For this build I’ll be assembling a small batch of the German army’s largest halftrack – the 18-ton Sd. Kfz. 9 “FAMO” using kits from three different manufacturers. Each manufacturer has taken a different approach to their kits and I’m interested to see how each one builds up and how they look when complete.
The first kit is Planet Model’s kit number MV 024. Released in 2002 this is a multimedia kit. The main parts are resin castings, supplemented with a small resin fret, rubber tracks, and a decal sheet. This kit was used as the basis for several different versions, but is now hard to find.
The parts are well cast if somewhat simplified. The road wheels are cast as one piece per side, with the outer rows of wheels added separately. Likewise the frame is cast with the majority of the details in place. This all makes for a quick assembly with good alignment. The simplifications are not obvious from most normal viewing angles but are readily apparent when viewing the underside.
The next kit is Revell’s offering from 2005, their kit number 03141. An injection molded kit with excellent detailing, it can still be found today reissued with different markings.
The frame and body are built up from multiple parts contained on these two sprues. The attachment points for the road wheels are molded as part of the frame which will add strength and helps with alignment.
The road wheels are all individual pieces and build up in layers like so many German designs. Tracks are link and length. The small sprue at the bottom right is for an earth spade to dig in while winching, there was a note in my kit which said it was not for use. An unusual choice as Revell later issued another boxing which used the spade.
The third kit is Trumpeter’s number 07203, also issued in 2005 (apparently a good year for FAMO’s). This kit has also been through additional versions and boxings over the years and is still available.
Trumpeter’s kit is the most detailed of the three and also contains the most parts by far. Why mold one piece when you can build the same assembly from three smaller pieces? Much of this detail will be visible only from the underside or by removing portions of the engine covers.
The tires are rubber. The torsion arms are molded as separate pieces which is weaker and can lead to alignment issues. The parts are well molded and detailed but there are ejector pin marks on some of the parts, fortunately in locations not easily seen from normal viewing angles.
The track links are beautifully molded but are the definition of over-engineering. Four track sprues are provided. Each link is individually molded and the rubber pad is a separate piece. Seven sprue attachment points per link, fifty links per side. There is a helpful alignment tool to help keep everything pointed in the proper direction, but I would have preferred any other method of putting on the track in this scale.
Part II here: