In-Box Review
K5(E) Leopold
280mm K5(E) Leopold German Railroad Gun
  • 001141

by: Andrzej Snigorski [ ENDRJU007 ]

Historical background
The K5 heavy rail gun was a result of a development program launched in 1930. It was a 28cm gun built by Krupp AG and considered to be one of best examples of German railway artillery. K5 guns were used in 1940 during the attack on France, and after that they were used as a part of the Atlantic Wall to destroy enemy ships or even fire at England’s shores. On the Eastern Front K5 guns were used during the siege of Leningrad and Stalingrad. There was even a plan of using one of the K5 guns in Tunisia, but the gun was moved only to Italy where it remained. This gun, “Leopold” (also known as “Anzio Annie”) was used with a second K5 gun “Robert” (called “Anzio Express” by the Allies) as a part of German defense during the Shingle operation – the Allies’ invasion on Italy. “Robert” was heavily damaged, but “Leopold” was repaired (using mostly parts scavenged from “Robert”) and moved to the museum in Aberdeen, Maryland, where it can be seen as the only German rail gun to have survived WWII.
The Leopold had an unconfirmed range of 11 miles and fired a pre-engraved projectile weighing approximately 550 pounds.
The Kit
The first look is stunning – the kit comes in a huge box: 64x34x17cm which is hardly enough to contain all 1140 parts that enable the assembly of a 959mm long, 128mm wide and 160mm high model.
The box contains the assembly instructions, 26 sprues with parts moulded in light grey plastic, 4 pieces of hull, 2 upper decks, 1 photo etched frame, 18 railway segments that may also be used as a vignette (two possible track set available – straight or crossed), one decal sheet, chain, two copper wires, two metal shafts, a sheet of mesh, twine and poly caps for the truck wheel assemblies.

All of these parts are packed in a few boxes inside the main box for better protection. In the first box we can find the hull plates which are the longest parts; they are additionally separated with cardboard sheets for protection against breaks and scratches. The second box contains the track bed sections and the third box contains the decal sheet, wires, poly caps, chain, and PE parts. Thanks to this packaging only one part was slightly damaged.

The instruction are contained in a 44 page booklet. It’s clear, concise and doesn’t leave much place for guessing – the possibility of misunderstanding it is rather small and careful reading should assure problem-free assembly.

The moulding of parts is very good and nicely detailed. Some ejector pin marks are visible but it was probably impossible to avoid these marks on big flat parts. Fortunately, the constructors tried to place as many ejector pins on the part’s side that is not visible after assembly or on places really easy to clean; unfortunately it was not always possible and some parts may need sanding. Soft plastic used by Trumpeter is quite easy to cut, trim and sand so small adjustments and corrections should not be a problem. Separation of parts from the sprue should also be easy; no part moulded too close to the sprue rib was spotted. Mould seam lines on most of parts are very delicate and also should be easy to remove.
Sprues are designed to make construction more efficient and avoid sprue swapping – usually most of the parts necessary for the assembly of any detail of the model are on the same sprue.
The model is built (as is the original gun) of three main pieces: two rail tracks (one of them with ammunition wagon), main chassis with gun barrel and gun’s elevator system.

Rail tracks are highly detailed – they are the main reason of the great number of parts in the kit – it takes over 700 pieces to assemble both of them. Wheels are movable thanks to poly caps, suspension is highly detailed and whole construction is strengthened by upper decks. Ammunition wagon, which actually was a diesel engine compartment with loading platform, shell crane and shell truck are also nicely designed and detailed. PE parts should assure realistic look of the exhaust system.

The gun barrel, gun’s elevator system and main chassis are also highly detailed. According to the instructions the whole gun’s support is movable, though with this size of model it is hard to say if the whole construction is balanced enough to keep the barrel in the desired angle without help of glue.
Decals and painting schemes
Decals provided are for Leopold as used in France 1941 and in Italy 1944. They are printed on thin film with nice quality.
Also the painting schemes presented on the box show this great gun in two optional versions: painted with panzergrau (as in the beginning of war) and in dark-yellow – red-brown camouflage scheme as used in Italy and as visible on gun now presented in Maryland.
This eye-catching kit is highly recommended for all big guns fans. Number and quality of parts should assure long hours of great modeling. Available aftermarket kits may also improve this behemoth, but the model should present itself as a modeler’s pride and joy even without upgrades.
Trumpeter have also released a set of figures showing Leopold’s crew at work, which can be nice addition to this great model.

