The Sturmgeschütz sprue gives the option to make up later variants of the gun from G onwards with the earlier box mantlet or the Saukopf. With a bit of creative bodging, two models will come out of this sprue, as long as you are happy to have an early and a late G model respectively.
I’m fairly relaxed about mocking up close approximates of tracks from dowel and card, but it struck me that I had a redundant old RoCoPz IV in 1/87 scale, so the tracks were cut down to make a “close enough” match. Having accused German production of being ramshackle in my last post, in the picture above, I have exceeded anything they could have cobbled together.
The profile at the back doesn’t look quite right from the side, but the Schurtzen plates will hide most of it.
And from the front, I’m not going to notice unless I’m really bored enough to count rivets.
So … two models for the price of one. I shall stick some stowage and camouflage on to hide the odd missing bits, and probably a few tank riders for good measure.
Flatbeds are much more useful on the wargames table than trucks with covered canopies, but having overdosed on PSC 15mm Raupenschleppers the tinkerer in me thought,
“what would a tilt frame look like?”
Here is the answer: For good measure, I added some canopy struts to one of the QRF Bedford QLBs that had been assembled earlier. Now it is just crying out for a couple of scruffy gunners lounging in the back.
I took a break from the massive heap of nowhere-near-finished British Desert Infantry to complete something achievable. It turned out to be a true-scale door (don’t ask) and this practically free Raupenschlepper Ost with the scratchbuilt tracks.
It turns out that a creative bit of paintwork on the wheels can fool the eye into thinking that it is a proper model. I’ve grouped it with a Peter Pig Pak 38 to lend it some credibility, and because it is heading straight to one of my Neu Art German infantry divisions. Note the over-the-top superdetailing on the grenadier’s collar tabs. He is very proud of his new Waffenfarben.
Camouflage nets come to the rescue on my Raupenschlepper bodges. Even though the Germans don’t need them for a (game) year or so, I dressed them and put the crews in place, because they were fun to do.
One more ‘Schlepper was eked out of an einheits cab, tilt and side panels, with the track coming from a 1/200th approximately set of Panther tracks. These came from some models that (I think) Bob Cordery gave me some years ago. Another was built with a scratchbuilt set of tracks.
This brings the theoretical number of models that can be made from the PSC box to twelve; not bad at all! This assumes that you are prepared to fill in the gaps with a lot of card and paper.
As the Maultiers came rolling out of the box, it was clear that eight chassis could be assembled from all the extra options in the box. All that was absent were four sets of tracks. An hour with some Evostick resolved that, and the production line continued to roll in an ersatz German WW2 sort of way: Close enough for wargaming work!
The work of dressing the bare chassis has begun with cam nets and crew. PSC provide plenty of figures and happily, most of these are closer to 15mm than 20mm.
It is possible to score the sides of the late war anti tank mount, fold them up and make extra cargo bodies using the late war cab, if you do not want self-propelled guns.
The new Plastic Soldier Company German Medium Trucks box is an excellent offering – Five easy to build trucks straight out of the box, with options for an Opel Blitz, Mercedes L3000, or Maultier version of either. Five trucks for £17 pounds or so, roughly £3.40 a truck.
Why do I like plastic kits better than resin or metal? They build up into square models, and they are easy to convert. So looking at the sprues more carefully, there are not five trucks in the box, but ten! All that is absent, are five cab backs that cannot easily be seen, five sets of front wheels and five chasses. Any self-respecting bodger will have spare wheels in the spares box. The card from the box itself, with judicious use of cork or plasticard will do the rest. Call it £1.70 per truck – excellent!
Even after giving a sprue away, I rapidly assembled four Blitzes and four L3000s, making half of them into Maultiers. I was looking for photographic evidence of Maultiers in North Africa, but could only find them in Italy. Each sprue comes with a spare tyre, so these were made up into two sets of wheels for two of the trucks. En masse, any slight inaccuracies in the wheels should disappear.
In case anyone is wondering, The four trucks furthest away are complete kit builds and the Maultiers closest to the camera are the bodges. Soaring off into speculation, I think that PSC missed a trick by not offering the Chevrolet cab and the office body on the box art; after all, everyone does a model of a Blitz.
I would have preferred the office body, rather than another cargo body version, but I suspect most wargamers don’t want as many logistic or HQ vehicles as me. Either way, the box is excellent value and is recommended.
