Monday, 21 July 2014

Pegasus 1/72 German Army Truck - Part 1

Preface: Last week I started what I hoped would be a very quick 'bodge' conversion of a Pegasus 'German Army Truck' into a Finnish c. 1940s Volvo 'Roundnose'. Well this project didn't get far before it ran into a problem - in short, the Pegasus truck seemed - in my opinion - a little over-scaled for 1/72 and appeared larger in comparison to the other trucks I have in my Finnish collection.

And so, I have ditched this Volvo conversion until I find another suitable donor vehicle and have decided to build the Pegasus kit 'as is' to make a German Army truck for my Bolt Action collection instead.

The Pegasus German Army Truck - background
As mentioned in my Volvo 'Roundnose' preamble the Pegasus German Army Truck is not the ubiquitous Opel Blitz that many models and war-gamers seem to think it is. It is, in fact, a simplified model of the Mercedes L3000 4x2, a 3 ton cargo transport produced by the Germans between 1938 and 1942.

Top is the Mercedes L3000 compared to the Opel Blitz at the bottom.

This is quite crafty on the part of Pegasus as the 1/72 market is already well-endowed with good quality Opel Blitz kits so producing a 'easy build' kit of the Mercedes means their product does not compete with the multitude of Blitz kits. Which is good for us modellers.

Incidentally, to make this model a true 'Mercedes' all you would have to do is make a tiny Merc badge for the front radiator (I believe Pegasus doesn't call it a Mercedes for licensing reasons).

What's in the box?
There are two sets of sprues - allowing you to build two vehicles - each of which has just 15 components. Really, you can bang together this simple model in minutes.

One thing that's missing there is the driver figure. He seems to have gone
AWOL! There are two identical sprues like this in the box.

However, don't be fooled into thinking that this means a huge sacrifice when it come to detail. Sure, a lot of the smaller parts of the real truck have been excluded - things like headlamps, horns, tools, etc - but what detail there is on the parts included is very nice and crisp.

I'd say that if you wanted to you could build this kit into a very acceptable display quality model by adding the small extra items which aren't included. A nice proposition as the Mercedes truck is only available in kit form in 1/72 from some of the more expensive and niche resin/short-run manufacturers.

Well, obviously, the first of the two trucks I built from the box is actually a 're-build' as I had already started modifying it to make the Volvo conversion I had planned! (So, annoyingly, I had to stick back together parts I had already cut apart...Luckily I hadn't thrown any of these bits away!)

The reconstructed truck (had to use some plasticard to put the cab and bonnet
back together again) nearly ready for assembly again.
Everything goes back together again very easily and it's a very crisp model.
Obviously I will have to use some putty to smooth out my repair job.

But the second I built exactly as the instructions recommended (at least to begin with). As with their other 'easy build' WW2 truck - the equally unsparingly named 'US Army Truck' - there are no windscreens included in the kit (nor any decals for that matter). But I am getting used to cutting out and fitting transparent plastic windshields now (the trick is to cut out a paper template so you can check the fit first).

Honestly, I can't say much about the construction as there isn't much to do. Everything goes together well and I didn't encounter any problems - and hardly any flash or mould lines at all! So this model is ready to paint in minutes if you want.

The box art gives a very unspecific colour scheme, but there again there is just so much colour reference material available on the 'web' that you shouldn't be short of inspiration. Admittedly the Mercedes is a little rarer than it's more famous Opel stablemate, but I think Blitz paint schemes would be quite suitable for this model. Specific unit information - and the related decals - is quite another thing though.

My repaired version of the truck will have a German three-colour camo scheme
with the standard 'Dunkelgelb' (dark yellow) base. But before you begin the
exterior painting you have to paint the cab interior first.

The spray I used was Humbrols 'Sand Yellow' which turns out to be an exact
match with Vellejo's 'Desert Yellow' (977), great for touching up. I never really
understood the German's use of Dunkelgelb, it seems such an illogical
colour for anything but the desert yet it was used widly use in Europe.

My very first attempt at a German camo pattern and my first attempt at
airbrushing a camo pattern freehand! It's a bit slap-dash but I'm rather
pleased with the outcome.

What do I think of them so far?...(Not rubbish!)
This a surprisingly nice model. Like their 'US Army Truck' Pegasus allows the war-gamer to bang together a really tidy representation of a 'generic' WW2 truck quickly and cheaply, but with some degree of quality. Yes, I think it is a little big and you may find it looks a little odd beside some of your other vehicles in the same scale, why this is I do not know.

The cab of the Pegasus 'Merc' (far right) compared to two other 1/72 truck
cabs. Left is the Pegasus 'American Army Truck' and in the middle is a
Valiant Ford V3000. As you can see the other cabs are significantly
narrower.  You can see how the 'Merc' looks almost a bigger scale.

I am happy to use this model in combination with my PSC Late War German soldiers as they are somewhat chunky for 1/72 as well, both laying at the upper end of 1/72 scale.

Next: I finish off the trucks and while I'm at it add some extras to the second example to show what can be done to make them a little more accurate.

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