ARM/AIR: Review - Academy 1/72 Scale German Cargo Truck

Kit Review: Academy 1/72 Scale Kit No. 13404; 1/72 WWI Ground Vehicle Set 5, German Cargo Truck (Early and Late); 94 parts (81 in tan
styrene, 13 in clear styrene) ; price US $19
Advantages: kit provides both cab options for standard production or "Einheits" standardized production
Disadvantages: still only provides 4 x 2 truck variant; lack of "kit" somewhat disappointing for the price
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: For all German WWII ground AND air "small scalers"
    Building on its German Opel fuel tanker, Academy now adds a 4 x 2 cargo variant to its nice selection of 1/72 WWII Ground Vehicles, primarily designed to complement aircraft models, but which can also be used with 1/72 armor.
    This kit continues with the 3 ton cargo variant of the Opel Blitz, but surprisingly limits it pretty much to rear area use as the truck is the 4 x 2 variant; no parts for a 4 x 4 are included in the kit. The fuel tanker has been replaced by an open cargo body with transverse seats for personnel (two broad ones and one narrow one, so it can carry five rows of seated troops or about 20-25 personnel).
    The same Blitz standard chassis sprue of 39 parts is provided. But as before, the kit provides a nice engine block and transmission with a separate fan and generator assembly, but then as with the GMC provide no way to see it once assembled. The panels on the sides of the hood will have to be cut off before assembly if the modeler wants to provide a "field service" type of vehicle, especially in a North African setting.
    The kit also provides the late war "Einheits" cab for standard military production; this one was used on all three-ton class vehicles regardless of purpose, driveline, or manufacturer to speed up production and also save on steel by using wood for the cab structure itself. Academy has added totally new parts for nearly all of the cab, including new windows and headlights. But again, none of the panels separate, so there is the same glitch with the use of displaying the engine.
    Both cabs comes with all basic details and a full set of offset (e.g. flush exterior when installed) clear windows. With some care the doors may be cut out and repositioned in the open position, but the kit does not give a great deal of provision for that other than the separation line for the door from the body on the inside of the parts. Headlight lenses are also separate clear parts, and to their credit, for the fumble-fingered among us they provide three with the kit. (It also immediately permits the installation of MV Lenses of suitable size without drilling, a benefit in this scale.)
    The same decal sheet from the tanker is provided, e.g. markings are only for Luftwaffe vehicles, alas, so the modeler is on his own to come up with other branches of service markings.
    However, for the money all the modeler gets is a choice of one of two variants of the same vehicle and no "kit" - internal stowage, gas cans, ammo crates, or tool kits - are included with it. This is sort of a shame, as the modeler will have to either purchase separate items or scratchbuild them to get it to have that "lived in" look.
    Overall, the vehicle is well done and appealing, so kudos to Academy.
    Thanks to Bob Lewen of MRC for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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I always welcome your reviews and generally read them even if the vehicle or weapon reviewed isn't one that I'd usually consider buying. After wrestling with the old Esci 1/72 kit of the Opel several years ago, I was interested to find out what you thought of the new Academy kit.
Considering the price of these kits, the lack of stowage and cargo looks a little mean although the provision of two complete alternative cabs is more than most manufacturers have done. I was surprised to see that you were disappointed that there were no additional parts to produce a 4x4 version.
If I understand it correctly, the 4x4 Opel had a shorter wheelbase (3450mm v 3600mm) and this placed the front wheels further back than on the 4x2. As a result, the relative positions of the radiator, bonnet, front mudguards and front wheels were considerably different from those of the 4x2 model. To provide for the 4x4 variant in this kit would require completely new front end sheet metal and probably a new chassis and chassis fittings. In short, you're practically asking for two kits with surprisingly little in common. Even at Academy's prices, that seems a bit too much to ask.
Wouldn't it be nice if their next German lorry, assuming they ever make one, wasn't an Opel at all? A Ford V3000S would be a pleasant change.
Gordon McLaughlin

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I looked up what info I had and even though my German is a bit rusty, what I gather was that they moved the front axle location back 150mm so that the new offset differential would clear the engine bits and jacked it up about the same distance. They were thus able to use as many of the original Blitz 3 to S model parts as possible, but as noted it needed a modified set of fenders (wings) and side panels to the hood (bonnet). It's possible in this scale to make it work but no clue if they will try.
Opel AG built something like 100,000 1 to, 1.5 to, 2 to and 3 to S models (4 x 2) and 25,000 A (allrad, e.g. 4 x 4) models during the war according to the Schiffer book I consulted.
Cookie Sewell .
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