Vulcan Scale Models
Zündapp K800 Motorcycle
with STEIB Side Car Nr28

Vulcan Scale Models 1:35 Kit #56007

Review by Terry Ashley

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The Zündapp K800 (K standing for Kardanantrieb or shaft drive) was the heaviest of Zündapps  at 212/230kg (solo/sidecar) and had a 804cc 4-cyl, 4-stroke petrol engine producing 22hp @ 4300rpm with a 4 speed hand change gearbox and drive shaft to give a top speed of 125 km/h. About 550 K800s were built between 1934 and 1938 with most used by the German Wehmacht during WWII.

The K800 could be used as a solo bike or with a sidecar fitted with some using the stylish Steib ‘sports” sidecar as well as the military style sidecars as fitted to other Motorcycles with unpowered sidecars.

The kit:
These new kits from Vulcan Models of the Zündapp K800  follows the previous release of the  Zündapp K 500 (kit #56003) with kit #56006 being the solo Zündapp K800 withone rider figure and kit #56007 for the Zündapp K800 w/Steib sidecar.

Both the K500 and K800 used the same basic frame and wheels with just the different engines/exhausts so these kits as a consequence are basically the K500 kit with a new engine/exhaust as per the original.

This review of the Zündapp K800 w/Steib sidecar (kit #56007) has the same motorcycle parts as Zündapp K800 kit #56006) with just the figure and sidecar parts differing between the two, therefore the comments here on the motorcycle apply to both kits.

The Zündapp K800 w/Steib sidecar has 80 parts in light grey plastic, 24 etched brass parts and 6 stainless steel wheel spoke discs and 4 small seat springs and 2 larger springs for the sidecar suspension. There is also a small decal sheet that has markings for 2 K800s plus the speedometer dials and Zündapp name logo for the fuel tank.

Metal parts
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Decal sheet
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The kit is quite comprehensive with the major features of the K800 included and the metal parts adding fine definition while on the other hand there is a quite a bit of part cleanup needed as well as a few part location issues that will need addressing.

One point worth noting is that Vulcan Models have corrected the shape of the handlebars which were incorrect in the initial K500 kits, this probably means that current K500 kits have also been updated as sprue A is common to both the K500 and K800 kits. It is refreshing to see producers make these corrections when noted for the benefit of modellers without behaving like petulant two year olds.

The standard of moulding is quite good but there is a fair bit of fine flash about the place requiring careful cleanup of most parts before use, plus the odd pin mark and the usual moulding seams to be removed with care needed on the small parts included in the kit. The 24 finely etched parts are cleanly done but apart from the front and back number plates are all very small requiring the usual care when handling. The same can be said for the small springs included as being real springs they must be handled with care, just don’t compress with tweezers or they could quickly go into lower Earth orbit.

Probably the standout feature of the kit is the stainless steel wheel spokes to add that fine touch to the wheels, being stainless steel they are stronger than the usual etched brass and should make assembly a little easier, the technical assistance provided by Swash Designs is obvious in these spokes.

The wheels themselves are the separate disc type made up of 5 disc segments that are sandwiched together trapping the metal spokes centrally in the process. There is some fine flash to be trimmed from around the other edges of some segments and it may be an idea to number the parts with a fine pen as you remove them from the sprues to ensure you fit the segments in the correct order.

When fitting the segments together there is a small amount of play and you have to ensure each segment is located evenly against the previous segment or you could end up with wheels with one tread section offset a little from the others. Also note that the three locating pins on the inside of the outer wheel segment for each wheel are not perfectly symmetrical with two located closer together than the third pin. This is to ensure once all the wheel segments and the spoke discs are joined together the tread blocks are correctly aligned, so make sure you align the locating pins without trying to force them if not lined up correctly. When they are aligned correctly the fit is good apart from the minor play of the segments as mentioned above.

The stainless steel spoke discs are preformed to shape thankfully as it is harder to work with the tougher stainless steel than etched brass so you only have to worry about filing the small bur where the discs are cut from the fret before assembly. Each spoke disc has a small notch that fits over a corresponding locating notch on the outer wheel segments to align the spokes but unfortunately this result is the spokes actually being misaligned.

The spokes ends shouldn't meet at the same spot on the rim but overlap to be spaced out around the rim and you will need to remove one (or both) of the small plastic locating notches on the outer plastic wheel segments, I also found it easier to glue the two spoke discs together before fitting into the wheel segments as this made getting them aligned correctly far easier.

The assembled wheels look good and a light sanding of the tread will eliminate any remaining flash or inconsistencies in tread bloke height ready to be fitted as you progress with the assembly.

