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Mike

Wehrmacht Off-Road Cars (DS3503) 1:35

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Wehrmacht Off-Road Cars (DS3503)

Stoewer Kfz.1, Horch 108 & DB L1500A

1:35 ICM via Hannants Ltd.

 

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War takes place over almost any kind of terrain which is why many military softskins are all-wheel drive with low-ratio gutsy transmission that trade top speed for terrain handling grunt.  During WWII the Nazis had a plethora of such vehicles, some home-brewed while others were taken from their conquests and pressed into service.  Stoewer, Horch and Daimler Benz were German companies that produced such vehicles seeing action in many theatres carrying staff, troops to and from the front lines, as well as arms, ammunition and stores from place to place.

 

 

The Kit

This is another of ICM's reboxings of existing kits in useful groups that would often be seen together, or used on the battlefield in close proximity.  This set includes three personnel vehicles in the one box, and as well as the convenience, there's a decent saving on buying them all separately.  The various kits are all recent releases with excellent detail throughout, but for the ease of description we'll handle them separately.  They arrive in a newly themed box with each kit/set in its own resealable bag and separate instruction booklets and decals for each one.

 

 

le.gl.Einheits - Pkw (Kfz.1) German Personnel Car (35581)

Made mostly by three German companies, this all-wheel drive staff car designed by Stoewer was produced with different bodies during the early war, the most prevalent being the four seat staff car depicted here.  It was however complicated and unreliable, so was eventually replaced by the ubiquitous Kubelwagen.

 

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The bag contains four sprues in grey styrene plus a single clear sprue and decal sheet, not forgetting the instructions with integral painting guide at the rear.  The chassis is first to be built up with dual springs supporting independent suspension and a driveshaft linking the two transfer boxes, plus the steering linkage front and rear.  Fuel tank and stowage are placed to either side of the chassis rails and an exhaust pipe is threaded through to the engine compartment, which is filled with a full rendering of its 4 cylinder 2 litre Stoewer power plant over the front axle.  The floor of the cab is built up and added to the chassis, then the three part styrene wheels with moulded-in tread are fitted to each corner along with the radiator at the front.  The firewall and rear passenger bulkhead are installed next with the former having instruments and transmission tunnel moulded in and pedals attached to the floor.  The cab sides, boot/trunk cover, engine cowling and gear shifter are all put in place before the seats are built up from base, cushion and curved back at the front, with a bench seat at the rear of a similar construction that has just enough room down the sides for two Kar98 rifles to be stowed in shackles.  Two more rifle points are attached to the front bulkhead, bumpers/fenders and doors are all added with steering wheel and windscreen also made up.  The rear light cluster is fitted to racks for additional fuel on the rear quarters with a spare wheel in between them, and the folded canvas roof above.  Front lights, jerry cans and pioneer tools are attached to the fenders, and windscreen wipers are fitted into the depressions on the frame, with wiper-motor boxes moulded into the frame for completeness.  The lights and windscreen all have clear parts so the passengers don't get bugs in their teeth.

 

Markings

There are four theatre specific options included in the box with early war Panzer Grey the colour of choice.  From the bag you can build one of the following:

 

  • WH-102 360 16 Pz.D, Don area, June 1942
  • WH-240 663 11 Pz.D, Ukraine, July 1941
  • WH-307 582 Panzergruppe 1 Kleist, Ukraine, July 1941
  • WL-22662 I./JG51 Stary Bykhov (Belorussia), July 1941

 

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Horch 108 Type 40 (35505)

This is a relatively new tooling from ICM, dating from 2015, with nine sprues in grey styrene, plus a clear sprue, a floppy sprue of black flexible tyres, a small decal sheet and the aforementioned instruction booklet.

 

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The model is built up on its ladder chassis, including the engine, transmission, suspension with nicely moulded springs, plus body supports, brake hoses and exhaust system.  Overall it's a very neatly detailed underside, with the engine being the focal-point.  The hubs are split between inner and outer halves, which facilitates easy painting of the wheels and tyres separately, and installation of the tyres on the hubs without struggle.

