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In-Box Review
Opel Kadett K38
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by: Robert Blokker [ FAUST ]

Originally published on:


In the early 30ís the Kraft durch Freude (KdF)project launched the idea for an affordable car for the German working population. As a working man could collect stamps which in turn gave you a reduction so you could buy your own KdF wagen at the price of 999,- Reichsmarks. Later the KdF wagen would become known as the Volkswagen Kšfer (or Beetle to the non-German speaking part of the world). Production would start in KdF city, Iím not making this up. The city was specially created for the production workers at KdF and the full name was "Stadt des KdF-Wagens bei Fallersleben" (lit. City of KdF cars near Fallersleben, nowadays known as Wolfsburg) sadly as the war drew nearer the production aimed itís arrows at the war effort meaning fat chance for a working person in Germany owning a Volkswagen.

Opel eagerly jumped into the Volkswagen-less void and in 1936 launched their first mass produced model known as the Olympia, following it up in 37 with the Kadett which was a simplified version of the Olympia. It used the same unitary body but it had a weaker engine and a shorter wheelbase. The first version of the Kadett had an 1100cc 4 Cylinder side valve engine and was upgraded in Ď38 with the brand new 1300cc OHV engine and it got some cosmetic changes. This modification was available in 2 flavors. KJ38 and K38 also known as Kadett Special. Not differing all that much from each other except their spring system. Their prices were quite a lot higher than the Volkswagen but at least the future owner did not have to save stamps till the end of time. Production of the Kadett ended in 1940 when the war intensified and 106,608 Kadetts were produced, nearly 56,000 of which were K38ís. The Kadett was popular with the German army as well due to its sturdiness and a huge load of all types found their way to the battlefields. After the war the Opel factory fell into Soviet hands and production continued under the hammer and sickle and the Kadett changed itís name to Moskvich. In 1962 Opel reintroduced the Kadett brand and it would remain in production till 1991
ICM holding really reinvented their brand in the past few years and offer some seriously interesting releases for the 1:35 armor and diorama builder, and their release of the Kadett K38 is no exception on this rule.


The kit is packaged in a slide top box of flimsy (but strong enough) cardboard measuring 23,5 cm deep, 4,5 cm high and 32cm wide. With quite a nice box art of a Panzer yellow K38 with staff pennant parked next to a house.
Inside the box you will find 3 sprues in tan plastic, 2 big and one smaller, 1 transparent sprue with the windows and headlight lenses. In total you will find 130 styrene parts on the sprue. 13 of which are transparent. 5 tires in black rubber a small decal sheet giving options for 4 vehicles. And of course the instruction sheet which is A4 size and shows the build in 24 steps, the last 2 pages have the paint and decal instructions.


As I said before ICM holding really upped their game and started to produce kits that can compete with any other brand on the market. This kit is a really fine example of that as far as I can see. There is no flash. Just the occasional seam line to remove but since that is a problem shared by any injection molded company it is a detail hardly worth mentioning. What is worth mentioning is that this is a very complete kit.

The engine without assembling it looks really close to 1300cc OHV engine that the K38 was fitted out with. Nice and sharp detail and the only thing you would have to add yourself is a bit of wiring. Same goes for the front suspension that the engine sits on before installing it to the body of the vehicle.

The interior looks to be complete as well. The kit comes with a well-represented firewall which has all the right details up to and including the battery holder with a very detailed battery. On the inside you have to install a neat dashboard that seems to match all the pictures I have seen of that detail online and on real examples. The seats and benches look the part as well. The steering wheel is molded in 2 parts. You get the wheel part and the centre section. Probably ICM holding has a really good reasoning behind it although what it can be is totally unclear to me.

Tin and trim
What I like from looking at the sprues is that ICM holding did a really thorough job at making sure that detail is visible on both sides of parts or at least make sure that things get constructed in such a way. The fenders mostly are made in 2 halves allowing for good sharp details inside the fender wells, the grill is well represented but only with detail on the outside, the radiator itself has detail on both sides. The two bonnet halves are also only detailed on the outside. No reinforcement ribs and nothing in the kit to hold the thing open. Furthermore a lot of the sheet work on the car has push out marks on the inside. Most are hidden from view by other parts or can easily be hidden by mud but the inside of the roof has them in full view and so does the inside of the bonnet halves when you pose them open.

ICM holding decided to give you the rims as styrene parts and the tires themselves in rubber. Detail on both is very good and sharp and the seam line on the rubber tires is kept at a minimum. I hope ICM holding used the correct stuff as Iím sure many a modeller will remember the olden days when the rubber dried out and split, crumbled and disintegrated or even worseÖ started eating the rims. Time will tell what happens.

Doors and roof
The doors are molded into the sidewalls and on the inside you glue the inside panel and in between you sandwich the window. Piping and other details like the map pouches are well executed, as far as I can see correct. It is possible to model it with the doors open. Although it will require some surgery. As you need to cut the door out of the sidewall leaving you with a small part that needs to be glued to the fender. Also some research needs to be done as to how the door hinged as the Kadett only had the lower hinge visible. The roof finishes the whole thing off and the way it is constructed means you will have 2 seams running the width of the roof. It might be possible some filler is needed to get rid of the seams but I can only tell that for sure when I reach that step in building the vehicle. Further the kit comes with a few parts to make it a militarized version of the K38

You have a choice of 4 paint and decal schemes. With the decal sheet. 1 Civilian, 2 Wehrmacht and 1 Luftwaffe. The instruction sheet describes them as follows.
- Kadett K38 Saloon, Germany, summer 1939. Blue with civilian licenseplates
- Kadett K38 Saloon, France, summer 1940. Dark grey with Wehrmacht licenseplates and markings
- Kadett K38 Saloon, Russia, Winter 1942. white with Wehrmacht licenseplates and markings
- Kadett K38 Saloon, France, summer 1944. Panzer yellow with Luftwaffe licenseplates and markings


At first sight this kit really seems to match up to the real deal; certainly when it comes to detail. Dimension wise it seems to do quite well too. But at this point it is hard to say for sure because of how ICM holding engineered the kit. I will go deeper into that when I do the build review. I could not hitherto find any flaws in the instruction sheets but always study them well and dry fit before gluing it can save you a lot of possible trouble later on. The rubber tires might not be every ones favourite but that said the details are nice and crisp and canít fault them all that much really.

Generally the kit is well engineered and ICM holding did their homework on the details. Pretty much the only parts that really could use some extra attention are the inside of the roof, the seams of said roof and the insides of the bonnet in the last case only necessary if you pose it open. It requires a bit of extra work to make it with the doors open but it is not impossible. Again more detail on that in the build log.
Having said that I think this is a hit from ICM holding is a great subject, well made and it should end up as quite a handsome little car.


- Kit Instructions
- Wikipedia, German, Dutch and English. On Opel History, Kadett, KdF

Highs: Great subject, nice sharp and correct details, full interior.
Lows: no detail on inside of bonnet, two seams to fill in the roof.
Verdict: A versatile release that should be welcomed by 1:35 armor modelers and diorama builders
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 35478
  Suggested Retail: $ 37,95
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Jan 27, 2014

Our Thanks to ICM Holding!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Robert Blokker (FAUST)

Started modelling when I was about 7 or 8 years old had a little break in between (school, girls partying) and eventually returned when finding this site in 2002. Main interest WW2 German army, wheeled vehicles and radio and communication troops or every other thing that manages to catch my interest...

Copyright ©2020 text by Robert Blokker [ FAUST ]. All rights reserved.



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