can be a two-edged sword: you make quick, slashing penetrations into enemy territory, but eventually outrun your supply lines. In the right country and weather, infantry can forage off the countryside; think of Sherman's March to the Sea during the American Civil War. But armor especially requires fuel and ammo. At the outbreak of WW II, the German army didn't have to worry a great deal about re-supply, thanks mostly to fast successes in Poland, Norway and France. With the invasion of Russia, the vast territory, poor road system and often unfavorable weather combined to make logistics one of the Wehrmacht's biggest headaches. A partial solution was the creation of a series of Sonderanhänger
or “special trailers,” some of which used the same chassis and wheels. This marvelous site
catalogs over 100 trailers, including famous ones like the SdAh 116 featured with Tamiya's Sd.Kfz.9 ("FAMO") kit for hauling tanks, down to small ammunition carriers like the SdAh 51 included in numerous kits by several makers.
Although I have found no direct sources saying so, it looks as though originally the Wehrmacht relied on trucks for re-supplying its armored spearheads. My only evidence for this is that photos from the Early War period rarely show vehicles like the Sd.Kfz.7/1 and 7/2 variants pulling ammo trailers. But trucks proved too vulnerable to the mud, snow and impassable Russian roads once Hitler launched Barbarossa. Employing ammunition trailers allowed tracked gun platforms like the Sd.Kfz.7/2 FLAK 36 3.7cm to bring along what they needed (extra fuel was already being carried in Jerry cans). Trailer storage capacities varied, depending on the mission; in the case of the Sd.Kfz.7/2, the version developed was called the Munitions-Sonderanhänger
SdAh 57, or SdAh 57 for short (translation: "munitions special trailer").
With Dragon and Trumpeter both releasing new Sd.Kfz.7/2 kits for both early- and late-war options, these trailers have come into focus. Unfortunately, Dragon chose to omit any ammunition trailers in all of its Sd.Kfz.7 variants. Trumpeter has included the SdAh 52 with its Sd.Kfz.7/2 kits, but the detailing is incorrect (an SdAh 52 body on an SdAh 51 chassis). The alternate SdAh 57 trailer is unavailable in styrene.
Thankfully, a small Austrian resin model company called Wiener Modellbau Manufactur
released a superb kit of the SdAh 57 in conjunction with their Mercedes gun truck series that will more than fill the gap for modelers building any of the Dragons or who want a correct trailer with the Trumpeter kits.
The model comes in a very attractive hard pasteboard box that looks more like a presentation case than the usual resin kits from many niche model companies— I guess I’m used to resin upgrades that come in baggies or plain brown boxes. Inside are:
The pre-formed trailer body
3 zip-lock baggies containing:
1.) a small fret of PE one side and 2 steel brake lines and 1 brass wire to brace the open hatches
2.) the floor & roof of the trailer body
3.) 36 others castings containing the wheels, suspension and over 40 3.7cm ammo boxes
And finally, an 8-page instruction booklet with photos for assembly and including 2 color photos for suggested painting & camouflage options.
The molding is unusually crisp, with the thickness of the mud guards much closer to scale than any styrene can manage. There is the inevitable flash with resin that will require some clean-up, but the base of the tires, for example, has none of the usual unsightly “plugs” that must be hidden. With a little work on the tire treads, both wheels could be rotated to any position without fear of exposing the pouring points.
I was particularly grateful for its one-piece body, avoiding the usual struggles of lining up & "squaring" thin resin walls. The kit looks straightforward enough that even a relatively inexperienced resin modeler could put it together without too many problems. Details include a fret of PE for recreating the ammunition locker latches & chains, and metal wires for the tripod stationary support, and braces for holding open the hatches. With over 40 highly-detailed ammo cases included, you’ll want to prop the doors open and make it into a working trailer.
My only criticisms of the kit would be the instructions, which show where everything goes, but leave the builder to figure out the order and how things fit together. Fortunately the kit pretty much falls together. The camo scheme is limited to a single tricolor-striped example, though I enjoyed seeing that the underside should be painted red oxide primer. No decals were included, either, a minor but (at the price of the item) annoying oversight. The company says that will be corrected in future. The trailer was intended to support WMM's armored Mercedes 4500A gun truck mounted with a 3.7cm FLAK, and the decals normally match that kit.
I decided to build this little gem instead of simply showing it as an in-box review. The resin pieces come off their sprues with a minimal amount of flash and clean-up, but some of the parts (e.g., doors) should be handled with extra care, as they are to-scale, making them quite thin and easy-to-damage. Warpage was minor, though the chassis needed to be heated up a bit and flattened out. Fit was excellent with one exception: take care when detaching the body from its pouring base, as aligning it to the chassis will require care and patience. Directions overall are Spartan, but are mostly self-apparent to anyone who has been doing armor modeling.
As I stated above, one of the kit's better design features is its one-piece body. Per the directions, do not remove the panels covering the openings unless you plan on showing the doors in the open position. I can't imagine paying nearly 50 Euros and NOT opening the doors, but hey, your model or diorama might not allow it. The kit even includes wire for making props to hold the doors in the open position, with the insides having delicately-molded hinges for the support rods.
Other nice features are fully-articulated brakes, a choice of hitches for both the Sd.Kfz.7s or the Mercedes L4500 gun trucks, a full compliment of 3.7cm FLAK ammo cans to fill the trailer's interior, and PE to show the chains holding the door latches. Make sure you paint the interior before gluing on the one-piece trailer roof.
All evidence indicates the Germans used the “right” trailer with the “right” vehicle, and didn't simply mix-and-match. For those who want accuracy, this kit is the only answer
short of scratch building. Plus it’s simply a joy to see a small company put out a product that is both accurate and beautifully-made. With too many resin products offering unique, but badly-done kits requiring hours of clean-up, wrestling with poorly-cast small parts and in general, leaving the modeler with a big headache, it’s refreshing to run across something so close to perfection. The price at 48 Euros (plus shipping) for this minor masterpiece might deter some, but I have never recommended a kit more-highly than this one.