Enter keywords or a search phrase below:

Meng 1/35 scale VsKfz 617 Minenraumer

Kit:SS-001 // Scale:1/35 // Price:$79.95
Meng, from Stevens International, 856-435-1555
Well-detailed workable tracks; crisp molding
Gap between upper and lower hull; mold-gate damage to several of the welds
Injection-molded, 266 parts (metal chain, brass wire)

The mine-clearing VsKfz 617 Minenräumer is an enigmatic vehicle described in several sketchy accounts. The only surviving example is at the tank museum in Kubinka, Russia.

The model is molded in light gray plastic with minimal knockout marks, mold seams, and flash. The weld beads really stand out on the moldings, but many are damaged by sprue attachments. As heavy as the box is, it’s surprising how few parts there are. The weight comes from the track blocks; each has a metal core. A metal chain and brass wire are also provided.

After studying the directions, I decided to glue the wheels in place. This allowed me to glue the hull halves beforehand and paint the tracks separately. The lower hull is a large one-piece tub completed by parts B11 and B12. Remember to drill out the two holes in the bottom of the hull for the steering chains. No bit size is specified, so I started small and kept increasing it until the chain slid through.

When the hull halves are mated there is a gap in the front or rear, depending on which way you slide the upper hull. Aligning the upper hull with the rear of the vehicle looked more accurate according to my references, and it also preserved the weld seam on the rear of the upper hull. I glued a strip of styrene to the lip of Part B11 to fill the gap.

Instead of adding the hinges (A5) to the upper hull, then the hatches, according to the instructions, I glued the hatches first to make sure they were aligned; then I glued the hinges. There are seven small hooks that the directions say to glue to their base, then to the hull. I found it easier to glue the base of the hooks (A13) to the hull and add the hooks (A12) to the base plates. I left the armored vent covers off for easier painting. You could thin these parts to a more accurate scale thickness. 

References show the track links and blocks have a roughcast texture. To simulate this, I worked liquid glue into the plastic with an old brush. The cover plates (A16) bind the track links when they are mated. To allow the links to move freely, file the area where the two links meet. I painted the tracks with Tamiya NATO black before assembling them. I pushed in the track pins (A18) upside down, added Tamiya extra thick glue where the directions show, then rotated the pin into place. If you are careful with the glue, the tracks will work. Then I applied AK Interactive’s track wash and a dry-brushing of Humbrol black gray. I assembled the smaller rear tracks the same way.


The directions add the small track to the wheel before assembling the rear wheel frame. I found the clearance allowed adding the track after assembling the wheel frame. There are knockout marks inside the halves of the frame (B29 and B30); I filled these with punched discs of styrene and filed them smooth. With the steering chains glued in place, the rear wheel would not turn. So, I glued the rear wheel in place.

After painting and weathering, I added the track to the rear wheel and glued this assembly to the hull. Then I glued the chain in the holes in the lower hull. Kit-supplied brass wire is supposed to be used to attach the other end of the chain to the wheel assembly. This did not look good, so I glued the chain directly to the brackets.

Three different color schemes are outlined, all in dunkelgelb with two different camouflage patterns and a plain dark yellow one, but the box art also shows the vehicle in panzer gray. After priming with Vallejo German yellow brown, I used AK Interactive’s German Dunkelgelb Special Modulation Set to paint the dark yellow. I was so happy with it that I skipped the camouflage schemes. I finished weathering with Mig Productions’ filters for dark yellow and Mig’s brown wash, along with a light dry-brushing of Humbrol’s khaki drill, then mounted the tracks. The fit is very tight; take care to avoid damaging the paint.

All three wheels are supposed to have three blocks on the ground. But I was only able to achieve that with the rear wheel.

Meng’s kit makes an impressive model, and weathering really brings the details to life. It took 23 hours to complete this kit, mostly for detailing and assembling the track. The book Minenräumer Model Detail Photo Monograph No. 13, by Mikhael N. Svirin (Rossagraph, ISBN 978-83-919061-5-6), shows that Meng’s kit leaves little to the aftermarket. The Minenräumer looks complicated, but anyone with a little building experience can assemble this eye-opening model.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the September 2012 FineScale Modeler.

Read and share your comments on this article

Want to leave a comment?

Only registered members of are allowed to leave comments. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.


Essential finishing techniques for scale modelers.
By signing up you may also receive reader surveys and occasional special offers. We do not sell, rent or trade our email lists. View our Privacy Policy.