Sd.Kfz. 3 Maultier Ambulance
|Stock Number and Description||Dragon Models Limited ‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6766; Sd.Kfz. 3 Maultier Ambulance - Smart Kit|
|Media and Contents:||716 parts (472 in grey styrene, 197 “Magic Track” single links, 43 clear styrene, 4 etched brass)|
|Price:||pre-order price US$58.95 via Dragon USA Online|
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||All new kit of this popular conversion; first new kit of a box body for the Opel 3-ton truck; modern, well molded state-of-the-art kit|
|Disadvantages:||Single track links nearly HO scale size!|
|Recommendation:||Highly Recommended for German softskin fans|
As well as the open body cargo variants of the Opel Blitz 3-ton truck, the Germans also built a large number of closed or “Box Body” variants for various purposes. The most common of these were long-range radio vans and ambulances. DML has now released a kit that combines an all new box body for the ambulance variant with their “Maultier” half-track conversion of the three tonner.
Back in 1999 Italeri released a kit of the cargo truck as a box body with the “Einheitskoffer” body variant. Now DML has updated that with this body, which should be a drop fit onto the cargo truck chassis (and comes with wheel wells to prove it) and will probably be released soon for that version as well. But this variant is for the ambulance, and DML has provided a full interior for that version complete with nine stretchers, racks, and fittings.
The interior is complete but as noted rather crowded as once the nine stretchers are in place there is no room for an attendant or medic to move around. The racks are quite involved, and as a point of fact this kit adds a total of 196 new parts to the existing molds to replicate the variant.
As with its predecessor Blitz cargo versions this is a typical DML kit of recent vintage with lots of slide molded parts – and far fewer of them than the armored vehicle kits. The kit includes a nicely done radiator shell with open bars and etched brass Opel Blitz badging. It comes with a complete engine and nicely done hood frame for opening the hood to view the engine. Also the driver’s compartment is complete with all pedals, levers and “stick-on” instruments for the panel (A16). Doors have inside and outside handles and separate clear windows.
This kit receives a totally new chassis and suspension, with the multi-piece tires for the front and a fairly intricate rear suspension. The modeler gets both early (six bolt) and late (eight bolt) wheels to choose from as well. A new engine block and crankcase are provided for the modified drive line.
Where modelers will probably start to hate this kit is when they go to install the tracks. The links are Panzer I links and very tiny – about the size of that of a medium tank in HO scale (1/87) and very, very petite. Each link is only 6mm x 3mm and there is not much surface for gluing provided, which translates as ACC cements are not a good idea. I would recommend some combination of Tamiya Orange and Green or even Testors Liquid Cement on them, and you will need to make a jig of some sort for best results. DML realy should think of making DS Plastic tracks for these kits.
Technical support was provided by Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
Two different finishing options are provided for the model: Unidentified Unit, 1943 (sand with green/brown overspray, red crosses, registration plate WH-1618714);Unidentified Unit, 1943 (sand overall, no markings, no registration plate given). A small sheet of Cartograf decals is provided.
Overall, this kit expands on DML’s Blitz family and bodes well for other versions to follow. But as before the tracks will frustrate some modelers.
A 16 Opel - cab, hood, fenders
C 49 Opel - chassis, axles, running gear, engine
D 83 Opel - cab interior, handles, details, lights
E 17x2 Opel - wheels and tires
F 7 Opel - clear styrene
H 47 Maultier - chassis, drive axle
J 17 Maultier - engine, front wheels, details
J 14 Maultier - idlers, details
K 12x2 Maultier - suspension bogies
K 4x2 Maultier - road wheels
L 8 Box body components - sides, floor, wheel wells
M 16 Box body components - roof, details
N 59 Box body hardware - doors, roof rack, fittings
P 20 Box body - underfloor lockers and fittings
P 16x2 Stretcher carriers and mountings
Q 15x3 Set of three stretchers and racks
R 36 Clear styrene
Z 197 Magic track single links
MA 4 Etched brass
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.