|Fiat Comparison & Contrast
|by Stephen 'Tank Whisperer' Brezinski
Edited by Rob Haelterman
MarS Kit # 7202 Fiat 621
Introduction and a bit of history.
The Polski Fiat 621 is a Polish
built Fiat 2.5-ton capacity, 4x2 drive truck of the mid to late-1930s
period built under license from Italy’s Fiat Corporation.
About 10,000 Polski Fiat 621 trucks were built before Poland’s
defeat in September 1939. Surviving trucks were absorbed into the
German forces though I have found few photos of these trucks, either
in German or Polish use and markings.
• MarS appears to have worked
to get as much as they could out of the castings for this truck.
Additional 1/72 scale versions of the Polski Fiat 621 truck include
• Though over 10,000 Fiat 621 trucks and variants were built under license by the Poles, I have so far seen no evidence that this truck was mass-produced and used in Italy or by the Italian military.
• Italian Kits’ box photograph shows a 4x2 military style truck of a very similar style to the Polish Fiat 621. This photo will be helpful in assembling our model. The photos shows the Italian Kits’ Fiat 38R that is unpainted amber resin but would be light brown when serving in North Africa and a gray-green color when stationed in Europe. For the tires I advise dark gray or grimy black color to account for the scale-effect on black tires. With the box art we see a lot of fine detail and small parts.
• Unlike the Fiat 621 this
truck has fenders over the rear wheels. There is a spare tire below
the bed just aft of the cab and several storage boxes. The truck
has no bumper but does have a brush guard in front of the radiator.
This model comes with no crew figure, cargo or weapons. The canvas
tarpaulin and supports included in the kit are not shown here. Besides
other softskin vehicles like the Fiat 626 and Fiat 666, Italian
Kits offers other variants of the Fiat Spa 38 truck in 1/72:
• Even though these instructions are superior to that in the MarS kit there is still lack in clarity as to where some parts go under the chassis.
• The MarS Fiat 621 kit consists of 41 amber cast resin parts; no etched brass in either the MarS or IK kit. Casting quality is superb; sharp and with no discernible sink holes or air bubbles. Being solid under the hood (bonnet) there is no engine included. For me, the quality of the molding and attention to detail can be seen in the radiator and the driver’s seat. The side windows and the windshields are molded solid but are easy to cut out with a sharp knife so as to install clear windshields.
• The parts all come with casting plugs such as seen on the front fender parts (a large casting plug has already been sawed off the cab roof). Some of the casting plugs are difficult to cut off; be careful not to gouge and break the parts. To remove the casting plugs I have had good luck using a hacksaw blade, razor saw and sharp Xacto knife. Keep the saws wet to reduce pulmonary-hazardous resin dust.
• The Italian Kits Fiat Spa
38 kit consists of over 88 light-gray cast resin parts, some quite
tiny; in fact so tiny I had to resort to a magnifying glass to identify
many of them. What is great is that most of the parts are separated
from their casting plug so you have no annoying sawing to do. Casting
quality is also superb and every bit as good as MarS. Evidently,
by having over twice as many parts and more delicate parts as the
MarS kit, the Italian Kits truck has greater overall detail and
accuracy. For example, the IK Fiat 38 model has gas and brake pedals
in addition to three gear and shift levers, and three knobs on the
dash board; none of which can be seen when the kit is assembled!
At lower left we see the underside of the IK Fiat 38 canvas tarpaulin
with excellent stay (support) detail on the underside.
• At the upper right is a small water slide decal sheet for the Italian Kit Fiat Spa 38 kit. Markings are for two Italian trucks serving in Russia in 1942. IK also supplies placement instructions for the decal markings. MarS provides no markings for their Polski Fiat 621 so we will have to improvise Polish or German license plates.
• Even though both trucks look similar, the IK Fiat Spa 38 is a longer truck with a longer wheelbase.
• At bottom right are some
very finely cast storage frames I thought would show the fidelity
of IK’s casting. We’ve come a long way in casting in
ten years time. In defense of MarS, this Fiat 621 is MarS’s
earliest of models and I have found present day MarS kits to be
every bit as detailed and finely crafted as the Italian Kits’
Fiat truck model.
• Assembly of the parts was good but with annoying difficulty setting the cab and the bed in the right locations on the truck frame; dry fit well before gluing!
• Like with the Polski-Fiat 621, I have added framing for the interior of the wooden cab of the IK Fiat 38 model.
• While the IK Fiat 38 (below)
has the front fenders mounted integrally onto the cab, the MarS
Fiat 621 model has separate fenders.
• Be very careful when attaching the cab and bed to the frame, I found it easy to mount the parts askew, a little bit crooked, which you may not notice till both parts are glued down. With both models there are no absolutely clear mounting points and the kit instructions could be better.
• The Italian Kits Fiat has twice as many parts and finer details than the MarS Fiat model, but it is not fair to judge the MarS kit harshly on this since it is about 10 years older than the IK model and we have come very far in the detail demanded by modelers and offered by manufacturers. Contemporary MarS model kits are similar to Italian Kits in detail and quality.
• Both models are suitable for intermediate and advanced modelers due to the complexity of the kit, number and delicateness of the resin parts and vagueness of the kit instructions. It would be a simple but beneficial matter for MarS to expand their assembly instructions. It has always bugged the crap out of me when resin model manufacturers put all this effort into making a superbly crafted model and then don’t make instructions to match the quality of the model.
• When assembling any kits like this I recommend putting together and painting the basic large parts (chassis, wheels, cab), mounting the model to a secure base, and then add the small, fragile resin parts; then complete the painting and weathering.