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  1. German KFZ-70 truck with 7.62cm F.K 39 gun MiniArt 1:35 The Mercedes-Benz L1500 was actually a redesigned version of the pre-war 1500 commercial vehicle. While the 1500 model had a cabin which provided seating for, the A model received a body to allow transport for up to seven and for carrying shovels, ammo and other equipment. A few chassis were completed as lorries. However, most of these chassis were used to make personnel carriers. These vehicles were extremely durable. The Mercedes-Benz types L1500A and L1500 can easily be differentiated from the predecessors by the design of the front section. The chassis frame was visible below the radiator mask on the predecessor model L1500 but the radiator cowl of the L1500S/A reached over the bumper and covered the chassis. L1500A 4x4 and L1500S 4x2 trucks were developed by Mercedes-Benz Company in 1941. The basic type of body was designated Kfz.70 and vehicles were also built by Steyr and Horch with this designation on their own chassis. The vehicle was widely used, frequently as heavy staff cars. Also, different bodies were built on L1500A and L1500S chassis, particularly fire trucks, radio cars and ambulances. The radio cars and ambulances mostly used the 4x2 L1500S chassis. The L1500A was produced from June of 1941 until July 1943, with 4900 being made. It became the vehicle of choice for the German infantry. In bad weather conditions, the body was equipped with foldable top and canvas panels, which could be attached to the doors and sides. They were powered by a 6-cylinder, 3-litre petrol engine giving a top speed of 52 mph. The type contained in the kit is that of the 4-wheel drive version which had an unladen weight of 5269 lbs and a gross weight limit of 8995 lbs. The model is contained within a very attractive, bright and colourful box that MiniArt have made their standard. Inside, there are twenty three sprues in grey styrene, two of clear, three sheets of etch brass and a smallish decal sheet. Once again, MiniArt have included, another kit, in the form of a 76.2mm F.K. 39 gun. The truck itself was actually first released in 2012, but it’s still a great kit even though it is quite complex, especially with the running gear. All the parts are beautifully moulded, with no sign of flash or other imperfections, but quite a few moulding pips that will ensure extra clean-up time will be required. The build starts with the nicely detailed engine with the block, head and sump being glued together followed by the addition of the starter motor, alternator, water pump, auxiliary drive belt, cooling fan, cooling pipes, oil filler pipe. The gearbox is then assembled from three parts and glued to the engine assembly, along with intake manifold. The two chassis rails are fitted with four cross-members, silencer, rear mounted tow hook, and a four piece engine mounting frame. The four leaf springs are then attached via their support hangers. The transfer box is assembled from ten parts and put to one side. The front differentials/axle is made up from twenty one parts, whilst the rear consists of only thirteen. The four piece front bumper and six piece radiator grille are also assembled at this point. The engine, front bumper, radiator grille, axles and transfer box assemblies are then fitted to the chassis, along with the drive shafts and exhaust tubing. The four wheels are each made up from inner and outer hubs, the outers having the tyres moulded on, and an inner ring. Once assembled the wheels are glued onto their respective axles. The engine bay bulkhead is very well detailed with a large number of fixtures and fittings, such as oil can, air filters etc. This goes for the cabin side of the bulkhead too, with steering column, pedals, stowage box. The cabin floor is fitted with a box girder frame on the underside. The two steps are also assembled at this point and fitted with a storage box one side and a fourteen piece jack. The interior is then fitted to the floor, this includes the rear bulkhead and parcel shelf, five piece fuel tank, driver and passenger seats for the front and two bench seats for the rear. More details are added in the form of the gear stick, hand brake, a nie piece heater, four rifles, each of four parts, and the spare wheel. The cabin sides are then attached and four more rifles added. On the underside of the cabin, two large stowage racks are fitted along with two steps. The front mudguards are fitted with lights, reflectors and corner marking poles while the windscreen is also assembled from ten parts. The engine bulkhead is then fitted, as is the two piece dashboard, followed by the windscreen assembly and steering wheel. The doors are all multipart, with separate windows, handles and hinges. The rear window, frame and side panels are then attached to the body, followed by the door assemblies and roof with a rather fragile looking three piece frame. Alternatively, you can build the vehicle with the roof folded down in a single piece attached to the rear of the parcel shelf. The body assembly is then glued to the chassis, along with the radiate grille assembly, pioneer tools, step assemblies, front mudguard assemblies, and additional lights. The bonnet panels are then fitted, and these can be posed open or closed, as can the door assemblies which are also fitted at this point. This completes the build of the truck. The gun is built up next, with the assembly of the two trail arms. Each is made up from two pieces, which are then fitted out with numerous detail parts, such as the trail blades, which consist of eight parts each, gun cleaning rods, grab handles and PE brackets. The trails can be posed in either firing position or towing position. The gun mounting, which includes the axles for the wheels, is made up from thirty parts alone. The trails are then glued to their hinge points on the mounting. Each wheel is made up from four parts, which when assembled are glued to the axles. The gun itself is assembled from nine parts, whilst the slide is made up from fourteen parts. The right and left trunnion mounts are built up from six and thirteen parts respectively, these are fitted to the mounting, with seven further parts that represent the elevation tubes and hand wheel. The gun assembly is fitted between the trunnion mounts and in turn is fitted with a four piece middle splinter shield. The main shield is fitted with a multitude of parts, both inside and out before being fitted to the the gun mounting via two support arms. If the gun is to be posed int eh towing position, then the gun locking arm needs to be fitted across both trails and the towing eye positioned onto the truck hook, with a locking pin that is attached to the truck with a PE chain, which may be best replaced with real chain. In addition, MiniArt have included two ammunition boxes, complete with two types of shell and some empty cases, for use in a diorama with the gun in the firing position. Decals The decal sheet gives the modeller just two options. The decals are beautifully printed, are clear and in good register with a slightly matt finish. The names of the different companies are included, as well as their respective registration plates and insignia. The options:- KFZ-70 of the Wehrmacht from 1943 to 1945 in an overall dunklegelb with a dark khaki roof and window frames. KFZ-70 of the Wehrmacht, based in Ukraine during the winter of 1943 – 1944, in overall German Grey whitewashed with the gun in dunklegelb, which has also been whitewashed. Conclusion I just love these trucks from MiniArt, they are so well produced and can be used in so many situations. This set will look good on its own or as part of a diorama with the inclusion of some of MiniArt’s fine troop sets, either in the transport of firing poses. It is not a kit though for the beginner, or even an intermediate modeller as it is quite complex as mentioned above including plenty of small PE and plastic parts. Review sample courtesy of Creative Models
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