by: Frederick Boucher [ ]
IntroductionIn the 1970s, Bandai released an extensive range of 1/48 military vehicles, figures, and accessories. The sheer range of subjects was amazing, as was the detail - each had an interior. One of the last models Bandai tooled before they ceased military subjects was this Mercede-Benz type L3000S.
The M-B L3000S was a 4x2 3-ton truck, built with both gasoline and diesel engines. Over 18,300 were built before production ended in 1944.
Years ago I read that Bandai never released this kit, at least in a box. However, I just found a photo of a Bandai box top, printed in the era of their "red stripe" box art. I also found evidence that Academy released the kit in 1984.
Keeping in mind that this model was tooled about 40 years ago, it will not compare favorably to the Tamiya 1/48 military series. Thus this review is as much a "public service announcement" as a model review. If you want one, this can help you decide just how badly you want to part with your money. Regardless of the history of this model, we will examine it now.
The KitMy kit is bagged. There is no label or distributor information. The instrument sheet is definitely Bandai.
This model has accuracy flaws. I will mention a noticeable one - the cargo bed side stakes should be U-channels, but Bandai made them flat.
The kit is comprised of four sprues. Those sprues hold 109 gray styrene parts and four clear pieces. The Bandai box top advertised the kit included a set of four (4) figures but my kit did not contain those. It also lacks decals, and the instruction sheet is crude, certainly not up to Bandai's quality.
Molding quality was good for the era. Parts are crisp and have no flash, although you will find visible ejector marks, sink marks, and light seam lines. The transparent parts are clear and without distortion.
Bandai used both recessed and raised detail, as appropriate. Parts are not always scale-thin but they are not grossly over-scale, either.
Assembly breakdown is conventional: engine; frame; suspension and transmission, cab and equipment; cargo bed and sides; two choices of benches; bed tarp; pioneer equipment. Each wheel is a one-piece part. (Tamiya's wheels are multi-piece assemblies.)
DetailsYou get a 10-piece engine without a battery of other powerplant accessories - pardon the pun. The cab is a bench seat, steering wheel, dash, transmission and brake levers.
The cargo bed is molded to represent wooden plank with metal bracing construction. Brackets, bracing and bolts are molded on. However, the side stakes are flat but the real truck's were U-channel. Bandai did not try to simulate wood grain.
Instructions and DecalsI found photos of a xeroxed copy of this model's Bandai instruction sheet online. It confirms that the instructions in this kit are not original. All the same, the 10 steps of assembly are laid out clearly. There is no history of the vehicle included, not any color information. Bandai's instructions featured illustrations of the sprues, and other features of professional model company instructions. It appears there were at least four unit markings for this model.
No decals came with this kit. Please refer to other Bandai reviews for an idea about how their decals were.
ConclusionThis 1/48 Mercede-Benz type L3000S is not a modern kit. It isn't bad for the era, perhaps state-of-the-art. The parts are crisp even though they suffer from ejector circles and depressions in the plastic (sink holes) caused by injection molding flaws; those on the truck bed and headlights are particularly noticeable. Still, Bandai made an effort to produce quality models and this one is good for the era. It will show its age next to Tamiya's 1/48 M-B L3000S offering, but Tamiya is hard to beat. I may buy one and someday pose it side-by-side with this one for comparison.
This model features crisp molding, no flash, and clear undistorted "glass." The visible ejector marks, sink marks, and light seam lines detract from it, as do the accuracy problems.
Regardless, I will not be embarrassed to have this model on my shelf. If you can find one, grab it - if it is less expensive than the Tamiya model. Otherwise, this kit may only be suitable for Bandai loving nostalgia.