German Light Saloon Coach Model 1937
||German Light Saloon Coach Model 1937
||Sunday, August 1, 2010
||Wednesday, December 8, 2010
A Quick History
Let's cut to the chase – the “Light Saloon Coach Model 1937” is also known as a 1937 Opel Olympia – Opel's first small family car. Debuting at the 1935 Berlin Motor Show, the Olympia got its name in anticipation of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. It had a 1.3 liter engine and sold for about 2500 Reichmarks. Between 1935 and the 1940 more than 168,000 units were built. Spend a few minutes at www.autogallery.org.ru/opela35
, and you can learn all you need to know about the Olympia, including available color options.
So what’s in the box?
This was my first go-around with a Bronco kit, and I was not disappointed. The Olympia come in 80 parts molded in tan plastic,
14 clear window and signal pieces, a photo-etched fret with 15 parts and no fewer than 40 parts molded in black plastic for the tires. There is an impressive amount of detail (check out the grill), molded cleanly with no flash and only a few mold seams to worry about. Here's what you get:
Good personality, great body.
Tires, tires, tires.
Brass, decals, clear goodies.
Like most vehicle kits, Bronco starts with the chassis and floor of the car. One word of caution here – the fit on this kit is amazing and can lull you to sleep. Yet it's vital that the transmission and suspension pieces are lined up perfectly, so take your time - these are not steps you can just blow through. Additional details include the gas tank and muffler. Also, parts for the steering (B12, B13) are insanely fragile and take a great deal of care to remove from the sprue and clean up. The exhaust pipe is already drilled out on the end, but I drilled a little deeper, thinning the sides of the exhaust pipe.
Now you add the rear leaf springs and tie rod for the front end. Bronco makes it possible for the steering to work – simply melt down the pins holding the tie rod on. Since God blessed me with an extra thumb where my index finger should be, I went ahead and chose my angle and glued the pieces into place. For the most part, Bronco’s engineering is solid, and pieces fit snugly into their assigned spots with little effort.
Here's where you are after Steps 1, 2
Flip the chassis over and it's time to add the seats, firewall and steering wheel. This step also includes painting and assembly of a cool little suitcase and briefcase – this luggage even has PE latches. The instructions would have you throw these in the trunk space behind the back seat, which is a little weird because once the body is attached, no one will ever see the trunk. My luggage is now safely in my spares box, where I'm sure it will show up on another project soon.
Assembly here is easy, but a little pre-planning and painting is required. The instructions say to paint the floor tan (like the upholstery), but pictures I found online looked much darker. So I airbrushed a base coat of Tamiya's German Grey on the floor. Next, I sprayed a light coat of German Grey lightened with Tamiya's Light Grey into the center of each flat area and along the top of the transmission hump.
Before installing the seats, I sprayed them with a 60/40 mix of Tamiya's Desert Yellow and Buff. Then I mixed a little Dark Yellow with Tamiya Brown and thinned it out until it was almost a wash. I carefully airbrushed this mix along the crease in the seats in an attempt to add some depth. When this dried, I applied a coat of MIG Filter for Dark Yellow, followed by a pinwash of MIG Dark Brown in the cushion creases. If and when I build this kit again, I will choose a dark red color for the upholstery, as shown on the box art. I chose Tan because the instructions called for it...
The firewall and steering column were airbrushed with an experimental mix of Tamiya Flat Black thinned with Future in about a 60/40 ratio. While this resulted in the satin finish I was after, it is a bit "pebbly." Next time, I'll just mix Flat and Gloss Blacks to get my satin finish.
Once these sub-assemblies were painted, I installed them. There are channels molded into the floorboard for the supports of the seats - these channels are a tad too narrow for the seats to settle solidly into place. A little filing on the seat supports corrected this.
Here's the interior after Step 3.
Tires! This is the only tedious step in the whole process. Each tire is made up of six parts and must be put together in an exact way. Bronco provides a series of holes and pins on each piece to help with alignment, but there are extra holes on each piece which makes the process rather confusing. If you line the pieces up incorrectly, the tread pattern on your tire will be uneven. If you line it up right, the tires look spectacular.
