Italeri 1/35 Opel 'Blitz' Einheitskoffer Kit First Look
By Ray Mehlberger
|Date of Review||March 2008||Manufacturer||Italeri|
|Subject||Opel 'Blitz' Einheitskoffer||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||0368||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Neat model of German soft-skin vehicle||Cons||No interior details for radio room. No figures in kit. Parts trees not cello bagged.|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||Out of Production|
In the early 1930’s, Opel introduced a fast light truck. It was called the Opel “Blitz” (Lightning) and in 1935 opened the best and most modern truck factory in the world in Brandenburg. Although light in weight, the Blitz design could carry a considerable payload. A proven six-cylinder engine from another GM company, Buick, provided the power.
The Blitz evolved over the decade. The payload increased in steps from the original 1.75 tons (1.93 tons) to 2.5 tons (2.76 tons), and finally to 3 tons (3.31 tons) that the S Type could transport cross-country.
By war’s end, Opel factories had churned out over 100,000 Blitz trucks alone for the German war effort. These took many different forms, such as general-purpose trucks, buses, radio trucks (subject of this kit), ambulances, and even large limousines for high-ranking officers.
The Blitz proved far superior to any of its competitors. It could go where no other two-wheel drive vehicles could. It was the most reliable and toughest of all German trucks in it’s class, and best of all, Opel’s excellent production facilities kept spares flowing that kept the Blitz going. The gasoline engines also proved an advantage. Gasoline was easier to obtain than the diesel fuel required by other trucks. Studies carried out by German forces in regions such as North Africa and Russia gave the Blitz glowing reports while slighting vehicles such as the Mercedes and NSU.
The A Type Blitz, a four-wheel-drive version, entered service in 1940. Over 25,000 were built, and a half-track version entered production in 1942 as the Opel “Maultier” (Mule). Appoximately 4,000 of the Maultiers were built.
In the German Army, the Opel Blitz was one of the most used 3-ton vehicles in use. The main body (undercarriage and cabin) were constructed for two types, the S-Type was a 2 x 4 version and the A-Type a 4 x 4 version. There were only small differences in the body and undercarriage. The motor hood for the A-Type is a little higher and has other side panels, and the undercarriage is modified for the front axle.
Italeri is a prolific model company based in Italy.
This kit comes in a tray and lid type box. The boxart shows an Opel field radio truck parked on a road with the face of a cliff and trees in the background. It is in a base coat of earth yellow with a very tight spotting of dark green and red brown over it for camouflage. It bears the license plate number WH-53775 and a black loading weight stencil on the cab door.
The two side panels give a one-paragraph history of the vehicle in 12 different languages (including English) that are labeled with color illustrations of the flags of the countries that speak those languages. The kit has a copyright date of 1999 and is aimed at modelers of 10 years and above.
Inside the box are 2 large light tan trees of parts, one small light tan tree, a tree of clear parts, a tree of black vinyl tires, the decal sheet and the instructions. None of these parts are in cello bags. The 2 large trees fill the box tightly in all four directions. I wish that Italeri would cello bag trees in their kits, as parts get broken off due to friction between trees and clear parts get scratched. I put the clear parts tree in my kit immediately into a sandwich zip-lock bag to protect it from scratches.
The instructions consist of a large sheet that accordion folds out into 10 pages of 7 ½” x 13” format.
Page 1 of the instructions has the history of the Opel Blitz field radio truck in 12 languages (including English).
Page 2 begins with “Attention-general information” in the same 12 languages. This is followed by parts tree illustrations of 3 of the parts trees and the vinyl tires tree.
Page 3 Has a parts tree illustration of the small light tan parts tree, next to a listing of Italeri/Model Master brand paints, suggested to use to finish the model. Below these, are the first 2 assembly step drawings.
Pages 4 through 7 give a balance of a total of 11 assembly steps.
Page 8 has a 3 view marking and painting illustration for a German Army truck, Russia 1944. No division or tactical marks appear on it and no unit is mentioned. It is the boxart painting subject (already described above). Below the drawings are decal application instructions in 9 languages (including English). Other than already mentioned. It has a small black and white German national cross on the rear door of the radio room.
Page 9 has a second 3 view marking and painting illustration for a German Army truck, France 1940. Again, this is all we are told about the vehicle. This one is in overall panzer gray. It has the loading information stencil on the cab doors and the license plate number WL 40122. Now, I “know” that WL stands for a Luftwaffe unit and not Army. It has the German cross on the back door too.
Page 10 has “Important information concerning this kit” in no less than 20 languages (including English)
Large light tan letter A parts tree holds: the cab parts, cab bench seat, steering wheel, leaf springs, engine, grill, shift levers, tow hooks etc. (52 parts) Three of these parts are shaded out on the parts illustration as being excess and not needed to complete the kit.
Large light tan letter B parts tree holds: the vehicle’s frame, more leaf springs, axles, suspension parts, wheels, the walls and roof of the radio compartment, exhaust pipe with muffler, tools, jerry cans, storage boxes, antenna and numerous other parts (106 parts)
Small light tan letter C parts tree just holds 2 parts for the radio compartment floor and its roof.
Letter D parts tree is the clear parts for the windows of the cab and radio compartment and headlight lenses (13 parts)
The black vinyl tree of tires is next. It holds 7 tires. Six of them go down on the axles and the seventh one is the spare that goes into a support under the chassis.
There are no figures in the kit, not even a driver. The inside of the radio room has no details, other than the floor being molded with a woodgrain pattern. The rear door of the radio room is molded solid also and would take some surgery to open to see anything that you would add inside. I believe that Verlinden brand makes a resin set of German radios that I saw once, that could be added inside. Some seats for the radio operators and possibly some shelves too would be nice in there.