One of the new trends in modeling is the appearance of more soft-skin vehicles. AFV Club joins in with a German Büssing-NAG L4500S, a 4.5-ton-class truck produced from 1942-45.
The kit comes in dark yellow styrene so brittle I broke several parts just handling the sprues. There is some flash that needs removal for parts to mate. There also are many ejector-pin marks; most are in hard-to-see spots, but I removed them anyway.
The interior of the front grille and rear license plate are photoetched metal. The vinyl tires show good tread and have the company name molded clearly. Poly caps attach the wheels to the axles.
The truck’s frame comes in nine parts, with the exhaust weaving through several cross members. I found it easiest to thread the exhaust, then glue everything to the side rails. This also helped square the frame.
Part B52 is shown glued to the wrong part of the frame; it should be glued to the bottom instead. Do not sand down the bracket on the end of the muffler. It is designed to glue to the other half of the bracket molded on a cross member (B46). I left the front bumper off until the end to avoid breaking the distance markers. (I still did, painting). The Notek light is fragile, too; I left it off until after painting.
Do not glue the radiator to the frame now, as shown in the directions. The front wheels are easy to pose, but you should glue them in place to allow the steering linkage to be glued. The tires easily snapped onto the rims after painting.
The well-detailed motor would look even better with some wiring. Part D38 should have a hole molded in the center to allow the drive-shaft linkage (D31) to be glued. The radiator hose is shown glued to the water pump; I glued it to the radiator first, then attached it to the water pump when the engine and radiator were in place (after painting). The transmission lines up with a hole in the bottom of the cab, so do not glue the engine until the cab is on.
I glued the cab roof, cab front, and floor, but left the rear of the cab off for painting. The seam where the roof and cab front meet needs filler, and small rivets must be replaced when the seam is sanded smooth. Dashboard gauges require painting. The seat cushions could use some added detail. Louvers on the side of the engine bonnet are molded open. Two holes should be drilled in the bonnet sides (parts C2 and C3) if you mount tools, but the tools have no brackets; the jack is supposed to just sit on the cab step with nothing holding it, so I left it off. The fit of the front bonnet was so good that I left it unglued so I could remove it to show the engine. In fact, I didn’t have to glue the cab down, either.
Detail on the truck bed is stunning. You could leave the sides down and mount a gun on the bed. I left the bed support (A2) off for easier painting. The wheel chucks are shown as one part, but are actually two (parts B36 and B58). Paint the interior of B28 before you glue it to the bottom of the bed. Handle the bed carefully while painting; the stakes are fragile (I broke the rear ones off).
Given five sets of decals for vehicles painted panzer gray, dark yellow, and in three-color camouflage, I chose the 320th Infantry Division. The color guide covers Gunze Sangyo, Humbrol, Revell, and LifeColor paints. I primed with Vallejo German panzer gray, and added highlights of Vallejo Model Air German gray lightened with Model Air U.S. gray. Details are painted with Humbrol enamels, and various Model Air browns cover the wood parts. For weathering, I applied Mig washes and filters for gray vehicles.
The decals adhered with no silvering, but I trimmed excess carrier film so the license plate decals fit.
With lots of detail and very little photoetched metal, this is a great kit for beginners. I spent 30 hours on mine, much of it for painting. Cyberspace is filled with pictures of this truck carrying various guns, so making this kit your own would be easy.
Note: A version of this review appeared in the April 2013 FineScale Modeler.