Sd.Kfz. 3a Maultier Half-Track -
|Stock Number and Description||Dragon Models Limited ‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6761; Sd.Kfz. 3a Maultier Half-Track - Smart Kit|
|Media and Contents:||551 parts (340 in grey styrene, 197 Magic Track single links, 7 clear styrene, 7 etched brass)|
|Price:||Pre-order price US$48.95 via Dragon USA Online
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||All new kit of this popular conversion; modern, well molded state-of-the-art kit|
|Disadvantages:||Single track links nearly HO scale size!|
|Recommendation:|| Highly Recommended for German softskin fans
When the Germans ran up against “General Mud” in Russia – especially during the “rasputitsa” spring thaw – they desperately needed more mobile vehicles to provide supply to forward units. One solution was to take reliable trucks and simply modify them to take a tracked drive system. One of the best known of these conversions was the Opel “Maultier” (mule) based on the 3 ton variant of the Blitz cargo trucks.
More than 35 years ago Italeri offered a kit of this vehicle and it has proven popular over the years, but while that kit was leading edge for the 1970s it has not held up well. Now DML is offering a nice, new state-of-the-art kit of this machine. It adds or replaces 323 parts from the 4 x 2 Blitz truck kits.
As with its predecessor Blitz cargo versions this is a typical DML kit of recent vintage with lots of slide molded parts – and far fewer of them than the armored vehicle kits. The kit includes a nicely done radiator shell with open bars and etched brass Opel Blitz badging. It comes with a complete engine and nicely done hood frame for opening the hood to view the engine. Also the driver’s compartment is complete with all pedals, levers and “stick-on” instruments for the panel (A16). Doors have inside and outside handles and separate clear windows.
This kit receives a totally new chassis and suspension, with the multi-piece tires for the front and a fairly intricate rear suspension. The modeler gets both early (six bolt) and late (eight bolt) wheels to choose from as well. A new engine block and crankcase are provided for the modified drive line.
The four-plank body has complete underside bracing and mounts but has no troop seats. This is probably due to the folding sides, which DML designed for replication in the kit. Top bows for canvas are provided but only in their stowed position at the front of the body.
Where modelers will probably start to hate this kit is when they go to install the tracks. The links are very tiny – about the size of that of a medium tank in HO scale (1/87) and very, very petite. Each link is only 6mm x 3mm and there is not much surface for gluing provided, which translates as ACC cements are not a good idea. I would recommend some combination of Tamiya Orange and Green or even Testors Liquid Cement on them, and you will need to make a jig of some sort for best results.
Technical support was provided by Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
Five different finishing options are provided for the model: Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front 1943 (sand overall, WH-1437712); Pz.Gren.Rgt. 33, Eastern Front 1943 (sand, door markings); Pz.Gren.Rgt. 12, Eastern Front 1943 (sand with green, no registration number); 4th Panzer Division, Eastern Front 1944 (white bands over sand-and-green, no registration number); and Driver Training Vehicle, Germany, 1942 (panzer grey with white numbers, e.g. 28, WH-1437890). A nice sheet of Cartograf decals is provided.
Overall, this kit offers a very popular version of the Blitz, and by contemporary standards, at a reasonable price. But the tracks will frustrate some modelers.
A 16 Opel - cab, hood, fenders
B 16 Maultier - cargo body and sides
C 49 Opel - chassis, axles, running gear, engine
D 83 Opel - cab interior, handles, details, lights
E 17x2 Opel - wheels and tires
F 7 Opel - clear styrene
G 21 Opel - Early style body panel details and top bows
G 11 Opel - eight bolt/eight hole wheels
H 47 Maultier - chassis, drive axle
J 17 Maultier - engine, front wheels, details
J 14 Maultier - idlers, details
K 12x2 Maultier - suspension bogies
K 4x2 Maultier - road wheels
Z 197 Magic track single links
MA 7 Etched brass
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.