Tuesday, March 5

Build Review Pt I: Mercedes Typ 320 (W142) Soft Top from ICM in 1/35th scale

Andy King has begun his build of ICM's Mercedes Typ 320 (W142) Soft Top in 1/35th scale. See how the kit goes together before the second article which will be all painting & weathering in his build guide.

Build Review Pt I: Typ 320 (W142) Soft Top
From ICM
1/35th scale
Model #35542
Price: $48 USD from Hobbylink Japan
The Subject: The Mercedes Typ 320 (W142) Soft Top WWII German staff car
The Mercedes-Benz 320, also known as the W142, was developed at the design bureau of Daimler-Benz AG and began production in 1937. It had a six-cylinder engine with a volume of 3.2 liters (3.4 liters in later versions) and 78 horsepower. The model was available with a short (2880 mm) or long (3300 mm) wheelbase and various body styles. 

 A few views of the very nice civilian version
The Cabriolet body variant was available in a long wheelbase version. The four-seater version had two doors and four side windows; the roof was soft and could be folded down to protect it from the weather. This vehicle was often seen in the Wehrmacht, with some retaining civilian license plates. It was used as a staff car and was also used to transport senior commanders.

The Kit:
This kit of the Mercedes Typ 320 first appeared in ICM's catalogue around 2016 and has seen a couple of outings before ending up with this particular version. Moulded in grey plastic you also get a clear sprue (for the windows obviously), six rubber tyres and a decal sheet. Parts are nicely moulded with little flash and any mould pin marks are relegated to out of the way places.

Four colour schemes are provided including a rather pretty two-tone blue one but what did it for me was the fourth option featuring the 'England Blitz' emblem on the front left fender plus the fact I wouldn't have to paint any chrome parts with this version either. Bonus!

Markings in the box:
-Typ 320 (W142) Cabriolet, France, 1940
-Typ 320 (W142) Cabriolet, unknown Luftwaffe unit, 1940
-Typ 320 (W142) Cabriolet, Eastern Front, 1943
-Typ 320 (W142) Cabriolet, NJG1 (Nachtjagdgeschwader 1), probably 1943

The scheme I will be reproducing in this build...
The Build:
Diving right in with the build, it begins with the engine which is quite detailed but unless you are going to chop open the bonnet cover (or hood) then it's all rather wasted as the bonnet is moulded closed and you won't see anything of the engine. Still this was glued together as per the instructions and left to set while tackling the chassis which was a little tricky as it is a multi-part assembly. The chassis rails themselves are in two halves and when glued together they do feature very prominent join lines and although these will be hidden, I ended up filling them especially the ones that would be visible from the rear wheel arches.
Assembly of the chassis was actually pretty straightforward although I did drill out the locating holes for part E14 as the fit was quite tight.

The only bit that wasn't clear was the proper location of part A54 at the front of the chassis;

The chassis and part A54.....
…..and where part A54 actually fits.
The rest of the chassis assembly was pretty good with only the locating holes for parts A35 and A36 requiring drilling out to obtain a good fit, however the sides of the fuel tank featured a nasty join line with some shrinking so doing one side at a time I flooded them with superglue and accelerator and when set sanded them back.
With the fuel tank done the engine was glued into place and the chassis was complete.
I'm not a fan of vinyl tyres and the ones supplied in the kit looked a bit gnarly with the mould seams around the circumference of each tyre plus the flash. I gave the tyres a going over with abrasive paper and the crap disappeared fairly quickly and they were useable but at some point in the future (and if any are available) I'd like to replace them with aftermarket resin items.
Moving onto the body and the biggest gripe I have is the way the floor pan (part E15) attaches to the sprue as on the real vehicle there is a raised line that runs around the floor and fenders and the sprue attachment points are RIGHT on it which makes removal from the sprue VERY awkward without destroying this detail.
I did manage to remove part E15 but it took a fair bit of careful clean up to eradicate the attachment points and until I get some paint on the model, I'm still not sure if I have been successful. Anyway I glued the rest of the bodywork together and found that if you remove the four locating pins from the inside of the firewall (part E24), it fits a lot better.
The rest of the bodywork went together pretty well as per the instructions with the exception of the bonnet cover (hood) as it would just not sit properly. The problem was the top of the firewall so I carved a fair bit of material away until the bonnet cover fitted.
In hindsight it probably would have been easier to cut away the top of the firewall completely but at least I got the bonnet cover to fit properly.

The seats were left loose to aid painting later except for the rear seat back as that was integral to the body.
The parts that hold the spare tyres (A56 and A58) were glued to the fenders as I figured out it was possible to fit the tyres after painting as the plastic ICM use is fairly soft and will take some bending.
The small piece of rod that are supposed to attach to the sides of the body are too short so holes were drilled into the body both sides and new rods made from stretched sprue added.
When test-fitting the canvas top some trimming along the bottom of the part was required before it sat nicely and once done the final bits such as drilling out the end of the exhaust pipe and adding the headlights, tail lights, door handles etc., that was another build completed and fairly quickly too as it took about a weekend to bring it all together.

The completed Cabriolet before the paint transforms this...
I did enjoy building this kit as although there was a little complexity involved, overall it was pretty easy to put together. The next part will concentrate on the finish and weathering (if any) so stay tuned to The Modelling News. 

Here is the link for Part II in this story...
Andy King

Thanks to ICM for sending this kit to Andy to build & review, you can find out about ICM's other releases on the ICM plastic model kits website