|Scott Van Aken
|New tool kit
A draisine primarily refers to a light auxiliary rail vehicle, driven by service personnel, equipped to transport crew and material necessary for the maintenance of railway infrastructure.
Later, the name draisine came to be applied only to versions used on rails and was extended to similar vehicles, even when not human-powered. Because of their low weight and small size, they can be put on and taken off the rails at any place, allowing trains to pass.
The military usage of draisines concerned, first of all, armoured draisines. They were light armoured rail motor vehicles, intended for reconnaissance, scouting, track patrolling and other auxiliary combat tasks, usually belonging to armoured trains. Early vehicles of this kind were built in Russia during World War I. Later, often armoured cars were used as armoured draisines, after exchanging their wheels to railroad ones, or fitting them with additional retractable railroad rollers. Some countries however manufactured purposely built armoured draisines between the wars, like the USSR and Czechoslovakia. Peculiar vehicles were Polish armoured draisines - they were tanks or tankettes fitted with special rail chassis, able to be used on rails or on the ground, leaving the rail chassis on the rails. Some countries developed rail-cum-track armoured draisines, with retractable tracks railroad wheels - they were not widely used, however. Different armoured draisines were used during the Second World War, starting from the invasion of Poland carried out by Nazi Germany.
While I am not sure if this actually fits into the category of a draisine, that is what is on the box. This is an armored train car that has the 76mm KV-1 tank turret on top of it. It is neither small nor light and rides on two four wheel bogies. It is not self powered that I can see.
The kit molding is superb. Hobby Boss has earned a reputation for good moldings and this one is no different. There are sprues for the rail and roadbed, two for the bogies and other duplicate items, and one for the bottom of the car and turret bits. The car body is separate and there is an additional 'end of base' piece.
First the base. It is comprised of two major pieces that sort of snap fit together. These have a nicely detailed pebble roadbed, but the ends do not match up with the adjoining piece. Few will probably notice and I can see this sprue, with its separate rails being used for other kits needing a rail roadbed.
The bogies have plastic axles that should be more than adequate. Each of the wheels has a center section and a tie rod that links each pair on either side. These bogies will simply twist fit into the bottom of the body. This will need to be done before gluing the bottom onto the body of the car as this large section is depressed well into the body, making attaching the bogies later an impossibility.
The gun turret is well detailed and should look the part when attached. There is a real lack of outside bits and pieces, these being pretty well limited to lights, bumpers and connectors.
Markings are for the lone box art vehicle, which can be painted in winter whitewash or overall Soviet green. If painting the vehicle white, you will need to come up with something for snow to cover the base's pebbles. The instructions are typical of many new Chinese kits in that no color info is supplied during construction. The construction sequences are well drawn and should pose no problems. A full color painting guide is included and markings are for the single vehicle shown on the box art. I have had fairly good results with Hobby Boss decals so these should prove to be no issue.
Add this to the interesting military vehicles we have seen as of late. I have a personal fondness for things a bit off the beaten track like this (pun not intended). If you are tired of Shermans and Germans and like to work in the smaller scales, this would be a great choice.
Thanks to Squadron Products for the preview kit.
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