Bundesgrenzschutz Sonderwagen

This is my latest project; from the outset I must declare it’s really a What-if; I was very keen to portray a BGS vehicle with figures and wanted something to replicate the Sonderwagen MOWAG series of vehicles. Sadly, my scratch skills are pretty much non-existent so I selected the venerable Verlinden MOWAG 4 x 4 Piranha model as it possesses the similar angularity I wanted, and of course the colour scheme lends itself to something very different I feel. Additionally, the juxtaposition of Wehrmacht-type equipment/uniforms for the figures all inspired me to attempt to turn this kit into something different.

So, forgive me for the deceit, but perhaps the BGS may even have trialled such a vehicle – who knows?

I was inspired by this picture from the excellent site by a former BGS member:

Karl-Heinz-Kapp.de - BGS- Memory (bgs13-coburg1959.de)

Particularly this photo:

and also the site offered up by Paul Truhe:

https://www.beim-alten-bgs.de/Zu_den_Kameradenseiten/73_Hans-Karl_Gliem/73_Ausbildungen/73_ausbildungen.html 6

All inspirational I think you’ll agree. Anyway, this is the progress so far:

Obviously still a fair bit of work to do but I thought some may find it all of interest. I’ve become a bit bogged down lately - not just with this project but in trying to regain my modelling mojo - perhaps all Covid related - I don’t know, anyway, I’ll try and catch a grip(!)

I hope - in due course - to model a Saladin (Sonderwagen 3) in BGS service as well; we’ll see.


Interesting project.
you can also use M8 armoured car with different layout
probably next winter I model one of this in BGS
keep in contact

Nice cam on the figures :+1:

Thanks John - bit tricky the BGS one - the patches are quite dispersed so the underlying colour is paramount; the whole is coverd by “raindrop” type streaks which I don’t think in this case I’ll try and replicate, being practically invisible in this scale (though I have experiemented with same when attempting East German stuff).

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I had no idea the Saladin was once in German service! Fascinating- do you happen do have any pictures of them?

Great work so far I have to say on a most interesting subject- vehicle looks good as do the figures in that difficult camo.

Karl; thanks for the interest. See the Karl-Heinz-Kapp link above. Look at Ausrustung then Fahrzeuge; also Ausbildung and Ubungen (apologies for the lack of umlauts). I find the whole subject fascinating. The images in this link as well as the other (above) are, well, to me at least, a modelling inspiration.

Here’s a few more images I’ve garnered along the way when researching all this; God know where they’ve come from (all from the www and I hope I’m not beaking any protocols here):

BGS (6)


For completness’ sake MR Modellbau do an accessory/conversion kti for the Dragon model:

MR-35482 Kit and gun barrel FV 601(D) Saladin Bundesgrenzschutz (DRAGON) (mrmodellbau.com)

I’m looking forward to tackling mine (in due course although I will probabaly have to use the older Firing Line kit - simply because I have it in my stash).

I particualrly like the crews in their leather uniforms - redolent of the 12 SS in Normandy a bit (second pic).


Bundesgrenzschutz is a fascinating theme. A lot of special vehicles.




Building a Sonderwagen from scratch is no big thing. My biggest problem are the Trilex rims that need be done in 3D printing.


I live here in northern Bavaria, not far a away from the former inner German border, The town of Coburg held a Bundesgrenzschutz garrison until 1991. Seeing BGS officers on patrol in Volkswagen T3 busses were a common sight in my youth. Bundesgrenzschutz was the first line of defense against the Warsaw Pact before the founding of the Bundeswehr. BGS was classified an armed Police Force, hence they had Geschützte Sonderwagen. among the firs vehicles was the Sonderwagen M8. The was the M8 armored car minus the 37mm gun but with an MG1 or a 20mm gun instead. Sonderwagen SW 1 was a construction by MOWAG for an APC with one MG1. Sonderwagen 2 was the recon vehicle equipped with the 20 mm turret of the HS30. Sonderwagen 3 was the Saladin 601. The last Sonderwagen was the SW 4 by Thyssen, which will now to be replaced by the Rheinmetall Survivor R, which is actually a civilized MRAP.
My approach on Sonderwagen 1


Excellent scratch-building, but as I said at the beginning of this topic I just don’t have the skills, whcih is why I opted for the Verlinden MOWAG.

'Nice to see a bit more interest in this much overlooked aspect of military history perhaps.

Sonderwagen SW 4.


@BootsDMS - Thanks for directing me to the right parts of the website and posting your own images. This is a fascinating subject I must say!

@HermannB - More great pictures and some great scratch-building there too.

Meanwhile, auf der andere Seite…

The GrenzTrabi.


Genau! My parallel project - which sadly like so many others has somewhat stalled during the pandemic (for no real discernible reason); however, hopefully coming to you soon folks! Utilisng the Panzershop Trabi, Valkyrie Grenztruppen and of course, a section of AFV Club’s Wall.

I say “soon” but we all know how long my Leopard took…sigh.

Cool looking vehicle there. There looks to be an anchor marking on the rear quarter panel. Anyone know what unit this is ? Are these Border Guards?

The GrenzTrabi is a specialized Border Guard variant of the venerable Trabi. My guess is the one in the photo is from a coastal Abteilung, I’ve got two more of these simple kits if anyone else is interested.

Ok I kinda figured. Looks like a very no frills austere vehicle, and very low to the ground. Did it have all wheel drive?

Article on Geschützte Sonderwagen from Wikipedia.


@BootsDMS what figures did you use for the west Germans? They almost look like Wehrmacht figures without the Iron eagle on it.

Hi Rob,
as you might remember, the most common patrol vehicle in West Germany was the Volkswagen T3 bus. More comfortable, especially in winter, than the Trabant Kübelwagen.

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The figures are all converted Tamiya Germans - a tank crew set and one other which I forget; all modified with Milliput to achive the parkas. Personal kit was pretty much the same as Wehrmacht (as detailed on the websites identified earlier) although I had to make the ammo pouches on the standing figure from plastic square section to represent the larger versions for the FN ammo. The FN rifle is converted from the Italeri weapons set with an added folded bipod from stretched sprue. Hornet Heads used on all 3 figures; the BGS used quite a substantial net on their helmets and I used a Hornet Head which I think depicted chicken-wire attached to the helmet but I thought I might just get away with that for a BGS version.

Still a fair bit of tweaking to do.

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