Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Roden Blitz Omni Bus Stabswagen Opel 3.6-47 kit 723

Roden Blitz Omni Bus Stabswagen Opel 3.6-47 kit 723

Having put the Blitz Aero together in a day, and having enjoyed it so much, I decided it was time to build another bus. I will refer to this one as a Staff Bus, as the kit title is rather a mouthful.

About the bus. According to the information with kit these were used in all theatres of operation. It was in effect a kind of mobile office or command centre. Pictures, plans and information about all the Opel Bus types can be found on Piet Van Hees very useful site http://www.pietvanhees.nl/blitzbus/

About the kit. This kit shares many sprues with the Roden Opel Blitz W39 bus. Chassis is identical. Body is identical. The main difference is the inside furnishings which consist of tables, shelves benches, a radio, enigma machine (or perhaps its a typewriter). This version also has additional wooden decking on the roof, and etched roof racks, much longer than that which the standard bus was fitted with.Etch covers for the side windows are also supplied.

About the build. As this kit has so much interesting internal detail, I decided to open both the front side doors, and the large rear door, cutting these out carefully with a fresh exacto blade. Despite this not much of the interior will be visible, but it will make the vehicle look much more interesting. I was going to thin down the cut out doors, but period photos show the doors were quite thick. Unlike a tank hatch which is solid metal and comparatively thin, the doors on these vehicles had an outer and inner covering, being essentially hollow in the middle, so were quite thick.

Below are test fits of the floor/chassis to the body, so far all are good fits.

Update Saturday 11 May. I have to admit this is a very enjoyable build. I decided it would be easy enough to build this one so that the body can be removed to show the interior detail, so decided to improve the interior a bit. I won't be going crazy on interior detail, just some improvements. I started with the floor.

 Period photos show that wooden slats of a pallet like construction were laid over the much of the floor of these buses. Wood was plentiful, and  timber slats would have been cheap to manufacture and to fit, and add very little to the weight of the bus. Non slip metal tread plate would add to the weight of the bus and be more expensive. Rubber mats would have been in short supply and would wear out quickly in rough conditions on operations. The timber slats would have been assembled in sections and would have been removable when needed for cleaning and maintenance. The wood slats would have dealt well with wet and muddy conditions, the water and mud being trapped in the gaps between the slats.

First job was to fill the holes where the seats would go (the floor in the kit is same as the standard Opel bus) I used 0.010" x 0.020" & 0.020" x 0.020" evergreen strip styrene (Item 100 & 120) glued to the floor. Not a hard job, but took an evening while watching/listening to TV to provide some distraction for the mind while working on what is otherwise a slightly boring task.

I also decided to not use the etched roof rack. It looks reasonably OK, though a bit too flat for my taste.
I built a roof rack out of 0.020" Evergreen Rod (Item 218). I drilled holes in the roof for the supports, and simply cut the lengths to fit and glued them. Not hard but requires accurate measuring and cutting and is quite time intensive, it took a few hours. To get curves I simply rolled the rod around items of varying diameters to get tighter or larger curves as required. Items such as pens, screwdriver shafts etc. The rod is quite thin which makes it quite flexible and very adaptable to being curved.

TO BE CONTINUED....................................

Monday, May 6, 2013

Roden Opel Blitzbus Ludewig Aero 1937 Kit 724

Roden Opel Blitzbus Ludewig Aero 1937 Kit 724

Hello. Having built the Roden Opel Blitz bus, and the Opel Strassenzeppelin bus (kits 720 and 725 which also have posts about them on on this blog), I decided to build the Aero variant.

About the bus. Like the Strassenzeppelin, the Aero was built on a standard Blitz chassis, in 1937. It has different body work, and a luxury interior. At least one photo shows one of these buses with WH numberplates and Notek light, photo said to have been taken in Russia. Given the constant requirement for  replacement motorised transport during the war, & the strains on the wartime industry to meet the needs of the war, its hardly surprising that existing luxury buses were also sequestered for military service

About the kit. This kit shares many sprues and parts with other Roden bus kits. The interior seating, wheels and front apron are same as supplied with the Strassenzeppelin. The motor &  chassis, as with the Strassenzeppelin are common to the standard blitz bus. In this kit both standard headlights and blackout headlights are supplied, though the instructions advise to use standard headlights. A Notek light is supplied also, being located on the common sprue with all the engine parts, though the instructions also show this as not being used. No decals are supplied. As far as I can see this kit has identical sprues to kit 728, Opel Blitzbus Aero (WWII service) the only difference being that kit 728 will have WH numberplate decals, and the instructions will show to use the blackout lights and Notek light, and different painting instructions.

