MasterBox 1/35 German Military Car, Type 170 V
KIT #: MB 35100
PRICE: $52.99 SRP
DECALS: Several license options
REVIEWER: Dale Rannals


The Mercedes-Benz W136 was Mercedes-Benz's line of four-cylinder automobiles from the mid-1930s into the 1950s. The car was first presented in public in February 1936, although by that time production had already been under way for a couple of months. Between 1936 and 1939, and again between 1947 and 1953 it was the manufacturer's top selling automobile.

Mercedes-Benz W136 is the name, using the manufacturer's works number, under which the car is frequently known in retrospect, but the car introduced early in 1936 was known as the Mercedes-Benz 170V. It replaced the six cylinder Mercedes-Benz W15, which at the time had also been known as the Mercedes-Benz 170. Despite having a similar engine capacity of 1.7 liters, the new car's four cylinder unit was more powerful. Technically and stylistically it was far more modern and could be sold at a lower price. Over 75,000 were built making it by far the most popular Mercedes-Benz model up till that point.

The "V" in the 170V's name was short for "Vorne" (front) and differentiated the car from the contemporary Mercedes-Benz 170H (where "H" was short for "Heck" or rear) which used the same four cylinder 1697cc engine, but positioned at the back of the car.

Claimed maximum power output was 28kW (38 PS) at 3,400, using a compression ratio (during the car's early years) of 6:1. The side-valve four cylinder engine consumed fuel at the rate of less than 10 liters per 100 kilometers (24mpg). The motor was attached using just two mountings and ran with a smoothness hitherto unknown in a four cylinder unit.

Power was delivered to the rear wheels via a four speed manual transmission which initially came with synchromesh only on the top two ratios. However, in 1940 the transmission was upgraded after which synchromesh was incorporated for all four forward ratios.

Most of the cars produced, and an even higher proportion of those that survive, were two or four door "Limousine" (saloon/sedan bodied cars, but the range of different body types offered in the 1930s for the 170V was unusually broad. A four door "Cabrio-Limousine" combined the four doors of the four door "Limousine" with a full length foldaway canvas roof. (this is the version depicted in the model – Dale)   A common feature of the 170V bodies was external storage of the spare wheel on the car's rear panel.

The two-seater roadster featured a large flap behind the two seats with a thinly upholstered rear partition, and which could be used either as substantial luggage platform or as a very uncomfortable bench - the so-called mother-in-law's seat.



The kit comes in a good sized end-opening box. The contents are all contained in a self-sealing plastic bag.  Contents are several sprues of gray colored plastic (actually two slightly different shades of gray), one sprue of clear bits, a small decal sheet and one gigantic foldout of instructions.  The gray plastic parts all look very crisp, and once I sorted out the sprues I noticed some very fine, petite parts with no flash whatsoever.  The pieces looked to be very well done.  Clear bits are included for the windshield and side windows and five vinyl/rubber tires complete the ensemble.

          The instruction foldout measures a good 12" X 17" per side, too big for my bench but easily fold-able.  The first page is nothing but simple modeling instructions in several languages.  Most of the second contains a very nice large sprue layout drawing with part numbers. ........ and this is good too because the sprues do not have any part number stamped on them so you will be referring to the drawing often.  The assembly steps make up the remaining 2 ¼ pages, being brioken down into “engine”, “frame”, and “autobody” sections. At first I thought the huge size of the instruction sheet would be helpful, however this did not turn out to be the case.  Though the instructions are huge, they are cumbersome.  And the CAD style assembly steps are vague in parts placement, if they show where the part goes at all …. some steps have the parts just floating near the spot they are supposed to somehow be placed.

          The end-opening box features a nice picture on front but also, on the back/bottom,  contains color profiles of four different options and a ¾ style picture of interior color details. There are four pics on the box side of the assembled model, unpainted.  Color call-outs are in Vallejo numbers only.  A small decal sheet offers many different license plate numbers.

          This is not a curbside at all.  A full frame is included, as are a very complete engine and interior.  You also have four options: Windows and top up; windows down, top up; windows up, top folded down; and finally both windows and top down. 


 Starting with, and for the most part following the instructions, assembly starts with the engine.  It is very nicely detailed but I did not assemble all the bits.  I was going to build this with it's hood buttoned up, so I did not bother with things that won't be seen.

          The frame comes next and here is where the vague instructions start to strike.  You really have to study the drawing and study the parts to try to figure out how things match up. And the big instruction sheet start to get annoying … you constantly have to fold and unfold the sheet to look at the sprue layout to find the part if it is not readily recognizable.  (Perfection would be to have a bench large enough to place the unfolded instruction sheet under a pane of glass for constant reference … I did not have this sort of space unfortunately).  Having said all this, I was impressed with how well everything fit together.  Some attachment points are very tiny and fragile(as are many of the parts!  Be extremely careful cutting/snipping off the sprue!) so a delicate hand is a must.  The front bumper is truly a fantastic piece of molding – delicate and light …. took me a few minutes to decide just how to remove it from the sprue without breaking it.  The frame assembly … especially the rear axles … are going to take much weight, but the model is small so it should not be a problem at all.

          The body comes next and here parts placement bit me in the rear.  The trunk of the car is attached to the body proper, but again there are not positive locators.  I unfortunately glued the trunk so the fenders attached to the top of the running board, they should go behind and to the bottom of the running board.  Does sound like much, only talking a 1/16” or so difference, but this rotated the trunk enough that the rear doors didn't mate up well at all, leaving a large gap.  I didn't want to risk breaking the trunk back off and re-glueing, so I added some plastic card to fill the gap.  I could have also disguised this by leaving the doors open, but I wanted things buttoned up.  I would suggest you cement the front and rear doors in place before you attach the trunk … this will give you something positive to match up to. Not to mention saving you a lot of grief. Again, the engineering of the parts is first rate and quite impressive, but the instructions let you down.

          The interior assembles easy enough and is detailed enough for what will be seen.  A nice touch is a rifle rack behind the front seat complete with two Kar98 rifles.


Painting was going to be a quick trip to the spray-booth … overall Panzer gray.  I left the tires, clear bits, and canvas top off and blasted everything else.  The top I sprayed a very dark gray (almost black) and the interior was brush painted this same shade.  I added a very thin black oil wash to pop out some details and give it a grittier look.  I had to sand down the rear of the canvas top in order to match the new angle to to the trunk misalignment, but it looks okay.  I did not glue the top on, it just sits there in order to show both of the top options.


 This really is a fantastic little kit.  I was disappointed in the instructions, they are a let-down in a few areas, but the plastic is well-engineered and thought out.  If you have any 1/35 tanks in your line-up, this is a good kit for size reference.  Just remember to glue the doors on before the trunk........



Dale Rannals

April 2014

Thanks to your editor for the review kit.

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