the attack, and the only bridge to cross the river hand been blown up 24 hours previous. 505 along with the other tanks then provided supporting fire across the river during the attack. Afterwards 505 returned to the repair shops.
the German Army was in retreat and 505, along with the other A7V survivors
were shipped to Wiesbaden-Erbenheim, Germany, where they were eventually
seized by the French in mid-December 1918. It is believed that all
the A7Vs were then scrapped on the spot.
Review sample purchased by the author.