The 917t was a 3 ton truck powered by a 3.6l V8 petrol engine manufactured by Ford Germany between 1939 and 1942. Unlike the similar US truck the German version had a one piece windscreen and a different pattern radiator grille, otherwise it was virtually identical. IBG have also released a kit of the Japanese variant, but here we will look at building and painting the 917t German Truck kit.
As usual we get very nice artwork on a useful top opening box, that, in common with other IBG kits, is pretty big for what is inside (photo 1).
- Sprue G – wheels, chassis and engine parts (photos 2 - 4)
- Sprue C – cab (5 - 9)
- Sprue D – truck bed (10 - 12)
- Transparent sprue – front and rear windows (13)
- Etched sheet (14)
- Decals (15)
- Tarpaulin – the canvas cargo cover (16, 17)
Instructions are a stapled A4 colour booklet illustrated with CAD images, including useful “as-built” images so that you know what the step you’re working on is meant to look like when done. The finishing guide shows a grey example from 6.Panzer, Eastern Front 1941 (for which divisional symbols are included), and an Afrika Korps vehicle in Gelbbraun, the palm tree AK symbol featuring a bowlderized swastika.
I think it is evident from the sprue shots that the moulding and the detail provided is of a pretty high standard, as good as anything I have seen IBG produce in this small scale. The chassis is well detailed with springs, a proper front axle, drive shaft and exhaust. The cab interior has a dash, foot wells, and detailed interiors to the doors, which can be modelled open. The cab exterior has separate shovel and pick, a jerry can which mounts on a metal rack, and quite a fine plastic mirror. There is a decent engine that includes the main hoses, carburettor, air filter, generator, exhaust manifolds, and even an etched metal fan which faces off into the radiator. The bonnet / hood is a separate part which it is possible to model raised, although the instructions do not suggest this, and there are three ejector marks on the underside that would need to be removed. The cargo bed has the option of being modelled uncovered, with raised sides, for which stowed tarpaulin supports are provided to fit behind the cab, or with a full tarpaulin cover. The sides all being separate pieces means that they can be modelled in a lowered position, there is a spare wheel to stow under the truck bed, and an etched metal stowage bin just in front of the left rear wheel.
That’s a fair amount of useful detail then, and flexibility to allow various configurations. A few possibilities occurred to me while building it however. Having provided this amount of engine detail, it seemed that IBG could have gone further and made more provision for the bonnet to be fixed open, and a bit more detail for the engine bay. The bulk head has an OK appearance, but a battery and a fuse box would improve the view under the hood, and bonnet stays would enhance the appearance if fixing in the open position. In fact, we’ll see that I made a battery rack and bonnet stays from some of the unused parts on the etched sheet, but providing these parts would make more sense than the fan, which although it looks nice while being built, is totally invisible once the model is finished.
The seat pad has that brand new appearance, like no-one has ever sat on it, and it could have been designed with a bit of sag. Although front and rear windows are provided, there’s no transparencies for the door windows. The head lights are a bit awkward being just solid lumps and there might have been scope for improving these by providing shells for the lamp units with an option of either clear lenses or blackout covers in plastic or metal. There are also no windscreen wipers provided, which could have been an option on the etched sheet.
Assembly starts with the engine, cylinder heads with manifolds attaching to the main lump, plus the fan belt / pulleys and the hoses (18, 19) all of which fit well; make sure the correct head goes on each side of the block.
The front axle is three parts (20) that requires some slightly fiddly clean up, and it’s best to allow one part to fully set before adding the next to keep everything straight. While that sets, the chassis is built up (21), though most of it is in one piece, including part of the drive shaft. The front fender has width indicators moulded in place, which could be replaced with thinner items if desired, I’d suggest just drilling the location holes for such replacements at this stage. The inner parts of the wheels needed to have their centre holes drilled through (22) to allow them to locate on the chassis.
Just as with IBG’s Chevrolet C30A kit, I found the final drive shaft to be too short to fill the span between the differential case and the front section (23) and had to add a small slice of sprue to fill the gap (24). Not sure what’s going on there… is it me or IBG’s CAD design? Anyway, with everything in place we get a decent looking chassis (25) to which we can now add the wheels (26, 27) which attach in a definite way, providing a stable base that sits with all four wheels on the ground. The front wheels were slightly turned just by bending them a little on the axle.
The metal fan was added to the engine to face into the radiator which includes detail even on the inside (28) but as you can see, once the hoses are attached to the radiator and the engine mounted on the chassis, the fan is already mostly hidden (29).
Turning to the cab the bench seat is added (30) along with the gear and brake levers and the steering wheel (31). There’s a couple of pin marks in the foot well / bulkhead, but these will mostly be hidden from view when assembled. As the front wheel arches will be quite prominent on the finished model, now is the time to thin the edges down (32). The cab was left partially unassembled in preparation for painting.
