Porsche off-road vehicles are not an idea that emerged in the 21st century. Actually, in the 1930s, such vehicles appeared, what is even more interesting – using a hybrid drive (however, google the B-Zug Artillery Tractor phrase, and you will see something completely astonishing produced even earlier).
At the end of 1939, at the initiative of prof. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche there was a program started to develop a new, heavy (by the then standards) tank weighing 25-30 tons, which was to be armed with the Kw.K gun. 7.5 cm L / 24 or Kw.K. 10.5 cm.
On December 5, 1939, the first calculations of the new design were made by Eng. Karl Rab, and then on December 9, 1939, a sketch of a new tank was prepared, the technical documentation drawing was started, and possible partners selected. At the end of March 1941, the main suppliers of the new car components were selected:
• Krupp – hulls
• Steyr – air-cooled gasoline engines (one of the company’s hallmarks to this day)
• Siemens-Schückert – electrical components (the vehicle was supposed to be a gasoline-electric hybrid)
• Reichswerke-Hermann-Göring A.G. (formerly Škoda) – suspension
Krupp received an order for three hulls, of which only one was made. In early 1941, Krupp proposed the development of a turret with an 8.8 cm Kw.K gun. L / 56.
In addition to the drive and idler wheels, the suspension consisted of six trolleys mounted in the hull on torsion shafts. The trolleys are equipped with doubled road wheels with a diameter of 700 mm. In addition, there were two pairs of supporting rollers, one pair on each side. The rollers and road wheels are equipped with rubber treads. This arrangement was later repeated on the chassis of Porsche tanks and SPGs.
The power was provided by a gasoline-electric unit consisting of two 10-cylinder air-cooled Porsche type 100 engines, the power of which was transmitted to a pair of Siemens generators. Electricity produced by the generators powered a pair of electric motors, one at each of the driving wheels. Interestingly, the system worked quite well, although the simplification of the structure related to the electric drive (drive transmission) resulted in complications of the entire system, which in the front-line conditions must have turned out to be impossible to overcome.
One “soft” steel prototype, one wooden turret model and a test superstructure were manufactured. The prototype was mainly used for research on the hybrid gasoline-electric drive.
The exact date of completion of the prototype is unknown, but probably the tests captured in a dozen or so photos took place around October or November 1941, as indicated by the melting snow and the soggy test site.
At the same time, however, the work was already underway on the even heavier VK 45.01 (P), which was to become the Tiger, and finally became Ferdinand / Elephant. The program VK 30.01 (P) has therefore been canceled.
Later, a crane was mounted on the prototype. In this form, the car served – as it seems from the few photos in this configuration – as a workshop vehicle.
The kit by Hobby Boss represents a designed armed version of the tank, although actually the turret with armament was never installed.
Building the test version of the vehicle required some scratch-building: the superstructure, the face-plate with windows, covers for the air outlets from the engine compartment, additional air ventilation behind the superstructure and round holders for attaching the towing cable.
The mounting of the radio antenna also had to be removed.
Towing cable produced by Eureka XXL (for Ferdinand SPG).
The tracks with separate links turned out to be difficult to assemble, each link required sanding and matching to the neighboring ones, and the level of their detail left a lot to be desired. In addition, they did not fit the drive wheels. So in the end, I used the rubber tracks from the Sturer Emil Trumpeter kit, for which I bought the ones from Friul anyway.
Apart of that, the construction of the model was not difficult and the fit of parts turned out to be very good.
Painting with MR Paint paints mixed “judging by eye”, the weathering made with various pigments, mud, and oils from Ammo MIG, AK, Vallejo. I made subtle chipping with AK graphite. Old school, as they say.
This is how the model of a prototype, test, unarmed and almost practical vehicle was created. Hope you like it.