MB 35100 - German military car, Type 170 V, Tourenwagen, 4 Turen, 1937-1940.
Kit no: 35100
4 Sprues in light grey + 1 clear for windows + 5 Vinyl tyres
Decals: 1 sheet with 9 different versions
Ages: 14 and over
I say a departure because Masterbox have steered clear of doing larger vehicles since their first beginnings doing small tanks there have only been some excellent motorcycles to keep us happy. Now they produce this Cabriolet which from the CAD images and the pictures of the assembled vehicles on their website looks very nice and quite intricate. Let’s look at the individual parts to see what we think about the break up
The kit comes on four quite small sprues which look very small compared with the Admiral Cabriolet we looked at earlier on this month. These look pretty crisp. I have found some flash around the thinner parts of the edges of the bodywork of the car and a sink mark each side of the rear upper flanks of the car near the fold away hood. There is also a seam line along the whole chassis. Though this and the other little imperfections will not take much too clean up the overall impression I get from the plastic is that it is pretty good.The instructions are present with this kit in the form of a massive fold out black and white sheet showing everything you need to know about the construction. Often Masterbox does not need to include them with their kits but this vehicle is much more complicated in construction and deserves to be explained properly. This MasterBox do very well, and with the help of the CAD drawings and the fifty three steps that illustrate clearly the fitting together of this kit it shouldn’t be too hard – should it? We’ll see.
The construction of this kit is broken into three main sections in the instructions the engine, the “frame” and the “autobody” – these are separate constructions although they need to be joined together at the end it’s a nice feature to pretty much start where you want to - or to be able to switch constructions when one is setting or drying, or maybe if one part of the build gets temporarily put in the “too hard basket.” Let’s start ground up.
The Tyres are a plus or a minus depending on if you like rubber tyres I suppose - I am glad they are not the plastic layered “sandwich together” type as there is so much scope to get it wrong and get your fingers stuck to them and score the tread with glue or fingerprints. These rubber tyres save a massive amount of time but the drawbacks can be that they don’t seem to paint as well and they can look “toy like” in the wrong hands - hopefully my hands won’t be making them look like that.
The Tyres are marked by their dimensions only and have a seam mark in the middle of the tread, as well as this there is some extra rubber on the insides of the rim which needs to be trimmed. This is the quandary with these tyres which leads me to think it’s a real personal preference thing between modellers – the camps being split pretty evenly. I still cannot decide which I prefer – as I think I just like a regular styrene wheel. Theses detailed up nicely though in the end.
The chassis sprue
The engine is the first part of the construction process – there are twenty one parts to replicate the four cylinder engine, and once constructed and detailed with some extra wires you will have quite a basic and good looking engine.
The unconstructed engine
The real above and the kit below - not too bad at all - and easy to constuct
The engine painted up and weathered a little….The next step is the process of constructing the chassis of the car. This vehicle kit has the bonus of being able to make the chassis separate to the body work. This will speed up construction as well as enabling you to paint and keep this vehicle looking like a separate construction of parts instead of you getting inside finicky parts AFTER construction to paint.
This is where the joy stops for this part of the build – number one is the construction is a bit fiddly for such a section of the car that isn’t shown. I suppose though we all want reality and this is how you get it. This point then is moot as people would complain if the kit was too basic. Your choice I guess – a modeller or constructor - which one are you? I would prefer more detail – as long as you don’t have a fit trying to add it all in there.
The front leaf springs and diff look suitably realistic and will look great under weathering, as will the rest of this detailed “undercarriage” the only problem is that most people will never see it – such a shame!
The chassis goes together in many small steps – but here it is detailed up and painted ready to go on to the underside firewall/floor of the car – I gave it some “German grey” – just like everything else – it’s a challenge when doing the grey version of this car to make anything stand out so you have to carefully weather it all - here it all is with the engine – we won’t join it up to the body just yet!
The third part of the kit breakdown is the “autobody” - this encompasses all from the front end of the windshield and dashboard to the body work, boot and seats.
The body shape is accurate to pictures I have found of the real thing, while the surface detail is slightly grainy and matt this should look OK with a bit of undercoat and then a nice glossy coat over that should make it all look convincing. The scale of the car is actually quite small for those of us that are used to making tanks - this is not at all in the same size as a panther!
I sat the newer style tank on top of the old one so you could see it here - a big size differenceFirst choice you will have is of small or large petrol tanks which rest just in front of the windshield in the engine bay. The smaller tank being early production and the larger the latter, I would suggest the smaller if you intend to do a civilian car for the simple reason that the latter vehicles were requisitioned for the military (1937 onwards). If however you are modelling this engine compartment closed you needn't bother with it - or most of the rest of the engine for that matter. The choice is yours. I went for an exposed engine with all of the glory of your construction on show.
