Tiger Model Designs SdKfz 9/1
6ton Bilstein Crane
Kit No.352020

1/35th Scale
First Look Review
by Terry Ashley

The Vehicle:
The SdKfz 9/1 was built by Bilstein on a standard Sd.Kfz.9, 18-tonne tractor chassis. Developed in 1940, the 9/1 was introduced to service in 1941. It was initially issued to tank maintenance units and later to tank recovery units. There were at least 154 Sd.Kfz.9/1s produced from January 1941 to November 1944. The first 6 vehicles were produced on standard Sd.Kfz.9 chassis, and retained both crew benches. However, these first 6 vehicles were prototypes, and were deemed unsuitable. The production vehicles deleted the second crew bench in favor of a slightly extended bed.

The 9/1 featured a Bilstein crane with a maximum load capacity of 6-tonnes. The crane was mounted on a wobble plate, which could be traversed 360 degrees, and tilted up to 12 degrees for operations on unleveled terrain. The boom could also be extended as needed. All crane operations were gear driven, and operated by manual cranks. The vehicle was also equipped with 4 adjustable outriggers to stabilize the vehicle during boom operations. When not in use, these legs were disassembled and stowed in the rear storage box, or in 1 of the 2 storage boxes located in the bed of the vehicle, and the feet were stored in brackets along the front crossover box. These adjustable outriggers are provided, but it should be noted that there are no known photographs of these outriggers actually being used by troops in the field. There were also many little variations between production versions, too many to list them all here. It is recommended you refer to Nuts & Bolts Vol. 12, and Military Machine FAMO 18t. They are both excellent references for both the 9/1, as well as the basic FAMO.

The Conversion Set:
The set arrived in a large sturdy box about 240mm (9 ¾") x 170mm (6 ¾") x 70mm (3") with the parts in plastic bags and packed with foam pellet filler to avoid the bits bouncing around during transit. Only three parts had minor damage with small parts broken off but nothing that can't be repaired quickly, that's pretty good considering the number of fine delicate parts and its travel from the US to Australia.

The set contains 118 finely cast resin pieces in light cream resin, a small etched fret with 52 pieces, two large telescoping brass tubes with re-drilled holes, two lengths of brass rod, a small sheet of thin lead, a generous length of fine chain, fine thread for the rigging, a small decal sheet with the data panels and finally a comprehensive nine page instruction sheet.

The multimedia parts
The resin pieces have the usual casing blocks attached and while I didn't notice any excessive mould release on the parts it is a good idea to give all resin pieces a bath in warm detergent water to eliminate any residue.
There are a lot of very small pieces included and care should be taken when removing these from the casting block to avoid damage. All the parts are numbered and you should write the numbers on the parts with a soft pencil after removing the casting block to identify later (Most can be identified by eye but some look the same but have subtle differences so this avoids any confusion).
The casting quality is superb, there are no blemishes of any kind to be seen and as well as the many small parts, others are cast very thin. The large rear storage box being an example with the sides and top being translucent when held to the light. Some minor cleanup is required on some parts but nothing out of the ordinary.

Also of note is the design of some parts to avoid warping (a problem with a lot of larger resin pieces) the large rear bed in very straight and flat, due to care taken in the casting process This also features very nice surface details with a fine tread plate pattern included as well as the storage box handles and bolt detail.
The new side fenders have a large casting block with 10 entry points for the resin pour, again this avoids any distortion with the fenders being perfectly formed. The casting blocks are attached on the outside of the fenders, so take care when removing these and sand down for a perfect finish (remembering to wear a dust mask when sanding resin).
As well as the new fenders there are also new shorter driver's cabin side panels to replace the Tamiya parts and the alterations start from step 17 in the Tamiya instruction sheet. The new fenders and side panels are the major structural changes to the Tamiya FAMO with most everything else replacing the kit rear section. A bit of minor surgery is required to remove the fuel tank from kit part F19 and reposition under the front seat, but this is quite simple to achieve. Quite a few of the smaller Tamiya parts are added to the new resin pieces as shown in the TM instructions.

The undersides of the rear bed have large support beams and the lower section of the crane assembly added plus the fenders and you should follow the TM instructions exactly when assembling this section. The kit spare wheel is also added the resin bed.

