Precision Models 1/35 R.R.H. Horchgerat & Protze
Invention is the product of necessity. The German Luftwaffe and Wehrmacht of World War II had employed an impressive array of air defenses to protect their vital industries from aerial bombardment. These air defenses used a combination of fighter interceptors and flak batteries of varying calibers in definitive zones of responsibility. The systems that supported these air defenses included the use of radar to detect formations, spotlights to help track and aim the night fighters/AAA batteries against night intruders, etc. In this evaolving game of point, counterpoint, it didnít take the allies long to figure out how to employ strips of tin foil, released in chaff clouds, to deny the Germans use of their radar systems.
To help solve the early detection problems associated with air defenses, the Germans devloped some ingenious listening devices, which were sensitive enough to detect the sounds of approaching aircraft at an impressive range, and provide azimuth and elevation angles to the source of the sound. When several of these systems were linked together into a command center, the sounds could be correlated into a rough range and altitude of the formation, and based on the rates of angular change of the sounds from each site, the direction could also be determined.
Resembling a large spotlight, the R.R.H. Horchgerat & Protze uses an array of four 'ear' to localize and center on the source of a sound. From the looks of the thing, it could likely hear a mouse fart at 1000 meters!
While the allies could jam radar, camouflage their aircraft against spotlights, etc., they couldn't mask their sounds. This system provided enoughwarning to allow the AAA gunners to pre-set the altitlude fuzes for their shells and start their anti-aircraft fire with more precision while their radars were being jammed.
Thanks to the internet and worldwide communications, we've discovered a new name in detailed armor products: Precision Models out of Belgium. Okay, some of you serious armor builders may already be aware of Precision, but I was pleasantly impressed with the lineup of kits and detail sets for a variety of the more esoteric subjects. One of those subjects is the subject of this review, the R.R.H. Horchgerat & Protze.
Comprising over 142 unique parts, many of which are duplicated several times to support the various subassemblies, this kit is definitely not a weekend project! As you can see in the accompanying scans, the detail and casting quality is superb. I could not see a single air bubble in any of the castings!
The kit includes the sound unit (which really does look like a large spotlight), three crew positions, two wheeled carriages to transport the unit, and even a cable reel to tap into the phone and power systems. While the detailing of the four feedhorns (or ears) is rather impressive, the crew stations are even more fascinating. Each station includes resin seats, footrests, control wheels and earphones.
As I said, this is not a weekend kit, but if you are comfortable working with resin and cyano, this kit looks terrific. If you enjoy building flak emplacement dioramas, this unit will provide you will a very unusual and very important piece of the German air defense system. I'd easily recommend this kit to advanced builders and those intermediate builders who are comfortable with resin and would like a change of pace.
My sincere thanks to Precision Models for this review sample!