by: Andras [ ]
MiniArt has issued a civilian version of a car that they already had in their catalogue in military service: the Mercedes-Benz W30 Typ 170 V Saloon. (The V stands for ďVornĒ -indicating the engine is in the front of the car. They had a rear-engined variant as well, which carries the H letter.) The model does not actually have the brand name in the title for copyright reasons, but we do get the Mercedes symbol for the front of the car, so itís not exactly surprising what make this vehicle is.
This cabrio was a widely used passenger car during the Ď30s, even into the Ď60s. It was one of the top selling model of the company before the war, an affordable, more luxurious ďpeopleís carĒ, than the VW Beetle. It was also one of the most produced model as well (itís difficult to get accurate numbers but around a hundred thousand cars were produced during the full production run of the vehicle) in dozens of different configurations. It was used by the German armed forces as well - the subject of MiniArtís previous issue of this vehicle. The production went on from 1936 to 1953, with some pause during the later phase of the war when the factories producing the parts were bombed.
Here are some useful links for references:
Mercedes-Benzís own website: http://bit.ly/2rwWaV4
Some interesting information/photos on pre-war Mercedes models: http://bit.ly/2rPcZH3
Some historical notes on the pre-war Mercedes passenger cars: http://bit.ly/2q7DStq
These cars are still around in large numbers, and since they were built to be easily serviceable, a great many of them have been restored to running condition, which you can buy for a reasonable (wellÖ) price. If you want something smaller and more manageable, the 1/35 version of the vehicle offers a good alternative. MiniArt has been issuing a lot of civilian figures, buildings, sets for dioramas and vehicles (cars, trucks and trams); this model fits nicely into this very much welcome trend.
The model comes in a typical MiniArt box with an artwork showing the car with a woman at the door, and the different painting options on all over the sides of the box.
Upon opening the box you find only ten small sprues; the most delicate parts have received a protective sheathing, which is a very nice touch. (Just make sure youíre careful removing the cover.) The body of the car comes in a separate box to protect it; itís quite a nice piece of plastic. (Just make sure you remove the ejection pin marks from the inside.) There are a couple of very delicate parts that make clean up a nightmare, but not too many; in return we get itsy-bitsy PE parts that make assembly a nightmare. (Obviously a joke; itís not impossible to do, but I did manage glue my fingers together once during assembly.) Very fine tweezers are a must for this build.
The plastic is the usual grey plastic MiniArt uses: relatively pliable, easy to handle. There was no flash around the parts.
There is also a relatively extensive PE fret included with very, very tiny parts, and a large decal sheet with several licence plate numbers and different signs for the postal and taxi versions. The decals have the Nazi eagle as well for the Imperial Post (Deuche Reichpost), but it does not have the Swastika. (Not that itís a problem, but worth mentioning.)
The instructions are in the typical MiniArt booklet form: an A4 colored booklet showing the painting options in color, and the assembly instructions in black-and-white. There are a ton of very attractive paint options to be honest; it took me a lot of time to decide on just one. My fiancťe liked the blue-tan combination the best, so I settled for that. The colors are given in Mig Ammo codes, but to save time (I was pressed with the build due to upcoming personal commitments), I did not order them but attempted to mix the color from the available paints from my collection. In retrospect it is not as bright blue as it should be.
There is also a female figure provided with the kit; the same lady is pictured on the boxart, dressed in pre-war fashion. The figure is nicely done, and well-detailed; gone are the days when you automatically threw the kitís figures into the spares bin, and purchased a resin replacement.
The model is far from the monstrous 1000 part kits MiniArt has been issuing lately (this is not a complaint, donít get me wrongÖ I love the full interior tanks), so building should not take long. One thing you really should do is to plan ahead, as the usual (for me, as an armor modeller, at least) sequence of building sub-assemblies, assembling, painting sequence is not going to work. In some cases it makes sense to deviate from the building sequence as well. I will mention the pitfalls and problems I ran into and the mistakes I made as well; maybe itíll help others planning the build.
One example of me not planning ahead was the wheels: the tires and the wheel hub assemblies come separate, so if -unlike me- you paint these before assembling them, you will have an easier time.
The building starts with the engine and the chassis; the details are pretty delicate and well done; the model fits together very well. (Itís a pretty interesting comparison to put the 1/35 V2 engine of the T-54 next to the 1.7l gasoline engine of the MercedesÖ)
When putting the exhaust system together I would suggest gluing the PE holders (PE6, PE9) onto the chassis, instead onto the muffler, as the instructions say- it will be much easier to align them together.
The instructions show you how to make the brake cables: you get a large-scale diagram to see how they should look, and you get an in-scale diagram to use it as a template; a pretty good solution.
The suspension is very delicate, and features the characteristic plastic springs I find so amazing. Be very careful cleaning them up, though as they break easily.
The painting of the body is also something you should do before installing it onto the chassis, since it makes masking and handling much easier; however it means you need to check what needs to be added before you do the painting. (I have to admit I found it challenging to replicate the highly polished, shiny car body; Iím more used to painting flat armor; not to mention my airbrush started dying on me.) Even the doors need to be painted before assembly as it is easier to deal with them with no clear parts installed.
Airbrush problems aside, the first step was to decide on the paint scheme, and paint the body and the sections of the hood. Masking provided some challenge, as the masking tape (which was a dedicated modelling tape) I used peeled away some flakes of the underlying base colorÖ Not the luckiest build I have to admit.
Once I sprayed several light layers of paint and removed the masks, I used a brush to touch up on the problematic areas, and then covered the model with Vallejo's varnish for metallic paints (itís very shiny) in several layers. I used a watchmakerís polishing paste to polish up the paint.
The interior is pretty straightforward. The instrument panel has some tiny PE assemblies that are not easy to do, and my main issue was that there were no decals provided for the instrument faces. There are raised details, but they whole face is sunk into the instrument panel; itís not easy to drybrush because of that.
One word of suggestion: when gluing the PE rear-view mirror onto the windscreen, use white glue instead of superglue; it will make sure that the superglue does not fog the transparent part.
I elected to use the extra luggage compartment fitted onto the back of the car; one thing I noticed is that the locating grooves for the holding pegs are not very well marked on the base of the holding frame; before gluing make sure you know where they are supposed to be going.
The front grill is made out of a very fine PE mesh; again, itís my issue, but even with Vallejoís chrome it was difficult to paint it without clogging some of it up with the paint. (The metallic paint is extremely fine pigmented.)
The grill/radiator assembly (essentially the front of the car) and the body of the car forms a frame onto which the hood and side panels are glued. The fit of the radiator is quite flimsy; I think this is my only real criticism of the kit. Since the fit is not exactly robust, the panels covering the engine compartments will need to be fitted carefully.
The very last step should be fitting the Mercedes sign on the front of the car; a kind of coronation of the build.
All in all, itís a really pleasant, relatively easy (well, the tiny PEÖ) build; the car looks great, and thereís a lot of great paint schemes to choose from- if you need an interwar civilian car in your diorama, look no further. Because the chassis, suspension and the engine is quite detailed, itís also suitable for creating wrecks, too.