Das Werk is a new model company that was the result of the dream of CEO Harald Bauske to produce and release a plastic model kit as his own brand. Assembling a team of creators, and in cooperation with Customscale they have chosen a rarely seen subject as their first major release. In addition to 'wow' factor, this kit is of substantial size and detail. When built, it will make an impressive display on a modelers shelf.
The Faun L900 was a heavy truck used by Germany in World War 2. The company came as a result of the merger of casting company of Justus Christian Braun with Fahrzeugfabrik Ansbach. Produced between 1934 and 1937, it served right up to the end of the war as a vehicle and cargo prime mover. The truck had a cargo capacity of 10,000 kg and could even carry a Panzer II. Paired with the Sonderanhänger 115 trailer, they could transport two Panzers and did so in the early days of the war. As the war progressed, and the light tanks became obsolete and replaced by heavier designs, the Faun L900 and trailer were relegated to transporting armored cars, reconnaissance, and other light vehicles the Wehrmact still employed.
I decided I was going to build this as a used, but not misused vehicle from around the start of the war in 1939. This would be a dusty and not muddy appearance since it was late summer.
Das Werk breaks the manuals into the truck and the trailer. I started with the truck and immediately found that the build goes quickly due to the fit of parts and the quality of the plastic. One thing to watch for is ejector pin marks on the inside of the frame, the rearmost one will be visible so it needed to be filled. Other than this the frame assembly is straight forward. Be sure to install the exhaust before the rear axles as instructed as it will not fit after they are in place. I did this thinking that I could paint and install the exhaust afterwards, but thankfully discovered my mistake before the glue had set up. Also, be careful of the direction of the supports for the bed when fitted to the frame. They need to go with the pins to the rear so they will fit the bed.
Next is the front suspension and the bottom the engine. These work up just fine and are movable if you'd like. Since I was going to display mine and with concern about the wheels being straight and plumb, I chose to glue mine. As I stated in the first look review, there are a few sections that are critical to get right and the rear suspension is one of them. Das Werk has included several 'Q' codes for videos that give attention to these critical areas by showing the section being built with tips. Be sure to check them out as you build as they really help with the complex sections. (Wish other manufacturers would do this!) The builder can choose three different poses - unloaded, neutral, and loaded. This is the first place you notice there are areas that need correction in the manuals. There is reportedly a correction sheet in the production kits, but mine did not have this so I found that the rear leaf springs are mislabeled. More on this to come. I chose to portray a loaded truck as I plan to put a Panzer II in the bed.
The build then moves on to the cab and this is a well detailed area of the truck. The kit includes decals for the dash board and I finished mine in XF-63 German Grey with some metallic dry brushing. This gave me a weathered look, but not beaten. I chose to assemble and paint the cab separately from the frame as this would give me access to paint everything. I assembled the hood and cab then the fuel tank and tool box on the sides of the frame. I then began assembly of the bed which went together without any issues and the fit was excellent. I finished by getting the small parts attached and preparing the wheels and fenders. The vinyl tires slip over the rims so don't be afraid to assemble them separately. With this, I was ready for paint.
Speaking of tires, I prepared the tires by giving them a slight sand on the tread and then dumping them into a bag of sifted sand. Rubbing the sand into the tires takes the shine off them and gives them a more realistic finish. With a wash of Vallejo pigments, a rub with a wet sponge and a final coat of matte acrylic varnish, they look really good. Thanks to Dave McKenny for this technique.
I chose the simple scheme of German grey using Tamiya XF-63, with a lighter and darker shade for the upper flat areas and lower areas respectively. The kit offers several variants with all except one being in early war grey. I chose the scheme with 'Erika' on the door in honor of my niece. This may have been one of the crew's girl's name and apparently they believed she was 'on vacation.'
For the bed, I wanted this to look more worn as this would be an area that would lose its paint fast with 11 ton vehicles on it. I started by using a coat of Tamiya XF-57 buff and a light coat of Vallejo primer grey to show worn wood. Then I applied a matte varnish and then two coats of hairspray. Once this dried, it was the top coat of German grey and then the fun part of chipping the paint with water, a stiff brush and Tamiya stir stick for scratches. A final wash of a brown enamel from Mig Ammo and the bed was looking just how I envisioned.
An area that caused me some trouble was the bending of the included wire for the canopy supports. I found the provided jig was OK to use, but be careful that the end does not slip out of it. The instructions also don't give a measurement for the length of wire needed and the lengths in the kit need to be trimmed.
Next it was on to the SdAh 115 trailer. This section of the kit begins with construction of the front axle and steering mechanism which is movable. This is also where the builder discovers that two of the sprues are mislabeled from what is in the instructions. As called out, the C sprue is actually the H sprue and the B sprue is actually the G sprue. I'm sure this is covered in the corrections sheet, but Das Werk should be more careful in their quality control before the instructions are printed. Again the frame goes together nicely with a video to show you just what to leave unglued until later if you want to leave the rear axle movable. I did so, and later glued it into position to be sure the stance of the trailer was correct to be loaded. You then build the loading ramps and you need to make a choice as to how you will display it later, either loaded, or loading position. You also need to carve out a small section of both sides of the outer frame to accommodate a tab on the forward ramps. The aft ramps will only used if you have the trailer in loading position. It's key to note that there are no instructions on how to assemble either of the ramps.
Moving on to the forward ramp support housings, pay attention to the positioning of the small legs that support the ramps when raised (parts A26). They can be a little fiddly to assemble but again, there is a video to guide you, along with some reference photos. It's now to build the rear axle and suspension and this area is also a little challenging to assemble but I did so without too much trouble. Be sure to drill holes where indicated in the fenders and be very careful with the assembly of the fender trim. The instructions give you a good tip to be sure and check for seam lines.
Once the rear axle is done, it can be mated with the rest of the trailer depending on your chosen configuration. I then began attaching the small details to include the tools, toollboxes and winch. There is no cable included so I made my own and used one of the included hooks at the end. That completed the trailer build and I gave everything a coat of Stynylrez primer before doing a similar process to paint and weather the trailer and tires. The decals went down with no problem with just Micro Sol.
My build of this kit was very enjoyable and it was mostly due to the very cool subject and the excellent fit of parts. Not to mention I enjoy hairspray chipping which I think came out very well. The kit has a couple issues with the instructions and this has already been addressed by Das Werk. The inclusion of two very well printed manuals that not only include reference photos and excellent diagrams, but links to assembly videos to help you, is a plus that gives the feeling of a high end kit. This is a great kit and it will look even better when I get the tanks done to make it a complete display.
Highly Recommended for Intermediate to Advanced builders due to the complex assemblies.
Thanks goes out to Das Werk for this review kit.
Reviewed by Ron Hoague
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