Plenty of companies do an Opel Blitz truck in 28mm, but as far as I know only Rubicon have one in plastic. I splurged on a trio of them in a recent sale and they’ve been fun to build and paint.
The Opel Blitz 3-tonne truck needs no introduction, this was the workhorse of the Wehrmacht throughout most of the war. It was in production 1940-44 during which time they built nearly 130,000 of them. I don’t need quite that many, but I did buy three of them so that I can do scenarios with a convoy or an ambush. I bought them on sale from Plastic Soldier Company and they cost about £12 each (they’re normally £48.60 for three, so £16 each). Firestorm Games also have them at that price for single ones, so if you just want one or two that’s probably the way to go.
The Rubicon kit has a lot to like about it. It’s not a difficult build, but the parts count is maybe higher than you might expect. In part this is because Rubicon like to include lots of options in their kits. This is no exception, and you can model it with the canvas canopy up or down, with the back flap open or closed. You also get five jerry cans and some optional bits like towing indicators, two types of headlight and searchlights. The decal sheet is also ludicrously generous, giving enough number plates for about a dozen vehicles plus markings for things like Afrika Korps, ambulances and fuel transporters. It does also include a number of balkenkreuz decals, but as far as I know only AFVs were authorised to have these (even though the truck on the box art has them). You also get two crew members, a driver and passenger.
I’ve built each on of my trucks slightly different, varying the headlights, canopy and other minor details. I’ve also only included one driver in each, which means I’ve been left with quite a few jerry cans, spare tyres, driver/passenger figures and enough decals for the entire German army. Building Rubicon kits is definitely a good way to re-stock your bits box!
Building the Opel Blitz
The kit is basically a chassis, onto which you attach a cab and build up the rear cargo space however you want it. The cab is a single piece, so there are no joins on it at all.
Unfortunately the same can’t be said about the canopy. Because you can build it with either an open or closed rear flap these are two separate pieces which you attach, and you do end up with a big seam around it. You’ll need to fill and sand that a bit. Do a better job than I did on it though, mine was a bit rushed and could have done with a bit more care!
By far the fiddliest parts are the headlights. These are tiny, and the little pits in the front mudguards they engage in aren’t well moulded. You’ll need to carefully hold them in place while they set. There are two type of headlights; normal ones and squinty blackout ones. The normal ones are bigger, and I found the left one ends up very close to the nortek light and can be easily bent or broken when you take the cab on and off. I strongly recommend you do leave the cab unglued until everything is painted, by the way.
I also haven’t glued the canopies onto mine. They take a bit of fiddling about but once you get them fitting nicely onto the truck they can be taken on and off. Sigur of Battle Brush Studios had the good idea that you might want to be able to remove them during play, which I really like. If it’s a pain you can always glue them later.
I also left the rear wheels off for painting, as they’re double tyres in big mudguards so would be difficult to do once attached.
One minor gripe during the build is that the parts from one step aren’t all grouped on the same sprue. Each step in the instructions might need parts from both the A and B sprues. Not a biggy if you’re only assembling one, but when you’re doing three and juggling six sprues it can get a little messy.
The crew figures are ok, but not great. Detail on them is very mushy, and they’re very slight. On balance, I’m not that bothered as they’ll be tucked away inside the cab anyway.
Where the truck does have decent detail is on the underneath. For a wargames model its not bad, and means the truck can be flipped on its side and used as a roadblock, or maybe modelled burnt out (if you changed the wheels?)
For decals I’ve gone minimalist and just done the number plates front and rear.
For a paint scheme I was originally going to do them all the same, but after doing a bit of research it turns out there were a lot of trucks that stayed in the grey paint scheme until late in the war so I did one in grey so I can use it for early and mid war shenanigans. Should go nicely for raids with my new commandos and partisans…
Basecoat was from a rattly spray can, then I just painted the tyres, headlights and crew. I splashed on some dirt and pinwashed all the detail in black ink. That step takes a while on kits like this with lots of lines but really makes a big difference. I drybrushed the canopies a bit, then washed everything down in thin AP Quickshade Ink before drybrushing the truck bodies with Vallejo Middlestone for the yellow trucks and some very light grey for the grey one. Easy peasy, really.
This is a great kit. It’s cheap, well-detailed, sensibly-designed, easy enough to build and has a generous range of options and spare bits. It’s probably one of the most versatile things you can buy for your WW2 wargaming, it served in every theatre of the European war and works as terrain, an objective, or transport for your troops. Highly recommended.