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135
Mercedes Benz G4 1939

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Idea
I was charmed by the peculiar look of this car and I bought it with the intention of including it in a diorama. Shortly before I had the chance to start this model, I worked on another ICM kit, an Opel Admiral Cabriolet. During the construction of the Admiral kit, I encountered a few problems with the parts fitting. As many reviewers said, these ICM kits are over-engineered and it’s a waste of time to build such detailed engine and suspension assemblies which remain in most of the cases under the hood… Well, I’m far from being a rivet counter, but it makes me feel good to know that everything is OK there under, even if unseen. Nonetheless, the Admiral’s build really gave me a headache: I had to tear apart the front and rebuild it, and there was still an ugly gap between the radiator mask and right side fender, and the canvas did not fit regardless of the many ways I’ve tried. If anyone wants to blackmail me, he can successfully use one of this car’s photos. I didn’t give up on ICM, but I needed a serious poke to make me start on another kit again… and it came from a friend. He wanted to show me a recently finished beast. I couldn’t believe my eyes when he showed me the new Mercedes six wheeler from AMG, built by Australian army specs! Besides, my work bench was nearly idle, with the last model close to completion. So, I started it.

The Vehicle
Mercedes Benz G4 (W31) was produced from 1933 until 1939, when production was halted under the war’s pressure. Obviously, the G4 with its overcomplicated suspension and transmission was not suitable for mass production. The vehicle was built with some outstanding features: automatic transmission lock on off-road only, hydraulic brakes and three rigid axles suspension. The estimated number of units produced is varying widely, from approximately 50 to approximately 150. Anyhow, the most common number to be found in most of the sources is 57. The technical data are pretty impressive for its time:

Dimensions:

  • Weight: 3550 kg (curb weight!)
  • Size: 5.72 m length, 1.87 m width, 1.90 m height
  • Wheelbase: 1.62 m – front wheels, 1.57 m – rear wheels
  • Track width: 1.57 m front / 1.57 m rear
Engine:

There were three different engines installed in G4s between 1933 and 1939, gradually improving. The following data are for the last one, introduced in 1938:

  • Engine type: line 8
  • Power: 115 HP @ 3400 rpm
  • Torque: 185 Nm @ 1400 rpm
  • Displacement: 5.4 l
  • Compression: 5.6:1
  • Bore: 88 mm x 108 mm
Gearbox and transmission:

  • ZF Aphon, manual, 4 gears
  • AWD asyncronic transmission
The G4 kits in 1/35th scale
The first version of the Mercedes G4 in 1/35 scale was released by a Japanese manufacturer named Tilt in the ‘70s under the title “Mercedes-Benz TyP G4 / W31 S.Gl.Pkw.” I couldn’t find too much information about the kit except for a pretty good online review. As I understood it was the only model ever released by Tilt Company, as a result, it was completely different from the ICM / Revell kits: it was motorized and the body was molded in two halves… just to point out the biggest differences. And it was, of course, less complicated. Another version, casted in resin this time, was released by Plus Model from the Czech Republic, reference number 195, some time after 1990, and named “Mercedes G4 Radio Car”. Again, the kit is different from the mold of ICM / Revell line and, based on build reviews, very well detailed but fiddly. The plastic models from the ICM / Revell line have four versions: “G4 (1939 production) – German car with passengers” ICM ref. 35531, released in 2011; “German Staff Car ‘G4’”, Revell repacking of the ICM model, without passengers, reference Revell 03235, released in 2012; “Typ G4 (W31) with open cover – WWII German Passenger car,” reference ICM 35532, released in 2013 and, finally, “Typ G4 (Kfz.21) – WWII German Staff Car,” reference ICM 35538, also released in 2013. As far as I know, these are the kits available in 1/35 scale; I’ve also got wind about a future release by Cyber Hobby… To be seen.

