Roden's 1/72 Opel Blitz

By Kent Kirkpatrick

Opel Blitz

I'm not going to hash over the history of the Opel Blitz but do encourage you to read my in-box review of Academy's early/late Opel Blitz in the September issue of Internet Modeler. This review will be somewhat of a comparison between these two kits of the same vehicle. Please use that review for your comparison. Readers take note that MAC Distribution also produces an 1/72 scale Opel Blitz with a late (wooden) cab and cargo bed (#72064).

The Kit

Academy's kit has the first advantage over Roden's kit by offering both the early (steel cab) and late (wooden cab) Opel Blitz versions while Roden only has the early version for you. The boxart is typical of Roden's other vehicle kits showing an Opel Blitz jumping a desert dune while being chased by a low-flying P40 Warhawk. Where's the kangaroo rat that seems to appears on their other desert-themed boxart? On the side panels are six very nice Opel color plates from other battle fronts. Inside the corrugated box is three sprue of parts molded in a light gray styrene. Two sprues contain suspension and wheels while the larger sprue contains the major components for the cab and cargo bed. There is one sheet of decals and one sheet of clear acetate containing templates for the windshield and window glass. Academy uses clear styrene for their simulated glass. The eight-page illustrated instruction booklet is in German, English and Ukrainian. There is a diagram for locating the numbered parts on the sprue. Included is a symbolic legend for gluing, cutting, drilling, painting, etc. Academy's instruction sheet is similar to Roden's as well.

Assembly begins with the Opel Blitz's engine in steps 1 and two. It takes fourteen parts to assemble. Judging from the sprues I like Roden's engine as it is more realistically detailed than Academy's three-piece 'generic' engine. The chassis is next to assemble in steps 3 and 4. Your are instructed to cut off protrusions on each side at the rear of the chassis. Not sure why they are there in the first place unless Roden is planning a kit of another Opel variant that uses them. There are some definite differences in Academy's chassis. Roden's kit is similar to the 1/35th scale version from Italeri. In step 5 you assemble the cab floor and interior detail. This eleven-piece assembly is nicely detailed with dash dials, pedals and shifters. Academy's kit is rudimentry and the cab floor has a strange diamond-tread pattern to it. Wheel and axle assemblies are complete in steps 6 and 7. The rear axle is made up of ten parts while the front has eleven parts. Academy's kit has six parts for the rear axle and three for the front axle. As for the wheels, Roden's rear deep dish rims are more detailed than Academy's but is opposite for the front wheels as I would prefer Academy's. Both do have nice tread pattern's but Academy's are deeper engraved. Roden's cargo bed is assembled in steps 8 through 10. Of note, Roden offers you a molded canvas top and another version of cargo side walls as options which is not offer in the Academy kit. Its a toss-up between the two kits as both cargo beds are nicely detailed. Steps 11 through 14 assembly the early steel cab. Both kits are similar in assembly but Roden offers more detailing in the final assembly of the steel cab. Keep in mind, Academy offers you the late wooden cab as an option where Roden's kit does not. Academy's grille has better detail as you can see through the grill fins where Roden's is one solid piece with engraved fins. What I like about the Roden kit is the side cowlings are separately molded so you can easily display the engine where you would have to cut them off of Academy's door assemblies. Also, this is where you trim the clear acetate for the window glass. From a scale perspective, this is better than Academy's separately molded thick clear styrene pieces. In steps 15 and 16 you mate the engine and wheeled axles to the chassis. Again, this is similar to Academy's chassis assembly. Final assembly is completed in steps 17 and 18 mating the cab and cargo bed to the chassis.

Once completed you can paint and mark your Opel Blitz. You can choose from six paint schemes from one color to camo schemes in winter and summer. Academy offers only two schemes. Roden's decal sheet gives you the choice of six army units DAK, LAH, 503rd Panzer Abteilung, 18th Engineer Battalion, 501st Panzer Abteilung and Panzer 'GrossDeutschland'. The quality of both decal sheets are up to standard and very nice. Academy's kit offers only generic vehicle markings.

Conclusion

As I have examined both kits closely, I wonder if Academy second-guessed at some of their details on the Opel Blitz. Possibly to save time and money in making their mold. Academy's detail seems more refined but some of their detailing looks a bit generic and short of its goal. Roden appears to have put more time and engineering into their Opel Blitz. Did one manufacturer 'over-engineer' their kit or did another take short cuts. Only the kit assembly will tell. This is for you to decide as both kits have disadvantages and advantages over one another. Academy's kit appears to be a quicker build but I would say Roden is more accurate overall in replicating an Opel Blitz. I give this kit two thumbs-up. I would like to thank Roden for the review kit.

Roll Models

Sandle Hobbies

Profile Art EN Banyai-Riepl Illustrations