About the build. Having built the chassis twice before on other Roden blitz buses, I decided to go straight for the new parts - roof/cabin, sides, rear end, radiator and 'shark fin to see how they fit. The fit was surprisingly good. Some filler will be needed where the side meets the mudguard, but this will be minimal and has good access to sand to an invisible join.The design of these pieces  was so much better, and easier to assemble compared to the multiple pieces that made up the nose on the Strassenzeppelin

 Next job was to see how well the underneath of the chassis fit into the completed bus body shell. I was pleased to find the fit is very good, it fits easily, neither too tight or too loose, in the test fit in the picture below. I found neither of the previous Opel buses I built fit as well as this one.

I found some more time and now the bus is complete, assembly wise, less than 24 hours after being started.  I have not glued the chassis and body as these must stay separate for painting and adding of windows.

 I have to state this was the easiest assembly of the Roden Opel Blitz buses. Its not simply that I am more used to the assembly as the body assembly on this one is unique - all new pieces, though the chassis is unchanged from the other Blitz Buses. As already mentioned the seating is the same as the Strassenzeppelin. Period photos show the seating really was the same as this, with the seats set at 45 degrees, the rationale being it allowed better viewing out the windows. These vehicles were also said to have a fridge for champagne bottles - though no fridge comes with the kit.

I have only temporarily attached the wheels for these pictures, they also won't get permanently attached until painting is finished. The front axle is very fragile (the same assembly as on the Roden Blitz Truck and Opel Maultier, so it will definitely be put aside until all other painting and assembly is finished.
The glue will be left to harden for a few days, then painting will commence.

TO BE CONTINUED.......................................

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Hobbyboss German Rail Transporter for Karl Gerat Kit 82906

Hobbyboss German Rail Transporter for Karl Gerat Kit 82906

Sunday 5 May 2013.

About this post. I commenced this build a couple of weeks ago and took a number of "in progress" pictures. Unfortunately the storage device the pictures were on became corrupted and I lost them all, so I only have pictures of the  major pieces assembled.

The kit. This contains 7 sprues of plastic parts, 1 set of decals, painting guide and instructions. These can be viewed on Henk of Holland's site. All parts are neatly and crisply cast, with very little flash.

The Build. The build was quite straightforward and easy, aided by excellent instructions. Two issues need to be mentioned.

The first is minor. Some of the wheel hubs that the axles fit into needed a small amount of enlargement. This was easy to scrape out with a knife, and the wheel sets fit better as a result. This was only one or two hubs on each bogie the rest were fine.

The second issue is not so minor. The outside of the bogies (parts B7 x 2 and B8 x 2) have large injector marks. Some were slightly raised some were slightly sunk in. All were hard to deal with as their is a lot of detail very close to the injector circles. Fortunately these repairs are largely covered by additional parts that are fit to the bogies. There were 11 injector marks per piece, so in all 44 to fix on the bogies. It didn't take too long to fix, but it would seem this was a crazy way to cast these pieces - if these injector marks were on the other side they would be completely unseen. The exact same problem was also on parts B5 x 2 and B11 x 2, which are the long side parts of the large overhead frames that hold up the Karl. Unlike the bogies, the areas the injector marks are on will not be covered by other detail, so a lot more care is needed in dealing with them. Again there were 11 injector marks per part, 44 in total If the injection had been set up to occur on the other sides of the parts they would be near invisible, except on very close inspection.

 The transporter was sprayed with Hobbyboss acrylic black, then a spray of H337 "Grayish-Blue", leaving the areas that would be in shade with a lighter coating, to create some modulation, depth and contrast between the different surfaces and angles. Still a lot of painting to do, better pictures will be taken and posted.

The model is  not properly assembled yet, some 'Blu tack" is holding the frame assemblies up. Final assembly will occur when painting is finished,

Update 16 July 2013. The components have had a light spray of Aqueous Hobby Color, Sand Gelb, and have had washes of black and brown, being watered down Life Color acrylics. Heavier washes on the springs with brown to simulate age & some oxidisation.

TO BE CONTINUED............