Monday, July 11

Vulcan Scale Models No:56006 1/35 " Zundapp K800" Review and build

Kit no: 56006
Scale: 1/35
Parts: 79
Sprues:  3 styrene + 2 metal spoke sheets +1 Brass P/E
Ages: 14 and over
Marking Choices:  2
Price: 9.95 - from Model Wholesale UK

Vulcan scale models  has given us a few good kits in their short existence, now we have for scrutiny the 1/35 Zundapp K800 motorcycle kit to have a look at. This bike was used by Germany during the Second World War for liaison and communication duties, mostly behind the front line. Of all of Zundapp’s bikes this model has remained much sought-after by collectors, which is why I thought we should have a look. This review will be in three parts – decals, figure and engine assembly are first, then rear and chassis assembly and next paint and then weathering and placing in a diorama.

First things first, the kit comes in a small well-presented box with nice artwork on the cover. It contains three styrene sprues and three Photo Etch sprues including decals and of course instructions. The instructions are on white glossy paper and do go somewhat out of the way to try and explain how some of the trickier smaller parts go together (much needed as things like the wheels are a major headache if you aren't in the know). Anyway, they are clear and well thought out with colour calls in Tamiya/Mr. Colour and LifeColour paints. There are two marking choices here, one for the Eastern front in Panzer Grey and the other for Africa in Dark Yellow. The decal sheet gives registration plates but no unit badges. It looks clear and in register – time will tell when we apply this later though – this will come in the third part of this in depth look.

Pic 3
Let's get to the bike and the sprues themselves. They are in grey and with a little flash to clean up in some areas. There are no sink marks to be seen, but one or two ejector pin marks which aren't much of a biggie to fix. The kit's detail and complexity is probably better than white box Tamiya stuff, but not quite like the finesse of Dragon, which sounds like a happy medium to me! Most of the parts are on one large sprue with the two smaller sprues being the engine and the rider. The engine is separate so they can produce other variants of the Zundapp family (we have seen this already with the smaller K500 release from Vulcan) and it is handy if you want to spray the engine with an airbrush without removing the pieces from the sprues. More on the engine later, let's have a quick look at the figure.

Pic 5
The bike-riding figure comes in a single sprue by himself and is realistic enough. I am a bit spoiled, and I would have liked two head choices but the face he has is ok by me. On the instructions it says that the rider has goggles on, and on inspection goggles are included – but they look more like solid glasses than clear goggles – ill be not including them! The option to have these moulded in clear would have been handy, especially if I was doing an "Afrika" rider. Otherwise the figure is anatomically correct (and a little thin which is good - as from pictures it seems most people were a little thinner back then!

Pic 6Pic 7
As I mentioned before the engine is on a separate sprue and goes together pretty easily; however, it has one thing I really dislike on engine blocks, a seam line which goes ACROSS the vents. This is always an annoying clean up, so maybe Vulcan can mould these on the other axis instead, so you have no seam marks where the plastic meets in the middle? Little notches help with the assembly of the small parts. They are put on in a certain way to only allow you to fit them together correctly. A little clean up is needed and a bit of work opening the tolerance on the holes.

Pic 8
There are often too many connections of the sprue to the kit which leave you with no option on such small pieces but to get rid of the surface detail to try to eradicate the plastic scarring to the pieces. This is evident on bits like the sump which I had to sand smooth to make it look decent. Sprue C (the engine) Also suffers from a funny thing. A lot of the detail of the pieces is on the opposite side to the numbers, meaning you have to turn everything around to double check before you snip them off. Not a big deal but more steps needed, and that means more time wasted. Despite the niggles, it is pretty good as a representation of the real thing. Some pic below of the sub-assembly and the real thing.

.Pic 9Pic 10
The wheels are the first step on the instructions, and these are in theory a delightful combination. In practice though they do take some fiddly work to get perfect. The wheel spokes are in an excellent metal, one each on the two frets and they are pre-bent to the right angle. Other companies give you a bending template; its good that this one comes prepared. The wheels go together in layers, and the instruction sheet goes out of its way to show you how to do it. Helpful, and boy I needed it. As the guide spokes to fit the tire parts together in each row were out of place on the last one, leaving me with a bit of  work to do to make them all fit together and still look like a tyre. If you don’t clasp the layers together, you may get a wobbly 'ol wheel! You should clean up everything very well before you attempt this. I did, and my first tyre attempt still looked a bit hollow in the middle. I would recommend Tamiya extra thin cement and some clasps to hold the layers of this onion of a tyre together!

Pic 11Pic 12
The front tyre goes on handlebars, which have been reshaped for this kit. These are now of the correct form and shape (unlike the previous K500 kit) and go together pretty well after some clean up of flash. The forks capture the wheel nicely, and the mudguard frame tops it all off for a nice front fork assembly. Included is a positionable headlight that unfortunately could have been the second part of the clear sprue, as it has no headlight glass. Not a biggie though.

