Somewhere in France, May 1940
This article is part of a series:
This build took me from June this year to yesterday, when I made the finishing touches on it.
It features the ICM kit #35462 of the Krupp L3H163 Radio Truck (Kfz. 72) in 1:35th scale. I dedicate this build to Bernie Hackett who left our earthly community forever earlier in the year. May his positive spirit live on here and elsewhere. Blue skies to you Bernie...
The build report to this entry can be found here:
The German perfected the military doctrine of "Verbundene Waffen", or "Combined Arms" in preparation for WWII. This required all branches of the armed forces to communicate efficiently so to identify, locate and destroy enemy strongpoints by all means (land, sea and air) as soon as possible. On the battlefield, this shift in paradigm required fast communication between units, both over short and long distances. The means thereto were field telephones and wireless communication.
I picked up this kit earlier in the year and researched it in between the building stages for the Reichsluftfahrtministeruim (RLM). The kit perfectly summarizes the various communication means the Wehrmacht had to its disposal in the earlier stages of the war. As with most ICM kits, this one was well researched with clean, crisp moldings and little warping even on flat surfaces. The one big drawback is that the kit as such does not feature extent antennae and the radio cabin is completely empty...
Luckily, I found a lot of resources in books and the internet to figure out how the interior of the cabin
looked like. I wanted to give it a "busy" appearance inside. Further to that, I found the next picture I wanted to mimic in this build:
The build (Chassis):
The chassis is very well detailed with detailed brake mechanism and fully detailed engine. The kit as such does not feature any photo etched parts but some of the plastic parts are so small that detail is of a high degree.
The build (Antenna and Radio Cabin):
I scratch built the antenna using brass tubing and steel wire. The most difficult part were the stringers on it, which I finally made out of paper. In this way, I could feature the antenna in "extended" position.
As mentioned, the cabin is completely empty. I drew plans based on several pictures and made the interior out of photo etch (spares box) and styrene sheet. I also installed a white LED light to lighten up the interior when the roof is attached.
I did not glue the roof on top as it is held strong enough by the cabin walls themselves.
Painting & weathering:
After construction, I gave the entire model of grey primer. There is a lot of wood to the cabin and drivers' compartment so I sprayed that in a light wood color. Then followed a generous layer of hairspray on wooden parts, after which I applied a uniform layer of German grey. I dissolved the hairspray with water here and there to expose the wood texture as a first weathering step. Next followed application of light dirt on the chassis and a wash of brown umber oil paint dissolved in mineral spirits. The radio crew at the time were regarded as highly skilled persons and therefore I assumed they would maintain their Kfz. 72 very well! Hence, weathering throughout is only very light.
I wanted to depict activity in and around the Radio Truck. I found a little Riich kit (#30014) for a German petrol genset and placed three ICM figures around it (#35211). The remaining figures are taken from a Dragon kit (#3826) depicting a German communication center with crew. I tried to feature "life-in-the-cab" as realistically as possible, with paper, coffee and radio sets around showing busy times at the command post.
The nature around the vehicle was made of natural materials (tree and bush), static grass, cocktail pics, acrylic paint, PVA glue and earth.
I am pleased with the result of this effort, which took me about 5 months, also because my bench time was limited lately because of other workload in scale 1-1.
I hope these 100 hours of hard labor can go as a fitting tribute to Bernie...
What do you think of it?