Growing up, I loved trains, and had an HO layout that was a mixture of American buildings and European locomotives and rolling stock my father brought back from a trip overseas. So I'm excited to see the amount of trains making their way into the world of 1/35th armor and dioramas where I live now. Of course, rail transport was important to most nations involved in the conflict, especially so to the Soviets because of the huge distances within their borders, and to the Nazi war operations as the Wehrmacht shifted shrinking resources from theater to theater. We've all seen countless stills and propaganda newsreels showing Wehrmacht men & materiel being shuttled by rail to the front.
But rail cars are an important component of building kits, too. In the endless search for an answer to the question "what do I do with this tank when I'm done?", putting it on a flat car is both historically accurate and
a great solution. Several companies, including Dragon, Tank Workshop and Trumpeter have released cars of various configurations. Trumpeter has even gone a step further and put out at least three locomotives; enough, in fact, to reconstruct full trains, both armored and unarmored. I'm not even mentioning the rail guns and railroad-mounted siege mortars already out there.
Now a new player is emerging in the 1/35th rail category: Ireland's LZ models. Their latest release is the ubiquitous workhorse of the Reichsbahn, the G10 "box" car. The G10 is the default German enclosed cargo rail car, and probably dates from designs developed in the 19th Century (indeed, its descendents still ply their trade on today's German rail lines). A simple two-door box on four wheels, it carried everything from munitions and supplies to human cargo: transportees to Nazi concentration camps were crammed inside with cruel indifference to the conditions. I'm glad to see LZ doesn't flinch or avoid mentioning this fact, either.
If you plan on doing a WW2 rail diorama or train build, you will need at least one G10.
the kit contents
The kit contains according to its markings 180 resin parts and an equal number (180) of PE in three frets, as well as:
2 brass wires & 2 copper ones for hoses and brake lines
various plastic strips & rounds for levers
A CD with the assembly instructions
I did not count them all, but trust me, you don't lack for anything
Up to now, the rail cars released by resin and styrene manufacturers alike have been largely treated as a supporting player to the starring armor models they are supposed to transport. The preponderance of the rolling stock has been simple flatcars, or else armored ones sporting tank turrets and FlaK guns. In either case, detailing was confined primarily to the readily-visible portions. LZ has upended that idea with a car so detailed it seems as if nothing is missing. Pragmatists may ask why it's necessary to show the various brake lines, air hoses and connecting cables, but purists will welcome the detail, which doesn't come at any significant price increase over other resin flatcar kits on the market.
And while you might dismiss this kind of detailing as the railroad equivalent of "rivet counting," there's no getting around the fact that accuracy has been spotty in many of the kits released by other manufacturers, even on things as straightforward as the "bumpers" at each end of the car. This review isn't meant to evaluate the various kits on the market, but it's curious that brass upgrade maker RB Models has so many replacement rail car bumpers in its catalog....
As a wooden car, the temptation was there to overdo the wood grain texture, but LZ has avoided the deep, not-to-scale "grain" that too many kit makers think says "wood," but really says "toy." I often fill-in such grain and then make my own with oil paints over a buff base. Overall, the casting is very crisp, though there's a fair amount of "hairy" flash that will require cleaning up (nothing I'm not used to with resin kits from small manufacturers).
As far as I can tell, nothing has been simplified, which makes this model suitable only for experienced builders. If you've never built a resin kit before, I don't think this should be your first. However, if you have a love for the rails, you may not be able to resist its pull.
The doors can be open or shut, with full interior detailing. I think I've found a home for all the ammo cases, fuel drums and provisions boxes I've acquired over the years. It's possible, too, to have soldiers disembarking from a hasty rail journey, or even a more poignant Konzentrationslager
diorama now that Plus Model has released a 1/35th version of German electrified barbed wire
In a shrewd cost-cutting move, LZ has supplied the instructions on a mini CD. While this might be annoying to some, it's actually a stoke of inspiration, since it allows a small manufacturer to include enormous detail and crystal-clear color photos, rather than simplifying the instructions to keep them short enough to print at a practical price. The detailed color photographs show every step of the assembly in excellent resolution, unlike the crude B&W images found in so many resin kits.
For those who might object that they will have to have a computer on their workbench, I would counter by saying you only need print up the section(s) you'll be working on right away. The compromise between convenience and clarity is a definite positive, especially in a model this detailed. I'm looking forward to having the CD hold my hand through all the many steps (the directions run to 52 pages).
decals & painting
The kit includes decals for two Reichsbahn options (Stettin and an unidentified origination), plus markings for captured Allied service
Painting remains something of a crap shoot: LZ's research shows the cars mostly in gray, with green possibly a post war color choice of the DB (Deutsche Bundesbahn
, the West German successor to the Reichsbahn
). This is clearly a case where you should check your references. Some indications show the cars underpainted with a red primer (red oxide?).
It's very exciting to see the launch of a passionately dedicated new company, and the rolling stock it is providing is first-rate (as well as resin upgrades for some of Trumpeter's locomotives). This model isn't for everyone, especially given its complexity, but if you want accuracy and detailing in your rolling stock, LZ is clearly the leader now.
This two prices reflect export versions and those sold within the EU. Check with LZ models if you have questions.
Thanks to LZ models for providing this sample for review. Please be sure to mention Armorama when ordering from LZ.