Post by gaz on Jul 15, 2018 13:57:27 GMT
For my next build gents I would like to present this young lady for your entertainment....
The Takom 1:35th Scale "Big Bertha"
Big Bertha was a 420-mm (16.5-inch) howitzer that was first used by the German army to bombard Belgian and French forts during World War I. Officially designated as the 42-cm kurze Marinekanone 14 L/12 in Räderlafette (“42-cm short naval canon 14 L/12 on wheeled carriage”), the gun was nicknamed “Big Bertha” by German soldiers after one of its projectiles completely destroyed Fort Loncin during the siege of Liège, Belgium. A total of 12 Big Berthas were put into service.
The gun was designed and built under great secrecy by the firm Krupp, Germany’s largest armaments manufacturer, in the years before the war for the sole purpose of overcoming modern Belgian and French forts built of reinforced concrete. At the time of their construction, the Big Berthas were the largest, most-powerful mobile artillery pieces in use by any army. The gun could fire projectiles weighing up to 1,785 pounds (810 kg) to a distance of almost six miles (9 km). The most widely used type of shell was equipped with a delayed-action fuse that exploded after having penetrated up to 40 feet (12 metres) of concrete and earth. The gun and its carriage, when fully assembled, weighed about 47 tons (42,600 kg). The Big Berthas generally operated in pairs, and each was crewed and serviced by about 240 men. For transport to the battlefield, the howitzer was disassembled into components and loaded onto five special wagons pulled by gasoline-powered motor tractors. For long-distance travel, the road wagons and other equipment were moved by railway cars. After detraining the transport wagons were hauled by tractor to the firing site where the guns were reassembled. Under ideal conditions a Big Bertha could be assembled in six hours.
At the start of war the German army had only two Big Berthas both of which saw their first action against the complex of Belgian forts around Liège on 12th August 1914. In five days they destroyed a succession of forts and compelled the surrender of the city thereby opening the way for the German army to advance westward through southern Belgium on its way to invading northern France. Farther to the west, the forts around the city of Namur were similarly battered into surrender by the Big Berthas and Škoda 305-mm (12-inch) mortars on the 21st-25th August. Two more successful sieges followed at Maubeuge and Antwerp. In 1915 as more Big Berthas were built and fielded they produced similar results against Russian forts. The Battle of Verdun in 1916 proved to be the swan song for the Big Berthas, which were unable to penetrate the reinforced concrete of the modernized French forts at Douaumont and Vaux.
According to some sources, the nickname “Big Bertha” was bestowed on the guns in honour of Bertha Krupp von Bohlen und Holbach, owner of the Krupp firm. In popular usage, the name Big Bertha was also applied, incorrectly, by members of the Allied forces to the extreme long-range cannons with which the Germans shelled Paris in 1918; those guns are properly known as Paris Guns.
Having looked over this kit nothing is small what look like small parts in the instructions end up as rather large chunks of plastic. The kit comes packed in a large cardboard box with the artwork depicting “Big Bertha” in her firing position. The kit is moulded in the usual Takom grey plastic with some very fine moulded detail and comes on a total of six runners. Having had a quick glance over the 257 parts there seems to be no ejection pin marks that could cause an issue during assembly although there are the inevitable mould seams which will need taking care of. A couple of lengths of brass chain are supplied to represent the safety chains fitted around some of the platforms.
The instruction book is a fourteen page document which is printed in Landscape. This is subsequently broken down in to twenty seven stages all of which are 3D CAD drawings.
Construction starts with the assembly of the main gun carriage, I found the parts to be on the large side so I decided to clamp them together until the glue had set.