Tamiya 1/48 German 3 ton 4x2 Cargo Truck

KIT #: 32585
PRICE: 1710 yen plus shipping
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2015 tooling

HISTORY

This is, of course, the Opel Blitz, probably the most build German WWII truck. It is titled what it is so that Tamiya does not have to pay a licensing fee, thereby not having the kit more expensive for us. Here is a history of the type:
Opel "Blitz" (Kfz.305) (4 x 2) During World War Two the German Army adopted and intensively used many types of cargo truck, but without doubt the three-tone Opel "Blitz" was the most famous of all Wehrmacht vehicles. With more than 100,000 built, these trucks with the Bitz's characteristic lightning emblem on the radiator front panel became symbolic of Germany's conquests. Its tire tracks could be seen in the great city squares of Europe; in the fields of France and also in the endless sands of the African desert; and it even overcame the infamous Russian mud. These trucks had a reputation of hardiness and being easy to repair which made them a legend.

The story of the Opel "Blitz" began in the mid-1930s when the new German National Socialist government instigated a program of economic modernization with a clearly expressed militaristic direction. At this time the American General Motors concern had already owned the Opel factories for ten years and Opel had quickly become a major German car manufacturer, with a great family of different vehicle types. One of their most successful designs was the Opel "Blitz" S whose production started in 1936. When the 'Western dam' construction began, more than 10,000 trucks of different types were involved. It was the original competition for military cargo trucks and the result was that the Opel "Blitz" won. The Opel factory received a massive order for this new standard Wehrmacht vehicle.

The European conflict which started on September 1st, 1939, gathered pace with many fronts opening up, and obviously huge numbers of trucks were needed. Many thousands of civil Opel "Blitz" S produced before the war was drafted into army units. These civil trucks were brought up to army standard Kfz.305 - the official military designation for the Opel "Blitz". In all about 140 different army modifications were installed on the Opel "Blitz" chassis during the war years - they became radio cars, repair stations, fuel trucks, and even some exotic types like mobile laundries or printing-houses. Many other vehicles like staff buses or fire trucks were also based on the Blitz chassis.

From 1937 up to 1944 nearly 140,000 vehicles were built, among them 82,356 standard army Blitz S trucks, 14,122 with a long wheelbase and also 8,363 with a low-level base. In 1942 another famous manufacturers, Daimler Benz AG was involved in Opel "Blitz" license manufacture. Mercedes-built trucks were visually identical to the standard Blitz but had their own designation, Mercedes L701. License production started only in 1944, when the main Opel factory in Russelheim was destroyed by Royal Air Force bombing.

From the first days of war the Opel "Blitz" was very popular in the army. These trucks were integral to the organization of Panzer Divisions but unlike all other German trucks they used gasoline, and tanks used the same fuel. Ground pressure was low and the Blitz could overcome some obstacles which other types, even three-axle trucks, had problems with. Operation and repair in the field was very easy.

The Eastern campaign demonstrated another advantage of the Opel "Blitz", whose gasoline engine could be easily and simply started with boiled water in very cold weather conditions, when diesel-fuelled trucks typically failed. Large numbers of trucks of this type were taken into the Red Army as trophies, and if the condition of the vehicles was satisfactory, they were used without any problem. Some Opel "Blitz"es even took part in Russian-Japanese battles in eastern China in 1945.

This truck became a legend in the army and the absolute favorite among drivers. Some of them were convinced that Germany lost the war because the available quantity of Opel "Blitz"es was too little.


THE KIT

Tamiya's series of 1/48 kits has certainly gotten my 'thumbs up' and I've built quite a few. They are well engineered and can be built in a reasonable amount of time. I particularly like wheeled vehicles as I find painting AFV road wheels to be tedious. So Tamiya's growing number of armored cars and such really get my attention and my money.

In line with other similar vehicles, Tamiya provides a complete frame with crossovers and lower engine detail all in one pieces. This time the leaf springs are separate items and the exhaust is a single piece with the muffler in place. Front and rear suspension is each two pieces and Tamiya's tires and wheels are the usual with a one-piece outer wheel and tire with the back section being the rear sidewall and wheel. You get dualies for the rear and a spare. No polycaps with this one.

The cab floor sits on a one-piece running board/fender piece and the bench seat fits atop this. The dash includes the firewall piece and windscreen wipers with decals for instruments. A bench seat fits in place with a separate rear cab wall. Doors are separate so you can pose them open and the windscreen area includes the roof. You have a driver to fit in there if you want it. Up front is a three piece hood with separate grille. This all fits atop the chassis.

The rest of the build deals with the cargo bed. This is not covered and takes up quite a bit of the construction. This is offered only in the cargo configuration as there are no side seats as you see in some other kits of this vehicle. The rest of the build is for the lights, mirrors and other various bits. You get a full sprue with cargo such as fuel barrels, Jerry cans and other bits and pieces.

Instructions are well done with Tamiya only paint references. Two trucks are provided on the decal sheet, both in overall panzer grey. One is a vehicle that participated in the Polish invasion of 1939 and the other in the Soviet invasion of 1941. The first truck has the white corner sections as shown on the box art. The small decal sheet is nicely done and provides the dash decals.

CONCLUSIONS

If you like building in 1/48 and like military vehicles, then this is for you. I'm sure it will look great when done and for the airplane fans, it fits right in with any quarter scale Luftwaffe display.

September 2016

Copyright ModelingMadness.com

I picked this one up as I thought it was a neat truck.

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