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Sonntag, 26. März 2023

Review: Bolt Action Opel Blitz /Maultier


Wahey, it's time for yet another WW2 vehicle review. Why not. There's plenty around. So let's talk about Warlord Games' Opel Blitz / Maultier combo kit.

Of course this one's relevant because a bunch of years ago I reviewed Rubicon's Opel Blitz kit, which I'm fairly certain was released in early 2016, because I got it pretty swiftly. Warlord's answer came in late 2017 in the shape of this combi-kit, which gives the option to either build the Opel Blitz or its weird cousin - the Maultier (mule).

The Historical Bits

For a deeper dive into the chequered history of the Opel Blitz I'll refer you to my original Opel Blitz review.

While the Opel Blitz is a truck adapted for military use the Maultier variant is a typical wartime adaptation based on immediate frontline requirements. In fall 1941 the Wehrmacht had to realize that a.) the Soviet army wouldn't break so easily and b.) Russia is very big and in fall it gets mighty muddy.

In early 1942 a group of engineers at Opel were tasked with designing tracks for the 4x4 variant of the "Blitz". They rather swiftly came up with an upgrade kit to replace the hind wheels with tracks. However the SS, with their can-do attitude and their endless drive to control any aspect of everything, had their own project in the works. This was based on Ford trucks and captured Universal Carriers.

Both versions were tested thoroughly. The Opel variant proved slightly superior to the SS' version, which in the end was accepted for production. Funny how that goes.

Maultier half-tracks were used in the same roles as the truck variants: getting ammunition and supplies to the frontlines and for getting infantry from A to B. In addition they were used for towing light guns in  infantry divisions. Anti-aircraft guns were mounted in the back as well.

300 vehicles received a lightly armoured chassis and a Panzerwerfer 42 on top to act as mobile rocket artillery vehicles.

Source: Wikipedia. Photo credits: Poldi Rijke at The tank Museum at Saumur

Between 1943 and 1945 the Maultier (2t variant. There was a heavier variant for 4.5t payload, based on Daimler-Benz trucks with a Panzer II track assembly in the back) was produced in several factories. Production numbers vary a lot between authors, but roughly 4,000 Maultiere were built in Opel factories, roughly 14,000 in Ford factories and between 1,500 and 2,500 vehicles in KHD factories.

The Box

I like Warlord's plastic vehicle boxes. In the front we get a nice picture which at least tries to look like a human being was involved in painting it in some way. I like the clear yellow-on-black lettering. It's all basic, maybe a bit 'old-school', but I like it. 

The back of the box gives us an overview of what's to expect, along with painted examples. And this box seems to contain a lot of stuff.

The Box Contents

Three plastic sprues, assembly instructions (in colour in the beginning and end!), and other stuff.

The other stuff.

First and foremost - a very good decal sheet. I love a good decal sheet. Then we got unit stats cards (an inexperienced Opel Blitz is 4 cheaper than an inexperienced Maultier I learned), materials for flame/black smoke/grey smoke markers and a sheet of plastic foil to model the windows in the driver's cab.

Then there's the third sprue, which to me is a bit of a highlight - it's a full infantry squad to sit in the back of the vehicle. 
In addition to the 10 guys, there are some extra weapons and - remarkably - a hand holding a grenade. Imagine sitting in the back of a truck, being brought from one horrible place to the next horrible place, and one of the passengers is constantly holding a hand grenade. 


The instructions are clear, there even are little descriptions for what some of the more important decals are. There are neither numbers on the decal sheet, nor on the sprues themselves. Instead we get pictures of the sprues in the instructions with numbers printed next to the parts. Interesting.

Either way, assembly is no problem. The above page pretty much sums up all the different options this kit presents us with: Either double-wheels or tracks in the back. Apart from that, you may choose between high side panels or lower ones. In the former case you can add a canopy (folded or covering the back of the vehicle. This variant can be built with an open or closed rear part) on top. 

In the back you can add wooden benches to add passengers. A driver figure with two head options is supplied as well. This is pretty much as complete as it gets, incluing to a spare tyre, jerry cans and some tools. And you get to choose your headlights as well - either the larger old-style ones or smaller, covered ones.

I went with the tall panels so I can add the canopy, but also added passengers, a driver and benches. For gaming I assume most people will rarely need a truck full of German soldiers and a driver in 28mm. Maybe for some commando raid scenario or proper big games. But I was so taken with the fact that all this stuff is included, I had to add it. 

The canopy fits nicely over everything, and I like that it overlaps the side panels, although there is no grip to it, so it may wobble around or fall off if the vehicle is handled roughly.

For painting purposes and flexibility I didn't glue on the driver's cab parts. The driver's cab has to be painted after all, and the clear plastic sheet bits have to be glued onto the inside of the doors and front part. Due to the construction of the vehicle I had to glue the driver in place. No problem, because he'll be nigh invisible anyway once I'm done painting.

