Dragon 1/35 German 3t 4x2 Cargo Truck w/2cm Flak 38

KIT #: 6828
PRICE: $68.00 SRP
MARKINGS: Six options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: includes photo etch


During the years preceding World War II Opel, a subsidiary of General Motors (GM) since 1929, was Germany's largest truck producer. The Blitz name, found in a prize competition, was first applied to an Opel truck in 1930.

By 1934 there were four base versions offered of the 1 tonne basic model along with fourteen versions of the larger 2 and 2½ tonne trucks. Under the terms of Nazi economy and the German re-armament the authorities ordered the construction of the Opelwerk Brandenburg facilities in 1935, where until 1944 more than 130,000 Blitz trucks and chassis were produced. The medium-weight versions originally were equipped with a flathead 68 HP petrol engine coming from the 1930 GM Buick Marquette, replaced in 1937 with a modern overhead valve 75 HP straight-six engine also used in Opel Admiral passenger cars. This engine was very similar to Chevrolet engines from the same period, to the point that disabled Blitzes abandoned by fleeing Germans could be easily put back into operation by advancing Allies using Chevy/GMC and Bedford parts.

From 1939, the reliable Blitz 3.6 three-ton version was used in large numbers by the German Wehrmacht armed forces throughout World War II. Derived variants included an elongated version and the four-wheel drive Blitz A. To cope with the bad road conditions and the rasputitsa mud seasons on the Eastern Front, a half-tracked Maultier (mule) SdKfz 3 version was built using tracks and suspension based on the Universal Carrier. Among others, these were used as service vehicles for the Messerschmitt Me 323 military transport aircraft. It is also claimed that Opel, a subsidiary of GM, used forced labor to reap unprecedented profits. To what degree GM controlled Opel at the time is subject to debate, but it is clear that GM did in fact play a role in giving Nazi Germany the Opel Blitz truck.

The light basic model was manufactured as Blitz 2.5 in Rüsselsheim until 1942 and again from 1946, equipped with the 55hp Opel Super 6 engine. On 6 August 1944, the Opelwerk Brandenburg was devastated by an RAF air raid. Furthermore, until the end of the war, about 2,500 Blitz 3.6 trucks were built by order of Minister of Armaments Albert Speer at the Mannheim plant of the rival Daimler Benz AG, while the production of its own Mercedes-Benz L3000 model had to be discontinued. After the war, the facilities in Brandenburg were completely dismantled at the behest of the Soviet Military Administration, while Daimler-Benz in Mannheim resumed building the Blitz 3.6 under the designation L 701 until 1949. The last 467 medium trucks were again assembled by Opel in Rüsselsheim until production finally discontinued in 1954 without a successor.


We have yet another of a mass of variants on a base kit, in this case a combination of the 3t Opel Blitz and the 2cm Flak 38. Such was the need for mobile AA that installations in a variety of vehicles was common and one of the easiest and most economical installations was in the back of the 3t Opel Blitz. Since this installation was what we'd now call a paletted arrangement, about the only new items in the kit are those that make up the mount. 

Molded in grey plastic (for the most part), there are nine standard sprues and one clear. A set of windscreen masks are included as well as a small photo etch fret and a DS plastic rolled tarp.

The kit comes with a complete engine and a very nicely detailed chassis with full suspension and exhaust. The wheels are such that they are trapped in between tire halves so one will need to paint the wheels and tire halves separately before assembly. There are optional wheel designs that can be used.

The cab is quite detailed on the inside and uses decals for the instrument. One has the option of having the doors open or closed. This option also extends to the engine covers. In the back, one has a high side open bed with no cover framework. The framework is folded forward. One has the option of building this as a standard truck if one wishes. There are planks in the back which appear to be there to seat troops in five rows with two of the rows being back to back. Not exactly the most comfy way to travel over rough terrain, but probably slightly less tiring than walking. Though not shown in the instructions, the side of the box shows that the tail gate can be dropped open as well. Instructions also note some differences between building a regular truck and one with the flak 38 in the back.

The gun can be rotated on its mount, but elevation is limited to four different angles, 0, 20, 40, and 60 degrees. This is provided by four different elevation pistons for the elevation you choose. The molded photo etch parts are mostly for guards and shell catch baskets. You also have a bed insert for the Flak mount.

Instructions are well drawn and somewhat busy so you need to pay attention to what goes where, though there are some additional drawings to help in this regard. Markings are for seven different vehicles, with the usual 'unidentified' inclusion. A variety of camouflage schemes are in the mix with three of them being winter schemes of various completeness, two in panzer grey and one in panzer tan with a disruptive scheme in green. There is a nicely done decal sheet, providing a variety of markings, even though most of these vehicles were usually devoid of unique markings. You get a variety of license numbers so you can make your own.


In all, a nice kit that allows this important vehicle variant to be modeled. The ability to make it into a standard truck with a stand-alone flak gun is a bonus, though I'm sure most will want to build this as the combination. Due to the p.e. and other small detail parts, it is recommended for experienced modelers.



January 2016

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