|The famous workhorse of the Wehrmacht is in 1:35 despite its very good details no model of recent years. If you compare it to what was new on the market when it first appeared you would hardly believe it. Some 20 years ago the first German truck in the than young 1:35 scale saw the first light. If you scratch together al publications for and from modelers you find that this old faithful saw action on all fronts in big numbers, 70.000 in 4x2 alone, and is one of the least documented vehicles of ww2. Except for a few exceptions nobody seems to know exact facts. In short: time for an article.|
HistoryThe success story of the Blitz started far earlier than the 2nd world war. The famous Opel factories where taken over by General Motors in the 20's, and this American/German combination of forces led the aura of indestructible craftsmanship to unequaled heights. Opel was famous with friend and "foe", businessmen, government and end-users bought it for dependable "money's worth" rigid transport. The "Blitz" is listed in the dealer lists from 1931 on. A 3.5 liter Buick engine under its bonnet and a low own weight lays the foundation for one of the most dependable vehicles ever. Its full story is a pleasure to read, see the reference list, but for modelers the following list of facts is important.
The 3 ton "S"-type Blitz as we know it from the Italeri-model was first introduced in 1936. In 1939 Opel changes a small but significant detail; the dealers complain about the number of wheel nuts being broken by customers. Opel meets these complaints by raising the number of nuts from 6 to 8. Significant, I hear you thinking? Yes! The curve in the wheel and the number of holes in the wheels changes with it. What does that mean? All Blitzes built after that date have obvious different wheels from the one that Italeri supplies. All 4x4, Mule, and all special build for the Wehrmacht vehicles MUST have 8 hole wheels. I think this is of great importance, not only from a perfectionists view, if you know the difference you see it instantly. Besides, a "6-hole"-Blitz on the eastern front in a factory-fresh state looks as misplaced as a Panzer I tank in Normandy on D-Day.
Over the war there was an ever increasing shortage of metal. All parts that could be replaced with anything else where altered. There is a "gemischt-bau" (mixed-build) cab with a wooden back wall, and eventually the Blitz gets the "Einheitsfahrerhaus" (uniform-cab), a plywood standard box for all trucks. That last thing is only for sure on the license-build DB L701, The 100% copy that Mercedes Benz is forced to build from 1944 on. All these versions where only made in a limited time span. The ultra high wear and high losses of the German war machine makes that you have to be cautious which Blitz you put in which stage and theatre of the war.
Improving the BlitzOn the whole the Blitz is fairly accurate, a fantastic achievement of Italeri because they constructed it almost completely form pictures and drawings produced from pictures. Except for the fact that you miss the brake drums in the front wheels only the cab has some minor flaws. One of them is very mean, the others are easily improved. (study drawing 1 and 3)
The grill is wrong.
|That last point is the tough
part. Seen from the front the grill of the model is narrower, going down.
That's not correct; it should we straight; the top and the bottom are equally
wide. For every car-fan a car has a "face". The grill and the headlights
make the "face" therefore I think this is very significant.
How to change the grill
|If you have an unbuild Blitz,
you saw in the grill, as in picture 4. Place a piece of plastic in the
cuts and press the sides outwards to make them straight. Immobilize the
piece while it is glued. After it has dried COMPLETELY sand away the edges
in and out and simply build as it was intended. You have to be a little
extra careful when you fix it to the fenders, because there is a little
strain on it.
What if you have a build Blitz? Now that you know you wil see the difference, and you don't want to throw away your work. Usually you can lift the cab from the chassis. Then make two cuts as in picture 2. Fill it with a piece of plastic as in the unbuilt step to the correct width. If you can you should cut the bumper loose from the fenders and reattach them later. (The points point upwards if you don't.)
The rest of the changesCut a disk of approximately 12 mm for the drum brakes.With the changes mentioned earlier you have a nice clean 1936-1939 Opel Blitz "S" (3,6-36) with the limitation that many of these early Blitz were in fact confiscated vehicles, usually on civil tires, not the bulky terrain ones the military uses.
Opel Blitz "S" (3,6-36) 1940-1945The main difference: the wheels and the rear axle. I made them earlier on a small scale production, but that never went beyond a group off fellow modelers in Holland. You can make them yourself. If you do and you don't have the possibility to duplicate parts with a mould, you have to build 7, but you can use the inner rear wheels and the spare wheel from the model.It's not that visible. The rear axle is more difficult. somewhere in 1941 it was changed from the balloon-like one as is on the Italeri Blitz. You could use the axle from the "Maultier" the halftrack Blitz. It's very similar to the late production axle.
The new wheel
|Cut away the center of the
original wheel (5), leaving only the rim. Take a wheel from for instance
an Italeri Puma (6>) Cut and or grind away the wheel and the rim to fit
the hole in the tire/rim of the original Blitz wheel. Fill the holes in
the inner part, and drill eight holes in it. For the rear wheels you have
to thin the remaining piece. In the Blitz wheel a thin rod is glued followed
bij the Puma center. It protrudes 3 mm outside the rim.(8) After that,
the 8 nuts are glued on.
Pictures 6 from the Italeri drawing of the Puma
Pictures 1 and 3 from the article of Conrad Molin from Modell Magazine 3/76
Special thanks to Mr. Teunis van Dijk, M. van Dijk Constructions of Elst, Holland for the opportunity to measure a real Opel Blitz. With these facts especially the wheels became exact.