Pic 14
Pic 15Pic 16 
 Pic 17
 Here is the bike completed without paint - looking very nice!
Pic 1

The build and paint..

Today I will present part two of the Vulcan scale models  1/35 Zundapp K800 motorcycle kit build which continues from where we left the bike last week. Last week I previewed the sprues and the figure, built the front handlebars and the engine and put the front wheel together. This week I will put together the frame of the bike, seats and finish the rear assembly, investigating whether a complex multimedia bike like this is worth the extra time and effort over a cheap - out of the box bike kit.
Pic 2
Let's talk about those wheels first though, and for me they are the most complex and tricky part of the build. I have put them both together, and I have to say that the second wheel was much easier (shame there is only two really). They do take some sanding and dry fitting before they go together. My advice is to have many flat clamps to press flat the many layers of the bike's tyre together. The tyres I have constructed do look a bit tatty like they are, but with some pain they will look great and chunky, while the spokes will stay thin. It's a blessing and a curse really, as each wheel takes nearly an hour to get just right. But I have to say it is worth it!
Pic 3
The bike's frame goes together next, each side of the frame has its own sub assembly with foot pegs and a kick-starter. These all sit off the bike frame and give it some more depth. When you put the frame together the engine slips through and neatly notches inside the frame quite snugly. The fuel tank and internals all look realistic enough and are worth the separate construction. Being quite a large engine, it's great to have a good version of it. I put the back wheel together quickly (60mins again) and then slotted it all into the rear assembly of the bike. The rear seat/mudguard section goes together on the rear of the bike and is a pretty easy assembly. The well shaped mufflers go on easily and will look quite good painted up. They don't get in the way and give the bike the required depth.
Pic 4
Pic 5
The bike's fuel tank slips straight into the lower part of the tank without even gluing (I love that), and it sits plumb on the forward bike frame. By now the bike was going together a lot more easily, the smaller parts and PE were installed, and the build was becoming more enjoyable. The front handlebars go on to the rear frame with upper and lower connections, the bottom spigot being far too big for the whole it goes into, I just made the hole a bit larger on the bottom and it was all good from there. On to the seat and the neat little additions.
Pic 6
There are of course two seats, one for the rider and one for the passenger, they are neat and in the right shape and would look great without on with a rider on them. The neat thing that Vulcan have done is give you two little springs each to wit underneath them. These springs look great and aren't the fat old tractor springs like on earlier bikes I have in my collection. Be sure to maybe cut the back springs down just a little as the seat sits a little proud. Also be careful when using these to work from the bottom up - nothing worse than attaching them to the seat and having the springs floating in space!!
Pic 7Pic 8
From there it all just feel together. Here is the bike fully assembled, It took probably two 8-hour days of relaxed modelling to put it all together and paint. Here it is unpainted, so you can see what It looks like  before I go on with the paint. You can see the overall quality of the kit, despite the niggles I had with small PE pieces flying off into space and those wheels. The rider sits on well and, apart from the Charlie Chaplin-esque way he seems to be posed and the helmet needing a bit of a trim to sit better on his head, he looks real enough. As I said in the Part I of this review I would swap his head with a better spare you have lying around. Here is the bike next to the original for you to see the good job done here by Vulcan, the only thing missing seeming to be the left wheel guard.
Pic 9Pic 10Pic 11Pic 12Pic 13
One thing troubled me though - was it all worth the time? Was there a faster easier alternative ? Well there may be.... Introducing the Tamiya DKW NZ350
Pic 14Pic 15

This £5 kit comes from Tamiya and can be found in several extra value kits from them, it can be also picked up separately - I thought - "Why not build it and see the difference between a hi tech and low tech kit?" well I was surprised to say the least... The kit went together - unpainted - in just UNDER an hour - such a different experience.  It is a mainframe and wheel with the side parts and handlebars being glued onto the bike, so it's easy to build, but that's where the goodness stopped unfortunately. Here's how it looks glued together and unpainted compared to the Vulcan kit
Pic 16Pic 17
The ease of construction and the cheap price tag hide many things though. I know that this is not at all the same bike, but the picture below clearly illustrates the disparity in detail and quality. The Tamiya bike was actually harder to paint and more complicated to detail, as you have to get in and paint AROUND the rest of the kit instead of separately like the Vulcan kit.

The difference is stark in real life. For a little more effort and time the far superior results are readily visible with this Vulcan kit over an older simpler kit. That's why I suppose it's worth the extra 5 quid and the extra day squinting at small pieces to make a bike that has great depth and detail.
Pic 18

Here is the bike situated in a diorama - nice indeed! 

Adam Norenberg