Monday, 31 December 2012

Building a Rapid Fire! Finnish Army HQ - Part 1

As some of the more unique models are still on the way (some from abroad) I am starting my HQ build with what I have handy. The transport. My organisational inventory includes three trucks in my HQ formation – two medium (up to 3 tons) and one light (a 1.5 ton).

Above: A Finnish army Ford-Werke V8 1940 V3000 3-ton, 4x2 cargo truck. Some 24,110 V3000 trucks were produced by the German Ford factories at Cologne and Berlin between 1941 and 1946. Photo source: Wikipeda

Historically, WW2 Finnish army transport provision was eclectic. Ever short of transport vehicles the Finnish army took into use many commercial vehicles, but there were a few makes that were especially purchased for military use. Perhaps the truck which is most associated with the Finns – among war gamers at least – is the German made Ford-Werke’s V3000 3 tonner, and this is were I am starting my fleet.

The V3000 is reasonably easy to get hold of in Braille Scale form, mainly because it was also a pretty common vehicle in the Wehrmacht as well, and there are versions available whatever your budget might be.

Although you can buy an ‘out of the box’ model of this truck - from Hunor (#HUNO72024) for example, pictured above – these are quite niche and therefore quite expensive and so probably not appropriate for the average war gamer. However, there are a few more modestly priced options designed for the gamer that won’t break the bank.

Let’s start at the bottom (cost wise), if you go onto the Rapid Fire! web site and check out their own range of ‘ready to roll’ resin vehicles you will find a very nicely priced one-piece V3000 in ‘1/72’. At just £5.95 you can get a very good looking representation of the German Ford, but this is not a kit and has filled in windows and a rather unattractive central resin support joining the base to the chassis.

Above: This is the one-piece Rapid Fire! V3000, and it looks very neat for a solid resin moulding. When I received this I noticed that it was marked as being made by Valiant Models (although you will not find these for sale on the Valiant web store). Were it not for the fact that this ‘solid’ format model doesn’t match the rest of my multi-part plastic kits I would be very happy with the look of this model. 

If, like me, you are building you army from plastic kits then you may not appreciated the solid one-piece make up of this model, you’ll maybe want something that matches the rest of your kits. To get round this I am trying out the idea of chopping off the distinctive front end of the resin V3000 and mating it to one of my cheap Pegasus ‘German Army Trucks’.

It may sound a bit of a convoluted exercise, but if I do this I get the best of both worlds and it will just cost £10.45 – but, if you are clever and can make resin moulds you can copy your V3000 front end and create a small fleet of mock versions for a budget price.

Finally, my other option for making a (relatively) cheaper V3000 is to buy the Model Trans resin cab kit (6.10 Euro). This is actually a better-conceived take on the ‘cut and shut’ idea mentioned above. The cab kit is designed to fit onto the front end of the Roden or Italeri Opel Blitz, with a combined price of about £16+ this is still a little pricey but still cheaper than the Hunor kit.

Above: Here is the Model Trans Ford V3000 cab kit. I was a little disappointed that both of the cab roof supports were broken off and missing. I opted to buy the Italeri Opel Blitz (as it was on sale) to use as the chassis for this conversion kit and that means I will have to do some chopping about to make it fit.

So there you have it, three price options for the V3000. I can’t wait to compare my budget build idea to the more expensive Model Trans hybrid model.

This icon of the Finnish army should look great – hopefully – and provide the mainstay of my medium truck fleet. But aside from this I can build up my fleet with models of Citroen 45 and some Opel Blitz for the medium haulage and captured Soviet Gaz AA or Zil 12 trucks for the light transport. But for variety I can throw in some less well known commercial models, like the Citroen 25, Chevrolet or Dodge. But I will discuss my choices for additional trucks in a later post.

NEXT: In part two I will try putting together my cheap 'cut and shut' V3000. Fingers crossed!

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