280mm K5(E)
'Leopold' Railroad Gun Crew

1:35 Kit No. 00406
Review by Terry Ashley

This much anticipated final touch to the excellent K5(E) Railroad Gun from Trumpeter in the form of an eight man gun crew is now with us (or soon will be).

The set has 75 parts for the eight figures and a further 73 parts for personal weapons and equipment, all in light grey plastic with a length of copper wire for the ramming rod.

The eight figures are broken down in the usual manner with separate upper torso and separate legs (except for figures B, F and G with the full body in one piece), separate arms, heads and head gear as well as the two ramming figures (C and D) having separate hands to attach to the wire ramming rod.

The detail on the figures is quite nice with good detail on the uniforms and fabric folds with all but one having trouser seams but a few (figure D, F and most notably G) have a minor dimensional problem around the crutch area. Either that or Figure G has one mean set of goolies?
Three different styles of tunic are worn from the early to later types as well as a couple of style of trouser which is good for a bit of variety amongst the figures.

The facial features are quite good and should look oksy when painted while one area of concern is with the helmets that have oversized lower rims at the sides and back and too rounded at the top (easy fixed), but they do have nice internal detail if you want to lay them about the place in a diorama. The two separate field caps also required minor adjustment to get a snug fit on the heads.

The Trumpeter helmets plus a comparison with the Calibre35 and Tristar items

TrumpeterThe heads have a flat top for the field cap with a separate crown to be added to fit the helmet, this is a good idea as it allows you to choose to put the field cap or helmet on different figures than shown in the instructions. The only cleanup needed on the figures was the usual minor mould seam down the centre of each part which is easily removed.

Assembly of the figures was straightforward without any problems with four of the figures being sort of generic in that they could be used in any setting but figure H holding the crane crank handle and the three figures posed loading a round (C,D and E) are specifically designed for the K5. The two figures ramming home a round required a bit more effort to assembly as they have fit together with the wire ramming rod. This is aided by the separate hands having a hole through them to accept the wire a nice touch from Trumpeter.

Just a quick word on the copper wire included for the ramming rod, as it comes in the box it is slightly bent and requires straightening before use, this can easily be done by ‘rolling’ on a piece of thick card with a steel ruler. Just lay the wire on the card and place the ruler diagonally over this and roll the steel ruler as you would use a rolling pin on dough. Only a few ‘rolls’ are needed and you end up with perfectly straight length of wire.

Trumpeter also provide you with a jig to aid in assembling and aligning the figures and ramming rod as this would be very difficult without this aid. The lower part of the jig has foot marks to pose the figure with one end has a hole for the wire and the other end a V to rest the wire in while you assemble the figures. I found this V to be of little assistance as the wire could move about while you were trying to align the arms and hands so I glued a piece a plastic card to this and drilled a hole like the other end and this held the wire firmly in place so you can concentrate on the figure alignment.

Jig for assembling figures C and D
Trumpeter TrumpeterTrumpeter

I firstly assembled both figures apart from the arms and hands and let dry completely before proceeding, when dry I glued figure C to the base of the jig and let this dry also, this will allow you to align the arms and hands without the figure moving about and you can cut this off the jig with a fine blade later on.

When the glue had dried I then slipped the wire through the jig end holes and hands and then glued the arms in place at the same time aligning the hands, this was fairly easy if a bit fiddley but some minor adjustments were required the left arm to get a good fit. I let the glue dry completely before removing figure C from the jig and moved to figure D.

I found the jig foot holes for figure D were a bit close to the wire rod for a good arm fit and I re-glued the feet with the heels level with the edge of the jig and then threaded the wire through the jig and hand holes as with figure C.
Again I found that the left arm needed a bit of adjustment to get a good fit, this may have been due to the angle the upper torso was attached to the legs so make sure these are aligned correctly when gluing together.

After the glue had dried completely you can also remove this figure from the jig for painting and Trumpeter are to be commended for including this excellent assembly aid for what would be a very frustrating assembly sequence without it. Once dry the figures can easily be re-assembled as a group with the ramming rod at any time and they line up exactly.

The full set of weapons and personal gear is included from the previous Trumpeter figure sets and this contains what would have to be the best plastic MG42 around with excellent details as well as including accessories like spare barrel tubes, two ammo boxes with nice details on top and both ends, ammo belts plus folded and extended tripod mounts. The other equipment has nice details like a separate folding stock for the MP40 and two types of gas mask canister, the inclusion of the gear will give the figures that ‘lived in’ look when included in a diorama setting.

The instructions are in the form of colour illustrations of the figures as a painting guide and line drawings of the assembled figures with the parts called out by number, this is probably all that is needed as the assembly is straightforward.

Overall an nice set of figures with only a few minor problems that can be fixed easily enough and the poses of the figures allow for some nice animation and will bring your K5 alive.

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Page created 7 December 2003

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