Zvezda 1/35 Heavy Truck L-4500 (Einheitsfahrerhaus)
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The heavy 4.5 ton cargo truck L4500A, originally developed for civilian use, was widely in service with German army units during WW II. Serving on all fronts, a total of 9,500 were built between 1939 and 1944, the majority of these going to the army. The L4500 was powered by a 7.2 liter diesel engine producing 112 horsepower. There were two basic versions of this truck, the 4500S two wheel drive and 4500A four wheel drive version.
Since the middle of WWII, Germany faced a shortage of metals of all sorts. As a result, simplifications were made in the design beginning in 1943. For the L-4500, it meant front fenders from simple curved metal sheets, a cabin made of plywood on a wooden frame and the deletion of bumpers. This simplified variant (Einheitskabine) was manufactured until the end of the war. Typically, surviving vehicles were used by civilians after the end of the war. (History section paraphrased from kit instructions)
Molded in a nice dark tan plastic, Zvezda's kit come in three polybags, two of which are unsealed, the third being a small zip bag for the clear bits. As has been the case of newer Zvezda kits, the molding is first rate. Detailing is very good and the parts are devoid of flash, sink areas and in most cases, no ejector pin markings. Only a few of the latter on the inside of fenders and in areas where they won't be seen once the kit is built.
Due to the design of the truck, all the body and bed parts are pretty much flat or near flat panels. There are lots of opportunities to show off the details of this one. The kit has a full engine and transmission along with a completely detailed frame and suspension. Those concerned about vinyl tires have no worries here as the ones in the kit are plastic and well molded. The cab section has separate doors so can be posed open if one so wishes. One can even cut away part of the engine hood sides to show off the engine. A nice addition to the kit are a pair of figures. One is a driver and the other is either working on the engine or doing some sort of loading. The truck comes with an open bed and the wood detailing on it is very well done. Though the previous boxing included separate 'hoops' for the canvas top, this one is without them so you can ignore that sprue from the large parts image. An enterprising modeler should be able to do one out of thin plastic strips and fabric or paper if so inclined. Not surprisingly, Zvezda provides all the parts to do the earlier metal cabin version, including a new sprue for the wooden version and the simplified fenders as shown on the right.
Zvezda's instructions are well drawn and have small detail and subassembly drawings to help out. Painting information is provided throughout the build process using Model Master references. There are license plates for the one option as shown on the box art. This is overall panzer yellow with green and brown blotches. I'm sure there are a myriad of different ways to do the camo on this truck.
This is the third boxing of the L-4500 and it makes for a nice comparison with the earlier version and the maultier. Those who are into trucks and wheeled military vehicles will be very pleased with this one.
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local shop or on-line retailer.
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