by: Darren Baker [ ]
Originally published on:
Classy Hobby is a new name on the plastic kit scene although the products do have a familiar feel about them, reminiscent of Bronco in the style of instruction and Dragon on the box art, the first release is treading new ground in subject and scale, kit MC16001 a 1/16 Luchs (Sdkfz. 123). However our first review is concentrating on kit MC16002, ‘WW2 German 20ltr Jerry Cans and 200ltr Fuel Drum Set’ as the Luchs is being built being the first offering from Classy Hobby.
Being a much smaller set of contents, I expected to be able to scribe a review in quick time, but even the briefest of internet searching will reveal what a diverse subject German jerry cans are with a very active collectors market and therefore an equally active fake market in attendance. This has been a double edged sword as it has allowed me to be meticulous in comparison of the kit to the real thing, yet also caused some queries to the exact type portrayed. More on that as we build the kit.
Firstly the box itself, a stout end opening box with colour artwork on the front showing the full four 200L drums and eight 20L cans that can be built from the contents. The reverse has simple construction diagrams removing the need for any printed instructions inside, and line drawings of the sprues and photo etch fret with the total number of sprues indicated. The sprues break down simply, two halves and two ends with two filler caps for each drum. There are four parts on the jerry can sprue, left and right sides, a filler cap and the three rung handle. The photo etched (PE) sheet (which has a film surrounding the parts that easily peels off) gives the characteristic lip that runs around the centre of each jerry can.
The reverse also has a painting guide and a table of suggested colours quoting Hobby color, Mr Hobby, Humbrol and Tamiya. A useful pan world selection of colours except Humbrol 92 is not currently manufactured so use your own preference when matching the dark yellow, German gray and white that the table lists.
It is coloration that brought about the first query as the box art shows the kit supplied jerry cans with white crosses as used by the Germans in WWII to indicate the contents was drinking water. The left side of the jerry can part has some wonderfully precise engraving along the top section: ‘ Kraftstoff 20L Feuergefährlich 1321’ translated as [motor] fuel 20l Flammable 1321.
Dedicated water cans had this area stamped with ‘Wasser 20L’ and it seems very unlikely that fuel cans would have been used as alternative water storage containers. Having been on the receiving end of drinking water stored in a supposedly cleaned out fuel container I can attest it is not something that can be simply achieved by a quick rinse and remarking with a white cross. Therefore treat the painting guide with caution. I filled the engraving on the cans I painted with white crosses so they at least didn’t say fuel.
While looking at the top lines of engraving replicating the stamped information found on the real things I could not find the reasoning for the four figure number selection: 1321. All the references I have seen of this type of can have dates from 1940, 1942 and 1943 in that location.
The centre of the left hand side has a triangle shaped motif replicating the logo of ABP one of a number of manufactures who produced 20L cans. ABP is Ambi-Budd Presswerk of Berlin a metal pressing company who made 20L Wasser and feuergefährlich cans from 1940 to 43.
The lower part of the kit part has two further lines, ‘1938’ and ‘Whermacht’. The Whermacht inscription is common enough but this lower date seems to be incorrect and where numbers do appear (as many cans do not have this extra line of text), it appears as a 3 digit code.
Over all the engraving does give a very good simulation of the stamping found on the real thing. It is easy to fill those words that you have doubts about, engraving new text of your own if careful.
The Jerry cans go together with ease, I used Tamiya extra fine cement throughout though you may prefer super glue to stick the PE in place. I found that the locating pegs were large and long enough to hold everything securely with the plastic sides trapping the PE in place like the filling of a sandwich. The 3 rung handle locates with ease and don’t be put off by the joint line as the picture shows; the real cans had a prominent gap where the handle was attached. The filler cap fits well enough though I was surprised by how simply it was rendered in this scale. The kit part has smooth side were in reality curved hooks swing over to lock into metal loops to securely close the fuel cap. I mimicked this on one can by reaming out the smooth plastic to give the curved area above the hook and then a small rectangle of plastic card on each side to replicate the loops once the cap was glued in place.
I used normal painting techniques to finish, you all have your own methods, but I did heat a couple of cans gently over a flame before denting and deforming, and painted the creased areas suitably in rusty reds and brown. The inside of these cans was a deep primer red, that could appear almost orange and this was often also evident on the bottom of the cans where camouflage paint failed to reach. There really is a huge amount of possible colour schemes to choose from as a Google search will reveal, but do remember that many current ‘replicas’ have been worn to appear older than they are and that on your model these Jerry cans would have been nearly new, not 75 years old with the aged look they have now gained.
The 200 litre Drums are even simpler than the Jerry cans but care is needed to remove one of the joint lines, the real things did exhibit a weld join on one side. The top and bottom ( kit parts 1 and 4) are similar with one end having a filler cap. When building, ensure the writing on the end cap is at right angles to the side mounted filler cap, or put another way, if your barrel was laid on its side with the side cap uppermost, then you should be able to read the German text left to right with the end filler cap at the bottom. As there are no locating pins it is easy to place the lids in any and possibly wrong direction.
The raised writing on the kit parts is a little too precise in profile so to simulate the look of stamped metal I painted Plastiweld liquid cement over the whole face which rounded of the sharp edges. Once dry you can paint in the normal way. For the review I left one in a clean state and weathered the other, but you could easily go further by adding dents, more heavy rust effects as well as unit stamps to signify where a drum was destined. Many Jerry cans ended up with identification marks tying the can to a particular vehicle as part of its CES as is often done today by modern units. These cans would have the same paint applied as that of the host vehicle.