1⁄1Munster Panzer Museum
As soon as I found out I’d be in Germany for a three-week business trip, I planned a trip to the Panzer museum in Munster. Opportunities like that don’t come up every day, and this was a museum I’ve always wanted to visit, but never thought I would. While perusing their website, I discovered that the museum was hosting a Military Model Expo on 23-24 May. That weekend also happened to be the US Memorial Day weekend, so I would definitely have the time off. What luck!! I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a fantastic museum with many historically important examples, all in very, very good shape. On top of that, the Expo was made up of tables upon tables that were filled with top-notch models. My hotel was in Eschenbach, northeast of Nuremberg, about a 5-hour drive to Munster. The museum was easy to find thanks to Google Maps and guideposts along the route. Right before Exit 44 on the A7 is a big brown sign advertising the museum, along with signs to direct you once inside the city of Munster. I arrived right around noon. I read online that there’s plenty of parking, and on a normal day I imagine that’s true. However, because of the Expo, there were a large number of people visiting the museum and so the lot was full. I joined the locals by parking on the grass along Hans-Kruger Strasse. (We were later rewarded for our “creative parking” with 15-Euro parking tickets.) I found my way to the entrance guided by the Leopard I on a rail car parked by the gate. I checked out the outdoor displays, then went inside. The museum staff were very nice, and I paid the very reasonable 7-Euro entrance fee. The main lobby features a display of uniforms and helmets from WWI through the Cold War, and there are a few suits of armor at the start of the museum tour (a section on the left was blocked off). The Museum starts with WWI, featuring a good looking replica of an A7V and life-size trench diorama, LK-II, Renault FT, and a really cool and really big Daimler armored car. The WW2 stuff is the main attraction, of course. Around the bend, there are a couple of rusted turrets waiting to be restored, a good looking Pz III, Pz 38(t), and an 88mm gun on its limber. I turned a corner, and there’s the magnificent Tiger I. I’m one of the few modelers that doesn’t know a whole lot about WWII German Armor (possibly the only one) but to be in the presence of that famous behemoth was a super Tank-Geek moment. I’ve seen plenty of German stuff in museums before, but it’s always been captured examples displayed as war trophies. It was really interesting to see it displayed in the context of national pride, as a member of the family. From a modeler’s standpoint, I was surprised to see a “Myth of the Tiger” plaque next to the tank. Then there’s a Panzer IV, a Panther, Tiger II, all your favorite half tracks, tank destroyers, SP guns, AT guns, wheeled vehicles, with a Comet, a Sherman and some Soviet stuff thrown in for good measure. Tucked in the corner behind the Panther is an interactive display of the WWII German Panzer divisions, featuring all the unit insignias (the SS Panzer Divisions are intentionally left out).
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