book Bundeswehr Tank Transporters
in detail

Present Vehicle Line No.10
Josef Spurný, Jan Martinec
Wings & Wheels Publications.
Published by RAK, Czech Republic.
ISBN 80-86416-44-5

72 pages all in colour.

Review by Terry Ashley

When the Trumpeter kit of the big Faun SLT 56 Franziska (Kit #00203) was released back in 2003 there was not a lot of reference material available which is still the case today with just a few magazine articles and some walk arounds on the net such as that on the site which the modeller had to make do with.

Wings & Wheels Publications have come to the rescue with this volume #10 in their Present Vehicle Line on German Heavy Tank Transporters SLT 56 Franziska and SLT 50-3 Elefant.

The book has 272 colour photos in 72 pages and few line drawings with 55 pages devoted to the 8x6 Franziska and 56ton 12x0 trailer and the remaining 16 pages on the 8x8 Elefant and 52ton 8x0 trailer.

As with previous volumes in this series the book is packed with superb close-up walk around photos of the tractors and trailers to satisfy most modelling needs.

Pages 1-9 has fairly lengthy text for this series on the historical, development, technical and service life of the FAUNs along with some overall shots of the two vehicles and this is followed by the section on the Franziska starting with a 14 page walk around of the cab. This has a few external close-up shots of the lights, mirrors and roof layout but mostly concentrates on the interior with superb shots of every visible feature in the cab. The seats are shown from all angles including the lower supports with shots of the doors and inside roof details showing the panel contours and the roof hatch. The instrument panel and the various instrument clusters and compartments are shown as are the driver's foot pedals and gear levers along with the steering column and wheel and the colour photos show the many different colours of the fittings which will be more than useful to the modeller.

The next 5 pages show the engine compartment and associated intake grills and large exhaust muffler as well as the top engine cover open showing some plumbing visible at the top of the power pack with a line drawing showing the layout of the power pack, radiators and exhaust which again will be very useful.

Next comes 8 pages with excellent close-up shots of the winches, fifth wheel and tractor rear section showing the complicated hydraulic oil pipes on the winches from a few angles as well as the two hydraulic oil coolers mounted above the winch rope drums with their pipe lines as well as the centrally mounted hydraulic oil distribution box and pipe connectors all of which should go some ways in answering one of the most commonly asked questions when building the Trumpeter kit, that of the hydraulic pipe layout.

The views of the rear section show the hydraulic coupling hoses and electrical cables as well as the air tanks and associated connectors and the rear tractor mounted hydraulic fittings and winch cable guides along with the fifth wheel shown from alternate angles and finally views looking down into the rear tractor chassis showing the many fixed cable ducts and wiring channels if you really want to go the whole way in detailing your model. Finally there are shots of the long mud guards and rear taillights as well as the metal blocks carried on top of the fenders.

A couple of pages then show the large tool boxes located along each side of the tractor with some shown open allowing the shelves and some contents to be seen.

The next 9 pages have many detailed and close-up shots of the tractor undersides showing the suspension and drive train with some excellent shots of the differentials, drive shafts, rear springs and details shots of the brake system mounted on each of the four rear wheels including the brake hydraulic lines from a few angles for a good overall view. There are also line drawings of the chassis and front and rear suspension details that clearly show the layout and location of the major components including the steering shaft arrangements that should be a big help when assembling the kit.

The only part of the tractor not shown in specific close-up are the wheels and wheel hubs which is a bit of an oversight as the detail on the second non driven wheels is quite different from the other driven wheels but you can get general views of the wheels from the overall shots at the start of the book.

The last 8 pages of the Franziska section deal with the 56ton trailer with more superb close-up shots of the trailer bed and rear mounted folding ramps as well as the forward mounted tool boxes, spare wheel holder and hydraulic legs.

The large gooseneck is shown in great detail with more close-up shots of the various fittings on the side and top as well as the hydraulic and electrical cabling fittings and piping visible inside the underside open panels.

The underside of the trailer has examples of the suspension, steering on the front wheels as well as the hydraulic lines to the brake units and should again help when building this part of the kit but is a bit general in coverage.

The final 16 pages deal with the 8x8 Elefant and has four pages of overall shots of the tractor from different angles that show the overall layout of the components with two pages of cab interior shots followed by 5 pages of detailed shots on the engine compartment with the top cover removed showing quite a bit of the plumbing with this area being very different from that on the Franziska as the photos show.

Lastly there are 5 pages on the 52ton trailer with again mostly overall shots from various angles that still shows a fair amount of detail of the trailer and gooseneck with a few close-up shots of the suspension but overall it is a fairly general coverage compared to that of the Franziska which is probable how most modellers would want it anyway as the available kits are of the Franziska.

Sample Pages

Another superb volume from Wings & Wheels on the big FAUNs with excellent close-up coverage of virtually every area of the Franziska to satisfy those who are yet to build the Trumpeter kit and may temp those who have already finished theirs to get another to incorporate all the detail shown.

Highly recommended.

Thanks to František of Wings & Wheels Publications for the review book.

Page Created September 3, 2005
Last updated April 7, 2007

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