MiniArt L1500A Kfz.70 German Personnel Car Feb 13, 2013 9:53:05 GMT -5
Post by mshackleton on Feb 13, 2013 9:53:05 GMT -5
Rating 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Mike Shackleton
The Mercedes-Benz L1500 was actually a redesigned version of the pre-war 1500 commercial vehicle. While the 1500 model had a cabin which provided seating for, the A model received a body to allow transport for up to seven and for carrying shovels, ammo and other equipment.
A few chassis were completed as lorries. However, most of these chassis were used to make personnel carriers. These vehicles were extremely durable. The Mercedes-Benz types L1500A and L1500 Scan easily be differentiated from the predecessors by the design of the front section. The chassis frame was visible below the radiator mask on the predecessor model L1500 but the radiator cowl of the L1500S/A reached over the bumper and covered the chassis.
L1500A 4x4 and L1500S 4x2 trucks were developed by Mercedes-Benz Company in 1941. The basic type of body was designated Kfz.70 and vehicles were also built by Steyr and Horch with this designation on their own chassis. The vehicle was widely used, frequently as heavy staff cars. Also, different bodies were built on L1500A and L1500S chassis, particularly fire trucks, radio cars and ambulances. The radio cars and ambulances mostly used the 4x2 L1500S chassis. The L1500A was produced from June of 1941 until July 1943, with 4900 being made.
It became the vehicle of choice for the German infantry. In bad weather conditions, the body was equipped with foldable top and canvas panels, which could be attached to the doors and sides.
They were powered by a 6-cylinder, 3-litre petrol engine giving a top speed of 52 mph. The type we are looking at here was 4-wheel drive and had an unladen weight of 5269 lbs and a gross weight limit of 8995 lbs.
Upon opening the stout cardboard box you are presented with a single cellophane bag containing eight sprues and a separate part for the optional folded hood. Also enclosed is one small bag containing two sprues of clear parts for the windows and lights, two small photo-etch frets and the decals. There are no crew figures included. The contents are:
1. Sprue "Ab". (x2) Front suspension components.
2. Sprue "Ac". (x2) Wheels, rear suspension components.
3. Sprue "Ad". (x2) 2 rifles.
4. Sprue "Ae". (x2) Front mudguard, front seat, various small fittings.
5. Sprue "B". Radiator cowl (optional parts for two build methods), engine components, exhaust system, brake drums and further suspension components, front bumper, chassis cross members.
6. Sprue "C". Folded hood.
7. Sprue "Da". (x2) Clear parts for lights and windows.
8. Sprue "Dc". Transmission parts.
9. Sprue "Df". Doors, side screen frames jerrycan and other stowage.
10. Sprue "E". Main body components.
11. Sprue "F". Chassis rails, hood parts, rear seats, windscreen frame, hood rails.
12. Sprue "PEa". Radiator grille, Mercedes badge, mud shields for the front bumper, front number plate and various small fittings.
13. Sprue "PEb". Various small fittings including rear number plate and jerrycan weld seam.
The 12-page A4 instruction sheet has a 4-colour cover with clear black and white line drawings showing the construction stages. There are 72 stages in the build process and I can't imagine many problems being encountered. The build process is quite logical.
Basically, the main building options are with the doors and/or bonnet either open or closed, hood up or hood down, with or without side screens. Another is that the boot doors can be left open if desired and there is a small lid in the top of the boot compartment that can also be left open.
A detail option is that the radiator grille can be built either from a single plastic moulding or a separate cowl with photo etch grille and badge.
Four different colour schemes are suggested.
The overall quality of the parts is very good with very crisp moulding and very fine detail. There is some minor flash on some parts, but nothing to worry about. The walls of the mudguards are chamfered to appear commendably thin. There is no sign of warping or sink marks but there are a few injector marks that will need to be dealt with notably on the underside of the floorpan. Slide moulding has been used on a handful of parts. The etch frets provide a very nice radiator grille and that famous three-pronged badge and various other pieces for that extra bit of finesse.
As with any soft-skin vehicle model, you will need to think about how to paint this model as many parts will be inaccessible once everything is in place.
Construction starts with the engine and gearbox which are detailed in stages 1 to 3. The detail on the engine parts is very good and all that is really need on the completed engine - assuming that you are going to build the model with the bonnet open - would be to add some leads or pipes. Check your references.
Stages 5 to 7 details the construction of the chassis which is built from two long side rails and numerous different cross members. Work on a flat surface and make sure you get the cross-members at right angles, otherwise you could be in trouble later on fitting the body to the chassis. The exhaust silencer is added here and the rear tow hook is built (but not added until the next stage).
