Adding photo-etched parts to the model increases the detail level and PE became a very popular trend during last 10 years of modeling. Even manufacturers of plastic kits tend to increase the amount of PE to provide hobby enthusiasts with all they need in the box. But still there is a demand for aftermarket products, since not everything can be reproduced nicely in styrene.
The L4500R Maultier kit appeared couple of years ago on the market, first released by Zvezda and later by Revell. These kits differ only in decals, and the full canvas is absent in Revell’s package. The quality of the parts is not up to today’s standards (Bronco, Dragon, Tasca), requiring a lot of clean-up, and are often oversized. That’s why I was surprised that none of the PE manufacturers had released an upgrade set earlier.
The Maultier (German for “mule”) was a hybrid truck fitted with the obsolete Pz. I track assembly that allowed trucks to operate in the horrendous Russian terrain, especially during the “mud time” just before and just after Winter. The Pz. I was no longer being built, and though the Maultier could not go where dedicated half-tracks could, it meant the Wehrmacht didn’t have to take the latter out of combat for supply tasks. The tracks were adapted to a variety of trucks, most notably the Opel Blitz, but also the Daimler L4500.
The set comes in a standard Voyager package (a thin cardboard box). Inside you have:
2 frets of brass PE
1 piece of film
1 resin Notek lamp
1 plastic and 1 steel rod
An A4-sized instruction sheet
All parts are sealed in plastic bags to ensure that nothing falls out, even if it gets detached from the PE fret. The smaller PE fret is even put between layers of film.
The set replaces the most crucial parts of the kit; most notably, the engine access doors are made with open louvers and could be assembled workable to show the huge engine of this half-truck, half-track. Needless to say, the original parts were way too thick. For the cargo bed, you get mud flaps and workable hinges, so any of the sides can be positioned opened. Also included are various minor details (door handles, front glass wipers, mirrors, parts to detail the width indicators, the Notek light).
Note that the Notek light is made of resin and has excellent detail.
Additionally, there is a rear convoy light with license plate. As an additional part, a film for the instrument dials is provided, and other elements like gas, brake and clutch pedals are present. For the radiator grill, two options are included.
The instructions are clearly-written, and the only fault that comes into my mind is the inclusion of the fuel tank assembly, which is not shown on the model (probably migrated from the regular L4500 truck).
I think this is an excellent upgrade set for Zvezda/Revell L4500R Maultier half-track. Inclusion of plastic and steel rods eliminates the need to search for these like in case of other PE manufacturers.
Highs: Fixes most of the weak parts of the original kit.Lows: Could be a bit cheaper?Verdict: Highly recommended.