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Tempo A400 Athlet 3-Wheel Delivery Truck (38032) 1:35


Mike

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Tempo A400 Athlet 3-Wheel Delivery Truck (38032)

1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd

 

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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one of the few factories that were permitted to carry on making civilian vehicles, although this permit was eventually withdrawn as the state of the war deteriorated for Germany.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 often 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 genuinely bad idea, even if it was cheaper to produce.  A concept that lingered on in the UK much longer so old folks 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 its legendary front wheel instability.  The driver was situated behind the front wheel and short cowling that hid the motor 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 reboxing of a brand-new tool kit from MiniArt, and gives the modeller some more civilian choices.  This unusual little vehicle arrives in a small top-opening box, and inside are nine 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.  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.

 

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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, 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 below.  The padded bench seat for the crew is slotted into the floor, and the back cushion 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 with the roof perched on top, 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 thick side rails, PE brackets, lights and a PE numberplate frame that is also fixed on brackets before the upstands are made, and adding a pair of mudguards, one on each side.  The flatbed sides can be posed upright, or folded down in the open position, typically for oversized loads or during unloading, hinging on the PE brackets under the floor.  Small clasps are included for the corners, and the peg should be cut off for the closed option.

 

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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 a choice of 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 louvres.  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 A400 wagon, including different sizes of boxes or crates, which you may have seen in other sets from MiniArt at some point.  You can use those at your whim, or load it up with a loose cargo, such as a big pile of sand as seen in one of the profiles below.

 

 

Markings

There are five decal options from the sheet, all painted in bright non-military colours and decorated with the markings of the job it is tasked with, two having the red and white logo of a well-known carbonated drink brand, and although it looks wrong to us English-speakers, ‘Trink’ is German for drink.  From the box you can build one of the following:

 

  • Hanseatic City of Hamburg, 1940s
  • Schleswig-Holstein Province, 1930-40s
  • Unknown, Europe, 1940-50s
  • Unknown, Europe, 1940-50s
  • Deutsche Post, 1950s

 

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

 

 

Conclusion

It’s a well-detailed and finely moulded model of this curious little WWII era civilian delivery wagon, and has a number of interesting schemes included.  Adding something to deliver into the box adds both interest and value to the package.

 

Highly recommended.

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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I do like what Miniart are producing and this postwar civilian truck is no exception.  I have a couple of their vehicles and they are nice, so I shall order Tempo for my postwar Europe themed build.

 

Thenks for the heads up Mike, :thumbsup: another great review; plus the information on the colour choices and decal details is very helpful.

 

cheers,
Mike

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