The cross over boxes added to the upper part of the bed are well detailed with smaller resin and etched parts and again straight forward if you follow the instructions closely. The outriggers are made up of six resin pieces each with the detail extending the fine threads cast into the adjustable end sections. You also get alternate end parts to the cross over boxes for stowed or deployed outrigger legs.

Two supports need to be added to the lower Tamiya chassis and these have subtle differences in their mountings. These are well shown on the instructions so study these before attaching the parts.

The crane assembly is simply a work of art. The large crane body is yet another example of the superb casting found in this kit.

This assembly includes the lower wobble plate in two sections with excellent details included and can be positioned at any angle you desire?
Added to the main body are many smaller resin and etched pieces including the centre bob weight level indicator attached with fine chain (now that's attention to detail).
You are also provided with the many data plates found all over the crane body in the form of decals. These decals have a one piece carrier film over the sheet as opposed to the normal individual carrier film. To me this is a bonus due to the fact that these are actually metal plates on the real thing and when you cut the decals from the sheet it leaves a small "ridge" where you cut giving the "raised" look when applied and not the smooth edges you would get with normal carrier film. Also as the decals are solid colours you can apply these by dipping in water to loosen as normal but applying by using white glue eliminating the need to gloss etc for normal decal application, almost like rub on decals. Separate decal placement drawings are provided on the instructions for precise location.

The main boom assembly is another superb effort in design and execution. The main boom consists of the two telescoping brass tubes with the pre-drilled holes so you position this at any length required. The two side support beams are the brass rod provided and this is all fitted to resin pieces with superb details included. There are also many very small parts in this assembly and care should be taken during assembly.
You are given a nice rigging schematic diagram for adding the thread, but again care should be taken with this as can be very fiddley, just take your time and there shouldn't be any problems?
Also included on the etched sheet are four working equipment claps like those found on ABER sets for attaching as required?

There are a few items not included such as the large two-part half circle dust covers for around the base of the crane when in normal position and some of the internals of the crane body. These omissions are noted in the instructions saying they were left out to help keep the price a low as possible and may be issued as an add-on later. I would have liked to see the dust covers included, but they are fairly easy to make but then it would seem a shame to cover up the superb details included in the lower wobble plate assembly if the covers are used?

The box top illustration shows the crane holding a resin tank engine, this engine isn't included in the kit but the notes say the assembled crane will support the weight of an engine or Panzer IV turret. A small note on the box top saying the engine isn't included would eliminate any confusion on this.

This is just a brief rundown on what is in the kit and a more detailed look will be given in the full build review to follow shortly when done. I usually remove all of the parts from their casting blocks (except the really small bits) before commencing assembly as this saves hassle and time during assembly.

Special mention must be given to the instruction sheet provided. It consists of nine pages on US letter size paper. Two pages of text give a history of the 9/1 as well as general instructions and tips for assembly.
There also is a short note advising if any part is broken or missing to contact Tiger Models for a replacement, they also welcome any feedback from modellers with a phone number as well as web site address given.

Seven pages consist of very clear and well laid out assembly drawings supplemented with notes where needed to aid assembly. I can't praise these instructions enough; they are extremely detailed and easy to follow with exploded views showing precise location of the parts. Where needed additional plan views are given to clearly show the locations. But as with any instruction they should be studied carefully before commencing construction to fully understand the process, but these will make assembling this kit a breeze.

Quite simply this is a superb conversion set with high quality resin pieces supplemented with the multimedia items provided. The excellent instructions as noted and also the price, for mine a price of US$69.95 is very reasonable for a set of this quality and detail, do yourself a favour and get one before they all go.
Highly recommended.

The resin bits
Click on thumbnails for larger view
SdKfz.9/1 SdKfz.9/1 SdKfz.9/1
SdKfz.9/1 SdKfz.9/1 SdKfz.9/1
Views of test shots during kit production
(Pics below supplied by Tiger Model Designs)
SdKfz.9/1 SdKfz.9/1 SdKfz.9/1 SdKfz.9/1
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This conversion set is available worldwide from Tiger Model Designs.


Page Created 25 April 2002

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