If opting for the open top cargo bed, construction is from separate flat pieces (33-35) the detail being good on both sides of the side walls. Things are simpler if opting for the tarpaulin cover in that only the rear tailgate is also needed, which could be left hanging down, open, if desired. In either case, there is a mould seam line around the edge of the flat bed base that will be visible so needs to be removed.
Photo 36 shows parts prepared for priming. The right / left wings (A) have had ejector marks filled with putty, while the bonnet / hood (B) had three ejector marks removed from the underside, and a strip added to the rear edge. The chassis, cab, cargo bed supports and underside of the cargo bed have all had their joining surfaces masked (C), and the wheel arches have been thinned and cleaned up (D). After priming in black, the upper part of the cargo bed was painted with Tamiya Wooden Deck Tan in preparation for a bit of chipping (37).
With the interior of the cab painted, the front and rear sections and the roof were assembled, with the doors put in place temporarily to ensure correct alignment (38). The join between the windscreen and the roof requires some work to fully eliminate it, there being no noticeable weld seam there on the real thing. Then each front wing (39),the radiator grille (40) and the wheel arches (41) were added.
Having decided to fix the bonnet / hood open, I added some very basic wiring for the spark plugs (42) from bent pieces of 0.3mm rod (clearly one could do this better…) which were just gathered together at the rear of the engine and test fitted in photo 43. Apart from the engine in the middle, the engine bay looks a bit sparse, so a little more detailing was added, including a battery holder fashioned from the unused component number 2 from the etched sheet (44). Photo 45 shows details added to the cab, with the doors now mounted. Bonnet stays (A) were made from one of the unused part 5s on the metal sheet, cut in half. The battery (B) was made from a block of sprue with two copper wires attached. The fuse box (C) was also from sprue with two 0.3mm rods hanging down. The head lights (D) were added without modification, and the Notek light (E). The etched metal jerry can rack is shown part assembled (F) so that the CA glue can set prior to the top being bent over. The warning triangle on the cab roof (G) is attached folded down, indicating that no trailer is being towed.
Photo 46 shows further details. The spotlight (A) attaches to the passenger side of the window frame, and driver mirror (B). The jerry can rack is now fully assembled (C) and the bonnet with stays is in place (D). With that all done, the interior was masked with cling film and the exterior primed (47). Forgotten from earlier, I added the etched metal hooks to the front and rear of the chassis; these seem like they might be under scale thickness (48).
The chassis and cab were painted with Tamiya greys (49, 50), the wooden parts of the cargo section having been coated with chipping fluid, then lightly distressed (51). Photo 52 shows a couple of issues: the jerry can needs to be fixed as far away from the truck body as possible to allow the shovel blade to fit under it, and you need to do something about painting the head lights. The IBG painting guide kind of ignores them, offering no colour guidance but illustrating them as a pale grey. I mocked up black out covers by simply masking a strip in the centre, though in fact one of the trucks on which this model is based (with the registration plate WH 308 290) can be seen photographed with plain glass lenses. The same photo also shows the Notek light fitted on the top of the wheel arch, with the 6.Panzer marking level with the head light; it also has no width indicators (they may have been fitted at some point) but does have windscreen wipers. You can see here that the registration plate has been fixed in place, slightly awkward in that it has no mounting point defined, and no tabs on the etched metal part, but it was CA glued by its edge on to the underside of the fender.
With chassis details painted and the masking tape removed, the chassis is attached to the rear body (53, 54). While the glue set weights were applied overnight to ensure that there was no twisting of the chassis (55). The cab windows were added; both slot in from the outside, and after making a bit of a mess with some special window glue, I fixed them in place with Klear run around the edges (56, 57). It might be worth spending time carefully painting the edges of the windows black to avoid the thick plastic look. Although there are no windscreen wipers, I still painted a window washer pattern (not that well, admittedly). The cab was then mounted on the chassis, tucking the ends of those fuse box wires up into the engine somewhere.
This is a very decent kit, with enough details to take it most definitely out of the wargaming quick build category, while at the same time inviting a fair bit of additional detailing work to build upon that foundation if the modeller is so inclined. There were no problems with the fit of parts, other than the short prop shaft, and only one or two areas requiring much work, such as the join around the front of the roof.
I outlined earlier several areas where (in my view) improvements could potentially have been made to the execution of the kit, perhaps most obviously in terms of the design of the head lights and the lack of windscreen wipers, but that is not to take too much away from what is already an excellent kit. It’s good to see such major parts options for the hood up / hood down included, when you consider that sometimes re-boxings are done for much smaller variations than that, and also the ability to fix doors, bonnet and tailgate open if desired is a major plus. (Now if we could start getting openable hatches with interior details on the tank kits please…)
Finally, £10 for this kit is great value, when many 1/72 kits are pushing double that.