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FROM THE February 2009 ISSUE

Italeri Mercedes-Benz 540K

Mercedes-Benz 540K
Italeri No. 3701
Model Type: Injection-molded styrene
Molded Colors: Brown, yellow, black
Scale: 1/24
MSRP: See dealer
Pros: Easy assembly, accurate details, good parts fit
Cons: Engine and hood detail more suited for curbside
This newly reissued kit depicts a four-seat cabriolet with side-mounted spares. It's identical to an earlier 540K that was repackaged and sold by Testor.

The kit is fairly basic; it has a simplified nine-piece engine, and the suspension components are also somewhat simplified.

The engine cover is molded integrally with the windshield cowl, with scoring lines underneath if the builder chooses to separate the hood from the cowl (though this is not mentioned in the instructions). More work would be required to hinge the hood in an authentic manner.

The simple engine and chassis assemble with ease, and the multipiece body also fits together fairly well, though after assembly there are some gaps visible between the upper body and the separate side pieces, and the windshield frame and the uptop.

The body is molded to easily facilitate a two-tone paint scheme. It's molded in a rather unappealing brown for the upper body and fenders, with bright-yellow side panels and wheels. I chose to paint the car in a blue/gray color scheme I saw during an Internet search. Well-placed tabs help locate body sides and upper portion into the correct positions for assembly.
The tires are molded in the same black styrene as the chassis components, but fit together snugly and look as good as most one-piece vinyl tires. I taped them to a circle template and airbrushed wide whitewalls onto the tires with white primer; the black portions look authentic enough without paint.

The wheel spokes are finely engraved, along with the radial "stubs" close to the rims that are apparently adjustable wheel weights to balance the tires. Before gluing the wheels to the axles, I attached the chrome hubcaps and rotated the wheels slowly while carefully hand-painting the body-color sections of the hubcaps with a fine brush.

The interior is also somewhat simple, but looks good when finished. Even though the interior bucket has integral sides, there is a good molded door- and side-panel detail, and separate chrome door pulls and window cranks.

The model can be built with the top open or closed, with side windows installed or chrome window-frame strips installed into the body sills to depict the windows in the open position. It you use the side glass, the chrome trim molded to the glass will need to be foiled.

I was pleased with the ease that this kit went together; everything fit fairly well, and there were no surprises. Chrome quality was reasonable, though it chipped easily where it was clipped from the sprue. A few areas were a bit foggy; as a result of this and the chipping, I covered most of the grille frame with Bare-Metal foil.

Overall it's a nice kit, and I recommend it.


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