The author with his family’s Kapitän of 1939. (Photo Frans Moquette)
I still own the same Opel Kapitän 4-door saloon my father bought new in 1939, so I was very interested when I heard that ICM had produced two versions of this Opel. The four door model (like the one I own) and the much more rare two-door model of the Opel Kapitän of 1939. ICM is well known for its military vehicles of WW2 and these ‘soft’ vehicles can be built in both the military (Wehrmacht) version and the civilian version. Sadly, the military versions were far more common during 1939-’45 than the civilian ones! Because – unlike my family – many proud owners of the brand new Opel Kapitäns of 1939 who received them from their dealers already had lost their beautiful car just a few months later. Only by hiding our car from the occupying Germans, my family could prevent that the car was seized by the Wehrmacht. Especially till 1943 most of the German resources went to the eastern front, so one can safely conclude that in 1945 there were far more Opel Kapitäns still in existence in Eastern-Europe, the Ukraine and Russia than in the whole of Western-Europe! After my father luckily returned from five years of imprisonment in Germany in June 1945, he was one of the few people in Holland who still owned a motorcar, let alone an Opel Kapitän.
So it isn’t really that surprising that a manufacturer of plastic construction kits from the Ukraine comes with these rare and almost forgotten models of the Opel Kapitän 1939. ICM really fills a gap, because until now no exact models in scale 1/35 of this Opel were available and certainly no models which showed so much detail.
Being almost born in an Opel Kapitän 1939 and knowing all the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of this model, what is my opinion of this scale model by ICM?
Apart from some small details that probably only I did notice, this model is very accurate and has a lot of detail, both on the inside and on the outside. Some of the models and dioramas that were built of this kit by experts – showing both the military and the civilian versions - give a very realistic impression of the Opel Kapitän 1939. The car just looks ‘right’. It looks like the real thing!
Some minor details that are lacking are:
* The narrow rain gutters that run along both sides of the roof above the doors, are lacking. Heat-stretched sprues (the plastic rods connecting the moulds) from the kit can do the job.
* The windshield wipers and the small stubs below the front (split) windscreens on which they operate, are lacking too. Many of the ‘professional’ model builders have noticed that and made the stubs and wipers by themselves.
The only other thing in my opinion that was not accurately reproduced are the characteristic angular headlights of the pre-war model. They should have been somewhat larger, more angular and more flush with the – also angular - front fenders. (See photo). For the military versions, this is not a problem because the headlights were mostly covered anyway.
But what am I complaining about? This ICM-version is the most accurate representation of the Opel Kapitän of 1939 that I have ever seen! In fact: it is the only accurate model of this motor car. The angular headlight fits flush in the equally angular front fender.
Not a model kit for ‘starters’
Although all the parts are well moulded and show a lot of detail, these construction kits are – in my opinion – not something for the beginner, but more for the accomplished builder of military kits or cars. Anybody can paste a model car together, but to get the utmost out of this wonderful model, you’ll need to have some experience in the construction and especially the realistic finishing of plastic model kits.
Works of art
Some experienced builders from Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine have already shown on the Internet what you can achieve with this model from ICM. Besides ‘war-weary’ military versions, they have made wonderful dioramas of the Opel Kapitäns situated in the Russian or Ukrainian countryside. It was in these small villages where those Opels were still used, many years after the war. Because after the Red Army had taken possession of these cars as war-booty and after party-bosses had used them as transports, they came available to some of the more common people of the Soviet-Union.A realistic Opel Kapitän Wehrmacht staff car built by Alexander Zelenkov from an ICM kit.
On the website www.amps-armor.org are detailed and richly illustrated descriptions of the construction of the two-door and four-door Opel Kapitän saloons of ICM.
http://www.amps-armor.org/ampssite/reviews/showReview.aspx?ID=2770&Type=FBAlso by Alexander Zelenkov: a scene were a German general steps out of an Opel Kapitän aided by his driver. (Stalingrad figures/A. Zelenko).Papashka harvested some vegetables from his garden and is about to bring them to the market. (ICM-model by VN-Master/scalemodels.ru)A rusting and dented Opel Kapitän of 1938 is for sale in a Russian Village. Maybe for spare parts or even for an extensive restoration job. (ICM-model by Alexey Gruzdev).)