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1/72 Hasegawa Leopold K5(E)

Railway Gun

by Jeff & Evan Brundt

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The K5 was the result of a crash program launched in the 1930s to develop a force of railway guns to support the Wehrmacht by 1939. K5 development began in 1934 with first testing following in 1936. Initial tests were done with a 150 mm barrel under the designation K5M.

Production led to eight guns being in service for the Invasion of France, although problems were encountered with barrel splitting and rectified with changes to the rifling. The guns were then reliable until the end of the war, under the designation K5 Tiefzug 7 mm.

Towards the end of the war, development was done to allow the K5 to fire rocket-assisted projectiles to increase range. Successful implementation was done for firing these from the K5Vz.

A final experiment was to bore out two of the weapons to 310 mm smoothbore to allow firing of the Peenemünder Pfeilgeschosse arrow shells. The two modified weapons were designated K5 Glatt.

Several other proposals were made to modify or create new models of the K5 which never saw production. In particular, there were a number of plans for a model which could leave the railway by use of specially modified Tiger II tank chassis which would support the mounting box in much the same manner as the railway weapon's two bogies. This project was finally ended by the capitulation of Germany.

Anzio Annie

"Anzio Annie" was the name used by the Allies for a pair of German K5(E) railroad guns that shelled the Anzio beachhead during World War II. The Germans named them "Robert" and "Leopold".

The guns were captured on 7 June 1944. Robert was partially destroyed by the gun crew before they surrendered and Leopold was also damaged but not as badly. Both guns were shipped to the U.S. to the Aberdeen Proving Ground where they underwent tests. One complete K5 was made from the two damaged ones, and "Leopold" remains on display to this day.

Specifications

    * Calibre: 283 mm (11 in)
    * Dimensions:
          o Barrel length: 76.1 calibres; 21.539 m (848 in)
          o Carriage length: 30 m (travel mode); 32 m (firing mode)
    * Weights:
          o Action weight: 218 t
          o Barrel weight: 85 t
    * Elevation: +50°
    * Muzzle velocity: 1120 m/s (3675 ft/s)
    * Range: 61 km (38 mi)
    * Rate of fire: 1 round per 3-5 min.
    * Barrel life: 540 rounds

The Hasegawa kit of the Leopold ha been around for many years. My son saw one at the local VLS Warehouse open house and had to have it. We worked on it together for about two weeks. The kit really does assemble quickly and since the over all color is panzer grey you don't spend a lot of time painting.

The model was painted with Tamiya XF-66 (which is a bead ringer for panzer grey or gunship grey). I applied a wash with black enamel and burt seinna to show rust stains that usally are found on armour like this. There was no need for mud since the gun was always on the rails and would never get a chance to get dirty like that. The base was probably the most complex part to paint. The rails were done first by airbrush with MM steel. The ballast was painted with Tamiya buff and the ties were done with Tamiya dark brown. A wash was then given to grime and rust the road bed and rails.

Evan is quite proud of his Leopold. I recently picked up the 1/35 Trumpeter K5 and that model will be H U G E  when complated. However, for that one we're going to do it in the multi-colored desert scheme favored in southern Europe and the Eastern Front.
Jeff & Evan 

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Photos and text © by Jeff & Evan Brundt

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