The publication of any images or informations related to nazism, fascism or any other totalitarian regimes must be understood as the reproduction of historical accuracy and not as apology to these regimes, leaders or symbols.
A publicação de qualquer imagem ou informação referentes ao nazismo, fascismo ou quaisquer outros regimes totalitários deve ser entendida como reprodução do rigor histórico e não como apologia a estes regimes, líderes ou símbolos.

Opel Blitz Tankwagen Kfz. 385 - case report

Another tanker for refueling fuel used by the Germans in WWII. Let's talk about a derivation of the famous and ubiquitous 3 ton 4x2 Opel Blitz truck.
      Now is time to meet the Opel Flugbetriebsstoff Kessel-Kraftwagen (TankwagenKfz.385.
An Opel Tankwagen Kfz.385 refueling a Ju-87 Stuka
Italeri's  kit (#2808 - 1:48 scale) box art
      Without a doubt, the Opel Blitz 3t. 4x2 truck was one of the most common and numerous trucks employed in the German army, being one of the most well-known transport vehicles of World War II.
Opel Blitz 3t. 4x2 truck.
Deutsches Afrika Korps - Benghazi
January - 1942.
    During its period of construction from 1937 to 1944 no fewer than 82.000 units were built. In the course of its many years of active service, apart from the basic cargo version, dozens of different specialized variants were developed utilizing the basic truck chassis.
    However besides the classic truck, one of the most prominent and familiar types was the aviation fuel servicing truck, the Flugbetriebsstoff Kessel-Kraftwagen (Tankwagen) Kfz.385, which was widely used in all theaters from North Africa to the Eastern Front.
Classic photo of a Kfz.385 Opel Tankwagen, with the fuel tank partially
covered with a camouflage net.

Opel Tankwagen Kfz.385 towing a Flugbetriebsstoff-Kesselwagen-Anhänger Anh. B 2/1
(aircraft-fuel-tank-wagon-trailer Anh. B 2/1) developed by the company Eylert.
200 exemplars of this trailer were made under license by the Dutch company DAF.

The same composition seen above, but in the right side view.
Notice that number 7 is repeated in the truck and trailer.
      The first vehicles of this type were produced in early 1941 as by that time the needs of Germany's future participation in war was already clear. The early series refuelers had an open driver's cabin with a tarpaulin covering, just as did the earliest trucks of this type (Mercedes-Benz LG 3000 Kfz.384... see below)
Opel Tankwagen with open cabin
Notice the open cabin in the Kfz.384, even being used in cold Finland !!!

Mercedes-Benz LG 3000 Kfz.384 tankwagen - left side

Mercedes-Benz LG 3000 Kfz.384 tankwagen - right side
Opel-Blitz 3t. Tankwagen (Kfz.385) with his characteristic open cab 
    Later it was decided not to make changes to the machine design, although it was obvious that North Africa would not be the only place these machines would find themselves in. The Tankwagens which were operated in the severe conditions of the Russian winter always moved with covered cabins, though it was considered that an open cabin would facilitate the driver's maneuvering on airfields near planes before refueling.
An Opel Tankwagen Kfz.385 in the sunny African Theater of Operations
        In comparison with the standard trucks the quantity of the Tankwagen Kfz.385 built was quite small (different sources indicate between 300 and 500 refuelers were produced), however in contemporary photos it is possible to see the Kfz.385 near all the main types of fighters and bombers of the Luftwaffe, as well as near large transport planes.
Refueling a Do-17z light-bomber, somewhere in France, 1942.

An Opel Kfz.385 with a Henschel Hs 126 two-seat reconnaissance and observation aircraft.

In this photo, the customer of this Kfz.385 camouflaged is a robust Ju-52 3m transport aircrft

Quenching the thirst of a Messerschmitt Me-110 heavy fighter
Eastern front - winter 1943.

A Kfz.385 with a medium-bomber Ju-88.
     Their military service lasted until the end of the war, and even the epochal transition from propeller to jet aircraft saw the continued use of the Tankwagen Kfz.385 - the first jets such as the Me 262 were also refueled by these vehicles.
      Mechanically, the Kfz.385 was very similar to the Opel Blitz transport, with the particularity to present the open cabin and assembled on the rear of its chassis a tank with a capacity of 3,150 liters of fuel, with its pumps, valves and hoses capriciously "packaged" in a very beautiful "Streamliner design" structure, of civil origin, manufactured by Eylert, which also manufactured the fuel trailer  (Flugbetriebsstoff-Kesselwagen-Anhänger (Anh. B 2/1) - aircraft-fuel-tank-wagon-trailer (Anh. B 2/1) with 3.150 liters of capacity,  that could be towed by the tanker truck.
Eylert aircraft fuel-tank-wagon-trailer (Anh. B 2/1)
      Another interesting constructive detail was the exhaust gases from the engine just below the left stirrup, away from the main fuel tank.
Notice the location of the muffler and the exhaust of the engine gases (red arrow, above)


Opel Blitz Tankwagen Kfz. 385
Place of origin                                               Type                  
Germany - 300 to 500 made ?
1941 - 1944.
supply / fuel truck tank
2 t (bare weight) 6.0 t (total)
5.980 mm
2.125 mm 
2.730 mm

Fuel tank
3.600 mm
3.150 ls.
5 speed gearbox with low noise 4th and 5th gear, middle shifting
190x20 (rear double 4x2)
Opel 6-cylinder 3.625 cc
75 Hp at 3200 rpm
front: semi-elliptic, 10 leaf-spring suspension, forged I-profile with shock absorbers.
rear: semi-elliptic, 12 leaf-spring with shock absorbers.
90 km/h
6 Volt, 12 Volt from 1942

