Monday, December 31, 2012

15mm Zvezda WWII German Opel Blitz

Earlier this year I picked up a pair of Zvezda'a 1/100 scale WWII German Opel Blitz trucks to use in skirmish games with my Peter Pig figures. The kits sat and sat in the closet until Saturday afternoon, when I finally decided to put one of them together.

Operation Barbarossa 1941
Zvezda is well known for making excellent 1/72 scale figures and has been one of the main forces driving my constant interest in that scale. The Opel Blitz truck, along with other German and Russian vehicles and armor, is designed for Zvezda's line of WWII board games. The figures and artillery are 1/72, the vehicles are 1/100, and the  planes are 1/44.

Not Normal Styrene Plastic
The plastic Zvezda uses for the Opel Blitz is not hard styrene like you would find in other armor kits. Instead, it's a medium-density plastic more akin to the kind used in plastic 1/72 figures. As a result, it flexes a bit and can be a bit trickier to cut and trim. There was only minimal flash at spots that cleaned up easily. I used my sprue cutter to remove the pieces from the sprue and a fresh #11 Xacto blade to clean up what remained. Just watch out for feathering the plastic. Since the plastic is soft, I also discovered the hard way that filing and sanding didn't work too well. The kit is "snap-tite," but I still glued the pieces after test fitting them. Testors liquid cement worked great.

Building the Kit
The kit instructions are all visual and dead easy to follow. The kits builds easily enough but does not have anything near the quality of a 1/72 kit from Dragon or, I would guess, a 15mm kit from Plastic Soldier Company. After all, these little Zvezda trucks are meant as game pieces a 12-year old can snap together easily. As a result, the cab section has slight gaps where some of the pieces meet. I tried clamping these pieces after gluing them, but had only slight luck with the gaps. Oh well. I can't complain too much for $3. While in the box, some of the undercarriage struts got badly bent to the point of breaking. I made sure to glue each strut to the bottom of the truck bed. Because the truck flexed a bit, I also glued the back of the cab to the front of the bed, which stopped that from happening. I left the canopy unglued so I could remove it from the bed when needed.

What's Next to Do
The next step is to wash the kit in soapy water (I forgot to do this when on the sprue!) and paint it. The kit comes with a stat card for the game but doesn't include any decals. I assume finding some decals won't be hard

So there you go. A nice cheap kit you can use as an objective or just plain line-of-sight-blocking scenery. I plan to use at least one truck as an objective as in Call of Duty 2-player missions, such as somewhere in the town is a truck loaded with explosives. Find it and destroy it before it's too late. Or steal the Nazi's hoard of gold, load it into the truck, and drive off into the sunset. Wait a minute. That last bit wasn't in Call of Duty 2, was it? ;-)

Have a Happy New Year!

Of course, I only thought of snapping some photos midway into the project. So here you can see the box, instructions, and my progress at the moment. I'm using my OTT lamp for lighting. I always use a folded vinyl tablecloth when painting and modeling. It cushions my forearms, helping to prevent pain..See, I have pinched nerves in my elbows, along with carpal tunnel in both hands, a bone defect in my right hand causing tendon pain if I move it left and right, and plain old shaky hands. My son says my entire life is irony--the last thing I should be doing is modeling and painting figures! (If you watch me build models or paint, you'll hear me mutter mantras like "hold still," "don't shake," and "that's what they make touch up paint for." Wow, this was a long photo caption that got a bit derailed!

Assembled at last! All in all, it took me only 30 minutes of easy work, and I worked slowly.

Game angle view of truck and a Peter Pig figure. Looks fine from this angle.

From the side, the based figure is a bit taller than it should be, but gamers are used to this when using unbased vehicles. These vehicles will fit perfectly with my 1/100 Landmark buildings.

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