The German army went to war in 1914 with approximately 4,000 motor vehicles of all types. This number increased rapidly, but it never exceeded 40,000 vehicles on all fronts, of which 12,000 were motor cars. Severe shortages of fuel and rubber were felt as early as 1915. As a result, gas guzzling, and tire eating heavy cars, and light trucks were decomissioned and put into storage. Motor cars and ambulances ran on wooden, leather, or metal wheels once their precious rubber tires were used up. Synthetic rubber production was not nearly as effective as that of World War Two, and tires made from this material had a life expectancy of only 2500 km. By comparison, the allied armies operated over 200,000 motor vehicles in France and Belgium alone.
Motor cars employed by the German army in World War One were not designed as military vehicles, they were civilian cars painted field grey, with partial armour plating applied in some cases. The vehicles were routinely loaded with much more equipment, and more men than they could carry. Not surprisingly, vehicle losses resulting from mechanical failure were much more common than combat losses, the cars simply broke apart under the excessive weight. Period photos show motor cars with wire-cutter rails attached above the hood and windshield, protecting the crew against thin wires strung across the road by Franctireur guerillas.
- Mercedes-Benz Torpedo Kübelsitzer with open or closed top
- Type: Civilian Touring Car
- Length: 4.45 m
- Width: 1.75 m
- Height: 1.83 m
- Speed: 150 km/h
- Year: 1913
Excellent choice of subject, the Mercedes-Benz Torpedo is an attractive vehicle, it makes a great staff car for a German or Turkish commander.
Scale model with cast-on detail like door hinges, exhaust pipes, springs, and headlights. The vehicle is ready for the campaign, but some personal gear might be stowed inside to add more detail. The Mercedes looks and feels like an antique, it’s a must-have.
Easy to assemble, only 19 parts. The model can be put together in 30 minutes or less, the parts practically fall into place. Painting the Torpedo was a delight, its elegant lines provided a welcome diversion from the tanks, trucks, and jeeps of later periods.
Choice of open or closed top. The open version really calls for crew figures.
The entire vehicle is cast in soft metal. The parts are much sturdier than resin parts, and they were very easy to remove from the sprue. Parts can be bent into shape easily. Of course, if the vehicle is dropped, some part will be mangled. The editor accidentally dropped the Torpedo from table height, but the vehicle survived in one piece. Damage to the front fender, and left headlight actually looked very convincing, except that the pneumtic tire did not burst like the real thing would have. It was possible to bend the parts back into shape without the use of tools.
Assembly instructions are easy to follow, there is no danger of confusing the parts. Attaching the rear license plate required tweezers, and some patience.
Good casting quality. Flash and mould lines were very easy to remove with a scalpel.
Compatible with Fine Scale Factory guns and vehicles.
Cast in soft metal, containing lead. The vehicle is very heavy, considered an advantage by some, and a transportation problem by others.
Decals are not included. Some motor cars had white letters stencilled on the hood, and these may be difficult to paint by hand. License plates can be painted quite easily.
Crew figures are not included. A driver and commander figure wearing the Pickelhaube would have been a wonderful accessory. It may be possible to use plastic miniatures from Revell or Airfix.
The cover photo shows the Mercedes-Benz Torpedo painted as a civilian vehicle. In military service, the car would be painted field grey. Unfortunately, no painting instructions for the Turkish version of the staff car are available.
- German Army Staff Car 1914–1918
- Turkish Army Staff Car 1914–1918
- German Army Staff Car with wooden, or metal wheels 1916–1918
The Mercedes-Benz Torpedo was a fast touring car which was taken into army service as a staff vehicle. The Torpedo has elegant lines, and it will make a nice addition to any German or Turkish army of World War One. The model is very easy to assemble and lots of fun to paint. We highly recommend it.