The acronym RSO stands for Raupenschlepper Ost, which translates as ‘Caterpillar Tractor East’. The terrible muddy and icy conditions experienced on the Eastern Front convinced Germany it needed a highly mobile, tracked vehicle. Steyr proposed the RSO and it immediately became popular thanks to its mobility and reliability. In all, about 23,000 RSOs were produced by a range of manufacturers. The original version had a pressed-steel cab and truck-style cargo bed. Later it was decided to convert some into an anti-tank role by mounting the 75mm PaK 40/4 gun on the rear and by lightly armoring the driver’s compartment. Thus the variant portrayed in Dragon’s newest release was born.
Dragon’s new 1/35 scale model depicts a 7.5cm PaK 40/4 auf RSO vehicle. What differentiates it from an earlier release is the inclusion of a special canvas cover to protect the fighting compartment. Given the harsh winter conditions the vehicle was expected to operate in, this canvas cover was much welcomed by crews. Of course, the canvas also helped disguise the true potent nature of the vehicle’s weapon system. The tarpaulin is made of DS, the perfect medium to capture the cover’s wrinkles and texture. Other brand new parts on the kit are the seats and PaK pedestal/mount. For those wishing to create an Eastern Front diorama scene, this RSO and its secretive firepower will be irresistible!