Italeri 6437 – 1/35 German Horse Drawn Convoy
The historical image of the German army during the Second World War is one of Panzers charging across fields followed by waves of mechanised Infantry in armoured cars. The reality is that behind these scenes there still remained the good old fashioned horse pulling everything from artillery pieces to small supply wagons, especially in the early war years. This kit from Italeri therefore supplies an essential part of the German war effort in the form of two horse drawn wagons.
This kit is itself a reboxing of the older Esci kit by the same name, so consider this review to cover both with the exception that the Esci kit comes with seven additional figures, a table and a pair of large boxes. It comes in a large tray and lid box containing four sprues moulded in dark grey plastic. Two of these sprues are identical, the one with the horses ( so I have only photographed it once for the sprue shots ), the other two contain one wagon on each.
Overall the detail is sharp though there is a degree of cleanup required with light flashing in some places and mould lines that will need to be removed. The instructions are clear and easy to follow for the most part, though they don’t tell you that for the reins you need to cut your own from the included flesh coloured strip of thin plastic sheet ( thin strips of paper actually works better ).
Both wagons overall are well presented though some of the detailing is a little heavy and could do with being replaced with scratchbuilt parts, the wheels in particular are a little simplified and lacking any discernible metal rim. There is no wood grain pattern to any of the wood parts which can be seen as a negative to some, I personally think wood graining is usually overdone and makes wood look hand-hewn. If desired a subtle graining effect can easily be added with a light scraping of a reasonably coarse sandpaper. The ambulance is an enclosed wagon that comes with no interior while the supply wagon is open but comes with an optional moulded canvas cover. Both have articulated front axles.
The horses are actually well moulded with separate ears and quite good manes and tails. The only thing I would recommend changing is to replace the parts of the harness that conform to the curves of the horse where they should be straight, not a kit criticism as this would require an undercut to produce on the kit and that is outside the limits of injection moulded plastic. There are four horses but as they come on duplicate sprues that means you get two poses and two horses in each pose. This means either remodelling one horse, or painting it different at least, to get total individuality in all four.
The figures are reasonably well moulded, lacking a little in sharpness of the uniform details, being a little heavy with the creases etc. They’re definitely not the level of quality we’re used to these days bt if you’re willing to put in the effort they do scrub up okay. They also suffer a bit from flash around the faces which needs cleaning up. All four wear a zeltbahn poncho and again as they come on a duplicate sprue you get two poses with two figures in each pose. They come with a Kar98K rifle each but no other personal equipment.
You also get a number of acessories for stowage in the supply wagon – four fuel drums, two large crates, two pick axes, two shovels, two large sacks, two buckets, two ladders and two pairs of road signs. These are all adequately moulded and add to the supply wagon nicely.
Decals are provide for two options – 114th Jäger Division, Italy, 1944 and 5th Mountain Division, Russia, 1942 with red cross decals for the ambulance.
Conclusion. Though this kit does show its age and there is degree of cleanup required it does address a little served niche in the 1/35 scale WWI military market and with a little skill, time and care this can turn out as a very nice kit, not to mention a very unusual subject that is sure to stand out.