Italeri Opel Blitz Radio Truck
For the First Look review of this kit - check this link: http://www.amps-armor.org/SiteReviews/ShowReview.aspx?id=14602
There are knockout holes on several parts, along with the occasional bit of flash; most of the knockout holes were easily filled with putty and sanded. Some of them would not be visible where they are underneath the truck, or covered by another part. There are huge ones on the inside walls of the hut, as well as several small locator holes in the hut sides for the locator pins on grab handles and tools that will be visible if the roof is left off to see the interior, so those will need to be filled and sanded, or covered with a weapon, piece of gear, clothing, or a pin-up of Fritz's girlfriend. You can see what they look like at the First Look Review.
Keep on truckin' and buildin'!
Steps 1-4, Chassis assembly
Begin the build by adding the front and rear leaf springs, transmission housing, and front axles to the frame followed by installing the split wheels into the rubber (not styrene) tires. The wheels fit in snugly with a minimum of glue to hold the two parts together. The dual rear wheels have different front and rear halves, so don't mix them up. Attach the rear and front wheel assemblies to their respective axles, and using small amounts of glue, attach the wheel hubs. The directions show part 20A being attached without glue, instead using a heated flat tip screwdriver to melt the little pins so the front wheels can be turned. Attach the rear towing pintle, consisting of four parts, to the rear of the frame. Attach the simplified engine, two part fuel tank, radiator, drive shaft, and exhaust pipe and muffler to the frame. There is not much detail to the engine, but since the hood side panels cannot be displayed open, there is not much point in detailing it. There are aftermarket kits for hoods with open panels and adding details to the engine, if that revs your motor. The tail pipe is solid, so drill that out for a realistic appearance. Finish up the chassis by adding the spare tire and holder to the rear bottom of the chassis frame.
Engine and gas tank installed
Spare wheel mounting
Step 5-6, cab and hood assembly
The cab interior is just as lacking in details as the engine, but fortunately, with all the windows in place, most of the detail isn't clearly visible anyway. The foot pedals are all molded on the floor and there are no instrument panel decals, so I painted the dial faces white with a very small detail brush and used a fine-tipped black pen to bring out some of the details. The gear shift lever and emergency brake(?) lever glue into holes, as does the bench seat. I used Model Master Clear Parts and Window Maker to install the side and rear windows, and had some trouble seating the driver side window. Attach the cab rear, two sides, and dashboard to the cab floor. While that was drying, I installed the windshield into its frame, and that was also a problem like the driver's window. I'd get one side settled, and then try to push in the other side, and the first side would pop out. Back and forth I went, until I finally managed to get both sides in and staying put. After all parts had dried, attach the hood/cab roof to the cab body, along with the front grille, license plate holder and two tow hooks. The final part of step 6 is attaching headlights, shovel, side mirror, hood ornament, width indicators, and the in-tow triangle on the cab roof, horn, and a pennant holder. Having knocked off many a small part in my past builds, I left most of those items off until the last stage of the build; I did build up the headlights, and had a problem there - the directions have you install the clear plastic parts for the lens, and then cover that with the blackout drive slit cover - on mine, the headlight lenses did not fit all the way in to the headlight body, so the slit cover does not fully seat. I tried wrapping some thin tape around the headlight, but am not happy with the result, so will have to figure another solution out. I might try and pop out the glass lens, since they are not visible anyway with the slit covers on.
Note the slight gap on the driver side window
Molded on windshield wipers. Note how the slit covers don't sit down on properly on the headlights
The doors are molded in place, there's no optional open window
Steps 7-10, the radio hut
Build up the two jerry cans and glue to the underside of the hut floor, along with the five support beams, two rear fenders, and an antenna holder (78B). Don't install the two hooks (73B) in part 72B until after you've installed part 100B in step 10. Ask me how I know ... After attaching the six window inserts into the four sides of the hut, attach the four sides to the floor and the roof to the sides. There were gaps along the fenders and one of the corners that I had to fill with putty. I scratch built two storage lockers along with two radio shelves inside; I also left the roof unglued so that I can add radios, chairs, crew, and other gear once I've managed to track down the suitable items. Build up four equipment boxes and attach them under the hut, along with eight handholds on the hut front wall. Build up the antenna and mast assemblies, and along with two ladders, attach to the hut rear wall along with the hut right side door handle.
Step 11, attach the cab and hut assemblies to the frame
Add the one piece jack to the passenger side running board, along with the pick-ax on the right side fender, along with the two rear lights and license plate. Paint and add decals for the 116th Panzer Division, Stab Abteilung I, Panzer Regiment 16, Normandy, July 1944.
Decals look nice, lay down well
The roof is not glued down, so there's a bit of lift at the rear
Note the gap between the molded on door frame and the cab
I could not find any close-up photos of the reels on the side of the mast - I think there must be a thin cable in there to raise and lower the mast sections
The directions show straps on the shovel head, but the kit part is bare - I'll have to figure out a fix
My first attempt at the shelves and storage cabinets, still looking for appropriate radio sets and headsets, chairs, signal troops gear and tools
Pros: Currently, the only kit of this widely used communication vehicle available. Despite some flaws and fit issues, an enjoyable build of an important battlefield vehicle.
Cons: It is a communication shelter without any communication gear, so that is disappointing. No figures, not even a driver. In order to portray the communications hut, the builder will have to source correct radio sets, wiring, headsets, auxiliary equipment, chairs, build shelves and equipment lockers, fill and sand several holes, make rolled up black-out curtains for the hut windows. In order to display the cab interior, one or both doors will have to be cut out, or else the windows will have to be cut down to look like they are rolled down. Foot pedals could be concealed by a driver figure, but otherwise the molded on ones will have to be shaved off and replaced with AM or scratch-built.
Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders, especially those who like building softskins and trying their hand at scratch-building interiors and working with after-market kits.
Thanks goes out to Model Rectifier Corporation for this review kit.
Reviewed by Joseph "Mac" McDaniel
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