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SS-Stubaf. Gustav Knittel’s Dodge WC57 Command Car, 1944

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SS-Stubaf. Gustav Knittel’s Dodge WC57 Command Car, 1944

Post by egonzinc on Fri Sep 12, 2014 10:10 pm

Kampfgruppe Knittel
1st SS Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion,
1st SS Panzer Division LSSAH, 14 December 1944 – 31 December 1944 (wounded)

SS-Stubaf. Gustav Knittel’s Dodge WC57 Command Car, 1944
---First Images---

With the top down:

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With the top up:

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Many years ago, I made a group of SS reconnaissance figures, one of which was representing Stubaf. Gustav Knittel in the Eifel area, after Normandy and before the Ardennes offensive.
At that moment someone posted in one of the forums more details about Knittel (bald and very tall). Later I also realized he had not been with that particular unit (1st SS Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion) until December the 13th, just a few days prior the beginning of the Ardennes offensive on December 16th.
Knittel led his battalion during the German attempts to counter the allied invasion in Normandy. After the retreat from France, Knittel left for a short holiday in Neu-Ulm. He was awarded the Close Combat Clasp in gold on 13 October 1944 and he tried hard to obtain a position behind the front which he found as commander of the Field Replacement Battalion LSSAH in Lübbecke. 1st SS Panzer Division LSSAH commander, Wilhelm Mohnke ordered Knittel to return to the Leibstandarte. On 13 December 1944 he arrived at the divisional headquarters near Euskirchen where he asked Mohnke to grant Emil Wawrzinek the command of the 1st SS reconnaissance Battalion LSSAH. Wawrzinek had led the battalion since its return from France and had rebuilt it during the past months. But the next day Mohnke insisted that Knittel had to lead the reinforced battalion that would become Schnelle Gruppe (fast group) Knittel.
Anyway, at that time, someone mentioned that Knittel had used a Dodge Command Car at least early in the Ardennes offensive! I decided to get a 21C Dodge Command Car to do my version of Knittel’s Dodge in the future…and the future was earlier this summer!
I had only seen a couple of images, from the After the Battle “Battle of the Bulge Then and Now” page 152, but even though the Dodge Command Car is identifiable, you only see very little of the vehicle. I asked around for more images around the forums and none came up, so I decided to do the vehicle with “absolute modeller’s license”!
I used the Patton version of the 21C WC57 Dodge Command Car. I removed all the Patton bits, horn, flags, MG mount. I was surprised that the canvas top was a solid plastic piece. Thought for sure it would have a canvas top even if it was only in the ‘top down’ position.
I decided to scratch build a ‘top down’ canvas top and also decided to try to improve the plastic stock piece for a ‘top up’ look. Made the ‘top down’ top with styrene tubing and cloth from the parts box. I then covered the plastic top with the same cloth using super glue to glue it to the plastic. It was VERY messy, but at least it looked a lot better. I also removed the attachment studs molded to the piece and replaced them with metal rivets.
Removed the markings and gave the vehicle an overall Olive Green(all colors Tamiya Acrylic) base coat. Decided to add German Yellow and Red Brown to get a three color camo. Added the white crosses as the only other markings using stencils. Wanted to make it a command car, so I added three radios to the rear of the command car. Added a few German items: gas cans,rear and front Notek lights, fire extinguisher, tow cable and twin antennae mounts.
Painted and weathered as usual.
I really like how this vehicle turned out. I have no idea of what happened to the real Dodge Command Car used by Knittel and since I have no options to model fall and winter in my yard, I have thought of a couple of potential, and VERY unlikely storylines! Mayne, just maybe, Knittel “acquired” the Dodge Command Car in Normandy. He might have used it and converted it to be used as command car then. Then after that vehicle was lost back in Normandy, his good friend Emil Wawrzinek picked up another Dodge after August 1944 and wether he knew Knittel was going to be the commander or not, he had gotten to like the Dodge back in Normandy, so he had decided to use one as a command car in the unit he was reorganizing. I’m sure Knittel was very surprised to see a Dodge Command car on December 14! So this vehicle might show up in some Normandy. As they say, that is my story and I’m sticking to it! 
As with all my vehicle projects, the recently departed Mike Stannard is always part of the project. In this particular case, only the tow cable, but in other projects his parts were the key to the projects. We 1/6 vehicle bashers are going to miss Mike a lot. Rest in Peace Mike.

Finally some close ups:

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egonzinc

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Re: SS-Stubaf. Gustav Knittel’s Dodge WC57 Command Car, 1944

Post by T.H.A.W. on Sat Sep 13, 2014 12:01 am

E...
This is BY FAR my favorite model vehicle I have ever seen...Hands down!
The work, details, weathering & craftsmanship is splendid!
There are lots of great modelers around the world, but you are in my top 3, and this fine specimen is just one of the reasons why.
Thanks for posting, and being a major influence to all modelers, 1:6 and beyond.

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Re: SS-Stubaf. Gustav Knittel’s Dodge WC57 Command Car, 1944

Post by Halftrack1 on Sat Sep 13, 2014 7:36 pm

If I didn't know any better I'd swear it was the real thing. Another work of ART !!!
Eduardo.
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Re: SS-Stubaf. Gustav Knittel’s Dodge WC57 Command Car, 1944

Post by dti62 on Sat Sep 13, 2014 9:11 pm

Eduardo,

Another great "masterpiece" from your collection. I wish I had one of those in mine.
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Re: SS-Stubaf. Gustav Knittel’s Dodge WC57 Command Car, 1944

Post by Threetoughtrucks on Sun Sep 14, 2014 12:53 am

Great vehicle. I have one on my "to do" shelf. Waiting for me to strip off all the Patton stuff.

While I owned a 1/1 WC-56 Command Car and showed the vehicle in shows and parades, a WW2 vet came to me and filled a Saturday morning with tales of his life in his assigned Command Car. He was in the Battle of the Bulge, assigned to a maintenance company and he used the Command Car for odd transport and messenger runs (by that time high officers refused to use them because of the Dodge high stance). At one point he removed and junked the rear sear to transport tools and such and the vet slept in the rear of the car to keep him out of the snow. He loved the CC as much as I loved mine. Of course, nobody was shooting at mine.

Charlie
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Re: SS-Stubaf. Gustav Knittel’s Dodge WC57 Command Car, 1944

Post by Threetoughtrucks on Sun Sep 14, 2014 12:57 am

My 1:1 WC-56, with my kids at a parade.
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Charlie
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Re: SS-Stubaf. Gustav Knittel’s Dodge WC57 Command Car, 1944

Post by dti62 on Sun Sep 14, 2014 3:03 pm

Charlie,
Looks good for what is seen, do you have other photos to share.
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Re: SS-Stubaf. Gustav Knittel’s Dodge WC57 Command Car, 1944

Post by Threetoughtrucks on Sun Sep 14, 2014 4:51 pm

I have a ton of pics. Give me a few days and I'll upload and post more pics in the Off Thread section. I don't want to hijack E's post any more than I already have.
I only posted the pic to show that E's Command Car looks better than my real CC.
The CC was my first of a long series of military and antique trucks. I loved them and my boys grew up driving them as soon as their little feet could reach the pedals, in the woods and beaches of Staten Island.
Charlie
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Re: SS-Stubaf. Gustav Knittel’s Dodge WC57 Command Car, 1944

Post by Hammer's Africaners on Sun Sep 21, 2014 12:06 pm

Fantastic work

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Re: SS-Stubaf. Gustav Knittel’s Dodge WC57 Command Car, 1944

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