One of the most surprising aspects of the resurgence of 1/48 scale military vehicles is that it's taken so long for some of the most obviously useful (and hence potentially popular) subjects to appear. A classic case is the Kfz.305 – better known as the famous Opel Blitz - long a highly sought-after collector's item from Bandai's sadly-missed range of 1970s ground-breaking kits, so the latest addition to Tamiya's quarterscale range is especially welcome. The new kit is a limited edition release and is the result of another tie-in between Tamiya and Italeri, who produced the parts (the truck is also available under Italeri's Supermodel label, in a double-kit with a Henschel Hs 129).
The kit arrives in a very attractive standard Tamiya box, with the main sprues and other accessories bagged separately for protection. The kit comprises:
84 x tan styrene parts
6 x clear styrene parts
7 x vinyl tyres
2 x metal screws
Decals for 4 x colour schemes
Despite not originating with Tamiya, the moulding is nice and crisp, with little sign of flash or sink marks. There are a few ejector pin marks, but these are mostly kept out of harm's way - the only really obvious ones are on the inside surfaces of the sides of the truck bed, so a few minutes work dealing with those will pay dividends. The surface finish is very smooth and the designers have thankfully resisted the temptation to add a "wood-grain" texture to the truck bed and slat seats.
This is a "kerbside" model, unlike Unimodels' recent GAZ-AAA
, so there's no engine detail and the chassis is somewhat simplified. The chassis is styrene, which will make assembly simpler than in most of Tamiya's own vehicles featuring rather pointless (in my opinion) white-metal parts - but, oddly, it's still bagged separately and attaches to the cab and truck bed with a pair of cross-head screws, as though intended to be produced in metal... Overall, the kit looks set to build neatly and easily.
The cab is quite nicely detailed. The dashboard has raised instrument bezels and pedals are moulded onto the floor. The gear shift etc. look a bit on the heavy side, but a nice touch (perhaps unintentional) is that the design of the cab exterior means the doors can be cut away with some simple surgery to display them open. The clear parts are all separate drop-ins and, again, a neat touch is that one is moulded partly wound-down. The windscreen has moulded-on wipers. Compared with photos I've found of full-sized vehicles, the pillars separating the wind-down windows from the quarter lights are rather heavy, but it shouldn't be hard to thin or replace them.
The radiator grill is quite nicely moulded, but the distinctive Opel Blitz lightning badge is blank, and there's no decal provided either. Perhaps this is because of copyright issues (as with Tamiya's "Jeep"), because it's noticeable that the name Opel Blitz doesn't appear anywhere in the instructions or packaging.
The canvas roof is nicely moulded (certainly better than that in the GAZ-AAA), with creases and folds all around and the tail rolled-up to allow the interior to be seen. Alternatively, the kit can be built without the roof and the support frames stowed.
The wheel hubs are crisp and neat, but the real point that sets the model aside from a standard Tamiya kit is the inclusion of “rubber” tyres. This isn't really my favourite medium in instances like this, and these ones do show noticeable flow-marks. They might disappear under a coat of paint – but that rather defeats the point of moulding soft tyres in the first place. Resin aftermarket wheels and tyres are almost certain to appear for this kit very soon, but if you do use the vinyl tyres, just be careful to ensure a good barrier of paint/varnish between hem and the styrene wheel hubs to preclude any chance of an adverse chemical reaction.
Instructions & Decals
The assembly instructions are very clearly drawn and laid out in typical Tamiya fashion and the construction looks straightforward and logical. Colour matches for Tamiya's own paints are included throughout.
The kit is well served with 4 attractive and very varied colour schemes, and aircraft modellers will really welcome the fact that one of them is for a Luftwaffe vehicle:
1. Luftwaffe 8(PZ)/SCH G1, Kharkov, Russia, 1942
2. 8th Gebirgsjäger Division, Bologna, Italy, February-April 1945
3. 21st Panzer Division, North Africa, 1942
4. 19th Panzer Division, Kursk, Russia, 1943
The decals look very good quality, printed in Italy by Zanchetti Buccinasco, they are thin and glossy and in excellent register.
It's great to see the Opel Blitz available again in 1/48 scale as a modern kit. Tamiya's kit (and the Italeri/Supermodel version) deserves to sell well - it should be a hugely popular accessory for Luftwaffe vignettes and dioramas. Tamiya's boxing is labelled as a "limited edition", but they may well find it's in such demand that there's pressure for an extended production run. The original vehicle was also produced in a large number of other variants - wireless trucks, fuel bowsers, fire trucks etc., so expect the aftermarket producers to already be gearing up with plenty of conversion sets. Recommended.
Tamiya's Kfz.305 Opel Blitz was kindly provided for review by HobbyLink Japan. Visit HLJ for Japanese kits at Japanese prices.
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