L1500S LLG WWII German Light Fire Truck

Published: November 15th, 2013     
Box Art
Box Art
Reviewed by: 
Bill O’Malley, IPMS# 46473
Scale: 1/35
Company: ICM
Price: $53.99
Product / Stock #: 35526

This wonderful ICM kit has been kindly furnished by MMD Squadron for IPMS review.

When Hitler came to power in 1933, all fire services came under the newly created Fire Protection Police (Feuerschutz-polizei) as an arm of the Order Police (Ordnungspolizei), commanded by Heinrich Himmler. The fire equipment color changed from red to Polizei dark green. After the war, fire-fighting equipment was changed again to red. The L1500S truck was produced between 1941 and 1944 during World War II for use by the German Fire Police.

ICM also will be producing another version of the Fire Truck, L1500S LF 8, kit# 35527, and MiniArt has announced a similar kit, #35171, German Fire Truck L1500S AF8 with TSA Trailer.

ICM's kit includes the Fire Truck L1500S LLG and Truck Trailer TSA. The kit includes 217 parts for the LLG Fire Truck and 30 parts for the TSA trailer. It comes on 8 tan plastic sprues and one clear plastic sprue, vinyl tires separately bagged, an instruction sheet, and a decal sheet. Plastic parts have very nice detail with extremely thin pieces for gearshift lever, tie rods, mirror brackets, etc. The molding is very sharp with recessed panel lines for the truck body. Clear plastic windows are thinner than in many other kits but still somewhat thick for scale. The vinyl tires are nicely molded. Decals are minimal, printed in black and white.

Assembly of the kit went well in spite of some difficulty with the smaller parts. Mold seams are prevalent on most of the parts but are fairly small and easy to clean up. The plastic used is quite soft, so care needs to be taken not to gouge parts during cleanup.

Fire Truck Assembly

In Step 2, the attachment of the generator to the pulley and fan belt is a little unclear. The pulley should be attached to the back of the fan belt and the generator to the pulley. Part A53 should be installed with the hole down for installation of the exhaust pipe in a later step.

The two pipe sections in step 5 are molded in two pieces, which results in a seam running down the length of the corrugated pipe. It would've been better to cast this is a solid piece to avoid a joint between the two halves. I used liquid cement to limit the amount of cement in the joint between the two halves of the pipe.

There are many small parts that make up the chassis frame rail assembly in steps 6 & 7. Installation of exhaust pipe supports, parts A88 and A90, isn't clear, and I had to remove them later to align them with the pipe. It would be easier to hold off installation of the supports until the exhaust pipe is installed to get them in the correct location.

The frame rails for the chassis parts A82 and A63 were both warped and twisted. The chassis has many small parts that result in a very detailed assembly, but it is difficult to get all the parts aligned and keep everything square. I glued the cross members and frame rails together and then used weights to keep them straight and vertical while the glue dried.

Tires are nicely molded with only one sprue attachment point, which can be rotated so it's against the ground. The inside of the tire has some flash that I found was best removed with a sharp scalpel. This side of the tire should be turned inside on the vehicle so it's less visible. Steps 9 and 10 show the wheels being installed around the tire, but I assembled the wheels separately to allow for painting and then stretched the tires over the wheels. I scuffed the treads and face of the tire with sandpaper to make them look worn similar to the reference photo I used.

Step number 13 shows installation of the front tires and the steering arms. I installed the front axle but left the wheels and steering arms off until the body was assembled so I could angle the front wheels slightly.

In step number 11, check the hole in part A106 to make sure that the driveshaft U-joint clears the opening. I had to drill out the opening to get the driveshaft through. I painted the exhaust pipe Tamiya steel, followed by AK interactive worn effects, followed by AK dark rust, followed by AK worn effects, followed by Tamiya flat black. I then moistened the exhaust pipe with water and used a stiff brush to work down through the various colors. I also painted the running boards flat black to simulate the rubber pads installed on the boards.

In steps 20 and 21, color information is not provided for the shift levers, pedals, steering wheel, etc. Also, the decals for the instrument panel gauges are lower quality with poor registration, and one of the decals broke as I was placing it. The emblems on the doors don't include the Nazi swastika.

