by: Russ Amott [ ]
Dragon have released a 1/6 scale version of a WWII German pack radio that can be used with the 1/6 scale figures or as a stand alone kit for radio buffs.
The kit represents the Torn.Fu.d2 field radio. This radio could be used as a wireless telegraph (A1 mode) with a range of 10 km, or as a two way radio (A3, or telephony mode) with a range of 3km. It operated in the 33.8-38mhz range. It could also be used as a field telephone with a land line, usually of 1-2 km in length. Photos of the radio show it in wide use during the first stages of the war, where it was employed in the campaigns in France, Poland and the Soviet Union. For an excellent reference on the radio, visit www.laud.no/ww2/, this guy has a whole collection of WWII German radios, all operational.
The kit itself represents the radio in the A3 (two way radio or telephony) mode and comes in a medium sized box with a Volstead painting of a two man radio crew on the top. Color illustrations of the radio and accessories are shown on the box sides. The instructions are a single page, showing a photo of the completed kit and surrounding photos of detail construction for the sub assemblies. The painting guide shows five colors; Red, Blue, Field Grey, Wood Brown, and Khaki Green, all listed for GSI and Model Master colors.
Inside the box are two sprues in Dragon's familiar gray plastic, consisting of 71 parts, with three of the parts shown not for use. Also included are several small zip baggies with small metal parts to include: four small d rings, 8 small springs, headphone frame, four vinyl backpack straps with metal hooks, one long plastic hose, one short plastic tube and one long woven cord which is shown in the instructions as several small lengths but is actually one piece the modeler will have to cut to length. There is also a small decal sheet from Cartograph.
The plastic is hard but in my experience is prone to tearing so care will have to be used when removing parts from the sprue. There are prominent mold seams on the parts with an obvious molding ‘step’ clearly visible on the larger parts that will have to be dealt with. The instructions indicate not to glue several parts, so careful attention is recommended.
Assembly of the kit is fairly straightforward. Parts for the battery box are marked as "A" parts while those for the radio box are marked "B". Both boxes have identical exterior assembly for attaching the handles and hook attachments. I found the small latches that clip the front covers to the boxes, marked B 22-25 and A 25-28 would not hold in place as the tension clip is too loose. Maybe some gentle heading to close the gap or a small piece of plastic as a cap will help here.
On the radio box, I recommend painting and applying decals before inserting the piece into the box as it will be easier to get the small details. Smallest of the details are the decals. They are very nicely printed but are very small and very close together on the card. You are given a choice of white or black labels for the radio face. It may be a trial of patience and eyesight to get them all in place. The two large dial faces appear somewhat out of proportion towards the center, but on the real radio there was a fisheye type magnifying lens over the dials which creates this effect. The instructions say to paint it Khaki Green (model master is olive drab) but photos of the existing radios don't show this. Use references for best accuracy. I recommend doing the same with the battery box as it is much more difficult to paint the inner box recesses after assembly.
For the attachments, I also recommend removing the nylon core from the woven cord that is used for the antenna, headphone, microphone and battery hookups. The nylon core is stiff and difficult to work with. I placed the springs on the ends by twisting in the direction of the spiral, which kept the cord from unraveling. On the headphones, parts B-32 and 33 are best placed after the cord is glued in place. The power hookup cord is not clearly shown assembled but the two short cords are placed in the end of the long plastic tubing, then run through a small gap in the battery compartment and hooked to the battery box. I left the battery terminal heads out just a bit so the attachment points were easier to access.
The plastic tube used for the junction from the headphones to the plug cord does not look very much like the part shown in the instructions. I don't know if this is a heat to shrink part or if it was cut to make it narrower. There is nothing stated in the instructions so I assembled it as is.
The straps simply hook on the top handles and slip on the side hook clips, and are easy to install or remove. My sample straps had some significant fraying on the sides which had to be trimmed carefully.
There are two things missing from the kit. First, in all photos it shows on the back of the boxes a large, leather covered pad which is not shown in the kit. Second is the telegraph key pad, which is prominent in many of the photos of this radio in use. I would have preferred separate dials for the radio face, but the set itself still looks very nice.
Overall I think this is a nice representation of the Torn.Fu.d2, and will make a very nice addition to any early war German diorama or a nice set for anyone with an interest in radios. The price range varied considerably online, ranging from $11.99 US to a high of $28.00 US (on ebay), so shop around. The kit instructions weren't bad, all the parts fit, but they all had to be cleaned of the mold seam. The missing pads on the boxes is a prominent omission and I would have preferred to have the telegraph option, and more room to work with on the decal sheet. Other than that the kit is fine. I recommend it.