Tamiya's 1/35 Steyr Type 1500A/ Kommandeurwagen
Text and Photos By Nick Cortese
Austria’s 1.5 ton, all wheel drive, Steyr was one of the many personnel /transport vehicles that Germany produced during World War 2. Built in 1941, the Steyr was used as troop transport in all theater of the war .A total of more than 20,000 were built, all with wide range of roles. The Kommandeurwagen version was designed primarily for comfort as it was mainly used by the Whermacht’s "elite". Leather seats and a capacity for only 5 passengers were the main contrasts to the eight-passenger capacity of the 1500A/01 version. Fitted with a 3.5 liter, V8 power plant , with 85-horse power it could reach an impressive top speed of 100 km/h !!
The kit comprises of 5 tan styrene sprues, which include, front hood, back bonnet, mesh for grill intakes, poly-caps and decals. A total of over 140 parts, some of which are shared from the 1500A/01 version, make up this beautiful, well-designed kit. Also included are three figures, telescope, case and tripod for added detail. Three painting schemes round off the instruction sheet.
We are all aware of Tamiya’s high standards, especially when it comes to crisp detail and perfect moulds. This kit is no exception!! This is one of the nicest I’ve seen, the texture of the seats are absolutely gorgeous!!
As per instructions, assembly of the lower chassis, drive train and suspension was quick and easy. Tamiya didn’t provide an engine or plastic to represent it therefore, I fabricated a crude version from spare 1/24 engine parts. This rectified the empty, although very subtle, space through the engine grills.
I decide to use Eduard’s Update set for added detail, although I must stress that the kit is a "stunner", OOB!!
At this point, the entire lower chassis was complete. The wheels were lightly sanded to give a slight worn appearance, then put aside for painting.
I generally like building in "sub-assemblies" which tends to get the entire process along faster.
The interior was enhanced with the Eduard items. I gently wore away the kit’s molded foot pedals with a dental burr and carefully replaced them the brass items attaching them with tiny drops of super glue.
Plated floor was added taking extra care with proper alignment.
The instrument panel, although very nice was replaced by Eduard’s offering. Instead of grinding away at the surface detail, I chose to cut out the instrument clusters completely, leaving just enough plastic in each corner. This makes the whole process easier to work with, in that the brass sits on 4 corners rather that a plastic backing.
The three seats were assembled, then put aside for painting. The doors were next. I very carefully cut off the outside handles with an exacto blade then after a gentle sanding I attached the brass handles. Make sure you add the Windows BEFORE you attach the door halves together!! Tamiya’s clear parts, however crystal clear they are, are not partial to cutting. I then put the doors aside for painting.
After completing the rest of the interior, I moved on to the front hood.
Tamiya supplies mesh for the engine grills, but I opted to use Eduard’s five piece set. These, of course, went on without problems and fit nicely!
The molded windshield wipers were carefully cut and grinded smooth as well as the stand for the notek light!! I chose to add the brass Jerry can holder rather a recognition flag on the right hand side. On the left hand side, I opted for the "empty" flag holder. The side indicators were a little tricky because of the small size and the fact that they are in three parts. I found that because of the many folds required I had to gently smooth out the brass surface with a sanding stick to get it, somewhat even. These were carefully attached with tiny drops of cyno glue to the side of the vehicle.
Smaller parts such as hood clamp, notek lamp and hood lamps, were attached without problems. The front license plate and starter ring were added to the front bumper. Again this was put aside for painting.
I moved on to the back of the vehicle, opting for the closed version of the trunk. Brass rear license plate was carefully added as well as the rear light, and wheel mud guards. These went on without any problems whatsoever. Eduard’s jerry can holders are in two pieces, another three for the strap and holders, respectively. I carefully bent and attached these to the back fenders making sure they were even. The jerry cans were then attached and carefully buckled in.
It this point the lower chassis was attached as well as the rear body. The main body, front bumper, front hood, wheels, convertible top and seats are now ready for painting.
I wanted to represent a vehicle that was somewhere in the Russian front, dusty and quite dirty. Tamiya acrylics were used throughout.
A simple, yet effective, colour scheme was selected that would lend perfectly to different shading techniques.
All sub-assemblies were carefully washed with soapy water and were prepped for painting. Tamiya’s decals were used, but unfortunately did not fit Eduard's brass license plates!! I had to cut out a couple of end numbers for it to fit properly!!
I started with the pre-shading method of flat black (XF 1) throughout the undersides and in areas that would cast a shadow only. A quick coating of the engine block and inside of the front section was also applied as well as both sides of the wheels.
The front hood was not glued into place, the fit is that good!!
Flat White (XF 2) was base painted onto a jerry can, to represent a water variant. Then taped up.
A heavily thinned mixture of Dark Grey (XF 63) which was lightened 10% with flat white (XF 2) was airbrushed throughout. I then applied a lighter mix of Dark Grey to the interior. I lightly feathered the selected areas, starting from the middle, to give a used, worn in look to it. This technique was later used throughout the vehicle, but kept very subtle.
The insides of the doors were then painted with the appropriate mixes, awaiting washes and drybrushing.
The seats were then sprayed, red brown (XF 64), with smaller parts picked out with POLY-SCALE aluminum and black.
Again, as per instructions, khaki (XF 49) was used for the cabriolet top. I mixed a lighter version, which was carefully applied, to give a worn washed-out look. I applied this to both top versions.
All smaller pieces were picked out with various colours throughout.
Applying the dust, which is a very thinned overcoat of buff (XF 57),starts with completely covering the underside, slowly and very carefully creeping up the panels and sides, giving a the impression of dust and dirt. This works extremely well, but subtlety and control is the key to achieving proper results.
The wheels at this point are flat black, I proceeded to use Andrew Dextras’s track painting technique, that works equally well for road wheels, which is a base coat of black, then a light coat of Khaki over spray, then even a lighter coat of buff over spray!! This works extremely well, in that it gives a subtle dusty look to it.
A light wash of thinned oil paint enhanced throughout was kept to a minimum, equaled with an even lighter drybrushing of the appropriately coloured oils.
At this point the kit is almost ready, all subassemblies are attached, and awaiting pastel weathering.
The real trick to this type of weathering is the right combination of coloured pastels. An assortment of hues, gently applied throughout, blending with each other can either "make it or break it"!!!
A great little kit!! And I’m proud to mention that it won Gold in Advanced at AMPS 2001!!! I can't wait till Aber releases their line of photo etch for both versions of these beauties!! It’ll give me an excuse to build another!!!
Nick is a contributor to the Missing Linx website too. You can check out more of his work there.