 

The coachwork is assembled on the floor plate, which has the rear wheel arches moulded in and stops at the firewall, with spaces for the driver's pedals in the left foot well.  The body sides are added, with moulded-in framework, and the dashboard is fitted between them to stabilise the assembly.  The dash has a decal for the instruments, a handgrip for the co-driver, heater ducting and a lever beneath the steering column, which is added later.  The front inner arches are glued to the underside of the body, and a rear load cover with moulded-in seatback is applied over the rear arches, after which the two rear doors and their handles are installed.  A delicate (in this scale) framework is fitted between the rear seats and the driver's area, with the fifth wheel behind the driver, and two bench seats facing each other in the rear compartment, which also have delicate framework under their cushions.  The front seats are individual, but of similar construction, and have space for the supplied KAR98 rifles between them, with two more pairs fitted in the rear compartment.  The windscreen is of the flip-down type, and has two separate panes added to the frame, with no windows supplied for the sides as it is modelled with the hood down.  The doors can be fitted opened or closed, with their own separate handles inside and out.

 

Once the chassis and body are mated, more of the underpinnings are added, and the radiator with cooling fan are attached along with the louvered bonnet and front bumper irons.  At the rear the hood is constructed from four parts, sitting on top of the load cover in a folded state, as there isn't an option for a raised hood on this variant.  Wing mirrors, pioneer tools, front headlights with clear lenses, and number plates are dotted around to finish off the build.

 

Markings

Four decal options are supplied on the small sheet, with unit, number plate and tyre pressure stencils being about all that is to be seen.  All options are from the Eastern front, with three shown in Panzer Grey, and one in the Sand Yellow scheme used later in the war.  From the box you can build one of the following:

 

  • 8.Pz.Div, Soviet Baltic, 1941 – grey
  • Russia, Summer 1942 – grey
  • Russian, Autumn, 1942 – grey
  • KG 51, Russia, Summer 1943 – Dark Yellow '43

 

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L1500 (Kfs.70) WWII German Personnel Car (35525)

This is the larger of the three vehicles manufactured by Mercedes Benz in a predominantly personnel role, but it was also built as a truck in small quantities.  There are three sprues in grey styrene, plus one of clear parts, and the black and white instruction booklet with decal sheet slipped inside. 

 

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It is a full-detail kit that includes a chassis and engine compartment, together with all the associated underpinnings.  Construction begins with the chassis-rails, leaf-spring suspension and crew-steps attached to the outer edges, joined together by a number of perforated cross-braces plus the front bumper and rear towing bracket.  The drive train and axles are assembled along with the three-part styrene wheels separate from the chassis, but it may be prudent to at least test-fit them to the chassis before the glue sets so that they retain the correct shapes.  The transfer box is at the centre of the assembly with drive-shafts leading to the axles, and it is added to the chassis with the exhaust between them, and at the front a well-detailed engine is installed, built from 16 parts.

 

The body is then begun with the firewall which has the dashboard, driver controls and steering wheel attached along with the two-pane windscreen with clear panels added from behind.  The crew seats are assembled on a raised box and a rear compartment, the boot/trunk if you like, is built up to be incorporated into the body.  The bodywork begins with the tread-plated floor, onto which the rear wheel wells are fitted, then the side body panels with cut-outs for their separate doors, rear panel with moulded-in doors and the already-assembled firewall with windscreen.  Next are the gearstick, seats, spare wheel and frame that helps keep the spare wheel in place and supports the front bench seat, which faces the rear seats so the troops can stare at each other while they travel.  The canvas hood is supplied as a four-part folded assembly and rests over the top of the trunk area, leaving much of it exposed as a kind of "parcel shelf".  The body is joined to the chassis and the engine compartment is cowled in either the opened or closed position along with the distinctive Mercedes 3-pointed star on the grille.  The front mudguards are also installed and are decorated with headlights with clear lenses, convoy light and width indicators plus side mirrors, door handles and a rear-view mirror inside the screen.  Underneath, two stowage areas are added between the front and rear wheels, one boxed in, the other a framework.  Rear number plate and lights finish off the build.

 

Markings

As often is the case with ICM, there are four decal options included in various patterns and colours but as the side profiles are in black and white it's hard to tell without referencing the table on the opposite side of the page.  Looking on the bright side, the constant flipping back and forth will help create a draught to keep you cool.

 

  • Grossdeutchland Division, Ukraine, Summer 1942
  • Grossdeutchland Division, Kharkov, Summer 1942
  • North Africa, Summer 1942
  • Italy, Summer 1944

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The decals are printed on a strange lavender coloured paper, but are otherwise identical in registration, sharpness and colour density to their usual fare, so well up to the task.  There are instrument decals included for the instrument panel, which is always nice.

 

 

Conclusion

If you want some WWII German Personnel cars for your collection/stash or for a diorama or two, then these are just the ticket, with lots of good quality detail and decal options that give the modeller plenty of choice of finishes.

 

Very highly recommended.

 

Available in the UK from Importers, H G Hannants, Ltd.

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Review sample courtesy of

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