The kit:
      When I started this Opel Tankwagen project (2005), this Italeri kit did not yet exist in the market.
Italeri's Kfz.385 Tankwagen (#6467)
      One of the solutions was to use the strange TVA kit (# 2), a multimedia kit, with the injected chassis from Opel Blitz (Italeri), the soft cabin made in resin and the tank made in vacuform. A true Frankenstein !!
This is the TVA kit boxart.
    I bought this kit from a modeler who was startled by the contents of the box: plastic, resin and vacuform. He tried to start the kit, but gave up. 
    The kit arrived in my hands with loose parts and without decals (see piocs below). But as I'm not afraid of frowning, let's face the little monster. Even more that I had just built my Ford V3000 Tankwagen and wanted to know what the "original" vehicle of the lineage would be like. So, get to work !!!
A real mess inside the box: Italeri plastic pieces loose with pieces of resin shaking around ...

The cabin, ladder, windshield frame and other "details" in resin
Notice the ladder in the top of the picture:
made in scratch (the resin one was terrible...)

The specs printed in A4 paper sheet...

And the others parts... Ouch!!
      This was the fuel tank in vacuform. Notice that the colleague had cut a part to try to build, but wisely, gave up ... But that is nothing compared to the vacuform I faced to build my Opel Blitz Bus Ambulance!!!
The fuel tank in vacuform...
      But I found that the details of the resin tank of the defunct Panzer Resin Models (PRM) were much better than the vacuform part. So I turned the TVA tank into plastic scrap and decided to use the PRM solid resin "brick" tank ....
And since the kit is a true Frankenstein, let's put some more parts
 from other brands: PRM resin fuel tank

Chassis, suspension and axles: Italeri contribuition....

TVA booklet: xerox from the Italeri's one!!

Chassis and suspensions ready!!

   The wheels are the old parts from Italeri, with tires in vinyl, melting... Luckily, I had an old resin wheel set, but without the spare wheel. 
Italeri's vinyl tires melting...eeewwwwww!
My old (what brand??) resin set for Opel Blitz, but...
      I used then a wheel from Italeri from my spare parts box and the resin tire from a manufacturer here in Brazil, Electric Products, from my friend Bertolin. Very good thing, that fit perfectly !! 
The spare wheel with Electric Products tire!!

And the resin wheels and tires from Electric Products.

The chassis with shoes!!!

The front suspension and the detail of the modification of the
exhaust system, using Italeri components !! Like a glove !!!

The naughty girl is becoming a respectable lady !!!

Side by side, the Opel under construction and the Ford V3000 tankwagen

Now, it starts to get more fun:
planning the surgery in the Opel Italeri cabin

Siamese separation surgery successfully completed !!!
I love my Dremel!!!

Plastic and resin parts, side by side!!

The  massive resin fuel tank, from PRM, in belly view..
Notice as it is solid and has "small" bubbles ...
thankfully it is in the invisible part of the piece ...

The tank installed in the chassis ... reinforcements on the
rear suspensions will be necessary, because the weight of the tank ...

The Italei/TVA cabin !!!

And the cabin and the tank, put togheter!!
Dry-fit for testing...

Ready for primer!!!
In the past, when I lived in an ordinary house, I used automotive primer ...

White primer!!

Pre-shading with Panzer-gray (or German-gray)
Potato, potato!!

Using acrylic paints with brush for the cabin canvas


The girl is really cute !!!

And to avoid jealousy, two young women full of fuel, side by side !!!

Adicionar legenda

Automotive enamel...Dark-yellow!!
Starting the painting...

Shades of yellow...
Notice the tarp in khaki


Rear view

Applying thin layers of glossy varnish to prevent silvering in the decals ...

The girl seems to be sweating with excitement ...
     As I said before, this kit arrived in my hands without decals (it was second hand, remember ??). So I went hunting for markings and paintings. And I stumbled upon this beauty here, on the internet:
     Jagdgeschwader 27 (JG 27) "Afrika" was a fighter wing of the Luftwaffe during World War II. The wing was given the name "Africa" for serving in the North African Campaign predominantly alone in the period from April 1941 to September 1942. Elements of JG 27 fought in every major theatre of operations in which the Wehrmacht operated.
Jagdgeschwader 27 (JG 27) "Afrika" badge
        Well ... I decided not to make EXACTLY the vehicle from the profile above, but a vehicle serving the same wing. Let's do the decals..  Thanks to Corel Draw and my old HP lasercolor
Vehicle number 4, JG 27 Afrika - "flammable"

Markings in position...

After a few coats of matte varnish, we started weathering.
The desert is a very hostile environment for the markings ... 

The two tankwagens with Eylert fuel tanks:
Opel Blitz and Ford V3000
      And the girl ready for the scorching desert heat. Meet and greet the Opel Blitz Tankwagen Kfz. 385, providing services to   Jagdgeschwader 27 (JG 27) "Afrika" , Libya, November 1941.
Opel Blitz Tankwagen Kfz. 385
Jagdgeschwader 27 (JG 27) "Afrika"
Libya, November 1941.

Ford V3000 and Opel Blitz Tankwagen Kfz.385

Opel Blitz Tankwagen Kfz. 385
Jagdgeschwader 27 (JG 27) "Afrika"
Libya, November 1941.

See you soon!!!