Dragon 1/35 German RSO/3 w/5cm PaK 38
KIT #: 6684
PRICE: $56.00 SRP
DECALS: Six options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Smart kit


The Eastern Front presented many difficulties during WWII, one of which was the harsh weather. With few well-paved roads available, rain and snow could render the terrain almost impassable, as Germany found out during their first winter in 1941-42. For such difficult conditions, Germany realized it needed special tracked vehicles to traverse Russia’s roads and countryside. One solution offered up was the Raupenschlepper Ost (literally “Caterpillar Tractor East”, or “RSO” for short). The RSO, based on the Steyr 1500A light truck, was initially conceived as a prime mover and tractor for towing artillery pieces, although it was eventually put to many uses. The fully tracked vehicle performed very well in the muddy conditions, and various manufacturers eventually produced 23,000 vehicles before the war ended. The RSO/03 was a later-production variant that had a simple metal cab with a soft-top roof. It was powered to a top speed of 30km/h by a Deutz diesel engine. A pintle was fitted at the rear for towing artillery pieces.

The RSO may have been inspired by very similar full-tracked small tractors in use in other armies, mostly originated from the pre-war light to medium series of Vickers artillery tractors.

The 5 cm PaK 38 (L/60) (5 cm Panzerabwehrkanone 38 (L/60)) was a German anti-tank gun of 50 mm calibre. It was developed in 1938 by Rheinmetall-Borsig AG as a successor to the 37 mm PaK 36, and was in turn followed by the 75 mm PaK 40.


Dragon has done RSO kits before. This one is a later version and so has a few upgraded parts compared to earlier kits. It also includes the PaK 38 anti-tank gun, which adds some additional value to the boxing. As part of their Smart Kit series, this one has individual track links. Since the track is somewhat 'loose' on the vehicle, this is a perfect way to replicate the sag that is required.

Another neat feature is that this kit has a full engine. While not a large vehicle, this kit is packed with detail. For instance, the rear cover frame work can be one of wood or metal and apparently there is a folded option as well. Some of the other features are listed below.

- Newly tooled transmission cover included
- Newly made engine components including oil sump
- Authentic RSO0/ newly produced
- Side panels and tailgate of brand new cargo deck can be shown folded up or down
- Accurate chassis molded w/new details
- New assembly for delicately detailed road wheels
- Accurate and new gearbox included
- Curved cab frame type as option with wooden rack in cargo compartment for stowing spare Winterketten tracks
- Delicate Notek lamp reproduced
- Spare Winterketten tracks w/detailed surfaces on side panels
- Driver’s door can be assembled open/closed
- Intricate windshield made from clear parts
- Muffler w/exhaust pipe and optional towing frame included
- Optional bolted-on tow hook can be fitted
- Sprockets and idlers w/correct details
- Detailed levers and pedals for driver’s compartment
- Gun shield is true to scale
- Breech replicates the real one
- Gun can elevate to different angles
- Muzzle brake w/fine detail
- Finely detailed Magic Tracks

A set of generic markings are provided and there are six painting options available for the RSO itself as well as three for the PaK 38. These include an unidentified Volksgrenadier unit in the East in Fall of 1944, a white painted unidentified unit's vehicle also from late 1944. A Free French Army version in France during 1944, a 21 Pz Div vehicle at Normandy in 1944 with green and brown stripes and another from that unit with mottles. Finally an unidentified Western Front vehicle is green and brown splotches.


If you have been awaiting one of these to come around again, you now have that opportunity to pick up this interesting vehicle and get a great anti-tank gun model as well.




September 2011

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