AFV Club
Büssing-NAG L4500S
AFV Club 1:35 Kit No. AF35170
Preview by Terry Ashley

AFV Club
This new kit from AFV Club represents the Büssing-NAG L4500S 4.5-ton heavy truck produced from 1942 and was a development of the earlier 4.5-ton L500S, the L4500 differed with redesigned cab and engine compartment with later models featuring simplified grills and wood cabs for easier production due to material shortages.

The L4500 was powered by a Büssing-NAG Type LD 6 cylinder Diesel 7.4 litre engine and was built in basic two models, the Type A was a 4 x 4 all-wheel drive and the Type S was a 4 x 2 rear wheel drive. The majority were built as standard 4.5-ton cargo trucks but some were converted to other uses such as radio and engineer trucks mounting a 3-ton Bilstein Crane and other body types.

The Kit:
This consists of:
Etched and clear parts
AFV Club
AFV Club

The standard of moulding is very good throughout with only some minor flash on a few parts and minimal pin marks seen after assembly, there are three huge pin marks on the inside of the doors that will need attention if the doors are shown open but that’s about it. There is the usual clean-up of the sprue attachment burs, numerous plastic nodes and fine mould seams as with any kit these days.

The kit features a fully detailed engine with the fine louvers on the compartment side panels moulded open plus a detailed crew cab along with workable front steering and fine surface detailing and texturing such as the rear wood panelling on the cargo tray.

At this time I don’t have any reliable plans for the vehicle so can’t comment or make assessments of the kit dimensions other than to say it appears in proportions when comparing to available period photos. With that most of this review will concentrate on the kit and assembly sequences as there is also not a lot of references available on the trucks but again those available match the kit quite well. But with plastic kits from two manufactures now available hopefully more information will surface and we can revisit this if need be.

This has the two long side U beams moulded perfectly straight without any hint of warping and are joined together by six separate cross members that have to be fitted while threading the long exhaust pipe through three of the cross members and the compressed air tank mountings, an extra pair of hands would come in handy. I found it easiest to glue all six cross members and the tanks to one side beam ensuring they are at perfectly level and at 90 degrees to the beam and when almost dry then fit the other chassis beam. Before the glue dries completely ensure the assembled chassis is perfectly square from all angles and the rest of the kit depends on this, you also need to take care as the ends of some cross members need some fine flash trimmed and are not the most precise fit as they don’t sit naturally at right angles, so again make sure of this before the glue dries.

The minor cross member (part B52) that can be added after the main chassis assembly in step 2 is shown incorrectly located in the instructions, it is shown being placed on top of the chassis but in fact should be positioned into the two small indentations on the underside of the chassis (see image).

A quick word on the two compressed air tanks that fit inside the chassis, these are made up of five parts each and require more work to fit than you’d like for things that are barely visible after assembly. The fit is not the best and this is due to the insides of the two mounting bracket rings (parts E16) not being even with one side thicker than the other so before trying to assemble the tanks trim the inside of the bracket rings to an even thickness and they fit over the ends of the respective tank sections. Next make sure the ends of the tank parts are free of any minor flash that will impede the fit, once these two steps are done the tank parts fit together a lot easier.

Other parts added to the chassis are the front bumper bar with raised lettering “BüSSING NAG” and 6 ZYL-DIESEL” to which is added the front number plate (incorrectly numbered B56 instead of B57 as it should), the two tow hooks, Notek light with separate post, the two sirens behind the bumper. The two head lights are fitted to the sides of the chassis frame and come with a choice of clear plastic ‘glass’ of night driving cover with small slit.  The radiator is also added to the chassis just behind the bumper and this has finely rendered radiator mesh although you can’t see this after assembly with the engine bay closed up.

The two front fenders are also fitted to the chassis and fit into fine recesses on top of the chassis frame and to the rear supports also fitted to the chassis sides, there wasn’t any problems fitting the fenders or supports providing you are careful to align everything correctly as you go. Moving back is the two part fuel tank with separate triangular supports and the two rear taillight support posts with separate lights and the etched number plate, again there weren’t any fit problems here.

