1/35 CMP Ford F15 Truck by L.Z. Models

1/35 CMP Ford F15 Truck
L.Z. Models
Catalogue #  
€48 from L.Z. Models

cover

 

Introduction
L.Z. Models from the Czech Republic are small but growing kit and aftermarket manufacturer, specializing in high quality resin kits of Second World War railway engines, rail cars and associated accessories in 1/35 scale. They have also begun a range of WWII 1/35 armour kits and related aftermarket, and it is from this range that I bring today's review subject: the CMP Ford F15 Truck. Given the subject may not be as well known as other trucks or light armour, I will provide a brief background to the type and its usage, but first a quick summary of what this kit is all about...

 

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57-CMPF15Flak30AfrikaKorpsabschussringen
A captured Deutsches Afrikakorps (DAK) CMP F15 armed with 2cm Flak 30; L.Z.Models will be bringing out the Flak to accompany this kit in the near future [L.Z.Models]

This is the basic kit of the F15, and will build up in to a version with an open cab at the front, and an open flat bed at the rear. The kit is in resin, with photo-etch accessories. L.Z. Models plan to expand on this range by providing different cab and body options in the future.

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CMP F15 in Italian hands, armed with Breda 20mm gun [Bundesarchiv]

More immediately, they are releasing a F15 armed with an Italian Breda 20mm gun, and then an Afrika Korps version armed with a 2cm Flak 30. I will be blogging the Flak 30 version for Scale Plastic and Rail's North African Campaign Group Build as soon as L.Z. Models release the upgrade, so watch this space.

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The finished article, built by Libor of L.Z.Models – looks gorgeous doesn't it? [L.Z.Models]

In light of my forthcoming build, this review will be a first-look / in-box review, and will hopefully give you a good feeling for the vehicle itself, the quality of the parts, and how it you might tackle it.

56-CMPF15Luftwaffeinoriginalcamo
Another CMP from North Africa, but with the full cab; note original caunter scheme camouflage, and hastily scrawled "WL" (Wehrmacht Luftwaffe) markings, denoting a captured vehicle [Bundesarchiv]

CMP Ford F15 Truck - Brief Overview
CMP stands for 'Canadian Military Pattern', and in this context refers to a class of trucks designed to British Army specifications, but built in Canada. CMP trucks went on to serve with Soviet forces as well as every Commonwealth army in World War Two, and saw action in every theatre. Most CMP trucks were manufactured by the Ford Motor Company of Canada and by the Chevrolet division of General Motors Canada; just over 400,000 Canadian manufactured CMPs being  produced during WWII.

59CMPF15DAKcomplete11cab
A captured CMP sporting the no.11 cab style; again note caunter scheme camouflage [Bundesarchiv]

The F15 CMP was, as you would guess, Ford-built (all Chevrolet CMPs having a 'C' prefix...), and like all Ford CMPs, it was powered by a 3.9l V8 engine. The F15 was rated with a 15cwt (half ton) load capacity, and had a 101" (256cm) wheel base, but was only two wheel drive; the 4x4 version was designated F15A.

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A no12 cab – note split radiator grill, but this time on a four wheel drive F15A [mapleleafup.net]

CMP trucks generally had one of three cab designs, designated Nos.11, 12 and 13. The 12 was similar to the 11 but for the addition of a two part radiator grill. The 13 had the windscreen angled slightly downward to reduce glare that may be observable from the air. The CMP design has a snub-nose look – born of the need to keep length to a minimum for efficient transport by ship.

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A no.13 style cab with trademark sloping windscreen, here on a F15A [mapleleafup.net]

The L.Z. Models F15 has the No.11 cab, denoted by the single piece radiator grill, but the windscreen and crew cabin roof / surround have been removed. This was commonly seen on CMPs used in the North African campaign.

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So this is what we get...

Kit Contents
This is a resin kit, with additional photo-etch (PE) parts, wire and styrene rod provided. I have not counted them, but the L.Z. Models page tells me there are 124 resin parts and over 50 PE ones. There is a small decal sheet and a CD which has the instruction booklet (note I say booklet, not sheet); you can also download them here. My review sample was sent to me along with other kits, so the box you see here is not the box the CMP came in by the way; nevertheless, there is a LOT of kit in here!

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The resin parts come in four main bags; my larger body parts were wrapped separately. There are also bags for the wire, and the PE parts. The decals also came in a re-sealable bag, which is always helpful.

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Two frets of photo-etch accompany the kit

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A small bag of wire and styrene rod are provided, although you may wish to substitute or supplement these

I would normally start with a walkthrough of the larger parts, but in this case I think it's worth highlighting the instructions. Clearly an all resin kit like this is not for the novice, or someone who expects a classic Tamiya "shake and bake", but L.Z. Models have gone to great lengths to make sure this kit is a realistic proposition for most modellers. The instructions originally worked out at 37 or so A4 pages, but Libor of L.Z. Models has updated them and they cover some 44 pages! This is the beauty of having them downloadable to pdf – they can constantly be tweaked and amended.

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Instructions showing parts breakdown

The instructions begin with an overview of the CMP, and then there are three pages of pictures of the parts post clean-up, clearly labelled. It is these pages which really make what the rest of the instructions possible, for what follows is a detailed walkthrough of the build, complete with sharp images and helpful descriptions where required. There are also technical diagrams for engine wiring etc for those that want to go beyond what the kit provides (and the kit provides a lot).

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Clear pictures showing what goes where...

