by: Brent Watterson [ ]
IntroductionThis 1:72nd release from Trumpeter features both the Sdkfz 9 (FAMO) and Sd.Anh. 116 vehicle trailer and opens up a myriad of diorama possibilities as well as being an impressive stand-alone model in its own right. Its sheer box size gets your attention, being as big as some 1/35th kits and when opened it doesn’t disappoint, being chock full of parts.
The Schwerer Zugkraftwagen 18t SdKfz 9 (FAMO) F3, commonly called the Famo by modellers derived from the initials of its producer, Fahrzeug und Motorenbau GmbH 'FAMO' Breslau, Oberschlesien, was the heaviest of the German half-tracks to see active service. Its primary role was for towing tank trailers and performing general recovery duties. Powered by a 12 cylinder, 230Hp Maybach HL 108 V12 engine, they had a load capacity of 2.8 tons and a rated towing capacity of 18 tons. Crew was 8 and approx 2000 of this version were produced. It served with the recovery platoons (Zug-Bergezug) in the Tank battalion's workshop companies (Werkstattkompanie) at a theoretical establishment (1944) of 8 vehicles and 4 Sd.Anh. 116 22t trailers. Despite its size and power, it required three vehicles slaved together to recover Tigers and Panthers.
The Sonderanhanger 116 (Tiefladeanhanger fur Pz.Kpfw.Sd.Ah.116) trailer was rated for loads up to 22tons but was typically used to carry up to 25tons which allowed for recovery of Pz III, Pz IV and StuG vehicles. It was fairly unique in that it had two sets of wheeled bogies, front and rear, both capable of steering. As the trailer alone measured over 14 metres, this dual steering capability made the whole unit relatively agile. The front bogies' steering was slaved to the towing draw bar whereas the rear bogie was steered manually. To load a tank, the rear bogie was detached from the trailer, and then the vehicle to be recovered was towed onto the trailer flat bed. Once secured with heavy chains, the rear bogie was winched forward and reattached to the trailer.
ContentsAs mentioned the box is impressive and so is the parts count, running at approximately 420 parts. The bulk of them are supplied on 12 sprues and moulded in light grey styrene. In addition there is a piece of nylon “rope”, a length of chain, a bag of 13 rubber tyres, tractor chassis frame, trailer cab, clear parts for the tractor unit windscreen, and two single length band tracks. The band tracks are options for those who don’t want to assemble the injection moulded individual link tracks. These are supplied in two parts per link, a cast cleat and separate track pad, and may appear daunting to some. An assembly jig is supplied and during the OOB build I’ll give this a test to see how easy assembly is and the worth compared to the band track option.
One decal sheet is included providing markings for a single overall grey machine. A bit of research will be called for for those wishing to model other options. Another nice touch is the supply of a jig to bend up wire supports for a tilt. While neither the wire nor any tilt is supplied, I don’t think this is a major issue as the rear is just calling out for a load of engineering supplies to be placed into it. The instruction sheet consists of a 20 page booklet breaking assembly down into two sections, tractor unit and trailer and is well laid out with clear drawings of the assembly steps.
Details and FeaturesThe kit appears well molded and there are ejector pin marks, some quite prominent, but all appear to be on sections not visible on an assembled model. There is a little flash on some parts but this doesn’t appear hard to remove. The model does have quite large sprue attachment points and this will cause difficulty in removing and cleaning up some of the smaller detail parts and care will need to be taken.
A well detailed engine, and transmission are supplied allowing the side covers to be modeled open, something often seen on the full size vehicle. A bit of “gizmology” from the spare box can be used to super-detail these areas if desired. Clear parts are supplied for the windscreen on the tractor and three parts seems a bit of overkill though and will need care, particularly when fixing parts B and C.
Separate rubber tires are supplied for the wheel assemblies. At first glance they look good with the distinctive cross hatch tread pattern and raised Continental manufacturers markings. There is a mould seam around the middle however that will have to be removed. The trailer deck looks a good representation with complex support frames being well represented and wood grain moulded onto the main deck planks. Chain is supplied for the main tie down anchor and, while I would have expected heavy loads to be chained front and back, this doesn’t seem to be the case with chocks being used and chains on one end only. I’ll have to look for some reference pics before attaching a load though.
Markings and finish for only a single Wehrmacht vehicle is supplied but not identified. Being in overall grey I would expect this to be either in use in the France/Low Countries campaigns or the early years of the Soviet invasion.
ConclusionOverall this is an impressive model. Its big and imposing and has an impressive amount of detail. Th kit has a high parts count which may be overkill in some areas - ie 2 part track links. A kit probably more for the intermediate - experienced modeller. It is great though to see Trumpeter tackling such unusual subjects and I for one hope they continue to do this. Well done!