|KIT:||Attack Hobbies 1/72 Tatra T-97|
|PRICE:||I paid $9.00 for it|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
Tatra is a vehicle manufacturer in Kopřivnice, Czech Republic. The company was founded in 1850 as Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau-Fabriksgesellschaft, a wagon and carriage manufacturer, and produced the first motor car in central Europe in 1897, the Präsident. In 1919 it changed its name to Tatra after the Tatra mountains. Tatra is the "third oldest car maker in the world after Daimler Mercedes-Benz and Peugeot". Production of Tatra cars ceased in 1999 but the company still produces a successful range of primarily all-wheel-drive 4x4, 6x6, 8x8 10x10 and 12x12 trucks.
After the 1938 invasion of Czechoslovakia by Nazi Germany, Tatras continued in production, largely because Germans liked the cars. Liked them too well, in fact; many German officers met their deaths when pushing heavy, rear-engined Tatras faster around corners than they could handle. In fact, the Tatra became known as the Czech Secret Weapon for the scores of officers who died behind the wheel; at one point, it seems, official orders had to be issued forbidding German officers from driving Tatras.
In 1936 Tatra built a prototype of a small mid-sized aerodynamic car with an air-cooled engine in the rear. This car was a sort of a small version of the bigger T87, incorporating aerodynamic design with an air-cooled rear-mounted V8. The T97 however had a flat four-cylinder engine with a capacity of 1761 cc in it's tail. The body was smaller then that of the T87, recognizable by two side screens, rear windows, a flat single-piece windscreen and just two headlamps (instead of the T77a's and T87's three). The T97's 1761 cc engine was the world's first air-cooled flat four-cylinder engine with a chain-driven single overhead camshaft per cylinder bank. With a bore x stroke of 75 x 99 mm and a compression ratio of 5,9:1 it developed 29,4 kW (40 HP).
When the T97 was introduced in 1936 it was perhaps the most advanced small car in the world. But Porsche was still working on the development of the VW KdF-Wagen under an enormous time pressure from Adolf Hitler, who wanted to use the car for his promotion purposes. Hitler however considered the T97 to be too similar to his KdF-Wagen which was to be produced at the new Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg, Germany, even though the T97 was listed at more than five and a half times the KdF-Wagen's target selling price. In 1939 Hitler ordered the removal of the T97 and the popular T57 from the Berlin Autosalon because of their close resemblance to the KdF-Wagen which was introduced at the 1939 Autosalon.
To me, Attack Hobbies means a very small kit in a box several times the size it needs to be and so it is with this one. Four tiny sprues have the parts to make this 2 1/4 inch long car. Regardless of its small size, the parts of the kit are well molded, though a tad soft and several parts are overscale, but I'll accept that as it means they won't disintegrate when I take them off the sprues.
The body is split down the center which means there will be a seam to fill. Why this could not have been molded in one piece is a mystery as most car kits are done that way. However, it is not all difficult as the bonnet and boot are a single piece. The interior is sufficient for the scale and consists of two bench seats, a front and rear bulkhead and stick shift. The steering wheel mounts to the front bulkhead and this rather shallow bulkhead has the foot pedals molded in place. Of course, the mounting hole for the steering shaft will need to be drilled out prior to installation. Suspension is a fixed rear axle with transverse leaf springs in the front. The single piece wheels are fairly well done and slip on the ends. Bumpers are provided though the sprue attachment points are quite large so care needs to be done when removing them and most of the other bits as well. The clear bits are actually quite clear and you should be able to see into the interior without any problems.
Instructions are a sheet of newsprint-like paper with a history and parts diagram along with painting guide on one side and 8 well drawn construction steps on the other. It seems that Humbrol, Agama and Tamiya are the paints of choice and generic colors are provided. Brown is the main shade for the interior with the exterior in either Panzer Grey for one option and a variegated color scheme for the other. Both are military vehicles and the small decal sheet provides license plates and unit markings. I would imagine that the white markings would be a bit transparent as they are quite difficult to see on the sheet. Color profiles of both options are shown on the back of the box.
Gotta say this is one of the more unusual kits I've seen and of course, that is what attracted me to it. I know that its minimal parts count will cleverly disguise a kit that will be a challenge to build, based on my experiences with other Attack kits, but I also know that the end results will be something that one sees very infrequently.
Thanks to me for this one.
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