German 3ton 4x2
Cargo Truck

Tamiya Kit No.35291

1:35th Scale

Review by Terry Ashley


One of the most widely used and recognised German Army Trucks of WWII was the Opel Blitz 3 ton which was initially produced as a 4x2 rear wheel drive truck with the later 4x4 version having all wheel drive which was much loved by it’s crews for the greatly improved cross country performance.

The rugged chassis was used for all manner of conversions and different body types such as buses, fire engines, workshop and repair shop trucks, Luftwaffe crash tenders and radio transmitter trucks among others throughout the war and offers some excellent conversion possibilities.

This new kit from Tamiya is of the initial 3ton 4x2 type S with the early wheels that have 6 lightening holes in the rims and the rear cargo bed with 4 wood panels each with this version produced from 1937 and later types produced from 1940 onwards including the 4x4 types. While this limits most to the early war years many would have soldiered on much later after newer models appeared.

The Tamiya kit differs from the older Italeri Opel Blitz (kit #216) in that while this is still the 4x2 type the front wheel rims have 8 lightening holes (rear wheels have the 6 holes) along with 6 wood panels on the cargo bed so at least they are not complete duplications allowing different versions to be built from each kit. A brief comparison of the two kits is at the end of this review for those interested?

Note; I have been advised by some that their Italeri kits of the Opel Blitz (kit #216) have front wheels with 6 lightening holes and it appears Italeri may have updated the kits at some stage and those with older kits will have front wheels with 6 lightening holes and newer kits front wheels with 8 lightening holes.

The Kit:

The kit has 245 parts in dark grey plastic, 98 of which are for the two equipment sprues as well as 7 clear parts, a sheet of masks for the windows and the usual decal and instructions sheets.

Of interest is the two sprues A not only have the wheels and other parts that are duplicated as is the normal practice in most kits but it also has duplicates of things like the driver’s foot pedals and levers, steering wheel, jack, rear view mirror, tail lights and some others which means all these are left over providing the spares box with items not usually found there.

The standard of moulding is quite good overall with just the usual moulding seams to be removed and a minimum of pin marks apart from a couple of notable exceptions with the rear cargo bay side panels having many shallow pin marks that mar the otherwise nicely done wood grain texturing. These pin marks are on the insides of the side and rear panels but for some reason on the outside of the front panel making them quite visible on the built kit.

Eliminating these pin marks will be quite tricky due to the wood grain texturing and there are also additional shallow pin marks on the insides of the doors and roof which will be far easier to eliminate as there is no surrounding detail to contend with.

The level of detail is mostly well done on what is present but with some simplifications and also some notable detail omissions such as the “Opel Blitz” name on the radiator badge, the hood ‘T’ securing handles and featureless instrument dials and some others I will mention through the review.


The main chassis frame is in one piece with four cross members and the engine under pan included and is moulded perfectly flat and square with just a fairly prominent mould seam along the sides to be removed. The actual Blitz chassis is made from U shaped beam but this is hardly noticeable on the kit chassis as the open side of the U is to the inside.

Added to the chassis frame is the lower sump and gearbox section of the engine, the fuel tank, spare wheel rack and rather basic rear towing hitch as well as the suspension springs and exhaust pipe.

The suspension leaf springs have well defined leaf spring detail but you will have to remove the central mould seams as these springs did not have central ridges like some do and should be perfectly smooth.

There is another issue with the rear springs where Tamiya give you the rear reinforced double springs units introduced in 1942 to solve overloading issues on both the 4x2 and 4x4 vehicles but as this kit has the earlier 6 holed wheels the single springs and the markings provided (except one) precede the introduction of the double springs the single springs would be seem more appropriate?

To modify the springs back to the single spring units you simply cut off the additional top springs and add back from thin card the retaining plate and four hex bolt heads.

Rear spring modifications

Also if you use the double springs as supplied there should be additional spring ‘stop’ brackets added to the chassis sides which are not included in the kit so some work is needed either way for correctly depicted rear suspension springs.

Images courtesy Wings & Wheels publications

Adding the rear differentials is very straightforward and the front axles are designed for workable steering but there was not a lot of movement as the steering arms (parts B21, B22) are quite thick and foul the axle. If you are going to show the wheels on full lock you will have to trim a little off the sides of the axles to allow the steering arms to move, trial and error will determine the amount trimmed but it is only minor in any case.

The one piece drive shaft fits easily in place but note you should remove the mould seams from all the suspension components before assembly for a better look and you may also want to add the brake drum lines to the rear differential and there should be a thin metal bracket to hold the rear of the exhaust pipe to the chassis side which will also need to be added.

As mentioned the wheels have the early 6 lightening holes in the rims with the tyres moulded in one piece with just separate inner tyre lips along with separate brake drums that hold the poly caps in place. This allows you to add and remove the wheels at any time as well as allowing full rotation of the wheels with about the only detail you could add is the tyre valve stems from thin sprue or wire.

Detail on the wheel rims is very well done with well defined rim and hub bolts while the tread pattern is the now “standard” German tread from Tamiya but there should be a small groove around the middle of the tread which you could possibly add with a fine razor saw and some care?


The cab is made up of numerous separate parts for the floor, rear wall, doors, firewall and roof which does allow you to fully detail and paint the interior before adding the sides to make things easier.
Tamiya has finally realised driver’s foot pedals do exist and given the brake and clutch pedal as separate parts with good definition while the accelerator pedal is just a stalk that sticks up from the floor and needs a little refining.

I trimmed this using a sharp #11 blade to the flat profile and then bent it forward a little to better represent the actual accelerator pedal but you could also cut it away and replace with thin card if that is easier?

The central gear level and hand brake are also separate parts as is the steering wheel and long steering shaft that protrudes through into the empty engine compartment while the instrument panel/dash board has nice details with the windscreen wipes included and early open compartment on the right side. As mentioned the instrument dials are bare and you can either hand paint the dials or use those from Archers Fine Transfers (set #AR35214) for a more refined look.

The seats have subtle texturing on the cushions with the cab parts, floor, firewall/instrument panel, and rear wall all fitting together very well but watch the angle of the rear wall as this does effect the fit of the doors and roof if not perfectly at right angles to the floor.

This assembly is then attached to the lower cab floor that includes the fenders and bumper in the one piece that includes the non slip ridges on the cab side foot plates for good detail. There are some pin marks inside the fenders if you want to remove these but they are all but hidden when the wheels are in place so you save a bit of work leaving them as they are?

The two cab doors are separate parts with separate glass windows that have the correct front quarter panels included as well as a separate outer small door handle for good detail definition but there are some shallow pin marks on the inside of the doors to remove if showing the doors open?

A set of masks are provided to use when painting the windows but these are not pre-cut so you need to carefully cut these from the sheet and apply to the windows as required.

The roof is also a separate part and again there are some pin marks on the inside that are easy to remove as there is no surrounding detail and this fits to the rear cab wall and the top of the firewall with the fit good but it does depend on the angle of the rear wall as mentioned above for a perfect fit. If you fit the cab parts together while the glue is still tacky any minor alignment alterations can easily be made to ensure a good fit all around.

Note; before fitting the roof you should fit the windscreen glass (clear plastic) from the inside and also open up a small locating hole on the upper left pillar for the search light and allow the glue to dry completely on the windscreen before fitting as the windscreen wipers on top of the firewall will try and push the windscreen out of position if they can while fitting the roof.

Added to this is the four part engine compartment made up of the front radiator panel which has open grills without any excess flash between the grills but as there is no engine included you can see through into the open void and adding a representation of the radiator or just blanking off inside the grills will make for a better final appearance.

The “Opel Blitz” manufactures logo is a separate part but the actual name is missing due to licensing issues and aftermarket etched sets will no doubt address this issue. It seems Tamiya anticipated this by giving you the badge as a separate part but there are indentations in the grills for fitting the badge which are visible if the badge is left off altogether. There is also a very small and slippery radiator “cap” to add and you will need care removing this from the sprue and fitting.

The engine hood has the top central section separate that fits neatly between the radiator and firewall with the two engine access covers fitting perfectly in place but they not designed to be shown open (no engine to show off anyway) and the side louvers are moulded solid. As mentioned the four ‘T’ hood securing latches are also missing but it will be easy to add these from some stretched sprue for basic representations of the latches.

Other details added to the cab/fenders include the three part early model jack, 3 part Notek light and mounting bracket, head lights with a choice of clear plastic lens or plastic cover with blackout slit (you can’t fit both), the shovel and pick axe with rather crude brackets and clips moulded on as well as the front number plate. There is also the roof mounted ‘towed load’ warning placard which can be fitted raised or lowered and small searchlight with equally small clear lens as well as the rear view mirror and fender mounted width indicators and both the mirror stalk and width indicator posts are a little on the thick side and replacing with thinner wire would improve the look.

Details added under the chassis include the foot board supports, front towing hooks and horn and to improve the detail and ‘finish’ off you could add the wiring to the various lights from thin wire.

Rear Cargo Bed:

The main cargo bed is made up of 5 parts, the floor and separate side and end panels all of which have very nicely done wood grain texturing on both sides as well as crisp detail on the side securing brackets. As mentioned there are quite a few pin marks on the inner panels that will take a bit of effort to remove due to the surrounding wood grain with those on the outside of the front panel being the most troublesome.

While the brackets detail is nicely done the two traffic indicators at the front corners have basic details and again will probably be included in aftermarket etched detail sets for the kit, you should also add the wiring to these units as this is quite prominent on the truck as shown on the box top illustration.

The fit of the bed parts is spot on due to there being no warping or other blemishes and this makes for a quick and easy assembly, you should note you can easily leave the rear gate in the down position if you wish?

Added to the undersides of the bed are the mounting brackets, rear wheel fenders and supports, just watch the part numbers for the fenders to ensure you fit these to the correct sides as it’s easy to transpose which compromises the fit.

There are two storage lockers and the rear mounted jerry can holder as well as the rear mounted number plate and tail light and convoy light units and for the top is the folded tilt frames added at the front. No cargo bay cover is provided which does make things a little bare as most photos of the Blitz have the full cover in place, but this can be made from thin tissue and wire tilt frames but no doubt a resin cover will come fairly shortly.  

Additional equipment in the form of 2 of the now standard German kit accessory sprue is included that gives you a selection of fuel drums, jerry cans as well as the fuel drum pumps with the drums and jerry cans in multiple parts that look quite good assembled and can be added to the cargo bed as required.


Also included are two seated crew figures for the cab which if you use these will have to be added early during construction as they can’t be inserted after the cab is assembled. Each figure is the same apart different facial features (same field caps worn on both) and alternate left arms for the driver and passenger.

The uniform detail is okay with early war tunics and should come up okay with careful painting but no personal equipment or weapons are provided.


These are the standard Tamiya exploded view drawings which in the main are very clear and easy to follow and if studied carefully before assembly there shouldn’t be any problems.


The usual Tamiya decal sheet with well printed markings but slightly thick carrier film provides markings for 4 early war vehicles (see comments on suspension springs) with a selection of unit insignia and tac markings.

The units included are:
  • A: WH-202951 18th Infantry Division, Northern Sector of Eastern Front, June 1941
  • B: WL-405872 1st Battalion, 33rd Gun Regiment, Luftwaffe, North Africa, 1942
  • C: WH-1147306th Company, 86th Infantry Regiment, 10th Panzer Division, Poland, September 1939
  • D: WH-63925 5th Company, 69th Sniper Regiment, 10th Panzer Division, Western Front, September 1939


This is another excellent kit overall from Tamiya with typical clean details included and excellent engineering and assembly. There are some excessive pin marks on the cargo bay panels as mentioned and some work will be needed on the rear suspension springs and as with any kit additional details can be added to improve the detail such as wiring and instrument dials which seems to have fixated some.

The model is more applicable to early war periods as illustrated by the markings provided and a full tilt cover would have been nice especially for the European vehicles as they would most likely have this fitted.

But a very nice model of the early Opel Blitz can be built from this kit without too much hassle.

Highly recommended 7.5/10

For another opinion on the kit, see Paul Owen's review on Track Link.

Also see the Opel Blitz subject page for reviews of additional update/detail sets available for the Opel Blitz

The Sprues:

Click on thumbnails for larger view
Detail images
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Quick kit comparison:

A quick comparison of this kit to the older Italeri kit sees slightly different versions kitted as mentioned above with the Italeri kit having later front wheels with 8 lightening holes and rear cargo bay sides with 6 panels as opposed to the Tamiya 6 holed wheels and 4 panel cargo bay sides.

The Italeri cargo bay panels have as many pin marks as the Tamiya panels which are easier to remove from the Italeri kit as there is no wood grain texturing and the lower chassis frame is very basic in shape compared to the Tamiya chassis.

Looking at the level of detail both kits lack the hood “T” brackets, the Italeri kit has no windscreen wipers while the Tamiya kit does, the doors are separate on the Tamiya kit and the driver’s foot pedals are just raised ‘lumps’ on the Italeri kit with separate parts on the Tamiya kit. The Italeri door windows don’t have the front quarter panel which is included in the Tamiya kit.

The Italeri kit has the early single spring rear suspension while the Tamiya has the later double leaf spring suspension. From the markings and features of the kits they should acually be the other way around, the detail definition of the springs themselves is far crisper on the Tamiya parts.

The driver figure in the Italeri kit can best be described as crude but the kit does give you the full cargo bay tilt cover which it Tamiya kit doesn’t.

Moving to the engineering and fit of the parts, anyone who has built the Italeri kit will know it is a labour of love with many grey hairs resulting from assembling the cab in particular while the Tamiya kit as they say ‘just falls together’

So overall the Tamiya kit reflects the years between the two kit releases and is superior in detail definition and assembly but does have it’s moments as mentioned above.

That is not to say the Italeri kit is poor as it will still build into a nice replica of later 4x2 Opel Blitz with some TLC but the easier build of the Tamiya kit lends itself to more conversions as you don’t have to struggle with basic fit issues before getting to the conversion.


Trucks of the Wehrmacht
German Vehicles in WWII

Schiffer Military History
Reinhard Frank
ISBN 0-88740-686-6

Hard Cover
207 Pages


Opel Blitz in Detail
Special Museum Line No.39
Wings & Wheels Publications
ISBN: 80-86416-51-8


Opel Blitz in Detail
Special Museum Line No.1
Wings & Wheels Publications
ISBN: 1211-0671


Opel Blitz
by Albert Osinski
Kagero Topshots #11009
ISBN: 83-89088-78-9

43 pages with excellent colour walkaround photos of museum 4x4 Blitz with a bonus decal sheet included.

Thanks to my credit card and the excellent service fromRainbow Tenfor the review kit.

Page created May 11, 2008