by: Jim Adams [ ]
Introduction The Krupp K5 railway gun program was started in the late 1930’s to help support the Wehrmacht. The first gun was was fired in 1936. Several different types were developed over the run of the program, the most famous being Anzio Annie. Several of the earlier guns were used to shell Dover across the English Channel. The K5 is also commonly known as Leopold, mainly because that was the name of one of the two guns captured by American forces in Italy.
During the production run 25 guns were made in the K5 series. Many different configurations were tried over the course of production. Smooth bore, larger caliber and even a gun mounted on two Tiger II chassis were worked on.
28cm K5(E) “Leopold” Specifications:
Caliber 28.3cm (11 1/4in)
Length of barrel: 21.538 m (70ft 8in)
Overall Length including projecting rear Bogie 31.1m
Maximum Elevation 500
Weight in Action 218,000kg (480,600LB)
Weight of shell: 255 kg (662LB)
Muzzle Velocity 1,120 m/s
Range 59 - 62 km
Firing Interval 8 shells/hour
Range 38.64 miles
The KitWhen this kit was introduced it advertised as the largest 1/35 scale kit in the world. While the Dora kits have since taken the title, this is a large kit. When mine arrived my wife called and said there is a LARGE box here for you. She was not kidding. The box is 27” x 17” x 4 ¾” in size.
The box is covered with a cardboard sleeve which features the gun in firing position just outside a railway tunnel. This must be someplace in Italy as the guns were kept close to tunnels so they could be hidden from Allied aircraft while reloading. The box containing the kit is a heavy duty construction and has a flip top lid. The kit contains 747 parts, decals, a small fret of PE, twine, and a length of fine chain.
Overall the parts were free from flash but full of detail. There were no sink holes noted on my kit. The main gun platform is molded in one large tub. The sides were free from warping straight and square. There are two different panels on the side that can be shown with the doors open or closed.
The main gun itself is molded in two halves. When joined they show the rifling on the inside of the barrel. The rifling does not have the proper twist to it, but this likely won’t be noticed when the gun is together. The barrel will need to have its seams cleaned up. Since it is a large focal point of the model, this will be important. The breech mechanism has a separate breech block and recoil assembly. When all of these are together they will make an impressive display.
The loading platform has some of the better details on the kit. In this section you can show electrical panels open or closed, depending how the gun is to be displayed. There is also the shell loading crane and loading system. The sections of chain are used in this area for the crew safety chains. The crane for loading the shells and the shell loading trolley round out the details of this part.
The two rail cars have a fair amount of detail to them as well. The suspension has the leaf springs and axle attachment in one piece; however they do have nice crisp detailing. The axle and wheel assemblies are designed to roll and are sandwiched between the suspension pieces.
There are eight sprues of railroad ties, rails, and hardware. These are very nice looking. Having spent a good deal of time around a railroad I can say these parts have the proper look. The under side of the rails have a mold seam, but it is out of sight. The tops of the rails will require some clean up of the attachment points. The ties have a nice wood grain effect and should look great when finished. The rail bed is made up of 9 different parts. These will require some filling when assembled to hide the seams. This might be difficult due to their rocky looking exterior.
The decals appear to have thin carrier film that should react with any finish and decal setting solution. However there are markings provided for only one gun, “Leopold.”
The instructions are typical Dragon quality. They offer clear views of the assembly. Paint schemes offer three different choices, all over dark yellow, overall grey, and yellow with dark red similar to the box top.
ImpressionsWhen I first saw this kit for sale, I thought it would be a while before I even thought about getting one and even longer before I would try to build one. After getting a chance to do this review, I feel I can build this kit and do a great job of doing so. If you are new to the hobby and want to build a very impressive kit feel free to pick this up. If you are a 40 year veteran and want a big project, this kit is for you. There are plenty of after market detail sets to go along with this kit so you can build it out of the box or spice it up as much as you would like.