Mass transportation is always a major feature of any mobile community, and there is always that segment that wants to travel in style. In 1937, the Ludewig firm took the basic Opel manufactured Omnibus body and added an elegant, streamlined body and a luxury interior to create a very eye catching and stylish mode of public transportation. The "Aero" bus looks much like an airplane body, and the tail fin isn't much bigger than those seen on US automobiles in the 50ís (ok, maybe it is much bigger, but the element of style is in the same line). With the onset of WWII and the need for transportation, both in new production and to replace lost or worn out vehicles, it isn't surprising that many civilian vehicles were pressed into service. As such, the Ludewig "Aero" bus was seen, at least with one vehicle, in service on the Russian front. It is likely that other vehicles were employed in similar fashion, and I would imagine that officers or pilots would find this particular vehicle appealing.
has added one to their extended line-up of kits based on their Opel Blitzbus with a new, military service version of the Ludewig Aero.
The model comes in a small-ish, end opening box with Rodenís
typical dramatic box art on the front. The bus, in olive green, is driving away from an airfield, the background tinted in a golden haze, the bus tires churning through mud and standing water. The back side of the box shows front, rear and left side profiles of two vehicles, the first in overall dark gray, attached to an unknown Gebirsjager unit, Germany 1940. The other is in overall olive green, unknown unit, Eastern front, with a license placard. A color paint guide is listed with numbers for Vallejo paint, and color names provided. Inside the box are the typical Opel Blitzbus sprues, with new "H", "L" "G" and "P" sprues from the original.
The molding is generally good with some fine detail, particularly on the bus body, but there is some flash present, as well as significant ejector pin marks and tabs that will need to be removed. As a word of caution, the use of a hobby knife to remove parts from the sprue is preferred as a sprue cutter may force the plastic too much and break some of the smaller parts. Windows are provided as a single sheet of clear acetate, with each section needing to be cut out.
A single decal sheet is provided, with front and rear plates for painting scheme 2. The decals are slightly thick and the carrier film will need to be trimmed for best appearance. The instructions are in typical line drawing form and are generally clear and well laid out.
The build is fairly simple and construction of the chassis follows is the same as was in the previous Opel Blitzbus kits I have reviewed links to which can be found at the end of this review. Based on prior experience, I knew the engine would not be visible and that it might interfere with fit of the chassis. As a result I did very basic assembly of the engine block and attached it to the frame, along with the suspension. For lack of attention, I placed the rear axle backwards and failed to notice it until I was going to attach the drive shaft. The plastic is somewhat brittle and I was afraid of breaking the parts, so I left it as is.
The passenger compartment is quite filled with the seats. I found it easier to drill out the placement holes in the floor of the bus so the seats would have a more secure attachment. Each of the single seats has a large ejector pin mark on the leg. I left it alone as I didn't think it would be very noticeable one the kit was completed. The instructions call out a silver base interior with brown leather seats. I used Tamiya aluminum, sprayed by airbrush, which flaked significantly afterwords, so there are little silver sprinkles visible. Vallejo leather brown was used on the seats, followed by an oil wash to bring out some detail. The steering column broke as I was removing it and was replaced with some stock styrene rod.
There are significant ejector pin marks on the interior panels of the body that I filled with some Testors putty I had on hand. The individual parts match up quite well, though there is some detailing that looks very much like a mold seam and should not be removed (which I did before I realized what it was). It runs along the front of the cab and along the engine cover. The tail fin has two small attachment points and is easily knocked off so take care with this part. I opted for paint scheme 1 and applied Tamiya German gray over the surface, then added a couple of drops of buff to the paint cup to add some variation to the color.
The windows were somewhat tricky. I used blue painters tape (low tac) to help me see what I was cutting, and then had to trim the front and rear windows further to get them to fit securely. I made an attempt to fit the rear window with Future, but the bond wasn't strong enough, so I tacked it in place with a little odorless CA glue (which also doesn't leave the white residue on the plastic). The same process was used on the other windows. For the sides, I had to separate the sky light section as the acetate would not bend and I was afraid of creasing the piece and having a large white mark at the bend. As such there is no curve to the "glass" in the skylights, but the windows are there.
Once the two halves were ready I joined them. The bus body fits easily over the chassis, but the step at the rear door sticks out from the bottom a bit. I added some clear red to the three red tail lenses and two front cab lights. All the kit needs now is a nice airfield to sit on, with a couple of Bf109s and some pilot figures.
This is another nice bus kit with a rather simple interior and some really nice exterior detail. Many modelers have remarked of these kits that they would love to see them released in 1/35 scale. I think this scale is still very nice and fits the shelf well. Some effort is needed to clean up flash and watch for fit, but it should not be too challenging. The acetate windows may be difficult for some. It can easily be built by an average modeler over a weekend (if there are no interruptions) and an advanced modeler can really make it shine. This kit was previously released in a civilian version with an attractive red and white paint job, if you want something even more out of the ordinary.
Opel 3.6-47 Omnibus
Opel 3.6-47 Stabswagen
Opel Blitz omnibus W39 late