by: Charles Reading [ ]
history & background The concept of the E-50 was born from the idea that the newer tanks should utilize common interchangeable parts, be simplified and have ease of production. The E-50 was a design toward the end of the war that had several components produced but no single tank of this type was produced in total. Thus, this is known in the modelers world as a ‘paper panzer’ as in essence it was only produced on paper. There are several books that cover ‘paper panzers’ which include short sections on the E-50. The E50 running gear was considerably simplified as compared to the Panther G. The E-50 utilized a cantilever bolt on shock assembly, six of these replacing the 16 torsion bar found on the Panther. The E-50 used only one steel wheel per axle, two axles per bogie and three bogies per side. Total of twelve road wheels for the E-50 as opposed to 32 interleaving road wheels for the Panther. The E-50 hull was practically identical to the King Tiger in overall dimensions. The layout of the glacis plate differed. There are discussions that the E-series were to have been fitted with a rear transmission with the drive wheels being located in the rear. Doyle’s line drawings of the E-50 support this by showing a toothed rear sprocket. No drawings make any allowance for the space needed to actually have the transmission housed in the rear of the vehicle. The E-50 was to be armed with the 7.5cm Kw.K.42 with no muzzle brake fitted. There were plans for the 8.8 cm Kw.K43 L71.
packaging & contents The kit comes in a sturdy 12”X16”X2.25” box (which is important if the model is stored in stacks for long periods like most modelers do prior to building) The single hull pieces are separated from the sprues with interior cardboard ‘walls’ within the box. There is no real information on the E-50 other than a paragraph printed on the side of the box which I believe to have been written by Bruce Crosby. No decals come with the kit. There is a photo-etch fret which includes the two round screens for the fans but they do not supply any of the other screens commonly found on the rear deck of the Panther or King Tiger. There are unused (extra) suspension parts for the spare box. Trumpeter offers two gun versions: the 7.5cm Kw.K.42 with all the appropriate mantlet armor or the 8.8 cm Kw.K43 L71, again with all appropriate mantlet armor for that gun.
kit overview The kit is molded in light grey styrene and has very good detail and no flash. Minimal clean up of parts is required. The ‘dry fit’ of the major components is very good. I have assembled all the suspension parts and they fit together flawlessly.
Accuracy? This is a paper panzer and thus is open to a little speculation. As stated earlier, there is information available to show that this series of tank was slated to have the drive in the rear. Trumpeter has chosen to provide a ‘standard’ German type drive train with the drive sprockets forward.
There is also speculation about the tracks. Trumpeter provides a vinyl version of late King Tiger type combat tracks. I have read that the narrow transport tracks would be more likely. Again, this is all open to speculation since this is a ‘paper panzer.'
Sprue A: The two A sprues consists of the running gear and suspension components.
Sprue B: Sprue B contains the side skirts, rear panel, fenders, exhaust pieces, pioneer tools, body hatches.
Sprue C: Sprue C holds the turret pieces and infrared system parts.
Sprue D and E Two choices of gun tubes and associated mantlet armor.
Sprue K Sprue K contains the clear plastic cupola periscopes.
Schmalturm turret, upper hull, lower hull.
Photo Etch Fret: The PE fret contains round fan screens, various clamps, exhaust detail
Everything else: The box also holds 0.8X450mm brass wire for tow cables, two sections of vinyl “rubber band” style tracks and a standard six page instruction booklet with 17 build steps. A color paint guide with one scheme, two side, top, front and rear is included. The paint guide cross references colors by Mr. Hobby, Vallejo, Model Master, Tamiya and Humbrol
Conclusion A really nice model. Goes together well and is a wicked looking tank. Thank goodness that the war ended when it did and these didn‘t actually reach production. As with any series that never reached production, there will be different interpretations about what is accurate and what isn’t.