The passengers in the back got a magnet up the rear, the benches got magnetized as well, so I could have them sit there in the back or remove them, depending on what the situation may call for.

Assembly is unproblematic, all the parts fit well. I had some slight gaps when dry-fitting the top part of the driver's cab and the doors which required some bending of the top part.

There's one thing I'd like to point out though - the model comes with a sheet of clear plastic to use for the glass on the driver's cabin. It even comes with the side windows and front screen outlined, which is nice. These lines indicate the size of the windows/screen, NOT where you're supposed to cut the foil. So cut the three pieces 1mm or so outside of the lines so you get some overlap to glue them on properly.


As opposed to the three-tone camo I went with on prior vehicles I went with two-tone.

I noticed the lack of fenders or mud guards on the tracks, so I assumed that the lower part of the box in the back would be all splattered.

You can see the removable passengers. If the vehicle just has to stand around as a sort of terrain piece these guys can be removed. The driver has to stay in place, but he's very hard to spot through the dirty windows anyway.

Here you can see the open back of the canopy. There's a part included to model it as being closed, but I felt that would be mean to the passengers.


I like this kit a whole lot. It's reasonably well detailled, I like all the extras included. Well, the unit cards don't do anything for me and I doubt I'll do much with the smoke/flame markers either, but apart from that I like the extras. 

Since I got the Rubicon Opel Blitz here we can compare! Isn't that fun.

Left: Warlord, Right: Rubicon.

 In terms of size, they're both pretty much the same. So I was curious if they were 'perfectly 1/56th scale'. Pretty much, yes. Although both could be 1-3mm longer to fit the bill. Overall the Warlord model is a little bit taller, especially the cab. The Rubicon model is closer to the 1/56th scale there, and I suspect the reason for Warlord's model being taller is to help aleviate the inherent problem with 28mm infantry standing on bases, which adds height. Not that I'd want to touch upon the topic of "28mm figures with 1/56th vehicles" with a 6" pole. 

In terms of features, both kits offer closed (or open) canopies, both come with a driver figure and choice of headlights, tools, jerry cans, spare tyre and very good decal sheets. I believe that the Rubicon kit does not come with a clear plastic sheet to cut out windows. You have to get some blister pack or something to do that.

The Rubicon kit comes with an additional passenger figure, the Warlord one with a full infantry squad (and some loose extra weapons).

The Warlord kit comes with a choice of higher or lower side and rear panels, but to be fair - so does the Rubicon Maultier (which is a separate kit). On top of that, the Rubicon Maultier comes with cabin top stowage bin, but again no passengers.

One point in favour of the Rubicon kits (Opel Blitz and Maultier) is the one-piece driver's cabin top part, which makes assembly much easier than on the Warlord kit. Not that that one's hard to assemble, but as mentioned above - I had to do some bending and fitting to minimize door gaps. I should also point out that the canopy on the Rubicon kit stays in place much better. There is no chance it slips off the vehicle. The Warlord canopy has nicer detailling in my opinion, but might have to be put on top every now and then. I mean I'm not sure how many people keep it detachable anyway, so that may not even factor into any considerations anyway for many (let me know in the comments!).

I guess at this point we have to throw the "other stuff" into the ring? 

The other stuff.

Well, the Warlord kit comes with unit cards and those flamesmoke tokens. Are we huge fans of unit cards? To me they are a non-factor, but maybe they are super popular with Bolt Action players. The flamesmoke tokens are a nice little gimmick to have but I'd hardly call them a 'feature'. 

In terms of price, they're pretty much even. Right now I like the Warlord kit a little bit better, simply due to the cab being slightly bigger (it's got a bit more of a 'face'). On the other hand the Rubicon kit with its one-piece cab is easier to put together. Doesn't come with the glass parts outlined on a little sheet (although it's got a template for that stuff in the assembly instructions). Overall, the Warlord kit has slightly more pronounced details and a few gimmicks (flamesmoke tokens, seated infantry squad, but how often do you actually need either?).

I guess my verdict is: it doesn't matter. Either kit is fine. The warlord one may have slightly nicer detailling, but is a bit less easy to handle. For the purposes of the specific review of the Warlord kit: This is a really nice plastic kit which comes with anything you'd expect and more. Whether you build the Opel Blitz or the Maultier, it'll make for a useful addition for your collection. Recommended.

I bought this kit at Siren Games for EUR 22,50. 

Right, I hope you like the model, I hope you enjoyed the review and found it interesting (and not too top-heavy this time). If you have any questions, comments or indeed commission enquiries, feel free to let me know via the comments section, the Battle Brush Studios Facebook page or via e-mail.

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