I painted the interior Model Master medium gray with Vallejo old wood for the seats, dry-brushed with Tamiya wooden deck tan highlights. I painted some of the knobs and trim on the instrument panel to give it some detail, although it will be difficult to see through the closed windows of the cab.

The grille, part number C6, had an obvious mold seem across the top of the radiator. The radiator also had a texture in the plastic that I sanded down, as this should be smooth metal. The fenders C12 & C13 also have a faint seam line across the middle of the fender that should be sanded out, as this will be visible underneath the gloss finish. The front and back edges of the fenders also had a faint texture that I sanded off so it wouldn't be apparent under the gloss finish.

ICM has placed some of the sprue attachment points in difficult locations to clean up such as the roof of the trailer and the lid on the truck. The connection points are placed in a recessed joint that has to be cleaned out so the parts fit together well.

The doors on the trucks are not operable without major surgery, making the interior difficult to see through the closed windows. There is no equipment provided for the interior of the truck and very little interior detail.

In step 26, the instructions show installation of the body to the chassis prior to installation of the hood and grille. I did not plan to have the hood open, so I installed the hood and grille to the body prior to chassis assembly to facilitate painting the entire body. The excellent fit of the ICM parts made this work without any problems.

In step 29, many of the detail parts on the front of the truck are installed. I managed to break both of the side rearview mirror brackets, which would be better replaced with brass wire.

Step 30 includes installation of the large spotlight, which is on a very delicate stem that could also be replaced with brass wire. I painted the inside of the reflector on this spotlight with the arctic blue metallic color called for, but this did not create the intense blue color. I then painted the outside of the spotlight lens with the arctic blue metallic color, followed by a few drops of Future, which improved the appearance considerably.

Assembly of Trailer

The assembly of the trailer was fairly straightforward. I replaced the rear antennas, parts G24, with brass wire so they would be more substantial. The top frame rails should be assembled together prior to placing them on the top of the trailer.

ICM has some incredibly thin parts, like the G24 pieces for the trailer. I broke both trying to get them off the sprue and ended up replacing them with wire.

Finishing

I painted the exterior of the fight fire truck in a dark green color that was slightly faded, based on a reference photo. The instructions call for Model Master 1524 green, which has been replaced by Testors 1124 green. This green looked much too bright, so I ended up with a custom mix of three parts Tamiya X-5 to one part Tamiya XF-2 and one part Tamiya XF-70. This resulted in the lightly faded dark green color similar to the reference photo. After painting the grille green, I highlighted the Mercedes logo and radiator cap with Model Master chrome silver.

The decals are poor quality and several of them broke as I was applying them, although they do snuggle down well with a little bit of Microsol. I sprayed the body and fenders with urethane clearcoat to provide the gloss finish.

This is a very nice kit of an unusual subject. The fit of the parts is excellent, although some of the smaller parts are very fragile and difficult to work with. Combined with ICM's WWII German Firemen figure set, kit #35632, the LLG Fire Truck makes a nice vignette of an interesting and unusual subject.

I enjoyed the assembly and finishing of the kit. ICM has done a very nice job with the kit and I appreciate the opportunity both Squadron and IPMS gave me to assemble and review the kit. This will be a fun kit for skilled modelers willing to put up with the small detail parts.

Photos

  1. Box Cover
  2. Sprue sample
  3. Numerous small parts for chassis frame
  4. Squaring frame rails with weights while glue sets
  5. Scuffed tires on left, kit tires on right
  6. Completed chassis assembly
  7. Glued body prior to painting
  8. Painted body with hood assembly
  9. Completed kit
  10. Completed vignette with ICM's WWII Firemen kit
  • Photo 1 - box
    Photo 1 - box
  • Photo 2 - sprues
    Photo 2 - sprues
  • Photo 3 - chassis frame
    Photo 3 - chassis frame
  • Photo 4 - frame alignment
    Photo 4 - frame alignment
  • Photo 5 - tires
    Photo 5 - tires
  • Photo 6 - chassis
    Photo 6 - chassis
  • Photo 7 - body assembly
    Photo 7 - body assembly
  • Photo 8 - painting
    Photo 8 - painting
  • Photo 9 - complete
    Photo 9 - complete
  • Photo 10 - vignette
    Photo 10 - vignette