German Railway Gun
Anzio Annie
Kit Used: DML 1/35

Review & model by:
Chris Nichols
Pictures: R. Forys

May 2004
Model of the Month

[The DML 1/35 scale railway gun]

The Kit:  For modelers like myself, those who like to build the really big stuff, these are the best of times.   Not one but two K5(E) railway guns to choose from.   My pick was the simpler of the two, the DML kit.   Modelers familiar with DML kits know that they have their faults and the big gun is no exception.

[The kit is not issue free.]

I have always wondered if anyone at the company ever proofreads the instruction sheet.   These instructions contained errors that although minor, complicated things, and could have been easily corrected.   These included, parts F-43 & 44 shown incorrectly assembled, part D-20 shown glued in the down position (doing so will limit gun barrel elevation), and part E-3 being miss-labeled as part E-5.   These minor mistakes added to the frustration level needlessly and should have been caught in pre-production.   I have heard that DML rushed this kit to market to beat the Trumpeter kit, so that may explain things.

[Some effort was required to get all wheels level.] [Wheel detail]

Aside from those issues, the only other problem that the kit gave me was found in Step 1.   The front truck frame in my kit was both warped and bowed.   To fix this, I clamped the frame to a flat plate with 4" C-Clamps and built it up by welding the side frames on with Ambriod Pro-Weld cement and a Touch-n-Flow applicator.   Once fully cured, the front truck sat with all wheels on the rail.

[It was painted with Model Master paints.] [It was weathered with pastels.]
[Archer Fine Transfers were used.] [The model was washed with drafting pen & ink]

I finished the kit by priming it black and then painting it with Model Master paints.   It was also my good fortune to discover that Archer Fine Transfers make a dry transfer set for this kit, as my luck with water-slide decals has been real lousy of late.   The model was washed with drafting pen & ink, and then weathered with pastels.

[The huge 28cm gun fired 550 lb. shells up to 60 kilometers]

The Gun:  "Anzio Annie" was the name of the German railroad gun that was used against the American troops during the amphibious landings at Anzio, Italy during World War II.   The huge 28cm gun fired 550 lb. shells up to 60 kilometers, and our troops never did destroy, or in any way cripple Annie.   The German artillerymen put Anzio Annie out of commission.   Today, it can be seen at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds Museum, Aberdeen MD.

[Anzio Annie can be seen at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds Museum, Aberdeen MD.]

I was a forward artilleryman with the infantry of the 141st regiment of the Texas 36th Inf. Div. when we were pulled out of our area of combat to the beachhead of Anzio, which had been in a stalemate since January.   Our division arrived during May and soon after, I was pulled out of the foxhole and was put in the seat of an L4 (Grasshopper, Piper Cub).   My mission was to fly low and destroy enemy material and forces.   Which I did, however I never sighted Anzio Annie.   I directed artillery fire on anything that resembled tunnels with exposed RR tracks.   I recognized as long as I was in the air, Anzio Annie stayed in its hiding place.   It is interesting to note that Annie's days were over as our troops advanced through Anzio, took the next stronghold, Velletri, and on to Rome.   Not long after our swift passage through Rome, I was returned to the infantryman's foxhole.

E. Sheldon, 1st Lt.
May, 1944

I built this kit as a salute to my wife's uncle who fought against "Annie" in World War II.   At the SEMMEX04 Spring Invitational, they offered a theme award for a kit that depicted a historic thing or event that the modeler, or someone they knew, witnessed or attended.   I'm very happy to say that this kit was the winner.   My thanks to Major Ernest "Rusty" Sheldon & wife Ruth, for all he did then, and for making me a part of the family today.

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  After The Battle,    #52 & #78
  Fine Scale Modeler,   January 2004
  Tamiya Model Magazine,   #105