Image (left) showing the incorrect alignment of the spokes as per the instructions and locating notches on the wheels.
The image on the right has the correct alignment with the spoke ends overlapping as they should.

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1. Use a 0.9mm drill bit to align and glue the central axle stub.
2. Glue the two etched spoke discs together with the correct offset of the spokes as above.

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3. Glue the tyre segments together taking note of the direction as per the instructions.
4. Glue one outer tyre section in place.

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5. Glue the assembled spokes into the assembled wheel from previous step
6. Glue the other outer tyre section in place to complete the wheel assembly (7).

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Front forks:
The front forks have the central mounting that includes the moulded suspension spring bracket to which is attached the handlebars, top locking handle and small etched switch lever. The handlebars have the brake and clutch levers included and as noted above these have been updated with the correct W profile but there are quite heavy mould seams as is often the case where parts are updated on existing sprues.

Profile of the kit handlebars correct when shown against an image from the K800 Operator's manual
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Attached to the central mounting are the two fork frames with the front fender trapped between them, ensure the longest part of the fender is positioned towards the rear and its best not to glue the fender in place until the wheel has been attached to ensure it sits correctly. Allow the glue on the fork assembly to dry completely and then fit the front wheel into place.

Added to the assembly is the rear plastic fender support with two small etched fittings and the two etched forward supports and two part front number plate, it’s best to leave the two part head light off at present as this has to be mounted level with the ground line after the fork assembly is attached to the body later.

The engine block is in two halves with nice detail and added to this are the two part cylinders which have cleanly rendered cooling fins. These could be a little deeper but are without pin marks or other blemishes, note the part numbers as they are different for either side.

There are six vents along the upper sides of the engine block but there should be four more on the front of the block, two either side of the centre line and these can be added by scribing to improve the detail. There should also be two spark plug wires on each cylinder that can be added as these seem very conspicuous by their absence to add a little additional detail to the engine block.

Added to the engine is the gear box with separate gear change lever and engine start pedal along with the battery and it is advisable to test fit these as a couple of locating holes needed enlarging slightly for a better fit. You should also make sure the bottom of the battery is fitted level with the bottom of the gearbox to ensure the engine sits correctly when fitted to the frame. The lower sump is also added to the bottom of the engine block.

Main Bike Frame:
The two main bike frames have a little flash to be removed and the instructions show to add the foot plates, foot pegs and the right side foot brake pedal with etched connecting rod. This needed the pin on the brake pedal thinned to fit through the hole in the etched part and there are also two small etched Zündapp badges to add to the front of the frames.

It may be an idea to leave the foot pegs off until the frame halves are joined as they can easily be damaged during the final frame assembly, other than that there were no other problems encountered. Note; there are four locating holes that need to be drilled in the right side frame for the sidecar mountings with the instructions showing the location of the holes, small indents are also included on the parts so there shouldn’t be any problems. Obviously these holes will not be drilled if building a solo bike.

The final assembly of the frame halves has the assembled engine plus the rear wheel and fender trapped between the frames in the process. There are two lower edge brackets on the frames that join together and the forward of these fit into the recess in the engine to fit in place.

As with the K500 kit this results in the engine being too far forward in the frame, this can be see by the position of the engine side vents which should sit back from the front frame and not level when fitting the engine as it comes. This is only by about 1mm in this case which makes it easier to rectify by modifying the front engine locating lug on the frames.

Modification to the frame engine bearer for the engine to be moved backwards 1mm
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As a consequence of repositioning the engine the rear drive shaft (part B12) and the two exhaust pipes also need to be shortened, this is easily done by moving the rear location of the pipes 1mm further back on the frames, this does result in the pipes sticking out the back an extra 1mm but this is barely noticeable after the final assembly. The other alternative is cut out a 1mm section of the pipes where they meet the muffler as this shouldn’t be a big problem?

There is another issue with the exhausts; there should be two exhaust pipes either side coming from the front and rear sides of the cylinder block. But you don’t actually get the rear exhaust pipe just the stylish guard that fits over the pipe/cylinder join and you may want to add the small length of pipe from the cylinder outlet to the existing pipes?

Final Assembly:
The instructions show to attach the front forks to the main body at this point but I found to better to leave these separate until last for easier handling while adding the remaining details to the body.

These include the top fuel tank with four parts and the rider’s seat and rear luggage rack with rear pannier seat. Both the seats have the small metal springs for excellent definition and attaching the ends of the springs to the seats with cyanoacrylate will make sure they are not lost while fitting the seats. There are a series of small studs around the back of the seats but after cleaning up the mould seams these weren’t in the best condition and I replaced these with small resin round rivet heads for better definition.

