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Built Review
135
VsKfz 617
VsKfz 617 Minenräumer
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by: James Bella [ C5FLIES ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

introduction

The history of the Minenräumer is still a bit clouded, although a few items have surfaced to give us a better idea of this futuristic looking monster. This was a joint effort by Krupp, Daimler-Benz and Alkett, with Alkett handling the final assembly. Identification tags date at least some components back to the second half of 1941. Obvious salvaged or scavenged parts used are the Pz. I turret and sections of the upper hull as evidenced by the location of the vision port that looks out at the left front wheel.

Deemed a poor design after construction of the prototype, it's doubtful that the Minenräumer ever saw active service past the testing trials. In 1947, the Minenräumer was delivered to Kubinka to undergo examination and trials, although due to damage from transport, or other means, it was found unfit for full testing. It now resides at the Kubinka Museum.

One of the new kids on the block for injection molded kits, Meng Models has made a pretty good debut with their first two Pick-ups. This one follows hot on the heels of those two and is another that I didn't expect to see in 1/35 styrene.

contents

Packed neatly in a stylish slip-top box are:

• 3 sprues, 2 of which are identical
• Upper hull
• Lower hull
• Turret
• 20 Large links
• 20 Large shoes
• 10 Small links
• 10 Small shoes
• Length of chain
• Copper wire
• Instruction booklet

Did I really say “Stylish box”? Well, it is an attractive one for those that care.

the kit

The instruction booklet spans 14 pages and the build sequence is contained in 19 steps. The steps are clear and concise, and given the low part count of the kit, along with the absence of PE, this a very easy build. The mold quality is excellent, with the only parts that showed any real flaws were the large track links which had a noticeable seam line and sink marks that needed filling, and the turret had a few light seams.

The shoes have metal weights encased in styrene providing some substance to these parts. Personally, I feel this is an unneeded gimmick that most likely boosted the price of the kit quite a bit. Anyway, it’s there and really gives the finished model some heft. The links are a very tight fit where they interlock and easily corrected with a couple of quick swipes with a sanding stick.

Welds are molded into some of the parts where necessary, although missing where the two ‘side pods’ attach to the hull. Some have the sprue attachments right on the weld so a little touch up will be necessary.

In my haste I mistakenly cut off the barrels of the two MG’s, so use caution (and magnification!) when removing these from the sprue. As it is, I’ll add a couple of small pieces of wire for the barrels. The MG's are a bit weak in detail and a pair of after-market barrels would really make an improvement here.

The chain is included for the rear steering, which two holes will need to be drilled into the lower hull for it to pass through. Wanting to keep the rear wheel position-able I epoxied a piece of sprue to the inner hull and looped the chain around it…this way I can position the steering and keep one side taut with the other side loose (the black cap is only to prevent the chain from falling off when I turn the model upside down). The wire is provided to affix the chain to its mounting brackets, here I added some PlusModel bolts and nuts instead.

Along with the absence of PE, the kit contains no clear parts nor decals. Four paint schemes are provided although it is made clear that they are only representative and encourage you to use your imagination.

conclusion

All in all, I’m very impressed with Meng’s entire package here. Presentation is very well done, molding quality extremely good, instructions clear and easy to follow, and build-ability excellent. The subject matter was definitely off the beaten path too. I’ll be looking forward to their future releases as this company shows great promise.

The Cracking the Box video by Jim Starkweather can be found:
Here

And an excellent build feature of the Minenräumer by Ming Chen can be found:
Here

For a look at the Voyager upgrade set for this kit Click Here.

Recommended reading:
Minenräumer, Model Detail Photo Monograph #13 from Rossagraph

Our thanks to both Meng Models and Stevens International for the review sample.
SUMMARY
Highs: Interesting subject matter, excellent molding and kit quality.
Lows: Some welds missing, MG's are so-so, list price a bit high.
Verdict: An excellent kit from a relatively new company, a pleasure to build and should be equally pleasurable to paint and weather.
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: SS-001
  Suggested Retail: $72.00 msrp
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Mar 11, 2012
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 86.44%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 89.82%

Our Thanks to Stevens International!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About James Bella (c5flies)
FROM: CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES

My main interest is 1/35 scale WWII armor, Axis and Allied, and will occasionally branch out into other areas. The builds I have done so far have been pretty much OOB, and considering what most newer kits include, that is usually more than enough for me. Even though my projects do not always end up ...

Copyright ©2019 text by James Bella [ C5FLIES ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

This looks like it was a fun build and would be a nice break from one's ordinary cup of tea so to speak.
MAR 10, 2012 - 03:22 PM
You've almost persuaded me James As you say the price is a bit much but if I can flog my old RPM kit to add to the price I'll get it.
MAR 10, 2012 - 10:33 PM
Nice build and review James. I have this kit as well and am anxious to get started. And as one of those that attempted the old RPM kit, just looking in the box gave me one of those AHHHHH moments. One thing that I noticed right away were the many tiny parts, especially the hooks that are on the upper hull. How did the shoes fit on the wheels? How about the top to bottom hull fit? Again thanks for the review. I have been waiting to see a few before starting mine so I guess I have no excuses now.
MAR 11, 2012 - 05:11 AM
Jeremy...it was a fun build and is an impressive size. weathering should be a blast too, with all those angles. Pat...I see the kit is in the $60 range at Lucky Model (shipped) so the price is getting a bit more reasonable. Cary...Yeah, the tiny parts...one thing is that they look very tiny compared to the rest of the kit but were very manageable. You may want to leave these off until the end since they are easily knocked off during construction. I had no issues with the shoes fitting on the wheels, just the links needed sanding to fit together. Upper/lower hull fit like a glove although I'll need just a bit of filler on the front seam.
MAR 11, 2012 - 05:41 AM
Building one as I type. Love the tracks. The hooks for lifting the superstructure are fiddly at 2 pieces, but I left the mounting base on the sprue.I added the hook to it, and when dry, I clipped the assembly off and mounted them in place. Doing the turret now.
MAR 12, 2012 - 01:32 PM
   

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