Dragon 1/35 SdKfz 3a Maultier Ambulance
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
During 1941 Germans troops discovered that their wheeled transport vehicles were unsuitable for the muddy "Rasputitsa" conditions that marked the beginning and end of the Russian winter. Only halftracks were able to operate in these conditions, but removing them from their operational purposes for supply duties would have been unworkable. Instead, Germany began to build half-tracked versions of their Opel, Daimler-Benz and Ford trucks by removing their rear axles and placing new driveshafts connected to Panzer I track assemblies with Carden Lloyd type suspension assemblies. The Panzer I was out of production at this point, and existing track parts could be used for cost effective conversion of the trucks. The Carden Lloyd suspension was similar to that used by the Universal and Bren-gun carriers.
Most conversions were to Opel trucks, which proved successful in service - although they lacked the overall mobility of purpose-built halftracks. From 1943 the Germans equipped some Maultier trucks with armored bodies, designated SdKfz 4. Some of these were armed with 10 tubed rocket launcher Panzerwerfer 42, and were designated SdKfz. 4/1. Others, such as the subject of this kit, were outfitted as ambulances and were able to go get wounded troops where standard trucks were incapable of travelling.
Not that long ago, Dragon released a very nice Opel Blitz truck kit. It is no real surprise that it would be the basis for this equally nice Maultier kit. Like that kit, it has full engine detail and so you will find many of the same sprues as with the earlier one. This time, the rear suspension details are very different as it includes the Panzer I running gear.
As with the earlier kit, the hood can be posed open as can the cab doors. This one has a new rear section as befits a proper ambulance. Dragon's Magic Tracks individual track links are included for the rear running gear. The kit also comes with a full set of window masks to help ease the job of painting. The new rear ambulance section is not just a hollowed out shell. The kit includes a full load of stretchers as well as various cabinets. There are boarding stairs and the various doors can be posed open if one wishes The full load of features from the Dragon PR folks is listed below.
- Brand new Maultier Ambulance rendered w/fine detail
- Newly produced optional idler wheel
- Stretcher racks provided
- Stretchers can be fabricated in various configurations
- Stretcher produced w/crisp detail
- Realistic storage cabinet in interior
- Detailed seats included
- Toolbox included
- Two types of blinds provided
- Ventilator can be optionally assembled
- Spare wheel mounted on cab roof-rack
- Side doors and rear doors can be assembled open/closed
- Rear access steps can be assembled stowed up/positioned down
- Footstep for side door can be assembled up/down
- Fully detailed chassis
- Delicate engine represented
- Intricate fuel tank mounted on chassis
- Sprockets and idler wheels rendered w/accurate detail
- Realistic road wheels assembled from separate parts
- Realistic engine hood formed from multiple parts w/louver detail
- Realistic engine hood covers can be assembled open/closed
- Detailed radiator cover w/filler cap
- Accurately shaped front fenders
- Slide-molded engine hood frame
- Two options for door handles can be assembled
- Detailed dashboard and cab interior
- Intricate driver's seat w/realistic cloth pattern
- Cab doors can be assembled open/closed
- Delicate wheels w/authentic tire tread pattern
- Includes clear lenses for headlamps and spotlights
- Finely detailed vehicle tools
- Highly detailed Magic Tracks reproduced
There is a generic decal sheet included that provide red crosses as shown in the box art vehicle. The other painting option is simply overall panzer tan. Both are from unknown units. Dragon decals are excellent and should conform well to all surfaces.
If you want a neat Opel Maultier variant that will surely add a lot to your collection, you now have that opportunity without having to resort to aftermarket.
My thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local retailer or on-line store.
Thanks to If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
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