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HyperScale Resource Guide No. 3

Raupenschlepper Ost

Steyr RSO/01 Tractor
and RSO/02, 7.5cm PaK 40/1 auf Sf RSO and RSO/03 Magirus

by Peter Hartup
additional text by Brett Green

rso01ph_1.jpg (60299 bytes)

Steyr RSO/01 Tractor
Auto und Techik Museum, Sinsheim, Germany


C o n t e n t s


    Modelling the RSO in 1/35 Scale

    RSO/01 and /02 Reference Photographs
                RSO/01 Photographs (10 Thumbnailed Images)
                RSO/02 Photographs (15 Thumbnailed Images)

B a c k g r o u n d

Raupenschlepper Ost
, literally "Crawling Tractor - East", is more commonly abbreviated to RSO. This fully tracked, lightweight vehicle was conceived in response to the poor performance of wheeled or half-tracked vehicles in the mud and snow during the Wehrmacht's first winter on the Eastern Front.

The RSO eventually served in a wide variety of roles. The original version had a pressed steel cab with a truck-like configuration. This was used for general transport duties. A drop-sided wooden-cab tractor designated the RSO/03 was also produced.

Germany's desperation for mobile artillery led to the RSO being fitted with a 7.5cm PaK 40/1 anti-tank gun. The result was a lightweight, mobile but highly exposed anti-tank weapon. The RSO/PaK 40 combination was manufactured during 1943/44 and was primarily used to support anti-tank infantry units on the Eastern Front. A total of eighty-three were built.

M o d e l l i n g   t h e   R S O   i n   1 / 3 5   S c a l e

rsoph_5.jpg (29478 bytes)The modeller is in a pretty good position to depict an RSO in 1/35 scale today.

The original RSO model in 1/35 was from Peerless/Max. This offered a Nebelwerfer and crew in addition to the basic vehicle. This RSO was a great kit for its day (over twenty years old now) and the only item that really let it down was its tracks.

Fortunately, Italeri bought the Peerless Max moulds, so the company's products lived on after the name of the company had died.

The basic steel-cab version from Italeri is stock number 227. It is listed in their current catalogue and widely available.

rsoph_6.jpg (27685 bytes)Next, Italeri released the RSO/02 self-propelled PaK 40. The kit maximises existing Italeri moulds, as it uses parts from their old PaK 40 kit with a modified cab/chassis. Apart from peculiar treadplate pattern and a general simplification of details, this is a great little kit. Stock number is 355, and it is also widely available.

Recently Italeri added the RSO/03 "Einheits" wooden-cabbed tractor to the range. This kit also includes the old PaK 40 - this time being towed! Cookie Sewell has reviewed this new kit in detail on HyperScale. This kit should be hitting the hobby shop shelves any time now.

A range of accessories are available for the compulsive detailer. The biggest problem with this family of kits are the vinyl tracks. The modeller has the choice of Model Kasten's workable tracks (stock number MDKSK-33 at around 2500); or for the longer pockets, Friulmodellismo's metal working tracks (FALT-29 at around US$40). Both track choices are suitable for any of the three RSO versions.

Eduard's brass-etched detail set offers a wealth of detail to add to the RSO/01 steel cab version, although many of the parts will be applicable to the "einheits" /03 version too. An acetate instrument panel is included. The stock number is 35 112, and the cost should be around US$12-$15.

(RSO/03 image courtesy of Rob Plas)




R S O / 0 1   a n d   R S O / 0 2  R e f e r e n c e   P h o t o g r a p h s


Detail Photographs of the RSO/01 (10 Thumbnailed Images)

These two RSO/01 vehicles are on display at the Auto und Techik Museum at Sinsheim in Germany.  As can be seen, both vehicles are in immaculate condition, and appear to be runners.

Click on the thumbnails below to see the full sized image. To return to this page click the "Return" arrow on your browser.

rso01ph_7.jpg (48745 bytes)                              


In addition to Peter's images above, Rob Plas has supplied a couple of general views of two RSO/01s



Detail Photographs of the RSO/02 (15 Thumbnailed Images)

Peter took the following photographs at the WTS Koblenz collection in Germany.

Peter tells us that this is a marvellous collection, open to the public but part of the German Army. Koblenz houses working examples of just about everything the Wehrmacht ever used or tested, and is aimed at training service personnel in tecnical matters.  The small arms collection has to be see to be believed.  There are separate collections of tank gun sights, comms equipment and some artillery on display.  The armour on display includes the RSO, Wespe, Panzerjager I (with the 4.7cm Czech anti-tank piece), Panzer IV, and a slew of modern vehicles such as MBT70 and a few experimental vehicles.   Although the armour is on display is not as extensive as the Panzermuseum in Munster, what is there is immaculate and in working order - it has to be in order to fulfil its educational role for the Army!

Click on the thumbnails below to see the full sized image. To return to this page click the "Return" arrow on your browser.

rsoph_1.jpg (41998 bytes)Note the thin, welded plates making up the front of the low-profile cab; the driver's control columns indicating the crews' exposed position; and the drop down, wooden sides. Note also some of the smaller details - the door hinges, the footstep and the front towing hook.

rsoph_2.jpg (40854 bytes)This image from the front three-quarter shows detail of the track, chassis side and wheels.


rsoph_3.jpg (41166 bytes)This valuable shot of the lower-front of the RSO, illustrates the subtle pattern of the brake housing, and shows the location of the hydraulic lines. Also note the spoked idler wheel, and the inner surfaces of the pressed steel wheels.


rsoph_4.jpg (44538 bytes)Here is a detailed view of the rear towing bar, attachment point, chain and split pin. The muffler and exhaust are also of interest.


More shots below of the driver's position, engine, the Pak 40 gun and its mount. Click to enlarge.

        rsoph_8.jpg (30756 bytes)        rsoph_9.jpg (59313 bytes)        rsoph_10.jpg (28497 bytes)        rsoph_11.jpg (30664 bytes)   

rsoph_12.jpg (38239 bytes)        rsoph_13.jpg (40040 bytes)        rsoph_14.jpg (42983 bytes)        rsoph_15.jpg (34664 bytes)        rsoph_16.jpg (47475 bytes)   

    rsoph_17.jpg (35589 bytes)         rsoph_18.jpg (26333 bytes)                



Photographs Copyright 1998 by Peter Hartup
Text Copyright 1998 by Brett Green
Also visit Track-Link for the best in armour modelling
Page Created 25 July, 1998
Last updated 09 May, 2002

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