Takom- Fries Kran 16t Strabokran 1943/44 Production
A brief history of this subject and overview of the contents of this kit can be found in my first look review- https://www.amps-armor.org/SiteReviews/ShowReview.aspx?id=14304
The instructions for this kit, as I suspected, are very short on any kind of helpful text, especially in describing various options. There are few actual mistakes, but careful reading is necessary to understand which options are correct for your choice of vehicle. I'll try and point out these in the step by step descriptions. References would also be helpful, I wasn't able to secure any decent references in time for this review, so I'm basically out of the box per the instructions.
So on to the build!
Before I began assembly I blackened the chain with a Micro Engineering blackening solution, painted the cables, and dusted the tires. I then put these aside until needed:
Step 1: Assembling the girder sides. Very straight forward, although these parts have a lot of ejector pin marks that need to taken care of, all were raised, so it was easy enough to clean them up. Given the open nature of this structure they do need to be dealt with. Also an observation, for some reason Takom has you applying half of parts A23 and A7 here and the balance in step 3. It's lot easier to do them all this step while the sides are flat.
Step 2 and 3: Girder detailing and assembly. There were no issues here, everything fits really well. I would note they have you adding a chain in this step (and another in step 4) I chose to hold back on installing them as there is a lot of handling yet to come on the model and I didn't want to run the risk of knotting them or having them in the way. It's easy enough to install them as the last step after painting and weathering. Also, Takom doesn't point this out, but don't install the chains if you're building the crane in travel mode.
Step 4: More girder detailing. Again there were no issues here. Realizing it would be challenging to paint and weather the inside of the girder if I assembled it, I paused assembly to do some painting and weathering. I kept the cart the hook hangs from separate for this process. After I was done I positioned cart. Takom doesn't mention that if you want the crane in travel mode the cart needs to go exactly half way. I just chose a position off to the side a little. Again, understand that there are two spacings for the horizontal supports (see below) so choose appropriately.
Step 5: Finishing the girder. At this point I broke from the instructions. I did assemble and paint the top of the girder, but I held off rigging and putting top on until I built uprights so I knew how to position hook vertically, as it's not clear until you do how far off the ground the bottom of the girder is. To possibly save you a little time the bottom sits 6.25 inches from the ground when crane is on support jacks. I'll resume this step below
Step 6: Beginning Uprights. This is the point where lack of clarity on various options is a bit of a challenge. Lots of assemblies here. One error I found in the Takom instructions, you do want to make 4 of the triangular structure on the bottom left, not just 2 that are indicated. Also note, the holes they ask you to drill in parts B11 and B12 should be optional, they are only used for an optional shroud (parts C22, C21) that goes over gears. I'm not sure what this cover is and I'm not sure how cables would go through it in upright mode, so they might just be for transit mode. I drilled the holes then had to fill them later.
Make sure assembly with parts B13, B14 can pivot, will need to turn 90 degrees for travel mode (shown below on left) having them pivot also makes things easy to paint later.
Step 7: Upright Assembly. Pretty straight forward. Observe the no-glue callouts for wedge assemblies, they will need to fold down for travel mode and make painting much easier no matter what set-up you choose. The sockets that hold the pieces together when upright are nice and tight, later on there is a pin for each to permanently attach them. At the end of this step I painted everything assembled up to this point in preparation for rigging and closing up support assembly. Again fit is exceptional throughout
Step 8: Upright Assembly cont.. Here we are shown for the first time assembly options for travel and upright modes, although the axle on the travel mode is still shown in the wrong position. Rigging wasn't too hard on these uprights. You get two gauges of string and Takom doesn't tell you which to use, so I decided to use the lighter gauge for the uprights. I put the cable through the pulleys on assembly A before attaching it to assembly B, then fed them down the center.
Step 9: Wheels. The tires were previously dusted and I prepainted the wheels. Easy assembly. Although it's not described, the option with just hubs seems to be for railroad track mounted option, seen in the next step.
Step 10: Jacks. There are a couple flat bottomed jack options, one slightly more extended than the other. It's possible the non-extended one is for travel mode. The other option for jacks seem to have railroad style wheels, so you could mount it on railroad tracks that were appropriately spaced. Without any description from Takom or references this is just a guess. Check your references. Also, for travel mode the jacks should be positioned all the way up through the holes, although this isn't very clearly shown anywhere.
Step 11, 12: Couple extra braces for upright mode, these fit right in no problem, although putting the pins in that hold them took me back the game Operation. I painted them before assembly.
Step 13, 14: Trailer hitch and bracing for travel mode or finishing of bottom of axle for upright position. I will say, if you are doing an upright assembly the hitch and bracing will make great scenic clutter, toss them in the back of your Famo.
At this point I went back to the girder. I used the heavier gauge string and rigged up the hook at the desired position. Not too difficult. I just went step by step keeping everything tight as I could with the help of a dab of CA here and there. I then put the top on the girder and any extra details.
Step 15: Final Assembly, travel mode and, not too obviously, two different spacings for upright mode. I chose the wider stance, as it leaves room for a turret to be but next to a tank.
Step 16: Appliance for Panther turrets, Do not glue part E31, circled below. The hook will not fit around it, you need to be able to place the hook in the slot then slide E31 into place.
Markings: Takom provides 4 marking options, but don't indicate possible units these were attached to. They also provide color and weather products call-outs using Mig/Ammo product numbers. I chose a simple dark yellow scheme. Markings for the most part are small numbers and plaques and the giant builders plaque for both manufacturers. They went on without much problem and reacted well to Micro-Set and Micro-Sol.
Summary: This is a really well done kit. The parts are crisp and cleanly molded. Everything fits together without any issues. The complexity of the kit and the instructions' lack of detailed text describing options means careful planning is necessary, but the actual illustrations and parts call-outs are clear and easy to understand. Due to the complexity I wouldn't recommend this for beginners, but modelers with intermediate or higher skills should have no difficulty putting this impressive model on the shelf. If you choose to use this to be pulling a Tiger turret, or lifting a V2 rocket you will need to get extra chain or other materials as needed. I really enjoyed this build and can't wait to get on with the weathering.
Highly Recommended for Intermediate to advanced builders.
Thanks goes out to TAKOM for this review kit.
Reviewed by Dave Mckenny
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