The kit
ICM’s G4 was reviewed impeccably by Jim Rae here (Live links). I don’t have much to add to his in-box review, except that my kit is the one reboxed by Revell, without accompanying figures; otherwise, all the same. In my particular box, I found an unpleasant surprise: the frame of the windshield was crushed from the top, white marks signaling imminent breakage… nothing that cannot be fixed, I thought. I decided to avoid the headache of returning the kit just for that. Otherwise, impeccable quality of the molds, crisp details, barely visible ejection pin marks. I found the overall quality excellent.

About the Author

About Gabriel (Szmann)
FROM: NETHERLANDS ANTILLES

Born in Romania, from a German father. Classical studies, Latin teacher. Currently holding French residency, business owner in a Dutch island where currently spoken language is English. At home I speak Spanish, though. Interest in history and modelling: since babyhood, I grown with my father's stor...


Comments

Hi, guys I wish a great new year to everyone. Thank you for your kind comments. @Jake: hmmm... I had problems with the gloss acrylic more than once. Now I prefer to paint it with a soft brush; just need care to remove build-ups in the lover parts and avoid dust as much as possible; @Johan: I envisioned a diorama for this one, but it was in front of a confiscated house transformed in HQ somewhere in Poland... I start drawing the mansion's plans already; @Giovanni: Absolutely correct, Giovanni. The only two original examples preserved are gloss light gray with gloss black fenders. The photographic evidence shows the existence of black ones too. Beside the lack of aesthetic appeal, the lateral windows in this kit are nearly impossible to align... Warm Regards
JAN 04, 2015 - 10:42 PM
Once again I fail to see why key parts in this 1/35th scale kit go without a chrome coat whereas the 1/24th scale offering of this same model has all required parts in a high gloss chrome coating???? Sad and unfortunate!
JAN 04, 2015 - 11:45 PM
Maybe ICM had a tight budget with the 1/35 G4..? I would also have liked to see chrome parts in this kit. However, there were a few G4s out there in overall Panzergrau, NO CHROME... Also, ADV/AZIMUT made a 1/35 resin G4- I have one which I will probably never build, since my plastic ICM kit is so much nicer, and it will be built, painted and detailed in a FRACTION of the time and effort that I would have had to put into the ADV/AZIMUT G4...
JAN 05, 2015 - 08:58 PM
Great looking build! I am mostly into cars, not armor. However, I think this falls into cars as well! @165thspc, who makes this in 1/24?
JAN 08, 2015 - 08:10 AM
Thank you, Lee, for your kind comments. ICM Holdings make the same vehicle in 1/24 (I'n not sure, but it can be they have two versions of it). Warm Regards.
JAN 09, 2015 - 12:53 AM
1/24th scale with chrome: 1/35th scale without chrome: Mike @ 165thspc
JAN 09, 2015 - 01:20 AM
ICM produces a couple other versions of this kit in 1/35 as well... I'd like to see some US Staff Cars: Eisenhower's 1942 Packard Sedan, Patton's 1939 Cadillac Fleetwood 75, plus examples of the 1941/42 Ford Fordor, Chevrolet Standards and some Chrysler, Dodge, and Plymouth Staff Cars...
JAN 10, 2015 - 08:38 PM
I would love some more american / allied staff cars. There is a nice one (two versions) released by ICM. And there is a Moskvitch (Opel Kadett in other words), also by ICM . Other than that...
JAN 11, 2015 - 11:24 PM
As a matter of accuracy, the Japanese company that produced a motorized kit of the Mercedes Benz G4 in 1975 was not called "Tilt." The manufacturer was Tokyo Marui. A Japanese logo printed on the box bore an accidental resemblance to the English word tilt, leading to the misidentification. The kit was imported and sold in the United States by Squadron (MMD), and the company was listed correctly in their catalog.
FEB 14, 2015 - 12:47 PM
Hi, guys. Gerald, thank you very much for clarification. It sounded unusual for me too - but it was the only reference I found online. Thanks again. Warm regards.
FEB 17, 2015 - 12:22 AM