Modellers have been spoilt by the growth in high quality die-cast road vehicles over recent years, especially in 'OO'/1:76 scale. However, in the past, kits were the only way forward, unless you were happy to employ either under-sized 'HO' scale or over-scale 1:72 Matchbox cars and trucks alongside 'OO' trains.

I've had a few injection moulded kits, from the Kiel Kraft range (also branded as Scan Kits), in the attic for decades. Although rendered to 1:72, they don't look too bad on a 'OO' layout. Available for about £1 each from my local newsagent in the 1980s, all manner of trucks and buses were offered, from Edwardian fire engines and steam lorries to 1970s-era Volvo, Mercedes, DAF and Ford tractor units and trailers.

While the Kiel Kraft brand disappeared some time ago, a small number of these kits have since been taken over by Knightwing, offering something of a nostalgic kit building experience. Having just made a start on a Kiel Kraft Mercedes Benz 2238, I have to say that I was impressed by the quality of some of the mouldings, especially the cab. The chassis is very basic and a lot of the parts have to be butt-jointed (there are no locating pins), but a little detailing work with styrene strip, brass wire and tube have improved things dramatically. I've also made up a set of coiled susie cables and a bracket, along with an etched chequer-tread step plate.

The original instructions were a little frustrating, as they contain a few errors. Most notably, it suggested fixing the engine the wrong way around, meaning that the front axle couldn't fit through the slots. Luckily I noticed the mistake before gluing anything up. After looking at these images, I'm also thinking that the rear fender should've been fitted the other way up, despite what the instructions showed.

Once the glue has cured, the Mercedes will be primed and then I'll have to get to work on a couple of matching trailer kits. After working on a few 1:24 scale kits recently, this model looks tiny in comparison...


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