As Germany and other countries began to drop the pretenses of dodging the Treaty of Versailles’ limits on armor development, in 1933 an order was placed with Rheinmetall-Borsig for production of the Neubaufahrzeug. Only five were built. Three saw action in Norway, where one was destroyed; the other two were returned to Germany in late 1940.
The Neubaufahrzeug is Amusing Hobby’s first kit and quickly follows Dragon and Trumpeter models of this early tank. The kit is cleanly molded in a variety of gray and brown plastic. Features include optional parts to build the variations in the last three vehicles. Also included are separate working tracks and two sheets of photoetched-metal parts.
I started out by studying the instructions, which immediately struck me as a bit confusing. Amusing Hobby has put much effort in suspension variations, so take note of this when selecting the numerous optional parts.
Construction started with the upper and lower hull. All of the hull access hatches and vision ports are separate, so they can be posed open if desired. When installing the sponson floor, Part A39 in Step 4, be aware that the diagram is for the non-articulated option. Refer to Page 13 of the instructions for the articulated suspension.
The original tank’s suspension was complex, and the kit’s version is similar. With lots of wheels and bogie parts, plan to spend some time on assembly. As noted, the tracks are workable individual links. Putting them together accounted for most of the kit’s build time.
The tracks are assembled with the help of a jig. Ten links are placed in the jig, then attached with tiny end-connector pins. Note that there are two types — an inside and outside version. Don’t mix these up or your finished tracks will look a bit strange. Though the jig was very useful, it did not ensure proper alignment for the insertion of the connectors. After destroying several of the fragile pins, I found that inserting a thin drill bit into the tracks while they were in the jig helped to adjust the links so the pins would slide home. The instructions call for 117 links, but 119 were needed.
A large number of photoetched-metal parts are provided. Most are optional, usually requiring the removal of a molded-on plastic counterpart.
The assembly of the main turret and two auxiliary machine gun turrets went smoothly. Clear parts are provided for the vision ports of the commander’s cupola. Interior details, such as hatch locks and vision port details, are provided for the access hatches.
I painted my tank with a combination of gray Tamiya spray and acrylic paints.
Decals are given for four vehicles. Supplemental markings for variations are also given. These applied well with some decal solution.
My primary reference was the old standby: Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two (by Chamberlain and Doyle; Jentz editor; Arco, ISBN 978-0-668-04565-0). There is a more recent book on this vehicle, Grosstraktor Neubaufahr-zeuge (Tank Power No. 361, by Janusz Ledwoch, Militaria Wydawnictwo, ISBN 978-83-7219-361-2).
I finished my kit in 37 hours, which was a bit longer than anticipated due to the track assembly. The completed model looks most convincing. With the separate tracks and other construction details, Amusing Hobby has aimed this kit at the advanced modeler. If you have the experience, I recommend the kit.