There is an option for a closed bonnet in one piece as well if you want to model the hood closed.The bonnet comes in four main parts which can of course be positioned open or closed. The bonnet panels meet up with a large radiator grille which I suppose is your choice to make dull and grey or to shine up with chrome paint to make it look like the fancy Mercedes that it is, the company’s hood emblem is supplied.
The fold of the open bonnet was a bit of a mystery to me – the angle at which it was to be positioned I could not figure out from the instructions ( I am a bit thick) so I went on line and found a few pics of the real thing and found the correct “hang” to show one side open. There is a flat bonnet part as well to show the car all buttoned up if you want to. I opted for one half open, and the assembly is not that difficult. A little bit of cleaning up the excess plastic around the hinges and you are good to go – it fits in like fine little teeth.
Before you can glue this bonnet together you will need to remove some injection marks on the inside of the bonnet – It took me 10 mins so no real big deal again. Just sand them down after cutting them with your sharp knife – if you are planning on keeping the engine hood closed you needn't bother.
The steering wheel on this vehicle is in one piece as opposed to the recent Admiral Cabriolet which came in two (– no more fiddly bits than we need please!) so a good start. It details up quite nicely to make an ornate centrepiece of the car. I loved the old style horn!! The attachment place for this could do with a small hole drilled into the firewall to give a secure anchor point. Make sure you affix the steering wheel column before you install the front seat to give yourself as much room to see where you are going
The instrument panel here comes in one piece with some decals depicting the speedometer etc. It is a good representation of the real thing with double glove boxes (who puts their gloves in the glove box nowadays?), with some knobs and toggles for the switches represented in detail. The dash itself is usually black and I gave mine some black with silver dials – I had a nice reference picture here to go on. The whole driver’s compartment and dash are quite good indeed, and although the last pedal on the right can be a bit vague as to where to be positioned from the instructions, all you need is the internet and a good reference picture or two under your belt and you are ok.
Front seats – shotgun!
Rear positionThe doors go on next – you can have them all open or all closed or a mixture of both. The rear doors are the excellent “suicide” doors which open forwards – I opted to have two open on the left with the engine and the other side sealed up to see the fit of all of the parts and how the car looks in plan view.
Rear DoorsThe chassis attaches easily to the autobody by ten points easily located by holes and pegs and the body does not move after that. By now you have the front part of the body attached to the engine and running boards of the car and its time to quickly glue the boot on – It was then I made my big self-inflicted problem!
In step 27 when attaching the rear boot section (D2) onto the rear of the chassis (D1) I did not meet the front part fully the running board on the chassis – MAKE SURE YOU DO THIS – as otherwise you will have a mini heart attack and think that the doors do not fit – it took me an email to Masterbox to sort the problem – after a slap of the head – a la Homer Simpson – I sorted it and the doors fit snug again. The pictures are below so you don’t have a “hearty” as well.
See the gap where the arrow is – push it down so it looks more like the second picture!!
Above bad - below good!
Now the rear is on and the doors fit at a dry fit test you can secure the door frames in the middle and the rack that holds the two supplied KAR98 rifles, a little quaint but I put my riflese in there! The doors go on next and your chassis is looking more like a Merc every step The doors attach by some interleaved tabs which hold the doors pretty well – and even having them open I had no problems with them falling off.
The bumper bars and door handlesThe body work is all in one together, you have the doors on and the engine opened or closed – I chose this time for the first coat of paint. I went with the suggested RLM 66 German grey colour as a base coat and I mixed myself up an assortment of blue and grey and white in Model Air paint from Vallejo – this gave me a highlight colour to do a colour modulation style of paint job. You go higher on the model and lighter as you go up – the final layer is very light grey blue and is sprayed on the top.
First I had a sink mark on both sides of the rear just under the hood – a bit of superglue to fill the hole and sanding stick and some elbow grease and “bang – it’s gone!”
This if done correctly makes for a realistic finish – it’s up to you to make it realistic and not overdone.
You start at the base and work your way up
A little touch of dark wash to simmulate where water pools and makes the top darkerMy first coat WAS overdone! Back to the basic colour – if you overdo it the problem with colour modulation is that you have to start from scratch as it is harder going from light to dart than darker to lighter colours.
Too much!! – Yuck
Take two - Gradually does it …And so on until the colours are what you think is pleasing to the eye. I left the insides the base colour and the leather on the seats I mixed a bit of greenish blue and RLM 65 light blue to make that Green/grey/blue colour of leather we associate with the Germans.
The colours looked good with high and lowlights in the right places – I gave the bumper bars some white – or deck tan in this instance for that dirty white look. The car looked great and clean – but I wanted it a little less grey and a little more interesting –
The next thing is usually the application of the decals, but going from the instructions I could not find where to put them – I put on the number plates and left the unit badge for now - I switched to weathering till I could find the information I needed.