L 4500R Maultier, courtesy of YesthatPhil
GSV13 Mercedes Benz L4500R Maultier
This is one of the better models that arrived in my sale order. It is an impressive chunk of metal for £4.50 and all the castings are clean, relatively square and free of miscasts. The late war Einheitsfahrerhaus version is modelled. Some 1,500 of these were built, in response to delays in the Schwere Wermachts Schlepper programme; most were used as artillery tractors or platforms for Flak. As is usual with QRF; the track casting is double sided with no lugs to give a positive fit to the vehicle.
The front wheel axle is a vague approximation of the real thing – I had a look at a few online images of L4500R chasses and still was not entirely sure which way the casting should be stuck on. I’m not complaining as you can hardly see it on the finished article. All in all, a nice wargames model that I haven’t been able to find elsewhere.
This casting simultaneously displays all that is good and bad about QRF models:
GSV07 Sd Kfz 7, 8 tonne tractor with 8 man crew
For £4.50, you buy a huge hunk of metal that sits solidly on the table with square tracks and wheels, in contrast to some of the other models that I bought.
Headlamps are absent. The detail around the back of the body is awful, with simultaneous excess flash, and shrinkage of the mould. the right rear side of the body is narrower than the middle seat. The front mudguards are not square to the body.
After much filing, all the original detail had been filed flat and there were still shrinkage pits and mould lines in the body. Cam nets – every bodger’s friend – may be needed to rescue this casting. One of my tracks should not have passed quality control, but then neither should the body. I have given the model a rubbish undercoat-quality paint job just to get it onto the wargames table.
The eight crew are a nice bonus; they sit properly on the bench seats without extensive podiatric surgery to make them fit. Although nicely detailed and proportioned, they are too narrow across the shoulders. I can live with that.
Unlike previous reviews, other firms make better ‘7s. My favourite is the Forged in Battle resin ‘K Seven, which exhibits superior detail in every respect. Go with Skytrex if you want a better metal model, albeit at nearly twice the price. It does not demand two hours of fiddling about to produce an acceptable sculpt ready for painting. The Flames of War cast is disqualified as it is actually an Sd Kfz 6. I would still buy it in preference to the QRF one if I wanted another ‘six’.
In summary, I cannot recommend this model at all until QRF renew the master and bring it to the same standard as their postwar stuff. If, however, you are planning to convert an Sd Kfz 7 Flak Mess Truppen Kraftwagen (Flak rangefinding tractor), which is the one with the big box body at the back, then this is a good cheap chassis to start with.
Thirty third and third motorcycle battalions, belonging to 15 and 21 panzer divisions respectively, were attached to Panzer Armee Afrika. In NQM terms, each battalion should comprise 6 strength points as shown above.
They are most usefully employed as recce, in single strength point elements to cover the front on the move; but there is no reason why they should not be amalgamated into two 3R elements per battalion to fight with more endurance if desired. There is also no reason why they should all be mounted on motorcycles; the orbat included Kfz 11s and 18s (and probably 15s for all I know).
Most troops were mounted in sidecar combos, single motorcycles appearing at headquarters. A company had about 11 motorcycles and 60 M/C combos at full strength, and they did not stay at full strength for long.
These are actually my two favourite models, even though they display all the usual QRF faults, namely miscasted locating pins, excess flash and nothing quite fitting or square. It seems to matter less on these lively sculpts as they lurch across the wargames table, festooned with three crew, an MG and four panzerfausts! I can just live with the stupidly wide handlebars and too-short wheelbase. Peter Pig does it better on this one, in my opinion, but QRF just pips it for composition. See also YesthatPhil’s review on his blog.
QRF don’t specify the motorcycle. That’s fine, as I can’t tell from the sculpts, but £3.50 gives me two models for my recce and motorcycle battalions.
I’m going with it being the BMW R75 on balance rather than the Zundapp KS750, as the Z’s distinctive ‘A’ frame is absent, even though the distinctive Beemers twin horizontally opposed cylinders are modelled as a single vague lump. I have fond memories of my old Beemer R75 tourer, and less fond ones of my Cossack Dnieper (I managed to burn holes in both piston heads, the metal was so poor!)
With this amount of detail (accurate or not) hitting the eye, the model hides its faults well, so I reserve my right to be inconsistent and to recommend this model, despite its flaws.