Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited ?39-?45 Series Kit No. 6766; Sd.Kfz.3 Maultier Ambulance - Smart Kit; 716 parts (472 in grey styrene, 197 ?Ma gic Track? single links, 43 clear styrene, 4 etched brass); pre-order pri ce US$58.95 via Dragon USA Online
Advantages: all new kit of this popular conversion; first new kit of a box body for the Opel 3-ton truck; modern, well molded state-of-the-art kit
Disadvantages: single track links nearly HO scale size!
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for German softskin fans
As well as the open body cargo variants of the Opel Blitz 3-ton truck, the Germans also built a large number of closed or ?Box Body? variants for various purposes. The most common of these were long-range radio vans and ambulances. DML has now released a kit that combines an all new box body fo r the ambulance variant with their ?Maultier? half-track conversion of the three tonner.
Back in 1999 Italeri released a kit of the cargo truck as a box body with the ?Einheitskoffer? body variant. Now DML has updated that with this b ody, which should be a drop fit onto the cargo truck chassis (and comes wit h wheel wells to prove it) and will probably be released soon for that vers ion as well. But this variant is for the ambulance, and DML has provided a full interior for that version complete with nine stretchers, racks, and fi ttings.
The interior is complete but as noted rather crowded as once the nine stre tchers are in place there is no room for an attendant or medic to move arou nd. The racks are quite involved, and as a point of fact this kit adds a to tal of 196 new parts to the existing molds to replicate the variant.
As with its predecessor Blitz cargo versions this is a typical DML kit of recent vintage with lots of slide molded parts ? and far fewer of them th an the armored vehicle kits. The kit includes a nicely done radiator shell with open bars and etched brass Opel Blitz badging. It comes with a complet e engine and nicely done hood frame for opening the hood to view the engine . Also the driver?s compartment is complete with all pedals, levers and ?stick-on? instruments for the panel (A16). Doors have inside and outsi de handles and separate clear windows.
This kit receives a totally new chassis and suspension, with the multi-pie ce tires for the front and a fairly intricate rear suspension. The modeler gets both early (six bolt) and late (eight bolt) wheels to choose from as w ell. A new engine block and crankcase are provided for the modified drive line.
Where modelers will probably start to hate this kit is when they go to ins tall the tracks. The links are Panzer I links and very tiny ? about the s ize of that of a medium tank in HO scale (1/87) and very, very petite. Each link is only 6mm x 3mm and there is not much surface for gluing provided, which translates as ACC cements are not a good idea. I would recommend some combination of Tamiya Orange and Green or even Testors Liquid Cement on th em, and you will need to make a jig of some sort for best results. DML real y should think of making DS Plastic tracks for these kits.
Technical support was provided by Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
Two different finishing options are provided for the model: Unidentified U nit, 1943 (sand with green/brown overspray, red crosses, registration plate WH-1618714);Unidentified Unit, 1943 (sand overall, no markings, no registr ation plate given). A small sheet of Cartograf decals is provided.
Overall, this kit expands on DML?s Blitz family and bodes well for other versions to follow. But as before the tracks will frustrate some modelers.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.