Posted on by Metro Hobbies

We tackled a kit from a brand many modellers would find intimidating. "Brave man!" Those were the words a fellow modeller said to us when we said we were building this Roden kit.

We don't blame him. Honestly, it gave us pause when Ukranian brand Roden handed us this sample kit. As modellers, we had heard stories that Roden kits, though they do  great subjects, involved a bit of work.

But apparently no longer.

Building buses using a truck chassis was an old automotive practice. The well-known Opel Blitz was converted into a bus in the 1930s, and the Opel Omnibus was the result. This is a 1/35 scale version of Roden's 1/72 release, and with such an interesting vehicle that saw service in both civilian and military roads, the subject lent itself to being made into an nice canvas for weathering.

The kit's breakdown wasn't much different from how the actual bus was constructed. Fine details were on the chunky side, but it wasn't terrible. The only tough part in construction was the cleanup of excess plastic from the fine wheel rims and hubcaps. Surprisingly, the part we thought that was going to be an issue - the front grille - was superbly cast with a fine plastic mesh, and very neat Opel logo and emblem.

The build itself was very straightforward, and the parts fit quite good. Yes, there was a fair bit of flash on the plastic, mostly on the seams of the larger and oddly curved parts. But all in all it was a pleasant build, with very good fit of the parts overall (once the flash was cleaned up).

This meant we could assemble the chassis as one subassembly, the main body as another, and leave the roof and doors unassembled to facilitate an easier way to paint!

Finishing with AK Interactive

We wanted to do the Opel Omnibus as a tired, weary civilian bus which has seen a lot of wear and tear through the years. We thought this was the perfect opportunity to try out AK Interactive's paints and heavy chipping fluid, and put it to the test.

We primed the entire vehicle using AK Interactive's acrylic red primer using an airbrush. After the main red primer, we lightened it up using a bit of light rust and sprayed on some highlights on the centre of the main body panels. Then we protected it all with a gloss varnish.

After waiting a day for it to dry completely, we sprayed the entire body, roof and doors with thinned Chipping fluid. When it was touch-dry, we continued on painting the bus as per normal using AK Interactive acrylics. We painted the roof and top half of the bus white, then did the sides in bright blue.

Now the fun part. After the paint had dried, we began the chipping process with a #3 synthetic brush, a thick bristle dry brush, and our primary chipping tool for this scale, which was a bamboo skewer. For finer scratches, we used the AK soft Chipping Lead. We concentrated on exposing the rusty body where a lot of wear happens: the sides, doors, fenders and roof where people step on and abuse the roof racks. Knowing we wanted the beaten, rusty look, we really went to town to expose it all yet still leave a bit of colour.

Pleased with the result, we did detail painting of the bus interior and wheels. Rust and oil washes were applied on the chassis. We began applying different AK Interactive wash layers on the body and roof. Remember to do this work in stages, as oftentimes layers do not dry completely and gets mixed with previous applications of washes.

Finally we used a Molotow Chrome pen to detail the headlamps.

The Verdict

Overall we were very impressed with Roden's Opel Omnibus build. It came together very nicely, and despite our hesitation with the initial chunky parts, it still went together well.

The AK Interactive paints and effects certainly delivered for us as well, and using them was quite enjoyable. The ease of applying the chipping fluid, paint and wash effects tells us the guys who made these paints knew what they were doing. For chipping, they handily packaged all the essentials you need in a standard box set.

Having experienced this build, we are actually looking forward to building another Roden kit! Maybe with their coming 1/144 Focke Wolfe 200 Condor later this month, or even a 1/35 Rolls Royce Armoured Car? Check out the brand, the selection is actually not bad, and the prices are pretty reasonable. Personally, the 1/35 Holt Artillery Tractors were recently reviewed online to be really good weathering subjects.

We'll leave you with a final look at the finished result. The model is now on display at our Melbourne CBD store, so do have a look if you drop in!

Stay tuned for more builds, reviews and how-tos right here!