ESCI 1/72nd Opel Blitz "Ambulance"

By Matt Bittner
Photography by Scott Hackney


The Opel Blitz was the workhorse of the Wehrmacht during WW2.  It was used in every theater, and in practically every role.  Not only was it used as an ambulance, but it was also modified to mount various anti-aircraft guns on the bed, modified to use a tracked running gear (called "Maultier") as well as used in its initial role as a transporter for goods and troops.

The Kit

The ESCI Opel Blitz Ambulance has been out a number of years.  Most of the ESCI 1/72nd armor set the standards for quality in the scale, and the Blitz met those standards.  The kit consists of approximately 55 injected molded pieces.  The different Blitz releases ("standard" truck, ambulance and 2.5cm anti-aircraft gun mount) share a common sprue, with the unique parts for each version of the truck on a separate sprue.  Decals consist of red crosses in white fields, as well as different "license plates" and unit markings.  Molding quality is very well done with not a lot of flash.


Construction starts with mounting various undercarriage parts to the frame, such as the drive shaft, differential and muffler.  The wheels were left off until last.  Once the frame was assembled construction continued onto the interior.

Since I wanted to show the door windows as "open", I added a bit to the inside.  Door handles, window cranks and various other small items were scratched using sprue.  Before each of the pieces were glued together to make up the cab I traced the window openings onto paper so I could cut out windows from clear sheet plastic.  The parts of the cab were then glued together and once they were cleaned up - primarily from the liquid glue "ooze" - then the cab was glued onto the frame.

At this point I started gluing the "box" together that sat at the back.  This area needs a little bit of care and dry fit so it will come out even with no seams.  I decided to cut out some of the side windows on the "box" and add clear plastic sheet.  In hindsight, most of these had some sort of coverings over the windows, so refer to pictures - if you can find any - before hacking the whole "box" up.  Once the whole "box" was assembled, then it too was glued to the frame.

Final Assembly and Painting

At this time painting was started.  I used the old Polly S "Panzer Gray", which as I look at it now is a bit light.  Once I finished painting the gray I overcoated the whole model with gloss and added the decals.  After the decals were added then the model was sprayed with a dull coat, and weathering started.  I used acrylic washes and pastel-chalk for weathering.

Once the weathering was finished and the model was almost finished, I added the final touches.  The front wheels were added and cranked just a little to the side.  The headlights were drilled out and MV lenses were inserted.  The side view mirror was made from wire and a small piece of mirrored plastic.  HO-gauge model railroad chain was added by draping it over the "hooks" on the front bumper.  The clear plastic windows were added and the model was finished.


Unfortunately the ESCI 1/72nd armor is long out of production.  There are a number of models that are sorely missed from the range, some of the Opel Blitz trucks being one of them.  However, the Ambulance version was quite abundant up to ESCI's demise, and can probably still be found in the over-flow and sale bins.  This kit was very fun to build.  The next Blitz I build will have the engine hood opened and the area detailed.  In addition, once could open up the "body" and show some stretchers and medical equipment.

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