This step also has you attach the tires to the chassis. The holes in the back of the tires need to be drilled out a little more to make them fit around the pins on the axle, but this is no big deal. Be warned – the front wheel assemblies are extremely delicate and alignment is crucial. Each assembly is made up of two support arms and a "drum." I glued these into place with Tamiya Extra Thin Cement and test fit the tires to get alignment close. After 15 minutes, the glue had set enough that I GENTLY glued the tires into place. After an additional 15 minutes, I set the car on its wheels and fiddled with tire alignment until all four tires were touching the ground and facing the right directions. On my kit, I waited to attach the tires until after the wheel wells were painted and weathered, but the process would be the same if you go ahead and put them on when Bronco asks you to.
Six pieces, one smart looking tire.
These steps have you adding the details to the interior of the one-piece body. While the one-piece molding is cool, it does make these steps a bit dicey - a good set of tweezers is highly recommended. My research showed that the Olympia interior was painted the same color as the exterior, with leather-upholstered panels fit over it. Before I started assembly, I sprayed the body interior with my Black/Future mix. The side panels were painted with a 60/40 mix of Tamiya's Desert Yellow and Buff. Then I mixed a little Dark Yellow with Tamiya Brown and thinned it out until it was almost a wash. I carefully airbrushed this mix along the areas where shadows would occur in an attempt to add some depth. When this dried, I applied a coat of MIG Filter for Dark Yellow, followed by a pinwash of MIG Dark Brown around the window handles. The window handles were painted with Valejo Plata Silver.
Bronco designed the side windows so that the glue points are hidden down between the side panels and the body - there is no glue anywhere near the visible part of the window. I did have to add a little white glue to the top of the windows to keep them from pulling back out of the window frame. The front vent windows (D9, D10) are a different story. I could NOT get these to fit into their spaces smoothly - there will be a lot of white glue to remove with warm water and a Q-tip when painting is done. To be fair, I scoured the Internet for other reviews and no one else had any trouble with the fit of the windows, so your results may vary.
Now it’s time to add the final details to the interior, including the sun visors, rear view mirror, dashboard and windows. The visors and mirror were very fussy. Placement is difficult and the attachment point is microscopic - there's not much for the glue to grab onto. In hindsight, I would suggest drilling tiny pilot holes for these items. The dashboard is a drop fit and even comes with two very cool decals for the gauges - nice touch, Bronco. And then there's the glass. Again, the fit was not good on my kit, and the windows continually popped loose of their white glue joints, requiring reinstallation at some of the most inconvenient times.
You're simply attaching the body to the chassis here. No issues whatsoever. A very simple and rewarding step.
The last two steps involve adding the final details including the PE license plates and brackets. These folded up and installed easily. Bronco gives you a choice of two license plate shapes - it's totally up to personal preference. PE windshield wipers are included and look great when installed. The signal lights are molded in clear plastic. This is cool because I was able to paint the back of the lights the required red and orange colors. Then I carefully painted them over with Valejo Plata Silver, keeping paint off the front lenses. The result is a clear, colored light with plenty of depth. I added foil from a PopTart wrapper to the insides of the headlights before applying the clear lenses and chrome outer rings. While some of the details are tiny, they all went on without much issue. Again, the rear brake light didn't have much of an attachment point, so I drilled a shallow pilot hole to help hold it in place.
Finishing the Olympia's exterior was much simpler than the interior. After carefully masking the windows with Tamiya masking tape, I sprayed the whole thing with Tamiya Flat Black mixed with a drop or two of Future to get a satin finish. I painted the tires Tamiya German Grey and applied a thin wash of Valejo German Camo Black Brown. The license plate decals settled in nicely with no trouble. I couldn't resist throwing a little road dust onto my car by lightly spraying Tamiya Buff from the bottom up. Chrome details were picked out with Valejo Plata Silver.
So here's some final pics. Note that the doors aren't glued into place, as my little Opel is slated to be parked in a very unfortunate parking spot in late-war Berlin.
The Bronco Olympia is a fun weekend project, if you have a long weekend. The fit of most of the parts was flawless with the exception of the windshield and front vent windows on my sample. Detail is stunning. I'm sure this little gem will find its way into a lot of dioramas and vignettes.
Thanks to Stevens International for the review sample.