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Tempo E400 Hochlader Pritche 3-Wheel Truck (38025) 1:35


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Tempo E400 Hochlader Pritche 3-Wheel Truck (38025)

1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd




The A400 Lieferwagen was another of Hitler’s standard vehicles that is perhaps lesser known than the Beetle.  It was originally designed as the E400 and produced by company Tempowerk Vidal & Sohn from 1938, and was joined by an identical Standard E-1 that was manufactured in another factory.  It was one of the few factories that were permitted to carry on making civilian vehicles, although this permit was eventually withdrawn as the state of the war deteriorated for Germany.  After WWII ended, the company began making the type under the original E400 name, and it had a different BMWesque twin panelled front grille.  It continued in production until 1948 when it must have dawned on someone that one wheel at the front was a really bad idea, even if it was cheaper.  A concept that lingered on in the UK much longer so old geezers with motorcycle licenses could scare other road users effectively, and by carrying a football in the boot, they could emulate a giant whistle.  It’s an old joke, but it checks out.


Unsurprisingly to anyone that watched that episode of Top Gear, the wagon was a little unstable in the corners due to its single front wheel, and the weight of its front-mounted engine probably made matters worse, with a chain drive from the motor to the wheel.  The two-stroke 400cc engine in the A and E output 12 hp that gave it sluggish performance at best, which was probably just as well due to that front wheel instability.  The driver was situated behind the front wheel and short cowling that hid the engine away, with a pair of side doors for entry and exit, and a single-panel windscreen that overlooked the bonnet/hood.  The open load area was to the rear of the vehicle, with drop-down sides and rear tailgate for easy access to the contents.



The Kit

This is a brand-new tool kit from MiniArt, and was released at the same time as the more militaristic A400, to give the modeller some choice.  This unusual little vehicle arrives in a small top-opening box, and inside are six sprues of varying sizes in grey styrene, a sprue of clear parts, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE) in a card envelope, a small decal sheet and the instruction booklet on glossy paper with colour profiles on the front and rear pages.  It’s a full-body model even though that body is small, so you’ll get to build all the internal parts and during the process possibly learn a little about how it works – I did.  Detail is as good as we’ve come to expect from MiniArt, with a lot of it and what there is well-finessed.  Well considered use of slide-moulding also improves the detail without increasing the part count, and makes parts like the forward cowling a feast for the eyes.












Construction begins with the small cab floor, which has a planked texture engraved on its surface, and is fitted out with foot pedals, a hand-brake lever and narrow cylindrical chassis rail, plus a battery attached to the floor on the left.  The front bulkhead has a clear rounded windscreen popped in, a short steering column and a droopy lever, with the windscreen wiper motor cover added to the top of the screen frame, this time leaving the two bunny-ear indicators intact because they are suitable for this version.  The windscreen assembly is attached to the front of the floor with a pot for the washers and the conversion stub of the steering column, with a pair of PE wiper blades added in a boxed diagram later.  The padded bench seat for the crew is slotted into the floor, and the back is attached to the rear bulkhead that has two side parts and a small clear window for later joining to the floor, and you’ll need to find some 0.3mm wire 24.6mm long to represent the linkage to the floor-mounted brake lever and the back of the cockpit.  The steering wheel and rear bulkhead are glued in, then the two crew doors a made up, having clear side windows plus winders and handles that are quite delicate for realism, then they are installed on the cab, remembering that they hinge rearward in the manner sometimes referred to as suicide doors.



The rear chassis is built around a cylindrical centreline part with the back axle and its triangular bearers slipping over it and having hubs with brake discs added at each end.  A sturdy V-shaped brace is added between the ends of the axle and the other end of the cylindrical chassis rail, with a large joint between them.  The rear wheels are made from a main part that includes the tyres and back of the hub, with a choice of two inserts slipped inside to represent two different hub cap styles, that are then fitted onto the axles on short pegs, with a brake-line made from some more of your own 0.3mm wire and suspended from the frame on PE brackets that are folded over the wire and are closed up then glued to the frame with an etched-in rivet giving the impression that it is attached firmly to the chassis.  The load bed is a single part with more planking engraved into both surfaces, adding side rails, lights and a PE numberplate frame fixed on brackets before the upstands are made.  The flatbed sides are able to be posed upright, or folded down in the open position, typically for oversized loads or during unloading.  Small clasps are included for the corners, and the peg should be cut off for the closed option.




The little engine is one of the last assemblies, and is superbly detailed with a lot of parts representing the diminutive 400cc two-stroke motor and its ancillaries, including radiator, fuel tank, exhaust with silencer and chain-drive cover that leads to the front axle.  The completed assembly comprises the motor, axle and the fork that attaches to the front of the cab and is wired in using three more lengths of 0.3mm wire from your own stocks, which the instructions advise you makes you an “experienced modeller”.  An easy way to earn that badge!  After the rear axle and chassis tube have been fitted under the load bed and mated with the cab, the slide-moulded cowling for the engine is fitted-out with two fine PE radiator meshes, an internal deflector panel, PE numberplate for some decal options, a pair of PE clasps on the lower rear edge of the bonnet, and a tiny hook on the top in between two rows of louvers.  The cowling can be fixed in the closed position or depicted open, when the little hook latches onto a clip on the roof’s drip-rail, holding it up past vertical against the windscreen.  A couple of headlamps with clear lenses are fitted on the sides of the cowling and a pair of wing mirrors on an angled arm are glued to holes in the front of the bulkhead on each side, with a PE bracket giving the appearance of that the etched rivets are what holds it in place.


MiniArt have considerately included a whole sprue of parts for you to add to the load bed of your newly-minted E400 wagen, including ladders, fencing, posts, parts of a bench and table, so use those at your whim, or load it up with a loose cargo, such as a big pile of sand as seen in the profiles below.




There are four decal options from the sheet, all painted in a solid colour and decorated with the markings of the job it is tasked with, one having been overpainted due to a change of ownership of the vehicle perhaps?  From the box you can build one of the following:


  • Hansestadt Hamburg, 1940s
  • Berlin 1940s
  • Nürnberg, 1940s
  • British Occupation Zone, Hamburg, late 1940s






Decals are by DecoGraph, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas.




It’s weird, so of course like it, but MiniArt have also done a great job with making an easy to build, well-detailed kit of this quirky little German grandfather to the Robin Reliant.  I guarantee there will be more of these coming soon.


Highly recommended.




Review sample courtesy of


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