by: Cpt. C. Sosebee, USA (Ret [ ]
Italeri’s kit of the RSO/01, originally released as a Peerless Max kit back in the 1970’s and re-boxed by Testors and Tamiya is a fairly decent kit even by today’s standards. With a little help in the way of aftermarket upgrades, it can even surpass some of the more contemporary and sophisticated kit releases of today. With newer releases of this vehicle, the older kits also become less expensive, making a project of the old kit with upgrades more attractive. There have been many upgrade sets for this little kit, metal & plastic link-to-link tracks, resin conversions, and the most popular, Photo-Etched (PE) sets. Voyager Model has just released an upgrade PE set for this 40 year old kit. I’m sure that the old RSO kit graces many a stash; I have one that has sat on the shelf for at least 10 years, waiting for me to collect the necessary upgrades to bring it up to current standards. This set from Voyager Model goes a long way to that end.
Voyager PE/Resin sets are packaged in a cardboard sheath with a cardboard drawer that slides out. The PE is packaged in a small cellophane bag (with smaller zip-lock bags inside) taped to another piece of cardboard. This helps ensure the contents stay undamaged.
For the RSO Detail Set, you get :
1x Large 3.5” x 3.5” Brass PE Fret (65 parts)
1x Medium 2.75” x 1.5” Brass PE Fret (8 parts – 200L drum lids)
1x Small 1.5” x 0.5” Brass PE Fret (6 parts)
1x 3” x 0.3mm Ø Copper wire
1x 2” x 1mm Ø styrene rod
1x 2” x 0.5mm Ø styrene rod
1x Resin German Notek light
1x clear acetate sheet with the printed dashboard gauges
The brass is incredibly thin and a lot of the parts are incredibly small. The majority of the parts deal with upgrading the storage bed framing and hinges. The sides and tailgate of the RSO’s storage bed was designed to fold down for easy access to the cargo. The kits hinges and frames are molded in place and will need to be scraped off to accept the new parts. It appears from the instructions, that these hinges may be assembled as workable, but this may test the sanity of some modelers and may best be left static in the up or down position.
For the inside of the storage bed, parts are provided for the upper and lower brackets for mounting the overhead canvas frame. This was completely missing from the original kit. As with most PE sets these days, the tool brackets are also provided for. Mounting brackets for the shovel (a new shovel head too), pick-axe, and, most notably, the jack are provided. The jack gets some upgrades as well. A rear mounted distance indicator light is given in the set to replace the kit part.
For the front of the RSO, the engine grill is replaced by a multi-part brass grill that will really stand out over the kit part. A resin hooded Notek light is provided with brass base. A brass front bumper/A-Frame brace with PE tow hooks rounds out the front of the RSO. For the cab exterior, door hinges are provided and appear to be workable after assembly. Other cab details include replacement exterior door handles as well as windshield wipers. You will have to scratch build the wiper boxes for the interior though.
Inside the cab are replacement door handles as well as a dashboard with the cool acetate gauges. There are several other interior parts such as the steering arms base plate box and the canvas seat backs. There are many other parts that I have no clue as to their purpose but appear accurate when compared to the limited references I have.
Another neat addition for this set is the 8 parts to cover the lids/bases of four 200 liter German fuel drums. The re-boxed Italeri kit from Tamiya includes 4 of their newer release Jerry Cans set. The PE parts fit over the tops/bottoms of the 200L fuel drums and are embossed with the standard German markings for these type containers. There’s enough for 4 drums, top & bottom, but if you display the drums standing, you could stretch this to 8 drum lids. The Italeri kit doesn’t have the drums in the kit, but I’m sure most armor modelers will have a few in the spares box or in a kit in the stash. These drum lids would be a great stand –alone set, with maybe 4-6 of these frets to upgrade older 1/35 scale drum kits that lack the embossed details.
Some may wonder why Voyager would release a set for such an old kit but I’m glad they did. Until recently, the Italeri and Tamiya RSO/01 kits were the only game in town, and are still a pretty decent kit. This upgrade set goes a long way to make it better. With the addition of this PE set, it can easily rival the new releases from other manufacturers.
The only downside to this set is some of the very tiny parts that have multiple bends that may be difficult for some, but that’s the nature of all PE these days. I see more and more modelers use this type of PE set with excellent results. I’ve used many PE sets, but not Voyager…yet, and I’m really looking forward to finally dusting off my kit in the stash. Now, where is that Modelkasten track set I bought five years ago?
MK35 Editions - Militar's Kits Hors Serie No. 2 – Raupenschlepper OST by: V. Deygas; 1999 (French)