What-If Bundeswehr Heavy Tank M103 & Recce Tank RU 251 c.1966

I’ve started this as progress on the M103 meant that the one on the singleton RU 251 thread wasn’t really appropriate.

To recap: the plan is to depict both the M103 heavy Tank and the prototype recce tank, RU 251, together as a What-If project ie, depicted as in service making their debut on an exercise in the mid-60s. This is how I envisage it going down; the recce vehicle has stopped to brief the heavy tank commander of the situation ahead. So, all a bit figure intensive, which usually slows me down a fair bit. Also, I’ve been making stowage for the tanks in the form of rucksacks and Zeltbahn-covered packs.

A reminder of the aim:

The aforementioned rucksacks:

And the heavy tank – which I’ve christened M103A2G – coming to fruition (this is the Takom M103A2 kit)

As mentioned within the RU 251 piece, it’s been Germanized with smoke dischargers, and a searchlight box; I also added a Leitkreuz - not shown in these pics. Even in 1:35 scale, you can see that this is a lot of tank; the mass of the turret and the long gun barrel really give this model presence I feel.

Note that the kit instructions dictate that the metal barrel (Takom supply one) cannot be used with the mantlet cover, only the plastic version. I’d already identified an Aber barrel in any case but wanted to use it with the mantlet cover, so I simply drilled the cover out, fitted the barrel, then made a Milliput cover for where the barrel enters the cover. To effect the concertina-like “discs” for want of a better word, I wrapped thin lead wire around it to gain a comparable effect. It’s a bit of an optical illusion, but works, well, for me(!)

The stowage in position for a test fit; I should have positioned some when the Milliput was still flexible as they don’t hug the turret sides especially well; however, I’m not sure I can re-visit all that work, so they may have to do. I don’t think they’ll look too out of place, but I must add more straps as some would be visible even when lashed to the securing loops.

The item on the LH side of the searchlight container is what I’ve designed as a searchlight mounting plate adapter; I thought that something would be needed to enable the German-type searchlight to be fitted to the US mount, and came up with this idea. I’m probably overthinking this!

Another view of the stowage; I envisage that the bundle lashed to the turret rails would be rucksacks wrapped in a Zeltbahn, perhaps by the more experienced crew members; we all know that nothing the Army - any Army issues - is ever 100% waterproof, certainly not rucksacks.

And lastly a figure Blu-tak’d together to test the concept. I am building/converting figures as I go; this is actually hurtling along by my (abysmal) standards. I’ll try and maintain both volition and velocity(!)


Looking good mate … its a bit of beast of a turret …

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Thanks John; I suppose it had to be as there were 2 x Loaders in it (in addition to the Comd and Gunner).

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Just saw one last weekend in Washington State.
How did you like the takom kit?


It’s a fairly complex build Dan and warrants close attention to the instructions. Fit was outstanding. It’s only the second Takom kit I’ve built and I was very impressed. I’ve still a way to go as I knew I’d probably damage some of the finer details and components, so have to re-visit them. I baulked at the kit track and used an AFV Club one. There appear to be around 6 components per track link and I just couldn’t face that times 80-odd per side, but then, I am a bit of a lazy modeller sometimes.

I have the A1 version in the stash and am looking forward to that in due course.

It is a beast and will, I’m sure, have considerable presence on the display tables.


I like this.


Before I completed the build of the M103 I realised that I needed to install the Driver, only then could I add those missing, fine details such as headlights and the like.

The Dolp figures I received were a bit of a mixed bag; some were a bit over scale and being in white metal needed a bit of surgery not least to install a Hornet Head or two. I will certainly use most but in this case reverted to my favourite base figures for tank crews (almost of any nation), the Dragon Kursk LAH set.

Whilst the fact that they’re sculpted wearing coveralls is very useful, there’s still a fair bit of work needed to replicate a Bundeswehr Kombi of the 60s. This is where I’m at:

And that’s without the headdress, throat mike and headset and associated wiring. I do feel sometimes that I suffer for my art(!)

I’ll need around 7 figures in all.