Keepin’ on truckin’

November 16, 2010

I’ve been working on three Opel trucks:  – they are coming along pretty well, too. All are from ESCI or its partners/new owners: -Opel Ambulance by ESCI; -a standard Opel Blitz transport truck by ESCI-ERTL; and lastly – the standard Opel Blitz now done by Italeri.

I’m not going to do the Ambulance as an Ambulance, instead it will be a mobile HQ so I can cammo it up and it can be an objective in it’s own right in games. The other two I’m doing in early War paint schemes, Dark Grey.

ESCI’s Opel Blitzes are pretty simple when compared to Roden’s Opel Blitzes. Hence, I’ve added to these ESCI Blitzes…from out of the spares box I was able to fashion the width indicator poles which I’ve placed on the front mudguards of each truck. I found an excess in the moulding of the Military Wheels’ Gaz-AAs that I made some years back and through scalpel work and lots of glueing, made it into a wing mirror for the Ambulance. Extra sprue, trimmed with my scalpel, became the spotlights that I’ve added to the driver’s side exterior on each truck, mimicking the spotlight Roden provides.

The Roden kit overall is fiddly…that’s the tradeoff for the high detail. I like the ease of assembling these ESCI/Italeri kits, but they need the extra detail to really bring them to life and make them stand out.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Paul from Plastic Warriors: 1/76 & 1/72 Plastic Soldiers and Armour has been very helpful with my white metal truck from EBay. He sent me this link to a US-based group of WWII re-enactors, the 716 Signals Kompanie. As well as great photos, the text explains that: “The Mercedes version of the (pre-war Kfz 72’s) truck used a much smaller front fender, longer running boards and mounted spare wheels on both sides of the hood.” That sounds like my truck…so, perhaps what I have is a white metal 1/76 scale Mercedes Kfz 72 with cargo tray?

That same link also helped me learn about the little triangle of plastic I added over the cab of the two plain Opel Blitzes you see in the first photo (which I did because that little triangle comes as a dedicated part of the Roden kit)…that little triangle “…over the windscreen is a trailer towing indicator.” So, there you go! If it’s raised, the truck is towing something (most likely for me, guns). If it’s lowered, it’s not towing.

Thanks again to Paul, too!

Since I built the previous PST BZ-35 two years ago, all the papers and documents I gathered about them at the time was carefully put away into two different folders. The two folders’ purposes changed a year ago…and so during the Queen’s Birthday Holiday weekend in June this year, I had an “audit” of them. I located all the photographs and such that I needed for the assembly of these current two kits and the two folders have had their purposes clarified and their contents sorted and stored appropriately.

While doing so, I came across a printout I’d made of a cut-away photograph of a Sturmgeschütz III assault gun/tank destroyer. To my knowledge, this was an actual Sturmgeschütz III captured during the second half of World War II by the Allies, and then dissected by Allied engineers to find out more about these vehicles. You can see the cut-away photo here (scroll down 1/3 of the page) – the side armour and wall has been removed and some engineers are positioned inside, in the crew’s positions, so you can see what the crew space is like during operation.

I had some teething troubles getting the wheels, axles and so-on into place and nicely aligned on these two BZ-35s. This was a problem at first but as I was using brass rod for the axles, I could gently bend the axles into different positions so the wheels were aligned as straightly as was possible. I know I grizzled about this PST kit requiring you to supply extra materials but in this instance it has actually been a boon. If plastic axles had’ve been arranged, I’m not so sure I could have rescued these kits from this dilemma – but then the axles and transmissions might have been differently modelled for kit assembly and this problem might never arise in the first place!

When I’ve had time, things have progressed well with these kits. I didn’t keep written notes about colours used for painting when I assembled some Military Wheels 1:72 GAZ-AAs two years ago, so I’m playing safe and painting the interiors of these BZ-35s the same colour as the exterior (Catachan Green) because that seems to be what I did with those GAZ-AAs.