The weathering for this I thought could be a light coat of dry mud and a little dust. I used MIG productions pigment European mud – dabbed on with a paint brush in all of the areas I thought would collect mud and dust. Followed by some pigment fixer made the “mud” stick pretty well and cloggy in parts and just lightly dusty in others.
I was happy with the exterior after I applied some to the undersides as well. I left the top of the engine pretty clean so I could see some of the detail there. I did not want to drown it all out with mud. I also gave the interior floor a light dusting of the same. I cannot see that the interior of many service cars would be all that clean.
The decals in this kit are for nine versions of this car – Luftwaffe – Heer , field police and Navy cars are all depicted – with the prefixes for each of these services in the first two letters – as a helpful tip to those who want still more versions I have found this:
“German military and government license plate prefixes during WWII were: WH = Wehrmacht Heer (army), WM = Wehrmacht Marine (navy), WL = Wehrmacht Luftwaffe (air force), SS [runes] = Schutzstaffel, OT = Organization Todt, Pol = Polizei, DR = Deutsche Reichsbahn and RP = Reichspost”
I stuck with the “WL” Luftwaffe car from the Luftwaffe with the bear emblem on it – this was the start of the problem I had next. The decals however are not an issue – the colours were good, the decal paper itself is very matte and the decals were in register and no misprinting that I could see.The decals – I still wasn’t sure where to apply the bear emblem from the Luftwaffe unit car I was making - I looked hard on the instruction sheet and box and could not find the “bear” decals’ position. Well I had to bite the bullet and apply them soon –I should have done it before I weathered the outside but I left that bit I thought it was to be applied to clear of mud. I thought it would be on the front right fender – I was not 100% sure – then I came across some extraordinary luck I still cannot believe.
– I looked really hard on the internet (a tool that was invaluable for this build) and I came across a site – pretty much by accident which I had looked on before for reference – it is called “Wehrmacht-Awards” and usually focuses on the tittle topic – in there though was a 12 page thread that was called” Show us your Military Mercedes-Benz car Photos” and in this thread – just when I was getting to have seen too many cars I found this picture…
Thanks to Michael for posting this and giving me permission to use this pic in this review - what a legend!!
The car had the bear unit badge – I checked the number plate for the use of the picture out of curiosity – IT WAS THE VERY SAME CAR! Wow! Is all I could say – I thought I was being watched or something it was such a coincidence – I got the position of the decal from the picture.The decals went on pretty well but I had a bit of a problem with the mudguard as the paint I had reacted with the decal – my fault – I would suggest using micro set and micro sol as they made my decals adhere very well to the kit.
The car was weathered and decaled – now to attach all of the fiddly bits on the outside – Tail lamps, Head lamps, horn, rear bumper, door handles that had fallen off, bonnet latches, the hub caps, the side thingies….. Well everything and also the lovely Mercedes emblem on the front.
The next thing was the windows – Lovely and clear transparencies are supplied – albeit a little thick but nothing to complain about to loud – they look pretty nice on. I simply painted their edge with a big silver pen as I wanted to see some chrome to break up the relentless grey and greyer and even more grey; I think the finish was good. A few highlights and some thin black wash in places like the sills and the creases in the body work topped it all off. I was done!
Some things regarding this kit
This kit is very nice – super detailed and has many, many options – after a slow start it comes together quite enjoyably – the fit is on the whole very good – decals ok and many choices, the plastic good to work with and the look of the whole thing convincing.
The instructions are the only drawback of the kit. From here spring many problems. They are just too vague. The CAD drawings do give you an idea of the fit of the parts – and the colours are on the back of the kit box help – but a combination of sprue numbers so you don’t have to hunt for tiny parts would really help the initial fiddly construction phase. I like to trim down and eliminate my sprues as I go – but it was hard to do that and find parts of the instruction map. This is the one area I would make in improving this way of working. With figures it is ok – but with a car or a complicated kit it is just too slow going.
The instructions are not horrible – they could just be better - more clear. Some of us (myself) are not that smart and you can easily get something majorly wrong pretty easy as i did.
The kit itself though is fun to build and great to paint and weather – I really enjoyed this process – you can see in these pictures the difference in detail of this and the competition like this almost toy like looking Kubelwagen from Tamiya – the newer kits like this – although so much more complex - blow the older more basic kits out of the water when it comes to detail. (Just like the Zundapp K800 I reviewed and compared to a basic Tamiya bike a few months ago here and that you can see in pictures later on I this gallery below).
I think if you want a new – detailed soft skinned vehicle it is a great option, and with more coming out from Masterbox in the same series (with more details like radiator covers etc.) the choice is pretty simple – this kit from Masterbox punches way above its weight in class and price and with some patience builds up really well.
Here are many many pictures of the kit in all of its different aspect with hoods on/off and windows on/off -
Many thanks to MasterBox for the review sample used here.