44-IMG 5731...and what to look out for

My only complaint as regards the instructions is that they do not provide clear guidance for the six marking options on the decal sheet. The decals themselves are printed in sharp register, and have number plates for six vehicles. We also have American / Allied stars, German Balkenkreuze, and the ubiquitous Hakenkreuz in palm tree emblems associated with the Deutsches Afrikakorps (DAK), but sadly nothing in the instructions these vehicles. Hopefully this will be corrected in the next instructions update?

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The decal sheet – no information is provided on unit, location, markings etc which is pretty much the only let down in the whole kit

So back to the kit itself...The quality of casting is excellent – I have now rummaged through all the parts and have not found any bubbles. Yes there is flash, but you would expect there to be. The difference here is that the flash is ultra fine – I could literally peel it away from some of the larger parts it is that thin. The casting blocks are similarly fine – no proverbial chain saw needed here! Indeed, I doubt you will need any type of razor saw at all; a sharp x-acto blade and a variety of sanding sticks / sheets is pretty much all you will need.

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Flash is virtually translucent and very easy to remove

To put this into perspective, I have seen the best that some much larger manufacturers have had to offer where resin detail sets are concerned, and this is better in every respect. If you are looking for a comparison in the aircraft world, it is easily on a par with Barracuda's resin offerings, and they tend only to be relatively small detail parts.

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Wheel arch and cab floor showing variety of detail

The two front wheel arches are superb. The first thing that strikes you is how light they are. The second thing is the sharpness and variety of detail just on these two parts alone: non-slip plate for the cabin floor, rib and rivet detail on every surface, even the undersides of the wheel arches.

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The wheel arches will stand inspection from underneath too

The wheels are just as crisp. On three of mine there were no casting blocks at all – just the merest hint of where they had once been – and on the fourth only a flimsy piece of flash acting as umbilical to the block itself. A small needle file should be more than enough to remove any tiny imperfections in the tread where the casting blocks used to be. The nut / bolt detail on the wheels is excellent, and stands up to scrutiny under magnification. The front and rear wheels are different, but the insides are moulded differently so they are easy to differentiate.

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Wonderfully crisp tyre and wheel moulding

The dashboard does not quite scale these heights – we have (very fine) raised detail which will test one's fine painting skills. I hope that someone brings out a small decal set for the distinctive dial (speedometer?), especially as this cab will be open for all to see.

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The two long chassis beams

The chassis is made as far as I can tell just like the real thing: two beams running the length of the vehicle, braced together by five cross sections. This parts breakdown allows a high level of detail and realism, but does mean you will have to make sure you get your angles 'square'. I detected no warping in either of my two long beams by the way.

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Leaf springs...

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...and how much to bend them by to produce different vehicle 'sit'

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The difference can be quite pronounced

The instructions detail how the leaf springs can be softened in hot water and bent slightly so as to depict the lower 'sit' of a heavily laden vehicle; you can either do this by eye or if you have the appropriate callipers, Libor has provided precise measurements for you. I intend to model my CMP as captured by the DAK with a 2cm Flak 30 on the back, so I imagine I will be trying this process myself when the time comes.

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Engine block and radiator

A full engine is provided, but the instructions also show maintenance manual wiring diagrams, so if you want to go the whole hog, the information is there for you. The radiator is a single resin piece with wonderful detail on either side, and is protected at the front by a PE grill. There are two frets of etch, and whilst the parts are well machined, some are quite fine whilst others are notable by their 'depth', in particular the cooling fan blade. I have not really seen this before, and it certainly makes some parts look more realistic and less two dimensional.

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PE radiator fan – not depth on the parts

By comparison, the cab interior is a slightly more basic affair, but only because this area was fairly Spartan in real life. Still, there are some nice PE foot pedals, and the steering wheel is very nicely cast. The seats look rather plain, but I have to admit that I have not seen close up pics of original seats to say whether they are out of place. Given the high level of detail throughout the rest of the kit, I am inclined to think that this is just the way they were.

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The body / rear flat bed area looks fairly simple in construction, but once again you'll have to make sure you get everything square. The floor panel has a standard non-slip surface, and this is just as sharp as if it had been aftermarket etched metal. The side panels have some bolt and spar detail, but as on the real CMP, they were pretty basic.

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This rear bed was often used to mount differing weapons systems, depending upon "ownership"; thus far I have seen British 2pdr guns, Italian Breda 2cm and also German Flak 30. We already have confirmation that L.Z.Models are bring out these last two, so there will certainly be nothing boring about these CMPs if you are looking for a little more than a cargo mule.

53-CMPF152pdrSeppAfrikaKorps
A DAK CMP with 2pdr gun mounted on back – note "Sepp!" inscription [Bundesarchiv]

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Another shot of a DAK CMP with Flak 30 [Bundesarchiv]

So What Do We Think?
L.Z.Models have produced an amazing little kit here. The only real fault I can find is the lack of references for the decals provided, but hopefully that will be rectified in due course. Although it should be fairly basic in its construction - just like the real CMP – the quality of casting and attention to detail should make it a highly entertaining build. This current offering is of the basic CMP (minus covered cab), but it is the addition of different armaments that will really excite modellers, especially those interested in the North African campaign. I am certainly in that camp, and cannot wait for L.Z.Models' rendition of the 2cm Flak 30, and the associated DAK paraphernalia that goes with it. I also have to mention the price of this kit: at €48 it is outstanding value when put up against some of the resin aftermarket that is out there. I cannot wait to get stuck in to this kit!

Highly recommended: excellent value, fantastic detail

With thanks to Libor at L.Z. Models for the review sample. To purchase directly, click THIS link.

Nicholas Mayhew

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