by: Jim Rae [ ]
IntroductionThe German Horch 4X4 Type 1a served a similar function to the Dodge 3/4 ton weapons carrier. It was used in many roles - reconnaissance, towing vehicle for light flak or AT guns and, the subject of this resin conversion set, with a van-type body, as a light ambulance.
The Conversion SetDWM35200 - Horch 'Sanka' Ambulance is a 1/35th scale conversion set consisting of 29 parts moulded in a light-cream resin. This is one of the first releases from the relatively new Spanish manufacturer, Das Werk Miniatures. The kit uses as its 'donor' Tamiya's 35052 - Horch 4X4 Type 1a. The conversion set comes packed in a VERY sturdy cardboard box with the parts inside a series of plastic 'jiffy' bags and further protection in the form of foam 'peanuts'. Neither instructions nor PE are included - the first as its pretty self-explanatory, the latter as the designer felt it was an unnecessary addition to the cost of the kit.
In detailAll the parts come attached to resin moulding blocks which are not as substantial as they first appear. No warping is present whatsoever and apart from removing the parts from their runners a thin film is present on the windows. Definition is excellent with the doors nicely moulded into the sides. The (six) wheels are resin (unlike their Unimog kit which has the tyres moulded in vinyl) and according to the references I have, the pattern is very accurately portrayed, The conversion kit covers the following areas:
Replacement engine firewall/windscreen frame
Rear compartment divider
Two side pieces
Replacement windscreen wipers, headlamps, roof light and Notek lights. Handles are also provided for the six doors
Six resin wheels - 4 drive wheels, 2 spares
Construction Notes 1) Driver's compartment:
The first stage is to assemble the Tamiya chassis (without wheels) and assemble the radiator/bonnet section adding in the replacement firewall/windscreen frame. I added the seats, the gearstick and steering wheel onto the Tamiya floor as the vehicle is being built with the doors closed, the fairly rudimentary Tamiya detail won't matter too much. I also added the Tamiya dashboard. As the windscreen on the 'Sanka' was one piece rather than the 'split' type on the original, I used the Das Werk frame as a template to copy it onto card. I then taped the card onto a sheet of clear plastic - not forgetting to add a mm or so each side to allow it to give an overlap, and cut it out. It will (obviously!) be necessary to paint the driver's compartment before final assembly...
2) The vehicle Body:
Das Werk's designers have added a couple of very nice touches to the interior window frames by moulding an interior recess which, with care, will allow the windows to be added flush to the wall. No interior detail is provided although for those wishing to 'open it up' it shouldn't be too difficult to carry out. There is also sufficient engraved detail to allow the doors to be cut out and positioned open. What requires care, are two areas: there is very finely moulded guttering around the roof which is very delicate and some care will be required to avoid damaging this (I've already replaced around 10mm with plastic rod). The wheel arches seem to be lacking some additional detailing - I added soda-can aluminium strips inside the wheel arches with a thin (plastic-rod) 'beading' around them. Not a vital addition, but I enjoy being pedantic... The body sides fit perfectly over the Tamiya vehicle floor although I discovered that it is easier to assemble the two sides, the inside bulkhead and the rear doors (keeping everything very straight) rather than add each part individually. When the 'box' is assembled, it drops straight onto the mudguards and floor with very few problems. The bevelling on the resin parts ensures that the parts fit well although it's a case of dry-fitting, dry-fitting and more dry-fitting until you're happy with the fit.
3) The Roof:
Once again, the fit is good and while not exactly dropping into place, it does fit well as there are corresponding slots making fitting easier.
4) The wheels:
These are designed to fit onto the Tamiya axles without any modification and they fit snugly. The only comment is that the pour block for the wheels does flatten the wheel detail slightly. This NOT a problem as you simply position this part touching the ground.... The two spare wheels also fit well onto their attachment points with the minimum of fuss.
5) Attaching the body to the donor kit: curiously enough, with the 'box' assembled, there is less gap between the sides and the front windscreen. if there is a gap, as the front windscreen is thinly moulded, it can be be bent backward to ensure a gap free assembly - once again, good, thoughtful design.
6) Finishing: One of the few photos of the 'Sanka' I have, shows the vehicle with black-out screens over the window and a storage rack on the roof. I have built the attachment points for the blinds with thin metal and the blinds will be made with some new paper kitchen roll (thanks SWMBO!) which has a perfect texture. This will also be used over the framework for the roof rack.
ConclusionsIt's a simple enough conversion set which, for someone with a little experience, should be relatively problem-free. The most difficult part is correctly aligning the new body over the donor kit although, with care, it isn't too difficult. On the negative side, it is a little expensive although bearing in mind the attention to detail in the set and the quality, you get what you pay for. What it does give you is the opportunity to build something that the 'plastic' manufacturers are unlikely ever to do - ambulances are not, it appears, as 'sexy' as MBTs. The quality of the resin casting is superlative with little in the way of flash or damage and it is obvious that Das Werk are interested in doing their homework in producing a quality product. It also gives new 'life' to an old but still relatively good plastic kit.