This place is called Tank Kingdom and rightfully so. I love building tanks, painting them, taking pictures of them in museums. At the same time, I want to continuously enlarge my comfort-zone, expanding my skills in multiple areas of scale modeling. Therefore I decided that building a non-armoured vehicle was the way to go for my next project. Clear parts, road wheels, car interior… all new things for me. I couldn’t just take on a Volkswagen, now, could I? A war-time ambulance though? Sounds about right.
After my first time watching Band of Brothers, the awesome HBO TV series depicting the actions of Easy Company throughout World War II, I fell in love with episode 6 of the show, “Bastogne”. This specific episode is special because it’s told from a single character’s point of view, Eugene Roe (marvelously portrayed by Shane Taylor), one of the company’s medics. For those of you that don’t know, The Siege of Bastogne, part of the Battle of the Bulge, was one of the most gruesome parts of WWII. Freezing temperatures, constant artillery battery, supply shortage… you name it.
For me though, the episode is impressive because you get to see a different perspective of the war, alongside a person that became a hero for saving lives.
Doc Roe, you could say that this project was built in your honor.
So what’s a Maultier, you might ask. Well, in German it literally translates to mule, which, coincidentally, perfectly describes the role of these transport vehicles.
After packing their army with various trucks from Mercedes-Benz, Ford and Opel, Nazi Germany found out that rubber wheels don’t get along that well with the Soviet mud. So they called them back and switched the rear axles for Panzer I and Panzer II tracks, which, by 1941, were basically redundant tanks. Thus, the Sd.Kfz. 3 program of German half-tracks was started.
The 1/35 V3000S/SS M Maultier with Shelter is my first ICM kit and I have to say I’m pretty impressed with their work. To be clear, it’s no Tamiya, but for a €25 price tag, you get a pretty solid piece.
Throughout the build, the sprues had little to no flash. Some obvious ejector pin marks here and there, but a brisk slash of the hobby knife made good work of them. No fit issues whatsoever, I actually managed to wrap the build without using any putty. Nicely detailed cab interior and a basic engine come practically as a bonus. You can actually choose to show the engine if you decide to build the ambulance with a raised bonnet. Some scratch-built cable work would be required, though, so take that into consideration.
The disappointing part of the kit comes along with the interior of the shelter itself. Or should I say… lack of interior. Even though the box art is represented with curtains at the windows, there is nothing to hide behind them. I guess you could get some aftermarket stretchers, medics and wounded soldiers, but it would be nice if those came as standard. Even for a higher price.
Painting and Weathering
Building the model in sub-assemblies allowed me to handle delicate parts much easier, especially during painting. My first time trying out this approach, but I will be sure to apply it to future tank models as well. Following up on the theme detailed above, I wanted to paint the kit in a very rugged way, in order to really emphasize the hideousness of WWII, the hell people went through. Were I to do another one of these kits, I would go for a cleaner, more museum-like look.
I try to make every new build an opportunity to expand my set of skills, to try out new materials, new techniques, to apply what more experienced modelers preach. Like I mentioned in my previous post, this build was my first time trying out the oil dot-filter technique. I would try to summarize it here, but it’s better to see it in action in the actual video that I used as a guide:
If you took a sneak peek at the pictures, you probably noticed the way the windows look. This was obviously a mistake on my part. I hoped the gloss coat that I applied would self-level, but it didn’t. It actually left a frosted glass effect. Luckily, I quite like how it goes with the overall look of the ambulance. To me, it suggests a freezing morning somewhere near Bastogne, where a group of medics woke up to a new day of saving the lives of their injured brothers.
As usual, here’s a full gallery of the vehicle: