With an army the size of what the Germans entered the war with you can imagine that you also need and incredible amount of materials and resources to keep that war-machine rolling. Everything from food to uniforms and from spare parts, weapons, to fuel… Literally anything you can think of needs to get to its specified destination. By the fastest and most efficient means possible. Of course you can go by ship and the railroads take you a long way as well.
But let’s hypothetically say you and your comrades are currently waiting on resources in the woods near the village of Pysarivka. Which is roughly 100 km away from Shytomyr in the Ukraine. Fat chance any train will arrive there and you can wait till you weigh an ounce for a ship to arrive even though it is located near some (small) rivers. Luckily for the Germans they had access to some of the best car manufacturers in the world. And among them was a name you might have heard of…. Daimler Benz AG, of Mercedes fame.
Of course the use of trucks wasn’t new to the military. As soon as the first car was produced people saw how useful they could be for hauling bigger loads faster, so shortly after the invention of the lorry it also became one of the military’s workhorses. Coming forth from the design of the Mercedes L1500 personnel carrier a 1.5 ton truck design was created which came in two flavours. The 4x4 L1500 A which was all wheel driven and the 4x2 L1500 S which was only rear wheel drive. Only a small number of the A chassis were built as trucks. While trucks based on the S chassis mounted up to quite an impressive 4101 examples of which 3600 had a closed structure to serve as fire engine.
And the good news is that if you ever had the wish to build a 1.5 ton Mercedes Benz L1500 S 4x2 truck, MiniArt
made sure you can. By releasing what on first sight is a really neat kit.
Customary to MiniArt
the L1500 S comes in their standard box for vehicles with the box top sliding over the box. Dimensions of the box are roughly 34,5cm wide, 24 cm deep and 6cm high.
On the box top Is a really nice graphic of the truck in a grey finish and in the right corner it shows a bunch of utensils like wooden barrels, milk churns, crates with bottles etc. etc. Which are in the box as well, and that you might recognize as being kit# 35550 that was released earlier as a separate diorama accessories kit.
Upon opening the box you are greeted by a bag containing
- 11 sprues of medium grey styrene
- A separate part that is the shell of the drivers cabin
- 1 transparent sprue
- 2 sheets of PE
- A decal sheet
- Instruction booklet
Of the 11 sprues of medium grey styrene 2 are for the barrels and the rest of the cargo (92 pieces in total). The rest of the 260 styrene parts, medium grey and transparent and the PE are for are for the truck itself.
Looking at the instruction booklet the kit is very complete. Step 1 to 3 alone deal with the assembly of the full engine and transmission. And with 25 parts that is already a kit in itself.
Assembly of the rolling chassis with engine and radiator is divided through step 4 to 19
The kit might seem a bit over engineered at first but the detail you will get from this is stunning.
Step 20 to 32 deals mainly with the drivers cabin, the vehicles hood and side panels, a really nice radiator grill with an option to do this with PE or styrene.
Step 34 to 38 deals with the cargo bed in the back and some of the smaller finishing details on the vehicle itself.
As I said before it is a full kit. And from front to back everything is exact just as on the real McCoy. Aside from an impressively detailed engine and transmission you get a very nice and detailed firewall. Only a bit of wiring needed to spice it up. Luckily MiniArt
recognized this nice feature so they provided you, the modeler, with the possibility to showcase it with the hood opened.
Inside the drivers cabin same story; really good details with the jack on top of the transmission, correct dashboard, Nice bench, and a lot of details that will make the detail painters happy.
The cargo bed is correctly detailed with the low sides but even more impressive is the really fine wood grain texture on all the wood panelling.
The parts for the cab are cleanly molded with a fine mold line that you pretty much find in any injection molded styrene kit, No flash, and minimum clean up. All the details like bolts and edges and such are nice and sharp. I can’t comment on fit yet as at time of writing I have not yet started with this kit.
The Cargo sprues are a bit rougher in appearance. The details are nice but there is some flash here and there that needs to be cleaned up. Still it is really nice it is included in the box because when you have finished building the kit you have a loaded truck ready to go in your diorama.
The instruction Booklet is an 8 page A4 deal. With a nice colored front showing 2 paint options with matching decals for the vehicle. A grey one of the 197th Infantry division, 229th Engineer combat battalion, Eastern Front, Summer 1942 and a desert yellow version belonging to the DAK. 15th Panzer-Division, Supply company, Tobruk Area 1942. Also on the front are the assembly instructions for the cargo load. The remaining 7 pages and 38 steps guide you through the built of the vehicle.
The PE although not every bodies cup of tea is simple enough and should, even for the lesser experienced, provide no problems. The PE radiator grille is a very nice touch and with the amount of PE standard in the box any PE from an AM company is not really necessary.
As said, there are 2 paint options and you have enough decals for 2 vehicles.
The engine and engine bay are pretty much like I have seen them on restored vehicles. And only a bit of wiring is needed to take it that extra step. The chassis beams are of the one side open type as per the original. The floor inside the driver’s cabin is smooth. No anti-slip pattern whatsoever. I have some conflicting references on this. Some photographs show a very fine bumpy anti slip pattern but I also have pictures of a smooth floor. Since they both come from restored vehicles it is hard to tell which is correct. On the overall dimensions it pretty much is on par as well. Height of the cab corresponds with what I have in my references. The length seems to be right on as well. Width: spot on.
The tires have really nice details on the sides. The Fulda brand and the tyre size are really crisp and should paint up nicely; However The wheels are a tad too small and the tread pattern is also not of the usual heavy off road tyres the Germans used on their cars in the field, And the rim design is not correct and more Steyr like. Presumably they are copied from a museum example which stood on the wrong wheels. But rumour has it that Hussar is currently working on replacement wheels with correct rims and tire-pattern.
For years the modeler has been shouting for more soft skin vehicles and when it rains it pours. Suddenly in a short period of time there is a lot of choice. And aside from the tyres that, if you want a super correct truck needs to be replaced, I have to say that this is a really nice kit. This is a nice addition to what is already on the market. Sure the L1500 S might not have run around in huge numbers it still is a really neat truck. Detail wise it is an amazing kit. There are a load of really small parts, a full and correct engine and engine bay, correct chassis, Truck bed with nice wood grain. The included PE does make buying aftermarket PE unnecessary. And the cargo load is also a nice touch whether you use it for in the back of the Mercedes or not. It is simply a lot of value for the money.