by: Darren Baker [ ]
Over 2000 Krupp Kfz.72 trucks were built in various forms and 22,000 Henschell 33 trucks, some of which were both utilised as radio communications vehicles. ICM has built up a considerable number of soft skinned vehicles over the last few years, and they have now offered the Krupp L3H163 Kfz 72 and Henschel 33 D1 Kfz 72 WWII German Radio Communication Trucks together in a single package.
Starting with the packaging, the box is more than adequate for the task and should ensure that damage is prevented during normal handling due to a cardboard tray with a flip top lid and a separate card lid with the artwork on it. The postage survival aspect is of course especially important now that so many people purchase their kits online. The sprues for each of the models are packaged in a single re-sealable polythene bag, the clear sprues being additionally protected from scratches by being placed inside their own re-sealable bags with the model sprues. The decals are packaged loose inside the instruction booklets.
The sprues contain a surprising number of parts that all appear to me to be well moulded and up to the expected standard for modern kits. There is no flash to contend with, but there are a reasonable number of small and shallow ejector pin marks, although the only ones that I believe will have to be dealt with are those inside the cab and the ones on the mudguards and running boards. It should be said that it is good practice to fill and sand any ejector pin marks that you suspect may be visible on the complete model before construction, since leaving them until later may well prove an impossible task. The moulding gates attaching the parts to the sprues are both small in number and size, and there are only a few nodes used during the moulding process, unlike the products from some other manufacturers. The only visible flaws on the parts that could be an issue are flow marks within the plastic, but this does not appear to have caused any deformity in the parts in this sample.
Krupp L3H163 Kfz.72
This model has been provided by ICM with a very nicely detailed engine and transmission, where even the fan belt and fan blades are supplied as separate parts. As is common with ICM no photo etch has been utilised with the model, but for the most part this has not affected the quality of the product. The chassis of the model is a multipart affair, and due to there being no angled bracing it will require care and attention to ensure that the chassis of the model is assembled squarely in order to avoid issues later in the model production. On the plus side tackling the chassis in this manner has enabled a high degree of accuracy in how it looks when built. You will find some small ejector pin marks in the chassis rails, that will be difficult to access and a small modeller’s chisel may be best used with filler.
The axles of the model have been nicely detailed and should look very good once assembled, aged and weathered. The only issue you may encounter is the removal of seem lines on some parts that will need to be tackled with care. Disappointingly ICM has still not provided a steerable front axle. A big positive for many modellers is that the tyres are an injection moulded offerings as I know that vinyl tyres meet with a mixed reception. The wheel hubs themselves are very nicely detailed and will, I believe, look good on the finished model.
The cab of the model is basic in terms of layout, but that is kind of what you expect of a military truck cab. With that said all of the pedals and shifters are replicated, the instrument panel looks good and of course the decals finish this off well. Anyone who has read my reviews will be aware that one of my complaints is that the seats have that ‘brand new’ look to them rather than the ‘used and abused’ look and so will benefit from some attention by the modeller to give them that ‘lived in’ look. Some aspects of the cab body have ejector pin marks that will need to be addressed. I do like that ICM have tackled the doors in such a way, that I believe they could be shown open or closed. However they are only depicted closed in the instructions. The clear parts of the cab are thin enough that they do not cause magnification and so no issues arise here. The bonnet of the model is nicely detailed on the exterior but disapprovingly no effort has been made to allow the modeller to depict the hood or bonnet open, and this is despite the fact that on the engine bay side of the firewall has supplied parts to give it a good look. The radiator housing and grill has been well replicated including a nice rendition of the manufacturer’s name.
The radio cab on the rear of the lorry is the same on both models and I feel it is of a particular pity that ICM has not included any interior detail. The structure is basically a box structure but there are some holes that need to be drilled in certain locations, unfortunately ICM has not provided any drill size for this purpose. The access doors have been tackled in such a way that with minimal effort they could be shown open, But again with no interior it does not seem worth the effort. Storage racks are provided for the roofs of both the radio and driver cabs, and so a nice area for the modeller to add some of their own personalisation to the model. The radio masts are supplied retracted and covered, and I would’ve liked to have seen an extended version supplied. All of the tools, lights and ancillaries are added at the end of the model which is an approach I approve of as it helps to prevent damaged to them during the construction of the model.
