The M22 Multicar was produced from 1964 to 1974 in East Germany. Fahrzeugwerk Waltrhausennow, now known as Hako-Werke GmbH. 42,500 units of the M22 were produced. It is powered by an air-cooled, two-cylinder, four-stroke diesel engine which developed 15 HP. Several variants, including side dumpers, were made. They must have been decent work vehicles, as I found some for sale and a number of contemporary videos. Multicar is the only brand that has survived from the East German vehicle industry.
Plus Modelís resin kit exhibits excellent detail and good molding, with some complex and fragile parts that require careful finishing. All windows and grill openings have thin sheets of flash which must be carefully trimmed. As in all resin kits, there are substantial pour blocks that must be separated. Happily, part numbers are molded in for all and I had no difficulty sorting the bits. There are 65 parts (six clear), two bits of wire, a sheet of acetate film for windows, and a fret of PE.
Construction starts with the frame, a single piece that needed all open spaces cleaned out and filed, tedious but not difficult. I failed to notice early on how torqued the frame was, about a 10 degree twist, but that had no effect on the early assembly. Still, I wish Iíd squared it up first.
The first problem appeared when I separated the springs from the pour blocks. There are no positioning pins, so some fiddling is required to get everything correct. One end of each spring is, as it should be, quite thin--so thin that three of them broke off. I replaced the broken bits with styrene strip. At this stage all the parts (barring springs) have locating pins but you need to check that everything is properly aligned.
Next to do is the engine, which is a lovely piece of modeling in ten pieces. This all goes together without drama. I particularly liked part no. 38, comprising the exhaust manifolds and muffler (see photo). This part is exquisitely Y-shaped, bent in three dimensions, and requires snaking the pipes between holes in the frame and simultaneously gluing fragile connectors on both sides of the engine. Worked like a charm, though. Sadly, unless you do some surgery and open up the maintenance panels, no one will ever see the engine.
Next up is the differential and rear axle, then the front axle. The front axle came off the pour stub well enough, but the tracking bar is very thin and broke off. I cut it out and replaced it with a bit of brass rod.
Assembling the cab is next. Most of it is self-evident, but the steering column attaches to a gearbox, which should move the pitman arm. The drawings are not very clear about that, but in any case I needed to get some paint down before putting the cab on the frame. And there are no guide pins for the cab, so placement is a bit of a challenge, because it is very tricky to get the boxy body around the engine. You canít attach the roof until after you install the windows but that should not be hard.
So at this point I painted the frame black. The instructions would have the wheels go on now but that can wait. A handful of photo etch comes next. Battery shelf, mud flaps, braces for the rear fenders, mirror bracket, door handles, side grill. Placement of all of these except the side grill requires some guesswork. I could not figure out how the rear mud flaps should attach, from the drawing.
The front grill sits in a shallow depression and clearly should allow you to see through. I cut out the appropriate rectangle and superglued the nicely detailed grill into place. Alternatively, I could have left it off until the body was painted which would have made it easier to do a contrasting color.
Setting that aside it is time for the cargo box, a straightforward assembly of four sides attached to a flat bed. The bed has four tabs on the underside which are easily broken off, and it is not obvious exactly where on the frame it rests. A little sanding is necessary to get the two short sides to fit right. The latches are the smallest and most delicate pieces in the kit, but came off the stubs properly and look good, if microscopic.
So any painting must be done now, before attaching either the cab or the cargo box makes masking impossible. PlusModel suggests green for the engine, but itís nearly invisible unless you choose to put a mirror underneath. Three paint schemes are suggested: Czechoslovak Peopleís Army, German Democratic Republic National Peopleís Army, and a civil version. I went with a Czech livery. But an M22 in either military or civil colors would be quite appropriate bringing supplies or repairs to a Warsaw Pact tank.
Attaching the cargo box and cab alleviated the warping of the frame, but I expect Iíll have to nail it down on a base to make it show well. I admit this could have been avoided with a little heating and clamping to start with.
The headlights are clear, but include rims which should be either black or paint-colored. I put a disc of Bare-Metal Foil underneath them.
The wheels deserve mention. They are finely sculpted with delicate bolts and tread. The spare has a locking handle included. They fit onto rather thin pins, so will not be hard to break off unless firmly glued to the axles. Again, thereís no positive attachment spot on the frame for the spare.
I also added a rivet from a Plus Model bag of 0.9 rivets (kit # 477) which turned out to be just right for the pin in the front bumper pintle.
Iím quite pleased with this little truck. It measures only about 100 mm, or 3.75 inches, long. Itís an unusual subject with lots of potential uses in dioramas or vignettes. Part molding was excellent, although a few pieces were so fine that cleaning up was tricky. Fit has been good. The instructions are simple line drawings and mostly, if not always, did the job. As with every resin model Iíve done you need to read and understand the procedure and be prepared to depart from the sequence if necessary. About the only extra Iíd want to add would be battery leads and some cargo.
From the reference pictures I found it looks like owners have made their own modifications--for instance one video shows a small crane on the bed with which heís loading firewood. And the civil ones are in all sorts of colors, as you can imagine. Most of the M22ís were distributed in Eastern Europe, but some have turned up in other countries. There is a lot of scope for imaginative uses in post-war dioramas. Until I find the right combination Iíll just set it on a piece of cobblestone.