Thursday, 24 July 2014

ACE 1/72 Kfz. 21 'Desert Fox' staff car conversion project

Isn't it a really nice surprise when a model you ordered takes soooooo long to be delivered that you completely forget about ordering it in the first place? Well this is what happened today, I arrived in my office to find a little parcel on my desk containing ACE's 1/72 'Desert Fox' staff car!

Am I branching into North African campaign models I hear you ask? No. In fact this is for another one of my far-too-ambitious and ill-advised conversion projects. I know how much you like those.

In this case what I want to do is have a staff car for my Finnish Army Project. Finland's controversial Chief-of-staff - Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim - received several Steyr 1500 Command Wagons as a personal present from Hitler himself. These were far more practical for visiting the front than his previous present from 'Der Führer' (a huge black Mercedes)...

Unfortunately, while the Steyr 1500 is pretty easy to get hold of in 1/72 scale kit form it is normally the larger and more widely issued German Army 1500A/01 infantry carrier version. I managed to pick up a die-cast model of one of these really cheap a while ago before I realised there was more than one version (in fact there are lots of versions of this vehicle)...

So...What to do? Converting the die-cast model from scratch seemed well beyond my abilities, so I temporarily shelved the project. But, completely by chance, I happened to be reading some info about this range of vehicles and discovered an interesting fact...

The Command Wagon was actually designated the Steyr 1500A/02 Kommandeurwagen Kfz.21 - the important bit here is the 'Kfz.21' bit. Apparently this was a universal design for a staff car which was built by various German manufacturers - the only difference between the types being that the manufacturer seems to have slapped their own engine and bonnet on the car.

So I did a quick search online and low and behold there were some versions of the Kfz. 21 in 1/72 but of the types which had been made by German companies other than Steyr. I soon honed my search down to the cheapest option - the ACE Kfz. 21 (Horch) 'Desert Fox' edition staff car. This I duly ordered.

Rommel's Kfz. 21 Kommandeurwagen, in this case the Horch made version.
The back of Rommel's Kfz. 21 - the same whoever made this vehicle, whether it
was Horch, Steyr, BMW, Daimler Benz, or Volkswagen. Only the front end changed.


The ACE 1/72 Kfz. 21 is the Horch version of this design, having the Horch front end BUT the universal Kfz. 21 back end. All I need to do, then, is cut the front of my Steyr and the back off my Horch and stick the two together to make Mannerheim's field car!

Simples! (...Yet another disaster is pending!)*

* Bearing in mind the pain in the butt my last ACE kit was!

Field Marshal Mannerheim in his 'gift' from Hitler in 1942!
Source: SA KUVA - No. 92947

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