The front suspension is designed for the wheels to steer by way of the wheel lugs being trapped between the two halves of the suspension cross beam, the wheel discs are then attached to the lugs and the steering connection rod attached. The ends of the pins on the steering brackets (Parts E21) are best flattened with a heated screw driver otherwise the rod will come adrift, if you are not wanting moving steering just glue the rod in place.

The leaf springs are in one piece with just the fine mould seams to be removed and have large mounting lugs for fitting securely to the chassis, there are additional steering connectors fitted between the steering arm (part B3) and the chassis which negate the movable steering so again if you want the workable steering just glue the connectors (parts B1, B2) to the chassis but don’t glue part B2 to B3 leaving the wheels free to move.

The rear axle has the large differential and axle in one piece with additional transfer casings but there is no indication which way up the drain plug on the differential housing should go in the instruction illustrations, this plug should be towards the ground when fitted together. Again the leaf springs are in one piece with small brackets added over the axles, these brackets need care when removing from the sprues as the attachments are quite substantial compared to the size of the brackets. The large mounting lugs on the springs ensure a secure fit to the chassis without any problems.

The front and rear brake drums are in two parts that trap one of the poly caps for easy fitting to the axles and the wheels rims/hubs have very well done details both front and rear with just the valve stem to be added for detail. One thing to watch is there are some small raised pin marks on the inside to front wheel rims and these should be removed to allow the brake drum to sit positively into place.

The vinyl tyres have good tread pattern and sidewall embossing and fit snugly to the rims, these can be left off until after painting as the poly caps make it easy to add or remove the wheels at any time.

The full engine provided is quite complete and nicely detailed with all major accessories included and assembly going without any problems, some of the smaller parts need a bit of care and all it needs is some wiring if you are exposing the engine on the finished kit otherwise its mostly hidden from view inside the engine compartment.

Note the gear shift lever is glued to the top of the rear transmission casing and this is fed through the hole in the cab floor later and the rear universal joint and the drive shaft are designed to clip together to allow for small movement when fitting the engine but you will need to trim the pins on the drive shaft as these are just too big to clip into the universal joint as they are, not a big deal.

When fitting the engine to the chassis there are no actual locating pins with the engine just sitting on the chassis mounting brackets but aligning the exhaust manifold with the exhaust pipe fitted earlier will see the engine in the right position.

Crew Cab/Engine Compartment:
The cab is nicely detailed sub-assembly with the floor having fine tread plate included as well as separate driver’s brake, clutch and accelerator pedals/piston as well as the hand brake lever with the floor hole for the gear lever as mentioned above. The two part bench seat fits to back of the floor plate without any problems in fitting of the parts.

The front windscreen/firewall has details added both sides including the instrument panel with engraved dials mounted on a two part mounting frame. The two part steering column support is a little tricky to fit and it’s best to glue the steering column in place through the firewall at this point instead of fitting later as per instructions as this makes attaching the bracket to the side of the instrument panel mounting easier. You should trim the locating lugs off the chassis mounted steering piston to prevent any snagging problems when fitting the cab, not actually gluing the end of the steering column to the piston is not a problem and can’t be seen anyway.

Also added inside the windscreen are the two clear screen ‘glass’ sections and the top mounted wiper motors and just watch the clear screen parts F2, F3 are fitting the correct way as per the instructions for a proper fit.

The rear cab wall has the seat backrest, small brackets and clear window added before gluing to the floor plate with roof added at the same time to ensure proper alignment but the fit was good with the only join needing attention is the top join between the roof and top cab that needs to be eliminated completely with light sanding.

The two doors are moulded in one piece each and this does result in three large and deep pin marks on the inside of both doors, these will need to be filled if showing the doors open as they are substantial. Other details added to the doors are the clear windows, inside handles and window winders and outside door handles. The fit of the doors to the cab was good but you may want to temporarily sit the doors in position while gluing the rear wall and roof to ensure the exact fit of all parts.

