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Mercedes Benz G4 1939

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Painting and color guide
One of the major problems I had when I decided to build this kit was the color palette. Historically, G4s were delivered in two color schemes: light glossy gray with black running boards and fenders or all polished black. Filmed during the early parades, Hitler appears in a gray one. The other historical reference is the G4 which Generalissimo Franco was gifted with, now in possession of Spanish royal family, sporting the same color. The one to be seen at Auto und Technik Museum Sisheim follows the same scheme. There is yet photographic evidence indicating a full black color scheme. After watching the short movie posted by the Technik Museum several times, I decided that it wouldn’t work for me. The light gray is not appealing to my blue eyes, while glossy black and lots of chrome are. There are also a few documents proving that some G4s were painted with military colors but I have ignored them, just because I figured this car as a monstrous limo, far beyond enemy lines. To sweeten a little the austere appearance, I decided to paint the seats with reddish balanced brown, aided by a light gray or off white canvas. I placed another bet on texture contrast: the hubs painted glossy black opposed to the dusty dark gray of the tires; the rest is chrome.

Primer and paint
Normally I use three kinds of primers. Mainly I use home brewed oil based gray primer which has an excellent adhesion and gives a semi-matte finish, very resilient and easy to sand when well dried. It failed me once, on a Revell model, but never before and never since. On “metallic” parts I use the steel color enamel from Testors as primer. Being acetone based paint, it sets very good on plastic. It has a tendency to soften the very thin parts and should be used carefully. When covered with acrylic paints it is sending silver glares through the paint, giving that obscure shine the metal has. The effect can be accentuated by dry brushing or by deliberately wearing out with a stiff brush. Do not overdue either one! When I am priming on the sprue with a brush, I use just flat gray from Testors. It has an excellent covering property and dries fast. Acrylics can be applied right away, after the solvent is evaporated. For exterior surfaces I use Testors enamels. They dry very glossy and, when allowed to dry properly, they are very strong and scratch resistant. The pigment is strong and usually one wet coat or one misty coat followed by a single wet coat should be enough. It never happened to me that it peels off on tape removal. For acrylic paint I use the Homefront line (water based cheap hobby acrylics). They have a strong pigment and are coming in two versions for each color: satin finish (my favorite) and glossy finish (not so glossy). The main advantage is the availability in my area (Caribbean) and the versatility: they mix very well with window wash liquid, with future polish and with water. The drawback is that their color range is not appropriate for miniature painting but for home decoration. So, if you want olivegün or panzergrau, you have to mix it yourself. All these primers and paints were used on the present model, as described above.

Acknowledgements and conclusions
I would like to thank to the good people from Kit Maker community who provided me with their assistance: Jim Starkweather, James Bella, Darren Baker, Sven Harjacek and Jesper Bjerregaard. Also to my close friends who are supporting me: Felix, Corina and Vero.

I found this a complicated enough kit, not recommended to the builders who are short on patience: it contains many minuscule parts, difficult to assembly and prone to brake. For the patient builder, the kit can be very rewarding, with its endless number of details. A build OOB should be just enough even for the exigent modeler, except for the engine and radiator which can support some more customization if eventually you prefer to display the model with the hood open… if you want to add even more details, then perhaps you need a psychiatrist friend to assist you with the building...

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About the Author

About Gabriel (Szmann)

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...


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