Following on from the kit preview posted recently I now have received the production kit of the 8x6 SaZgM Franziska and can report the full story.
The Vehicle: (technical notes by Carsten Gurk)
There are actually two different Fauns, the "Schwerlasttransporter (SLT) Elefant (8x8)" usually towing the 4 axle 52ton off road trailer and the "schwere Sattelzugmaschine (SLT) Franziska (8x6)" with the 6 axle 56ton trailer with limited off road capabilities.
The basic layout looks similar at first glance, but the vehicles are very different.
The SaZgM Franziska is composed of "of the shelf" components to reduce costs and the 2nd front axle is not driven, as it is at the Elefant.
The Franziska uses a 525 HP KHD Engine, while the SLT Elefant uses a 734 HP Deutz engine and the Franziska has a 16+2 gear Ecosplit transmission, compared to Elefant's 4+2 gear Hydromedia transmission.
The Franziska uses FAUN Type 10/10 axles and the Elefant uses FAUN type 17 street/all terrain axles.
While these differences seem complex the vehicles look similar as they both use the same basic chassis, the most noticeable external difference being the twin headlights on the Franziska and single headlights on the Elefant.
The kit consists of 804 parts in olive drab plastic with 9 large and 26 small vinyl tyres, a decal sheet, a large etched fret, four metal rods for the main axles and various lengths of wire and thin PVC tube for the hydraulic lines, a long length of twine for the winch ropes plus a large 35 page instruction sheet. Clear parts are provided for the windscreen, cab windows, headlights and other small lights.
There are some enhancements on the parts from those in the test shot kit including the "FAUN" logo included on the front cab and additional details on the tyre sidewalls including the "Michelin" embossing.
The quality of the mouldings is good with nice details on the parts and pin ejector marks kept to a minimum. Most of the pin marks on the major parts are in places that can’t be seen after assembly except a few exceptions although there are though quite a few pin marks on the smaller parts that will need removing. The quality of the mouldings is also better than on the test shot as you would expect and overall the level of detail is well done although there are the mould seams to be removed from the parts. The plastic is softish so it is easy to remove these and also in removing the parts from the sprues.
The main cab is moulded in one large part with separate doors and is quite
an impressive moulding with nice details on each of the four sides and top
which is not compromised by the all in one moulding.
The two large doors have details on both sides but there are a few pin ejector marks on the insides of the doors, these though can be easily filled as there is no raised detail around them.
The cab interior has a full length dashboard (although the dials don't have details included), separate seats and cushions, separate foot pedals, gear levers and steering wheel plus additional details on the floor while on the outside separate windscreen wipers for good definition which is certainly an improvement on the usual moulded on wipers. As well as plastic wipers you also get wipers on the etched fret, so the choice is yours which to use? The large door mounted rear view mirror frames are quite thin and have separate mirrors as well as grab handles for the cab sides. The roof weapons ring has a separate hatch but no weapons are provided.
The prime mover has a large full length chassis with large upper decking for the forward section. The suspension is quite complex and has the four large axles with metal shafts for strength on the rear two axles. There are separate shock absorbers for each wheel as well as separate differential covers and the large leaf spring assemblies front and rear. The two front axles have the steering arms and pistons and while they are fixed in place the design of the parts would allow you to make them workable without too much trouble, of course there is no diff on the second axle as this is not powered on the 8x6 Franziska.
The attachment of the axles has good sized attachment points for strength with separate drive shafts between the three powered axles. Also on the underside of the chassis is the large fuel tank and spare wheel assembly plus other linkages and fittings with some from etched metal for a very busy assembly.
On the upper deck there is the large radiator assembly with etched intake screens plus multi part tool boxes and other fittings to add to the details. There is also the two large air cleaners and compressed air containers plus the two winch assemblies, batteries and other details including of course the fifth wheel which is designed to pivot. The wire and PVC tube provided is to add the many pipes and hoses fitted to the assemblies and to help here there is detailed wiring diagrams in the instructions showing the locations and the calling out the different size wires used for each assembly and finally the twine is for the long winch cables.
The detail on the eight main wheel hubs is very crisp with well defined bold heads, probably some of the best detail in the kit and also has the different hub detail on the second wheel which is not driven on the Franziska. The tyres also have nice details included on the side walls with the "Michelin" embossing as well as good tread pattern and on a large truck model such as this the wheels can make or break the kit and these will certainly do the job nicely.
The 56ton trailer has a large upper section 276mm long with full chassis detail underneath with separate cross members and leaf springs for each of the six axles.
The four front axles have steering arm details while the two rear axles have metal shafts through the centre for added strength, each axle has separate shock absorbers and the wheels hubs have nice well defined bolt head details with tyres that also have nice tread and sidewall details.
The large goose neck assembly has nice details on the many parts added to the two large side sections for a very robust assembly.
On the upper trailer deck there is the six track guides along the deck as
well as many other small details with etched parts adding to this detail.
The two loading ramps are multi part assemblies that can be folded up or down and there is some etched parts and wire provided for the securing supports when the ramps are shown in the travel position.
There are numerous other smaller details for the rear of the trailer as well as the spare wheel holder on the underside for what is another busy assembly. Additional wiring and PVC tube is used for the hydraulics between the rear deck and goose neck when the two are fitted together.
The 35 page instruction sheet has easy to follow construction sequences but as some areas are rather complex careful study of the instructions before assembly is advisable.
The instructions also include detailed plumbing diagrams as mentioned as well as five view plans showing the camouflage scheme of Olive Drab, Red Brown and Black shown as FS34094/RAL6031, FS30051/RAL8027 and FS37030/RAL9021 respectively.
The decal sheet is well printed with thin carrier film and provides one set of warning placards for the front and rear as well as two sets of vehicle markings. Strangely the vehicle shown on the box top is not included on the decal sheet.
Overall this kit has excellent details included and should build into an impressive model. While it is extensively detailed there is plenty of scope for added details due to the size of the vehicle and the inclusion on the wire and PVC tubing for the hydraulics and plumbing is a real bonus as are the excellent wheels.
Trumpeter are really getting their act together with these big truck kits with the excellent 50ton Chinese Tank Transporter and Missile Launcher kits followed by this big Faun, we can only hope this trend continues.
I would like to thank Carsten Gurk for his technical
information of the differences between
and for providing
a series of
excellent reference pictures on the two transporters. These photos have also
on Carsten's site www.panzer-modell.de in
time for the general release of this
kit and I'm sure will be appreciated by all modellers.
A direct link to the walkaround is here; http://www.panzer-modell.de/referenz/in_detail/franziska/franziska.htm
Page created 8 July 2003