1⁄144Landkreuzer P1000 Ratte
IntroductionWe really can't talk much about the history of the L1000; enough to say that someone actually came up with the plans of a 1000 ton vehicle in '41, Hitler approved it, and the whole planning went ahead until '43, when sanity finally prevailed, and Speer axed the whole project. It was not just someone doodling on the back of a napkin, they actually were serious about it. One can only wonder what went through the minds of the people who designed, and more importantly, approved this project. It might even have started as a prank for all we know (the style of this review sometimes strays from the usual serious tone, for which I apologize in advance; the subject matter justifies it in my opinion...). This monster was to be armed with two naval guns mounted in a modified 280 mm SK C/28 gun turret (the original turret had three guns), and propelled by two MAN V12Z32/44 24-cylinder diesel submarine engines. The armor protection would have been in the realm of 25 cm and over. While it’s very attractive to compare the endless oceans with the endless Steppes, the problem is that while the concept of the battleship worked on a sea, it would not really be feasible on land. The Land cruiser (Landkreuzer) with its tremendous top speed of 20km/h (and it's a generous estimate), and maintenance requirements would be a serious impediment to any force that would like to take Russia in a lightning strike (it would probably never get to Moscow if we took the continuous continental drift into the opposite direction into account.) Had this lumbering beast really been built, it would have been highly unlikely that it would have ever fired a shot in anger, unless the front arrived to the factory before it was bombed by the Allied air forces. Nevertheless it's a fun subject: a land-based battleship for all interested modelers. To get an idea of the size of this thing, watch this video from Wargaming. Takom has made a risky move to issue a 1/144 model of this paper-panzer, but at least they made it clear on the cover that it’s not an actual, “serious” project. On the cover art we can see several Maus superheavy tanks, the P1000 in its full glory, and a couple of Nazi UFOs in the background shooting lasers (and a V2 rocket for added dramatic effect).
What's in the boxThe box - not surprisingly - is quite large. It only has a few sprues, though, and a surprisingly small amount of parts (if we don't count the individual track links, the whole model is made up by about 150 parts). Most of the sprues are taken up by the roadwheels and the tracks. Fortunately there are no individual tracks for this monster - we get link-and-length tracks. All three parallel tracks are molded as one unit. We get four identical AAA defense turrets (2 cm Vierling MG151/20), even though we only use two according to the instructions (you can use all four, if you want to, as I think there's a tremendous amount of artistic license allowed for the construction of this tank). The main hull comes in two parts: a bottom and a top hull. The rest of the sprues have the turret, the gun tubes, and the various bits and pieces for the P1000. We also get a couple of PE railings and ladders. It would have been nice to get some PE screens for the cooling ventilators. The kit also includes two 1/144 Maus tanks, on four separate sprues (two for the hulls, and two for the turrets). To be honest I would have liked to have one of the Nazi UFOs as well... The detail is crisp and the quality of molding is excellent, but there's a little toy-like quality to the whole model (a bit more on that later). The decals provided contain 2 types of balkenkreuz, and an aerial recognition Nazi swastika flag, which needs to be put together from two parts (this is needed for the model to be allowed to be sold in Germany.) I'm not exactly sure what this flag is for, as if any German bomber pilot would have difficulties telling apart a German 1000 ton tank from an Allied 1000 ton tank. The instructions come in a very well presented color booklet. The assembly of the P1000 is shown in ten steps, and three more steps detail the assembly of the Maus tanks. Three different camo options are also presented in the booklet (with a very creative take on the areal recognition flag to avoid the depiction of the swastika).
ConstructionThe kit itself is really simple; the whole assembly takes about two hours (that's only because of the high number of roadwheels). There's a huge opportunity for scratchbuilders: the interior of the turret and the hull simply beg to be filled out with ammo storage and lifts, engines, control rooms and service corridors (probably a fully equipped gym as well). Since I'm not good at these conversions, I just glued everything together. The Maus tanks are quite simple, but detailed assemblies; they can be finished in about five minutes. As it was mentioned, the quality is excellent, but the model feels a bit like a toy. It's especially visible in the way the gun tubes are attached to the turret; you can actually see inside the empty space at the bases of the guns. The lack of detail is also noticeable; even though the detail what IS there is perfectly rendered. Obviously the plans were not detailed enough, but a vehicle this size probably has more little details than a couple of access hatches -this is where a builder can make this model shine. Different sources give different number and types of secondary armaments; even their location is not certain, so this is definitely an area where the model can be modified. The PE railings were somewhat difficult to attach, and the ladders are simply to be glued onto the surface. Placing distancing pins onto the model that hold the ladders off the surface a bit would improve their looks a bit. For the longest time I had difficulties figuring out the appropriate camouflage I'm not sure what a vehicle this size would have been painted; the usual green-yellow-brown colors seem off a bit. Perhaps a painting of a Bavarian village would be better suited, but I was leaning towards a dazzle-type camo; something similar to what the battleships of the First World War were painted. I chose bluish colors and bluish filters because the colors of objects tend to look greyish-bluish in the large distances, and lots of horizontal shapes so that it could "blend into" the terrain irregularities. Since this vehicle is about the size of a four story house, any sort of camouflage only has a chance to work from a significantly great distance (about 30-40 miles). The naval guns mounted on the vehicle make this distance a feasible engagement range, too. I'm not sure this is the perfect way to paint such a large vehicle (after all, I ignored the hazards Allied air power poses), but I'm happy with the results; it's quite a different addition to any model collection. The sample kit has been provided by Takom to Armorama.
Copyright ©2020 by Andras Donaszi. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. The views and opinions expressed herein are solely the views and opinions of the authors and/or contributors to this Web site and do not necessarily represent the views and/or opinions of AeroScale, KitMaker Network, or Silver Star Enterrpises. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved. Originally published on: 2015-11-08 08:16:33. Unique Reads: 16756