There are numerous smaller parts added to the firewall and cab that all fit without problems as does the cab to the chassis and once fitted there is a rod fitted between the firewall and the radiator. There is the five part jack fitted to the right side step and again the appearance could be improved by using aftermarket etched brackets and clips, you should take care fitting this as there isn’t any locating pins but there shouldn’t be any problems.

The engine compartment consists of the front radiator cover with the correct number of grills with an etched mesh insert that fits from behind the grill for a nice appearance. The two side panels have open louvers with little or no flash to be removed from the openings and include the T clips moulded with the panels, before fitting the panels you should drill out the locating holes for the axe and shovel attached to the panels as the instructions don’t indicate to do this, the tools themselves have very basic moulded on clips that could be improved by using aftermarket etched clips. The one piece hood top has well defined central hinge with the parts fitting together well and fit precisely in place over the radiator and to the firewall, you can leave the side panels off to expose the engine as was sometimes seen in period photos.

Rear Cargo Tray:
The cargo tray is a fairly simple assembly with the large flat floor moulded perfectly flat and square without any warping or pin marks to mar the wood grain embossing that isn’t overdone in appearance plus the fixed front panel with side and rear panels that can be fitted raised or lowered as you wish.

The side panels also have the nice wood grain panelling and are again moulded perfectly straight, there are also separate backrests for the sides and rear panels, these can be left off to build a low side truck but the securing brackets are included with the panel mounting posts so would have to add these back to the lower side panels so it’s far easier to fit them as intended.

On the underside of the floor is the single large chassis mounting cross members and connecting beams, this is also moulded perfectly straight and square and fits easily to the underside of the floor, as do the various storage boxes, spare wheel mounting and the two fenders with four supports per fender. With the spare wheel mounting the curved outer retaining bracket (part B43) fits over the small lugs on part B44 and there is lurking unannounced on sprue B two small wing nuts (part B56) that can be added to the support bracket attachments for added detail.

The fit of the floor and upper side panels is spot on without any trimming or other issues for a quick and easy assembly with small plastic clips (parts E20) added to the four corners for additional detail, there are also the four inner bench seats that can be fitting for troop transport of left out for cargo transport as you prefer. The assembled rear tray also fits easily to the chassis by way of locating pins on the underside cross members for a very precise fit.

These are the usual exploded view type drawings that have clearly laid out assembly sequences that are easy to follow, the various sub-assemblies allows you to work on these separate if you wish. There are a couple of minor bloopers as mentioned above and as normal you need to study the instructions carefully. Paint numbers are provided for Hobby Color, Humbrol, Lifecolor, Mr.Color and Revell paints for the colours used on the kit.

The decal sheet is nicely printed and gives a choice of five marking options, four Wehrmacht and one Luftwaffe with the sheet having the five number plates, unit and tactical markings as well as stencilling seen on the doors on occasion.

The markings included are:
  • A: 320th Infantry Division in overall German Gray.
  • B: 4th Panzer Division, Kursk 1943 in three colour cam scheme.
  • C: Luftwaffe unidentified unit in overall Dark Yellow.
  • D: 35th Infantry Division in overall German Gray.
  • E: 21st Panzer Division, North Africa in overall Desert Sand (the instructions say Dark Yellow).

    AFV Club
This is an excellent kit of the large Büssing NAG L4500S with clean crisp detail overall and just the bare minimum of clean-up needed, there are a few parts with some minor flash to watch for as well as the large pin marks on the inside of the doors, you will need to use some old fashioned modelling skills mainly with the chassis assembly as the fit of some chassis parts is below that of the rest of the kit.

The level of detail overall is excellent with good overall fit of parts and will build into an excellent model with little fuss and the choice of finish is almost endless, the kit will look good on its own or included in a diorama setting.

Rating 8.5/10

The Sprues:

Click on thumbnails for larger view
Build detail images
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Sprue detail images
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Trucks of the Wehrmacht German Vehicles in WWII
Schiffer Military History
Reinhard Frank
ISBN 0-88740-686-6
Thanks to my credit card and Lucky Model for the review kit.

Page created August 17, 2012

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