Next comes the suspension and some additional chassis details in stages 8 through to 14. Each leaf spring needs to have two small mounts added to the chassis, each one made from two parts, some of them slightly different, so don't get them mixed up. The transfer case is nicely detailed with three separate universal joints. Four brake hubs are each made up from seven parts (front) and three parts (rear) each before being added to the transaxles. There is no adjustment on the front to 'steer' the front wheels, but it shouldn't be too hard with some careful adaptation and filing.
The front bumper (with etch number plate) and radiator cowl is built is the next stage. The cowl is given in two forms depending on how brave you are. The plastic rendition is very nice with a finely moulded grille net. All that is needed is to top it off with a radiator cap and an etch three-pointed star. For the more adventurous, an open cowl is supplied to which a beautiful etch grille is added. On top of this you have to carefully glue the Mercedes badge and a small ring around the starter handle hole. Top off with the same radiator cap and the etch three-pointed star, and you have a more realistic rendition.
Stages 18 through 22 sees the completion of the bottom of the truck with the engine, the radiator itself (not the cowl yet) and the front bumper added to the chassis, followed by the transfer unit, drive shafts and both transaxles, The wheels are moulded with the tyres. An insert is added to the rear and then a photo etch ring with rivets goes inside the rear of the wheel. The tyres have tiny 'Fulda' and '7.50 x 20' markings moulded on front and back.
Next, the vehicle jack is incredibly well detailed and built from six plastic and eight etch parts which include the mounting straps. This is mounted onto one of the vehicles steps whilst a tool box is added to the opposite side. That takes care of stages 23 to 27. In 28 and 29 the engine bulkhead is built up. The front of the bulkhead (which is surprisingly small for such a chunky vehicle) has items like an oil can, horn, air filter (I think), and a cross linkage for something or other. The occupied side of the bulkhead has a stowage box added along with the steering column and separate foot controls (not the usual moulded-on blobs). The passenger floor has a separate sub-frame added underneath in stage 30 and a single jerrycan is built in stage 31 from separate halves sandwiching an etch weld before adding the handle and cap. The floor has a nicely rendered regular tread pattern and rifle but holders moulded in. The untidiest problem with this kit are the 14! ejector nubs which have to be removed from the underside of the floor.
Furniture is now added to the interior in stages 32 to 36. The first thing to build is the boot. This has a separate narrow compartment across the front with an opening in the top. I don't know the purpose of this compartment. The top can be modelled closed, but if you want it open the lid has some very small parts on the underside - plastic latches and etch opener supports. The fuel tank is built from seven parts which sits under the front seats. The seats themselves are next. There are two bench seats in the back. These both have a separate frame, feet and full-width cushions. The one at the back doesn't have its back fitted until later - though it could be done now. The rearward facing back seat has a slatted frame onto which a cushion is added. Two individual front seats are built from five parts each, again with nice slatted back frames. All of the seat cushions have a wrinkled appearance which I’m not too sure about. As mentioned above, these perch on top of the fuel tank with the jerrycan in between them.
Stage 37 has a strange device that sits just in font of the gear lever. I can only guess that it’s a jack. It sits on a photo-etch bracket and is retained in place with a 5-part etch strap. Good luck with modeling this as it is very small! Eight Karabiner 98k rifles are supplied but the curious thing is that separate bolts have to be added to them and only four are supplied. Why?
Stage 39 has you fitting all of the rifles into their upper brackets (the butts sit in holders on the floor) and they need to be attached to the side panels which are the next step. However, there are some small fittings to be added to the insides of the side panels, including an axe (step 41), so don’t forget these or the spare wheel on the left before fitting them. The side panels all have their wooden frames moulded onto the inside faces. Overall, the interior is very well-equipped and only needs the clutter of personal gear – or some appropriate seated figures – to further fill up and already eye-catching interior.
We now turn our attention to what is under the floor. Be careful here as turning your model upside down to work on it will result in numerous missing rifle barrels. I think these stages (43 to 50) should be completed before the interior is done, avoidingthe rifle problem. Either that, or don’t fit your rifles until later. Under the left side is a rack that holds a couple of unditching planks which is made up from seven parts. The opposite underside has a stowage box fitted.
The boot doors (stages 46 to 49) are also quite intricate with various etch parts to be added along with the rear number plate, lights and latches on the inside faces. Rear steps are added in stage 50 along with the aforementioned plank rack, tool box and boot doors.