Andrzej has started a Build Log on the Forums to evaluate the kit construction.

Highs: Huge number of detailed parts, great size of model and not exploited subject of rail artillery. Clear, precise instructions.
Lows: Few visible ejector pin marks. Barrel of this size may have some fitting problems (not confirmed) difficult to hide – this may also concern other long parts.
Verdict: Highly recommended kit. Quality/Size/Price factor is very high and the subject is very interesting.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 00207
  Suggested Retail: 110-160 USD
  Related Link: Anzio Annie in U.S. Army Ordnance Museum
  PUBLISHED: Jun 12, 2008

About Andrzej Snigorski (endrju007)

My first contact with model making took place over 20 years ago – I’ve made few models of planes when I was 9. They were all destroyed in one disastrous accident. Pain after loosing results of my own work was so big that I’ve left model making for about 15 years ;) . I’ve returned to building models...

Copyright ©2021 text by Andrzej Snigorski [ ENDRJU007 ]. All rights reserved.


Hi James, Thanks for posting it. I'm planning to build this monster for BIG GUNS campaign so maybe I'll post build review too. Andrzej
JUN 11, 2008 - 08:42 PM
Me Too,got this monster sitting in my workshop and am currently toying with starting it. If anyone knows of any pitfalls with this kit how about posting them - after all,forwarned is forearmed (motto of the now disbanded Royal Observer Corps )
JUN 13, 2008 - 08:03 PM
I have this kit about ¾ of the way built and I’m taking a bit of a vacation from it. It’s a good kit but from what I’ve found so far out of the 1200 or 1300 parts in the kit just about half of the kit parts are used in the two trucks (portions with the wheels, I guess that’s what they’re called) alone. The tip of the barrel on mine it looked like the halves of the mold didn’t quite line up correctly, there was a 0.010” thick ledge at either side so I took some 0.010” thick plastic sheet stock and glued it part way around the part starting at each ledge and when set I sanded them down and feathered them in. I’ll have to post some pics, it’s hard to describe. The fit of the parts so far has been pretty good there are a couple parts that had way to many ejector pin marks in them in areas that were really hard to get to. You’ll have to be careful when building the main body of this kit because the panels are quite thin and even with all the alignment parts in place it will be very easy for it to get warped or cockeyed. I’ll post some pics of what I’ve done so far.
JUN 13, 2008 - 08:50 PM
Here it is so far. LINK These are a couple pics of the barrel repair. LINK LINK and here is one of the parts where the kit designer or whomever went crazy with the ejector pin marks and where it goes on the kit. LINK LINK It's sitting a little off to the side because one of the pins that hold it in place and allows the part to swivel broke and I haven’t quite figured out how to fix it.
JUN 13, 2008 - 11:43 PM
I built the Dragon Leopold a few years ago,when these 2 kits came out.Since much of the rail truck is not visible,the Dragon kit seems a bit easier.A plus for the Trumpeter version,is the wood walkways on top ,going from the shell hoist to the breech.I added these on my own. When you finish the kit,buy a Dora. I did.
JUN 14, 2008 - 03:47 AM
Andrzej, if you do decide to start a build log on this let me know and I'll add a link in the review.
JUN 14, 2008 - 03:16 PM
Yeah, there is a wooden walk way on top from the breech back that is molded in plastic as well as on the top of the front truck. If I had the money and the space to put it, I would love to build the Dora that looks like a very impressive kit. Hehe where would I put one??
JUN 14, 2008 - 07:58 PM
Hi all, @ James - sure thing - as soon as I start building this stuff I let you know. @ R.J. - Fitting problem of barrel was something I was worrying about in my review. I know a little about plastic moulding and in case of parts this big it is very difficult to keep all the pieces 100% within dimension tolerances… BTW. I'd love to build Dora... I have only two problems: too small wallet and too small room... Andrzej
JUN 16, 2008 - 12:02 AM
Hi, I just want to let you know that I've just started build log showing my work with this monster. You can find it HERE Andrzej
JAN 01, 2009 - 10:47 AM

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