Henschel 33 D1 Kfz 72
The Henschel radio truck from ICM also has a nicely detailed engine and transmission, and again has been well replicated despite no photo etch being used. The addition of some wire to replicated the pipes and wires inside the engine bay with greatly lift this area to a high standard. The axles and drive train is a surprisingly complex assembly, but I feel will provide an exceptionally nice appearance to this area of the model. I will say that the exhaust of the model will benefit from being drilled a little to make it look to be a hollow tube. Alternatively, cut the end off and add a piece of brass tubing. The result of this work will bring all of the oily areas up to a high standard that even if nobody else notices the modeller themselves will know it is there.
The chassis of the model is a multipart affair, with the chassis rails again having some ejector pin marks on the inner faces, which ideally will be addressed by the modeller. The diamond pattern tread plate has nice detail but would be greatly improved with photo etch replacement. When assembling the chassis great care will be required to ensure it will be assembled squarely one suggestion for doing this would be to place it on a cutting mat with squares on it. The leaf spring assemblies will require careful attention to remove the seam lines present, but fortunately these are light. The wheels of the model are injection moulded offerings and so again avoid upsetting those with a distaste for vinyl wheels. The hubs of the wheels are again nicely detailed and so provide a pleasing finish.
The cab of the vehicle is again very basic but everything that should’ve been there appears to be included. All of the controls and pedals have been faithfully replicated, including some very nice details on the cab side of the firewall. The seat will again benefit from some attention to give it a lived in look. The roof of the cab has some ejector pin marks that will need addressing, the clear parts of the cab are of a good thickness and so avoids issues. The doors of the cab I do not believe can be replicated ‘open’ as I believe the hinges was originally made of the leather/rubber type and therefore difficult to replicate. The bonnet of the vehicle has been tackled by ICM to be shown open or closed, unfortunately they have only provided hinging at the top centre line where as in reality the top of the bonnet folded towards the centre line and the side panels then folded flat against the top. I again suspect that the after market manufacturers will have addressed this issue as it will allow the display of a very nice element of the model.
The radio cab portion of the model is identical to the previous version of the model and again requires that some holes are drilled, which again ICM has not provided a size for. All other aspects of this area remain as previously mentioned, that includes a storage bin on top of the radio cab and different storage bin on top of the drivers cab. I am pleased to see that ICM has again added all the ancillary Items like the lights, flags and handles at the end of the assembly, so which again reduces the risk of damage.
The instruction booklets are printed on thin glossy paper, with the construction steps being illustrated with line drawings to guide you through construction. The front page of the booklet provides a little information on the vehicle in two languages; this is followed by painting instructions which feature Model Master Paints, unfortunate now that this paint line is being discontinued. You are then guided through the construction steps. The last page of the booklets provides painting guides for two different vehicles for each model, each guide covers the left, front, and rear elevations of the models. The decals include instrument dash details for the cab, and allow vehicles operating in the following two theatres to be represented:
Krupp L3H163 Kfz.72, France, May 1940
Krupp L3H163 Kfz.72, Ukraine, September 1942
Henschel 33 D1 Kfz 72, Poland, September1939
Henschel 33 D1 Kfz 72, Ukraine, September 1939
These offerings will build into nice replicas of the Krupp L3H163 Kfz.72 and Henschel 33 D1 Kfz 72 WWII German Radio Communications Trucks in travel mode, and with a little application of modelling skills, a very decent model will result. It is a shame that ICM didn’t take the opportunity to provide the radio cab interior and so the option of representing the Radio Communications Trucks performing the role for which they were intended, i.e. with the aerial in operational mode, but perhaps the after-market suppliers will oblige in that respect. The models have a few minor issues, mostly around the lack of any choice other than to model closed-up non-transmitting radio trucks; built as supplied however they will still create good models and make impressive additions to your shelf or diorama.