Other items added are the small auxiliary tank, front mounted horn and rear stand in plastic along with numerous small etched fittings plus the rear fender supports and number plate, these etched parts add nice definition to the final model.

The two rear luggage pouches can be attached to the luggage rack if you wish to fit these to complete the main body assembly.

Lastly the front fork assembly is attached to the body and this required the pin locating holes in the body frames to be enlarged to take the fork locating pins. The upper pin is included with the central fork mounting while the lower attachment bracket (part A21) is attached to the forks, the locating pins on part A21 are way too small for the opening in the forks so you should align these as you glue the bracket to the forks after inserting the pin into the underside of the main frame. Once the forks and frames are assembled you can attach the headlight ensuring this is fitted horizontally to the ground line.

Steib Sidecar Nr28:
The sidecar is a mini kit with a number of small parts and starts with the large U shaped frame; this needs care removing the moulding seams as the frame is quite delicate. Added to the frame is the rear support frame and two small brackets (parts D23) for attaching the sidecar and you must ensure these have the locating hole above the frame, the two part axle is also attached and you should ensure the glue had dried completely on these before proceeding.

The sidecar itself is in two halves but there is a substantial join seam between the two along the front of the sidecar which will require care not to damage the raised detail on the sidecar in the process. The rear join is covered by a flat plate with the cushion seat added inside the compartment. Being a civilian design there are no duckboards inside the compartment as you would find on military designed sidecars.

At the front is a small nose plug to which is added the etched “Steib” name badge and the rear suspension springs are more real springs with small locating bushes. Vulcan have arranged the attachment lugs (parts D25) on the sprues so you actually fit the springs while the parts are still attached to the sprues, thus ensuring the correct orientation of the springs and lugs, a nice touch. You then just cut away the lugs with the springs attached from the sprues and fit between the sides of the sidecar and the frame, all very easy.

Just be very careful when compressing the springs to fit onto the small lugs as any slip will see them go into lower Earth orbit.

The sidecar wheels is designed the same as the two bike wheels, so follow the same assembly steps as before and attach the wheel to axle stub along with the small plastic and etched hub cap and the wheel fender. The position of the large grab handle (part D3) is a little vague in the instructions but it should be positioned level with the front lip of the sidecar compartment.

Fitting the assembled sidecar to the bike mountings posed a few problems as the alignment of the attachment bars was not the best. Firstly you should attach the side car to the two attachment bars fitted earlier to the frame (parts D24 and D26) ensuring the sidecar is aligned level with the bike ground line and sits parallel to the bike centreline from overhead.

When the glue on these attachments has dried completely the two top attachment bars (parts D21 and D22) can then be fitted, I had to shorten both by between 2-3mm each after test fitting to get them to fit appropriately which was quite a bit considering. The main thing is to ensure the sidecar sits perfectly aligned to the K800 bike and whatever adjustment is required to achieve that has to be done. On comparing to period photos the assembled kit sidecar appears a little undersized but as I have actual data to verify the actual dimensions this may be just a visual thing?

Kit 56006 Rider figure:
Included in the kit is the same standing rider figure from the K500 (kit #56003) with one leg over the bike and his right hand holding the handlebars, this is broken down conventionally with two separate legs, upper torso, two arms, head and helmet. The uniform detail is quite well done and the fit of the parts not requiring any trimming or filling. Additional items include a pair of goggles plus personal equipment of bread bag, water bottle and gas mask canister but it is best to leave the bag off as this doesn’t allow the figure to sit properly over the bike.

The overall appearance of the assembly kit is very good due to the numerous metal parts such as the wheel spokes, seat and suspension springs plus smaller details but especially the Steib Nr28 sidecar which is well done overall. A minor issue is the position of the engine in the frame but it’s quite easy to reposition as well as dealing with corresponding drive shaft and exhaust pipe alterations, much easier than on the K500.

As mentioned above it is very good to see the handlebar shape has been corrected leaving just the additional engine wiring and control cables to the handlebars to finish off what is an impressive overall.

The K800 (kit #56006) without the sidecar but with the rider figure allows you to build the solo bike although references indicate that most K800s were fitted with a sidecar.

The Steib Nr28 sidecar was used on many other German motorcycles other than the K800 in the early war years giving scope for this to be used with other available kits such as the K500 and R12.

Rating 8.5/10

The Sprues:

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Assembly detail Images
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Sprue detail images
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Heavy Sidecar Motorcycles
of the Wehrmacht 1935-1945

Schiffer Publications
ISBN: 0764312723
Motocykle Wehrmachtu
Tank Power Vol.LXVIII
Wydawnictwo Militaria No.300
ISBN: 9788372193001

Thanks to Vulcan Scale Models for the review kit.

Page created December 7, 2010

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