by: Darren Baker [ ]
Das Werk is a new company on the scene where injection moulded models are concerned and this is a company that is quickly making a name for themselves in a very positive way. There first release is of a Faun L 900 plus SdAh 115 trailer in 1/35th scale.
This offering from Das Werk is packaged in a good sized cardboard tray with a separate card lid, the lid is double thickness at the sides and I feel the packaging will hold up well to reasonable handling. Inside of the carton there are a number of plastic bags that contain the sprues for the kit. The two instruction booklets are also in a sealed plastic bag along with the decal sheet and brass rods; lastly there are two Ziploc plastic bags containing the wheels for both elements of this offering. A look at the contents and packaging instantly provides me with a positive opinion of the product.
Taking a close look at the contents again leaves me with a very positive opinion of the product. The sprues have been well laid out and I also like that the letters that identify the sprues are cut outs and so easy to see and identify what sprue you are looking for. The parts are very well moulded with a distinct crispness to the mouldings. I looked very hard for aspects that will affect the modeller during construction and found very little, none of which should deter anyone. On the larger mouldings I found a few ejector pin marks and slide flow marks; the flow marks have not caused any issues to the finish of the model. There are some long spurs present on a few parts that may take a while to clean up and that are not something I expected to find on a model of this quality. The instruction booklets are of a good quality and I like the human touch of cup rings and the like present in them; kind of reminds of a work bench that has provided many years of loyal service. The drawings of people in the books reminds me of the old Tamiya figure shouting orders at you.
Faun L900 D567
Starting with a look at the truck and what has been put into its construction. The chassis of the model has been tackled in a multi-part approach that allows a better degree of accuracy and detail to be provided to the modeller; the only negative of tackling the chassis in this way is that if you do not get assembly exactly right you could end up with an offset base for your model. I have to say that with some well shaped cross members a twisted chassis should be easy to avoid. I also like that Das Werk has taken the step of providing a guide that shows the correct orientation of some cross members that support the truck bed.
Moving onto the oily aspects of the model and Das Werk has opted to supply the lower portion of the engine and gear box for the model only; What I hear you say! Well as the hood cannot or should that be is not designed to be left open I feel this is a perfectly acceptable way of covering this area due to what can realistically be seen. The exhaust concerned me initially purely from a quality model aspect, but my concerns were unfounded as the end of exhaust has been provided as a separate part that has allowed for a recess without the need for slide moulding to be used. The rear axles and the differential housings have been nicely rendered as has the drive shaft between them; also of note is that again Das Werk has provided a drawing to assist in the final positioning of the parts. The only addition needed here is the addition of some cables and wiring to really lift this to first rate.
Turning my attention to the suspension and Das Werk deserve a big slap on the back and a free drink at the bar. The leaf spring suspension elements are free of mould seams which mean all of the great detail in those aspects is not damaged during the clean up of them; I know it’s a minor thing but I really approve of the effort. I think the designers of this model has been reading my ICM reviews as the front wheels can be allowed to move after assembly and I really like that the front wheels can be displayed turned as I feel the finished look is more visually appealing. The wheels and the tyres are well done with a vinyl rubber tyres trapped between two plastic parts. The detail on the vinyl rubber tyres in first class with an exceptional fine detailing covered on the side walls of the tyres. The tread looks good and the mould seams are well hidden to invisible. I know vinyl rubber is a pet hate of many modellers but these are possible the best I have seen myself. For those that really do not like this aspect I suspect that this model will very quickly be covered by the after market brigade and resin tyres will quickly become available. The wheels themselves have good bolt detail present.
Moving to the cab and hood and I hit the first thing I don’t like, the seat; The seat is well represented but looks like new, most military vehicles I have looked in the seat is one area that usually shows a lot of wear and tear and so I would do some scratch work on these areas. The cab console has been lifted with the use of decals for the dials and I was also pleased to see Das Werk mention the use of clear gloss on the decals before and after application. The pedals, gears stick and steering column/wheel have been well covered. The engine cowling is a substantial element in this kit with only one minus point in my opinion. The cooling slats in the side panels of the cowling are not open; I know this is because it is a plastic part rather than photo etch that would have allowed this aspect to be replicated. This was the only negative I could come up with and I personally do not hols it against the product. The clear parts of the cab have been well tackled with good clarity and nicely thin and so avoiding the issue of magnification. The canvas roof of the truck has a nice canvas appearance and good crease detail.
The wooden truck bed has a very good level of detail despite a low parts count. The wooden side panels are free of ejector pin marks and have a minor wood like texture, but it will require very careful painting to avoid flooding the detail and losing it. The bed itself is likewise good on the upper face but the bottom does have some ejector pin marks that may be difficult to deal with. The rails for supporting a canvas roof on the truck bed is another sign of a quality product; these have been provided in the form of straight brass rods and shaped using a jig provided with the model. A special note here is that the instruction booklet also shows the correct steps to get the best from the brass rods and jig. The receivers for the brass rods are moulded closed and need to be drilled and I am really pleased to see clear instruction on the drilling of these holes and the drill size needed. I have been told that a bench seat should be included with this kit; I have seen period photographs that show this aspect, but I am not convinced that the bench would always be present and even if it is it is a very easy addition for the modeller to make.
The trailer for this model has been equally as well tackled as the truck as far as I am concerned. The wheels and tyres have been well tackled despite the Marmite (love it or hate it) opinion of the vinyl rubber tyres. The side wall detail presented is again first rate but the seam line is a lot more obvious with these tyres and I know that removing seams from vinyl can be problematic. The wheels themselves are first rate and have a good level of detail. The axles and leaf springs look good and I am still pleased with lack of seams on the springs. The fishplate has been well tackled and can be shown out of alignment which as most know I like. The rear axle is removed for the loading and unloading of the trailer and that aspect has been covered in this offering. The star of this offering is the two instruction booklets that seem to have been designed for modellers by modellers and the rear end is a perfect example of this. The booklet covers two set ups for travel with different sized vehicles loaded and the loading configuration is covered equally as nicely. The bed of the trailer has some very nice detail present that will really look good on the finished model. The one aspect you will need to give careful consideration to is how exactly you want this portion of the model finished as you need to decide at a fairly early stage I feel.
If I had seen this model without knowing who it was produced by I would guess at a few of the high end manufacturers and would never have gone for a new company. The level of detail provided and quality of the parts is very good. The instructions are some of the best if not the best I have seen. There is a correction sheet in the box and nothing jumps out at me as amiss. The inclusion of tips and images covering the positioning of many aspects really do make this shine as an offering of the highest standard. Of course the model is not perfect but that is restricted to some ejector pin marks and the missing bench which may or may not have always been present. This really is a stunning offering from Das Werk and they deserve praise for this release and I look forward to what comes next. A model by the modeller for the modeller I believe.