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Armor/AFV
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REVIEW
1/72 Opel Blitz Ambulance
firstcircle
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Posted: Wednesday, July 04, 2012 - 10:44 AM UTC
Matthew Lenton reviews and builds one of Fujimi's new 1/72 “German Military Truck”, i.e. Opel Blitz variants, a DAK Ambulance.



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If you have comments or questions please post them here.

Thanks!
SgtRam
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Posted: Wednesday, July 04, 2012 - 02:12 PM UTC
Great review, would love to see this in 1/35 with interior.

Thanks
tread_geek
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Posted: Thursday, July 05, 2012 - 04:27 AM UTC
An extremely thorough and informative review, Matthew. It however somewhat boggles the mind as to what direction Fujimi is going with this kit. In its own right it appears to have some very nice detail yet why ruin it with those metal axles! It seems far better than many of the "wargamers" kits that I have seen and I must agree with you that there was great potential to this kit. I'm sure some modellers would find the potential for enhancing this kit an interesting challenge.

Then there is also the major issue of the price. From a bit of Web research it appears to be available at an average of US$20+. According to an associate of mine here in Ontario, Canada, one shop in Toronto had this kit available for CDN$33.95!!!! He is an avid builder of Braille 1/72 softskins and particularly loves military ambulances. Upon seeing your review he contacted me to tell me both about the price and then followed with a "colourful commentary" (irate rage) about what Fujimi could do with this kit and their pricing "logic."

Cheers,
Jan
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Posted: Thursday, July 05, 2012 - 08:40 AM UTC
It's reviews like this that don't pull any punches that make this site GREAT! While it looks simple and interesting enough I have to agree that the price seems way too high. Especially since I saw the Italeri version on sale a week or so ago for $12. Anyone know how that version builds up?

Regards,
AJ
JPTRR
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Posted: Saturday, July 07, 2012 - 02:26 PM UTC
Hi Matthew,

Excellent review!

What a beautiful model. Of course, $30+ is a bit pricey for many of us. I'd still like to add this to my collection.
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Posted: Thursday, July 12, 2012 - 12:29 AM UTC
Thanks to all the above for the appreciation of the review. It was a good fun kit to build and paint, and I've now grown quite fond of the pristine look that it has (apart from the old ladder) and suspect I may never get around to weathering it.

Kevin, you've unfortunately made the forbidden comment when discussing braille scale builds! 1/35th

Jan, the metal axles... I should probably try to get a photo to show the model from a very low angle, but at the front at least there is some add on piece of detailing which I think may be there in an attempt to give the sort of profile that the front axles on a rear wheel drive truck should have - I think they should be a kind of double dog leg shape fabricated from a shallow H-section - and disguise the straight -through look of the metal axle. As with the glazing piece, it certainly adds to the easy buildability of the kit, as the wheels just slot straight on and stay nice and straight and all lined-up (mine aren't even glued on). I'm sure we've all experienced the difficulties of attaching and aligning wheels on some of these small kits before - so maybe they have simplicity in mind with an eye to attracting younger modellers, which is no bad thing.

On the pricing, I hope I haven't been unfair on Fujimi, as this new line of kits don't actually seem to be being distributed in the UK at all.
I see that the prices of kits can vary enormously; for example, Hannants in the UK are selling the Roden Blitz truck for £7.98 - but advertise it as being 1/3 off, and sell the Blitz bus at £12.99, so that's no different to this Fujimi kit. Prices on Roden kits are somewhat competitive here due to Ebay sellers from Poland, but even then it's common for them to £7.99+ £3P&P.
Looking at Hannants again, they sell Dragon's Protz for £15.50, or how about £17.50 for their SdKfz 251?

AJ, I haven't built the Italeri kit (RRP £9.99 ) but see from elsewhere that it has a similar approach in terms of those moulded in back windows. Comments elsewhere suggest that the detail is somewhat softer than on this kit, and that recently they have released an updated version that includes a glazing sheet for the cab, presumably the windows used to just be "empty". The breakdown of the kit looks very similar however. Must admit I'm almost tempted to go get it just to find out how it compares, but will fight that temptation and hope someone else can shed some light. (Where are those Italeri review items?? )

Fred, thanks! As I said above, I quite like the look of it like this as well.
tread_geek
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Posted: Thursday, July 12, 2012 - 04:00 AM UTC
Matthew,

After having built several wheeled vehicles in this scale I must admit that anything that assists in having all the wheels touch on the same plain is to be appreciated.

If you like the vehicle in a pristine condition, I say leave it so. Who's to say the the Generalfeldmarschall wasn't coming to inspect the unit and the units commander ordered a tidying up. Besides, I think that some modellers have taken this weathering issue a bit far with chipping, rusting and the like. From what I've read the life span of many vehicles during the war so short that the paint hardly had time to fade let alone wear to any degree.

The president of a local IPMS chapter in my area asked me to acknowledge your review and thank you for it. He is not a member of Kitmaker but does visit frequently and is a rabid Braille Scale builder of primarily wheeled vehicles. He is currently building the Italeri version of this truck and commented that the detailing on it is considerably softer than the Fujimi offering. He also said to mention that he will be using your review and it's images in an attempt to enhance his build.

Cheers,
Jan
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Posted: Thursday, July 12, 2012 - 04:29 AM UTC

Quoted Text

some modellers have taken this weathering issue a bit far with chipping, rusting and the like....


I'll refrain for now from any extensive musing on military modelling aesthetics, including my humble thoughts on verisimilitude vs. realism. Unless...


Quoted Text

The president of a local IPMS chapter in my area asked me to acknowledge your review and thank you for it.


That is truly appreciated; it's nice to know that someone that I've never met has taken some small pleasure from this review (and oddly in contrast to those that are so near and dear to me, and yet haven't even read it. )

It would be very nice to see at least one photo of his build when it is complete (if not many).
tread_geek
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Posted: Thursday, July 12, 2012 - 05:45 AM UTC

Quoted Text


That is truly appreciated; it's nice to know that someone that I've never met has taken some small pleasure from this review (and oddly in contrast to those that are so near and dear to me, and yet haven't even read it. )



It was a pleasure to pass along something that I hope helps make your effort appreciated. While I am at it, , I do recall that he was often mentioning your WW I tank build and how he followed it "religiously." As you mention, it is bordering on shameful those that never comment or acknowledge in any other way the efforts of contributors to this site.


Quoted Text


It would be very nice to see at least one photo of his build when it is complete (if not many).



To be honest, he has lately become one of those that procrastinates with finishing a build. However, in his comments to me he mentioned that the review images had his mind churning away at how to add certain missing details to the Italeri kit. In particular I recall him talking about the nice details around the Fujimi kit's van body and how best to create a suitable method to achieve the same. Obviously the review was inspirational to him. I shall pass along your sentiments about him providing some images, if not even joining the site. Perhaps I'll express it in the form of a challenge; throwing down the gauntlet!

Cheers,
Jan
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Posted: Friday, July 20, 2012 - 08:54 AM UTC
An extremely thorough and informative review, Matthew. I think that the kit is too expensive for the level of the detail in the model.....
I still use the Esci/Italeri kit wich cost only $ 10