The K5 heavy rail gun was a result of a development program launched in 1930. It was a 28cm gun built by Krupp AG and considered to be one of best examples of German railway artillery. K5 guns were used in 1940 during the attack on France, and after that they were used as a part of the Atlantic Wall to destroy enemy ships or even fire at England’s shores. On the Eastern Front K5 guns were used during the siege of Leningrad and Stalingrad. There was even a plan of using one of the K5 guns in Tunisia, but the gun was moved only to Italy where it remained. This gun, “Leopold” (also known as “Anzio Annie”) was used with a second K5 gun “Robert” (called “Anzio Express” by the Allies) as a part of German defense during the Shingle operation – the Allies’ invasion on Italy. “Robert” was heavily damaged, but “Leopold” was repaired (using mostly parts scavenged from “Robert”) and moved to the museum in Aberdeen, Maryland, where it can be seen as the only German rail gun to have survived WWII.
The Leopold had an unconfirmed range of 11 miles and fired a pre-engraved projectile weighing approximately 550 pounds.
The first look is stunning – the kit comes in a huge box: 64x34x17cm which is hardly enough to contain all 1140 parts that enable the assembly of a 959mm long, 128mm wide and 160mm high model.
The box contains the assembly instructions, 26 sprues with parts moulded in light grey plastic, 4 pieces of hull, 2 upper decks, 1 photo etched frame, 18 railway segments that may also be used as a vignette (two possible track set available – straight or crossed), one decal sheet, chain, two copper wires, two metal shafts, a sheet of mesh, twine and poly caps for the truck wheel assemblies.
All of these parts are packed in a few boxes inside the main box for better protection. In the first box we can find the hull plates which are the longest parts; they are additionally separated with cardboard sheets for protection against breaks and scratches. The second box contains the track bed sections and the third box contains the decal sheet, wires, poly caps, chain, and PE parts. Thanks to this packaging only one part was slightly damaged.
The instruction are contained in a 44 page booklet. It’s clear, concise and doesn’t leave much place for guessing – the possibility of misunderstanding it is rather small and careful reading should assure problem-free assembly.
The moulding of parts is very good and nicely detailed. Some ejector pin marks are visible but it was probably impossible to avoid these marks on big flat parts. Fortunately, the constructors tried to place as many ejector pins on the part’s side that is not visible after assembly or on places really easy to clean; unfortunately it was not always possible and some parts may need sanding. Soft plastic used by Trumpeter is quite easy to cut, trim and sand so small adjustments and corrections should not be a problem. Separation of parts from the sprue should also be easy; no part moulded too close to the sprue rib was spotted. Mould seam lines on most of parts are very delicate and also should be easy to remove.
Sprues are designed to make construction more efficient and avoid sprue swapping – usually most of the parts necessary for the assembly of any detail of the model are on the same sprue.
The model is built (as is the original gun) of three main pieces: two rail tracks (one of them with ammunition wagon), main chassis with gun barrel and gun’s elevator system.
Rail tracks are highly detailed – they are the main reason of the great number of parts in the kit – it takes over 700 pieces to assemble both of them. Wheels are movable thanks to poly caps, suspension is highly detailed and whole construction is strengthened by upper decks. Ammunition wagon, which actually was a diesel engine compartment with loading platform, shell crane and shell truck are also nicely designed and detailed. PE parts should assure realistic look of the exhaust system.
The gun barrel, gun’s elevator system and main chassis are also highly detailed. According to the instructions the whole gun’s support is movable, though with this size of model it is hard to say if the whole construction is balanced enough to keep the barrel in the desired angle without help of glue.
Decals and painting schemes
Decals provided are for Leopold as used in France 1941 and in Italy 1944. They are printed on thin film with nice quality.
Also the painting schemes presented on the box show this great gun in two optional versions: painted with panzergrau (as in the beginning of war) and in dark-yellow – red-brown camouflage scheme as used in Italy and as visible on gun now presented in Maryland.
This eye-catching kit is highly recommended for all big guns fans. Number and quality of parts should assure long hours of great modeling. Available aftermarket kits may also improve this behemoth, but the model should present itself as a modeler’s pride and joy even without upgrades.
Trumpeter have also released a set of figures showing Leopold’s crew at work, which can be nice addition to this great model.
Andrzej has started a Build Log
on the Forums to evaluate the kit construction.