We now head to the front of the vehicle where width indicators and the single Notek (on an etch bracket) are mounted. Again, I’d leave the width indicators off until near the end otherwise they could well break off. The windscreen frame is in two parts - to which the glazing is added - because the driver’s side can open separately on the real thing. If modelled carefully, the scale version can replicate the real thing. In stages 55 and 56, the windscreen, dashboard and steering wheel are all added. The dash has L1500 moulded on but lacks any details on the instrument faces and I’m very surprised that no decals are supplied for these.
Now we come to the passenger doors in stages 57 through 62. These all have beautifully moulded separate door handles inside and out. Each of the side screen frames has two alternative parts. At first I found this confusing but looking forward to stage 70 it becomes a little clearer. If the doors are left open there is one set of screens and, if closed, there is another set. The reason is that when shut, for instance, the rear frames will be flat and flush against the rear part of the hood, but if open there is a curved element on the rear edge replicating the ‘flappy’ canvas. Clever design! Each frame has separate glazings which are commendably thin that will need to carefully glued in place. The screens won’t be needed if the hood is left off, in which case an alternative and neat folded hood is supplied. If the hood is modelled closed, then the rear quarters of the hood are added to the rear body. The front mudguards are also added to the body sides.
I’m quite impressed with the appearance of the canvas hood. It’s tempting to model canvas with all sorts of wrinkles, but with the hood erected properly, the canvas should be reasonably taught. A few ‘curves’ are moulded in and the rear panel, rather than being flat, has a slight concave to it as it would under the influence of gravity. Hoods in plastic don’t always make it, but this one does. Excellent stuff! The only thing is thaat the clear paarts for the glazings, though thin, will look like glass when, in reality these were polythene. They may look more realistic if you are brave enough to actually fashion your own window panels from cellophane or a plastic bag.
If you haven’t been painting the different elements as you have been going along, now would be a good time to complete all painting of the interior and engine because the completed body is now introduced to the chassis. With the body in place, the radiator cowl can be added along with the front passenger steps (from stages 23-27). That takes care of stages 63 to 68.
The top of the hood is another piece of plastic canvas to which is added (in stage 69) to a very delicate plastic frame which will have to cut very carefully from the sprue because of numerous attachment points.
Stages 70 and 71 show how to add the doors and bonnet. The bonnet sides have open intake vents which are very nice. The edges are chamfered to make them appear thin at the edges, but the chamfers are a little too angled and obvious. Some careful scraping with a very sharp knife and tidying up with careful filing and sanding could make them more scale appearance. If the bonnet is modelled closed this won’t be necessary. The front doors have tiny etch straps which will have to be bent to the appropriate shape whether the doors are open or closed.
Headlights (with clear lenses), the hood top, bonnet latches, indicators, rear view mirror, a pick-axe (with delicate etch brackets) and shovel on the wings all complete the build.
Painting and Markings
Painting and decal options cover four cars.
1. 3 Panzer Grenadier Division, September 1944 - three-tone camouflage as featured on the box top.
2. Army Group South, 1 Panzer Division, Kharkov area, February-March 1943 - winter whitewash.
3. Panzer Grenadier Division Grossdeutschland, Kursk, June 1943 - Panzer Grey.
4. 90th Motorised Division, 190th Artillery Regiment, North Africa, August 1942 - Desert Yellow.
In 1/35th scale, the MiniArt kit has just one competitor as far as I know - ICM. See the links below:
MiniArt - Nr. 35139 German 4x4 car w/crew Kfz.70 MB1500A www.scalemates.com/products/product.php?id=175259
MiniArt - Nr. 35142 MB 1500S German 1,5t Cargo Truck www.scalemates.com/products/product.php?id=167389
ICM - Nr. 35525 Mercedes-Benz L1500 A (Kfz. 70) WWII German Personnel Car www.scalemates.com/products/product.php?id=101549
Look at the MiniArt website to see photos of the built-up model (www.miniart-models.com/index.htm?/35147.htm) and you will see just how impressive this model is. The kit has a lot of finesse with many details - but not too many - using photo-etch. MiniArt have been accused of including too many fiddly parts in the past. In part this is true, but in this case the parts breakdown is perfectly logical and mostly relevant. There is no doubt that this MiniArt model is very well engineered and well thought out.
Having said that, I’m a little confused that there are no decals for the instruments and there aren’t enough bolts for the rifles but, apart from that, this kit comes very highly recommended.
There seems to be an issue with the wheels in this kit being the wrong size. See the discussion here: www.network54.com/Forum/47207/message/1361037245/MiniArt+Mercedes+L1500A+Kfz+70+in+box+review
This kit was provided by MiniArt as a review sample.
MinArt website - sprue shots, build-up photos, CAD drawings and colour profiles:
ICM kit build blog
The real thing
Kfz der Wehrmacht: