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In-Box Review
135
MB Unimog 404 Early Standard Version

by: Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]

Background
The Mercedes-Benz designed Unimog was a curious mixture of truck and tractor. Designed (initially) to be a good, general purpose agricultural vehicle with the designers also considering its potential military application (when West Germany was permitted its own armed forces). There were a number of different Unimog's designed and built, the most numerous, the subject of this kit, was the MB Unimog 404. This vehicle,which was in production from 1955 until 1980, was the most prolific with 64,242 examples coming off the production line. More than 25 Armed Forces throughout the world purchased the Inigo in a variety of variants with a equally impressive number of uses - cargo/troop transports, communications vehicles, ambulance, fire engines etc. etc. the use of this vehicle was impressive. Although the 'majority' user was West Germany (with 36,000 examples) they were used throughout the world and are still to be seen today.


Das Werk's Unimog
A month or two ago, I ran, in the News Section, details of a new Spanish manufacturer, Das Werk Miniatures who have, with their initial releases, shown a highly imaginative approach. This, the first of their full (vehicle) kits is: DWM35100 - MB Unimog 404 Early Standard Version. This full kit is a 1/35th scale Resin model featuring the most common of the Unimog's variants. The model comes in a very sturdy cardboard box and the parts are contained in seven snap-top plastic 'baggies'. The tyres for the model are in a black vinyl-type material. The model, curiously enough for a resin kit, contains NO Photo-Etch whatsoever. Initial inspection of the castings was very favourable with no warpage, no sign of those small (but very-irritating) air bubbles and no damaged parts. A fully illustrated double-sided instruction sheet is provided, which includes enlargements of areas which may be problematic regarding placement. Completing the 'documentation' is another illustrated sheet showing the parts and the part numbers.


About this review
As an in-box of review can only tell you so much about a subject, in the next few days, I'll be building the model as a 'Build-feature'. So, in effect, if I am going to find problems, I should be able to identify them in 'Part Two'. Meanwhile, I'll be covering the model in the usual manner.


In Detail
As I mentioned previously, the initial impression is very good indeed with solid (protective) packaging,The easiest way to do a review like this, is to consider the vehicle as a series of sub-assemblies, so, beginning with:

Sub-frameThe main chassis component is moulded as a large, single piece. Normally, with resin, this is a part which is very susceptible to warping. In this case, it is absolutely straight with only the mould block to be cut off and some very thin resin film which is easily removed with a sharp blade. The brackets etc. all have good, clear location pins moulded onto them and following the instructions there should be no problems of attaching the parts correctly. Included chassis is an engine block which will not be visible unless the Unimog is modelled with the bonnet open. Detail on the engine is minimal so some 'dressing-up' will have to be considered if it's going to be displayed.

The cab: As this is the soft-top version, much of the detail will be visible on the finished model whether or not the canvas cab tilt is used or not. The cab floor is nicely done (see photo) with good detail. The hood comes with a nice representation of the Mercedes badge and the front grill is very convincing - even in its 'raw' resin state (see photo). Also well done, is the dashboard and the various levers and the steering wheel. The seats themselves are o.k. but perhaps they could justify some more texture? The windscreen comes as a separate sheet of clear plastic - as the frame is recessed, fitting this should present few problems.

Cargo Compartment This particular version is the troop carrier with the bench-type seats. The deck of the original was wood-planking which is particularly well cast in the model. Once again, with the spaces in the mouldings, there is thin flash present which, once again, is simplicity itself to remove.

Wheels: The hubs come in two moulded parts with the centre separately moulded. The wheel brake-drum is also well cast and detailed. The tyres themselves come in a black-vinyl material which has held the correct tread detail well. Five tyres are included - including a spare for mounting under the cargo bed.


Conclusions
Ever built an Italeri or AFV Club/Skybow truck kit? Well, it's a relief to say it, but this model is easier to construct. The engineering of the model is designed for ease of assembly - not simplicity of detail. Ah, but it's resin! Well, yes, and the reality is that the engineering of this kit is amongst the best I have ever seen. It's not 'shake 'n bake' but it's a lot less complex than one would imagine. Of course, what helps is that the Das Werk designers and pattern makers have chosen to ease the construction process and putting considerably though into the final process will make life a lot easier for the modeller. The subject is a good one as well. It would be difficult to imagine a post-war vehicle which has served in so many conflicts and has had so many different uses. From the 'plain-Vanilla' vehicles of the Bundeswehr to the esoteric 'technicals' of various 'bush-wars' this is a vehicle which has literally hundreds of modelling possibilities. I like what Das Werk have done with this kit, in particular the attention they have paid to its design. It's NOT exactly a beginner's model, but it comes very close - someone who has done one or two of the recent 'super kits' would actually find few problems with this one. One thing I DON'T like particularly are the vinyl tyres - I prefer resin. However, I do like the work that they've put into this model and it should (if there's any justice in the world) deserves to sell well.

Now, how about a couple of ambulance or radio van bodies as conversion sets?


Acknowledgements
Firstly, my thanks to Paco of Das Werk Miniatures for the Unimog. Regarding availability, it can be purchased directly from Das Werk Miniatures Website.
Secondly, due to its ubiquitous nature, the Unimog 404 is a remarkably easy vehicle to research on the 'web. Here are some of the (many thousand) sites dedicated to this amazing vehicle:

Homepage for Unimog 404

1962 Mercedes Benz Unimog 404 Troop Carrier

Unimog-S 404 FAQ

Danish Army Unimogs
SUMMARY
A new 1/35th scale, resin model of one of the most produced vehicles in the post-war period, the Mercedes Benz Unimog 404. Ah, but I here you say, resin? Isn't it going to be expensive and complex? Read the review, you may well be in for a very pleasant surprise...
  SUBJECT:90%
  QUALITY OF CASTING:100%
  MODEL DESIGN:99%
Percentage Rating
95%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: DWM35100
  Suggested Retail: €75.00/€87.00
  PUBLISHED: Nov 23, 2006
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 88.06%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 92.50%

Our Thanks to Das Werk Miniatures!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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Photos
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About Jim Rae (jimbrae)
FROM: PROVINCIA DE LUGO, SPAIN / ESPAñA

Self-employed English teacher living in NW Spain. Been modelling off and on since the sixties. Came back into the hobby around ten years ago. First love is Soviet Armor with German subjects running a close second. Currently exploring ways of getting cloned to allow time for modelling, working and wr...

Copyright ©2019 text by Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]. All rights reserved.



   

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Photos
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    Engine Block
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    Wheel hubs
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    Components of cargo bed
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    Driver's Compartment Floor
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