Ace 1/72 Kfz.15 Uniform Chassis Medium Vehicle Build Review
By John C. Kelley
|Date of Review||September 2011||Manufacturer||Ace|
|Subject||Kfz.15 Uniform Chassis Medium Vehicle||Scale||1/72|
|Kit Number||72258||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Unique subject not likely to be produced by other manufacturers||Cons||Front wheels too far forward and radiator too short|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$11.95|
In the 1930's, Germany developed a class of vehicles based on light, medium and heavy duty chassis. One of the results of this was the Kfz.15. It was a four-wheel drive vehicle based on a medium duty chassis, and was built from 1935 to 1941. The vehicle was mainly used as a staff ca,r and frequently carried radios that allowed high ranking officers to stay in touch with their commands.
Ace has released a 1/72nd scale kit of the Kfz.15 #72258. The model has four sprues with 69 parts molded in a light gray plastic. Decals are included and have options for four vehicles; two Wehrmacht and one Luftwaffe in Panzer Gray, and another Wehrmacht vehicle in sand over Panzer Gray. Most kit parts are comprised of the suspension and chassis components with the remainder being the body and interior.
There is a little flash on some of the parts, but the majority are cleanly molded. No clear parts are included for the windshield or canvas top, but patterns to make them from clear plastic are included in the instructions. Ace makes very unique kits, but they are short run kits which mean the molds are not the same as a Revell or Dragon kit. This means that careful fitting and assembly are needed to complete the model. Your best friends are a sharp blade and files.
The first order of business was adding the suspension to the chassis. I started by removing Parts 19 and gluing them to the chassis by butting them up against the steps molded into the chassis. This is where one of the first issues of the kit occurred.
After completing the chassis, I realized the front wheels were too far forward when I added them. To correct this issue, I suggest removing .035 from the chassis where Part 19 butts up against the step. Removing this amount of material will allow the wheels to move back closer to the rear of the vehicle and should center them in the wheel well. You will also have to modify the front axle by trimming it down the same amount. Just make sure and check the wheel position before removing too much plastic. The rest of the suspension, after this is corrected, can be assembled according to kit instructions.
The second step has you attach the foot steps Parts 11-14, and exhaust system Parts 16 and 18. I would recommend leaving these pieces off until you are ready to paint. The exhaust attaches to a hole in the floorboard and sets over the top, or in this case the bottom, of the step support. I found that if I glued these items on at the same time, I tended to knock them off as I added more parts to the kit. It also makes attaching the exhaust easier as the location hole in the floor is in position already.
Step three involves assembling the interior and attaching this to the chassis.
Afterwards, step four deals with assembling the hood, radiator, windscreen and instrument panel and back seat. These steps all went together well except for the hood. One thing that is very important is that the firewall Part 56 should be straight and not glued in at an angle as this will affect assembly of the hood. In spite of this, the hood sides still required some filing to the openings to get them to sit right on the wheel well housing so that there were no gaps between the hood and the firewall. When I attached the radiator I found that the radiator itself is not long enough. This produces a gap between the bumper and the radiator where there should be no gap at all. Except for scratch building a new radiator, the only other option I can think of is to do what I did and simply ignore the gap.
At this stage of the build, I pre-painted the interior and then began adding the sides and rear of the passenger compartment. I added a strip of .010 x .030 to the front edge of Parts 66 and 68. There is a little gap in the wheel well between Parts 68 and 46 and this was filled with putty and sanded smooth. Next, I attached Parts 64 and 65, the wheel arches, and discovered that when the rear wheels were installed, the arches were too thick and would not allow the wheels to be mounted on the axle. Since they were already glued on, I used a Dremel Tool and ground out the extra plastic.
For some reason, the canvas top that is supplied in the kit has a lot of plastic blobs all over it. I used a knife and file to smooth out the top. The three sides of the top were glued on, and I assembled the folded version as well. I left both tops unglued so I could show the kit with either the folded top or the fully closed version. I cut out the templates for the windscreen and rear top cover and attached them with white glue.
Painting and Finishing
After I was finished assembling the model, I decided to paint it Panzer Gray using Tamiya German Gray. Well guess what! I didn't have any German Gray. Well, now what do I do! Oh yeah, black and white make gray. Ahh, problem solved! For this, I made a mixture of 1 drop Tamiya XF-2 Flat White to 5 drops XF-69 NATO Black. I sprayed this over the entire model and used the same formula for any touch ups. To me, this was a nice dark gray color, but a little too dark for a 1/72nd scale model, so I mixed up a lightened batch using 12 drops of white to 20 drops of NATO Black. I sprayed this leaving random patches of the darker color visible.
The tires were painted TS-82 Rubber Black, and the tool handles were painted Tamiya XF-57 Buff and washed with XF-64 Red Brown. The metal portions of the tools were painted Flat Black.
The canvas top was given a very heavy dry brushing of Black along the areas where the stays would be. The entire canvas was then dry brushed with the lightened Panzer Gray to simulate fading, concentrating in the areas between the stays. I next applied a coat of Pledge Floor Wax with Future and sprayed this over the entire model. An oil wash of Black was applied to all detailed surfaces.
The model was then allowed to dry, and the lightened Panzer Gray was dry brushed to bring out all the details. The headlights, mirror and taillight were painted Model Master Silver and Tamiya X-27 Clear Red added to the taillight lens. Tamiya Flat Coat in the spray can was applied next, and the model was finished.
I decided on this kit to try something different. I have never used oils for weathering, but I thought I would try it. I applied dots of blue, white and yellow to the sides and top of the model. I then took a wide brush and dipped it in Turpenoid and streaked it down the sides. This was done to simulate dirty rain streaks. The model still looked too clean, and I wanted a very dusty and dirty vehicle, so I mixed Van Dyke brown, white and a little yellow to make a dust color. This was applied with a brush dipped in Turpenoid and a heavy coat was applied to the lower portions and less as I went higher. The nice thing about oils is they are very forgiving. If you think it is too much, just remove some of the oils with a brush dipped in Turpenoid. The oils I used were Windsor and Newton.
Ace has done a credible job in giving us a model of a well known staff car. The detail is very well done and a good selection of decals is supplied. However, with my review sample, the decals were missing. My experience with Ace decals has always been positive, so I have no doubt that these decals will apply easily.
What did surprise me in this model were the dimensional errors; errors such as the front wheels being too far forward and the radiator not long enough. In spite of these problems, I did enjoy the build and I do recommend this kit. However, care must be taken in building the chassis. Hopefully, your model will look much better than mine, having learned from my experience and recommendations. As with all models that are short run production, patience and constant test fitting are needed. But a beautiful model can be built from this kit.
My thanks to HobbyTerra.com for this review sample.