Mars 1/72 Krupp L3 H63
Model, Text and Photos by: John Robinson
This truck began service with the Wehrmacht just before World War II. They continued to be used throughout the war, but not as often as Opel and Mercedes models. (John took this Model to the AMPS 2002 convention, and was awarded a Gold medal in the Advanced Division for it. -ed.)
parts are made from cast resin. That isn't always a good thing, but in this
case Mars really made a successful effort producing this kit. The casting is
superb, with not a bubble hole to be found. Pour plugs are small and unobtrusive,
many were just snapped off. Delicate parts were cast cleanly and without warping.
The parts tallied just fewer than 100! Only a piece of clear plastic for the
windshield was not included.
The instructions provide four main steps featuring exploded-view drawings. At some points it was a little difficult to discern where things went, and sometimes a part with opposing sides was not mentioned, but it served it's purpose well enough.
No markings or color references are included.
Throughout construction, tiny detail parts are not installed as the instructions direct, they are added later to prevent breakage.
The most logical place to start is the chassis frame, and this critical part was cast as one piece, thankfully without warping. Separate rear and drive axles, exhaust, and engine pan were installed at this point. The entire undercarriage is thoughtfully laid out with no skimping on detail. The engine cowling and radiator grill were also installed at this point. These two parts have lots of tiny detail that really adds character to the model.
Next the truck bed and cab start to take shape. The Krupp bed was made of wood slats, and this detail carries over with the kit. The wood grain and attachment bolts are very well done. The large, flat bed floor is flat and free of flaws.
The driver's cab is cast as a single
piece, but dashboard and control pedal detail is separate. These parts are indeed
tiny, but with patience clean up fine and are used as is. The seat has a realistic
fabric texture, and was left separate until later to allow easier interior painting.
The front, non-driven axle and the side fenders are installed to complete stage number two in the construction.
Stage three gets meatier with the installation of the bed sides and seats. Again, surface detail on these parts is superb, with latch work and bolt heads very well done. A folded canvas driver's cover is added now also. Several boxes were installed beneath the bed, but smaller parts were not added just yet.
The wheels (eleven counting the spare) are each cast as one piece. Their mold design left flash in the spokes of the hub; it breaks away and is cleaned up very easily. Casting plugs are slight, and are located on the inner sidewalls of the tire, not down the centerline. That means the tread detail is flawless. Some careful interaction is necessary to trim the wheel attachment points, drill out holes for the axles, and place on the chassis. I consider it a small miracle that all wheels touch the ground properly. Using slow setting epoxy is critical in this step to ensure a level sit.
The final stage adds more wooden slats to the upper parts of the bed sides, a pedestal mount MG, and the spare tire. The side slats do not align very well, but careful cutting and relocating two of the supports solved the problem.
Now the tiny accessory parts are
added, like the tools, winch, width marker, and headlights. Occasional substitutions
were made with wire, but only to replace parts broken in handling. The parts
themselves are fine, but need very delicate handling.
Painting and Marking
Pre-World War Two Germany used RAL 7021 Dark Gray as a base color with camouflage patches of RAL 7017 Brown. Gunze Sangyo acrylics H401 Dark Gray and H17 Cocoa Brown were applied to the model using an Iwata HP-B airbrush. Using this airbrush, along with well-thinned paint, enables tight control of the colors applied, which is critical for this scale.
Custom made license plate decals were applied, and when dry well-thinned Tamiya "Buff" is used to lightly over spray the chassis, wheels, and fenders. It is also sprayed in a translucent layer over the rest of the model to fade the Gray and impart a dusty look. Then, details were hand painted. Weathering by light dry brushing helped pick up the surface textures.
The headlights received punched disks of shiny foil for lenses.
This model is a rewarding project. Lots of detail, not often found in this scale, is pleasing to the eye. Construction is straightforward with no major snags. Just be sure you have a good set of tweezers and plenty of light!
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