16 years ago
and Conversion Kit No. 3831; Upgrade and Conversion Kit for Sd.Kfz.
234/1 Schwerer Panzerspaehwagen (2 cm); 155 parts (129 etched brass, 18
in grey styrene, 8 pre-bent wire); price not available
Advantages: factory-made custom parts are a "drop-fit" onto the
234/1 kit; upgrade the fine details and the steering gear as well as
allow for a late-production vehicle
Disadvantages: competes with after-market products; some question as to
why parts were not provided in base kit
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for fans of the German "stroke 1" heavy armored car
Back in the 1960s, Revell took a look at the fact the most popular
models in the US at the time were 1/25 scale car kits. But the modeler
was pretty much limited to what came with the kit, and as such even
with "Three in One" car kits - stock, custom or racing - he had
to buy a large number in order to build up a spares box for customizing
his model. Revell decided to "preempt" that situation and released
a large number of after-market sets designed to drop into any of their
own car kits on the market. These included custom wheels, custom
engines, transmissions, suspensions, a completely chromed motorcycle,
and a complete hot rod that could be purchased one sprue at a time.
Since each set cost only 69 cents (the minimum wage was about $1.25 at
the time) they were a deal and were very, very popular.
Since then there have been only a few attempts to carry this out, as
most conversion kits soon began to come from "cottage industries"
and were made from resin or etched metal parts. Fit of the parts
depended on the company, the pattern maker who made their originals,
and getting the specific kit it was designed for in order to get a good
match. But it was never the company which produced the main kit that
usually did the after-market upgrade or conversion parts.
Through its parent company DML cyber-hobby.com has now started doing
the same thing Revell did 40 years ago, and is now releasing upgrade or
conversion sets for recent DML kits. The first one was a set of late
model fenders (four bins) for the Sd.Kfz. 234/4 kit, and this one
provides the reverse (two bin fenders) and other parts for the Sd.Kfz.
The kit comes in a "blister" pack and not a box, with the
directions placed in a folding cardboard stiffener used as the backing.
"Directions" is something of an overstatement, as they are
basically "stick here" drawings and do not cover where or when to
insert the new parts when building the kit. The new parts include eight
new driveshafts and eight new tie rod heads for the steering gear. They
also provide eight lengths of bent wire which appear to be brake or air
lines (I am not sure which, but they are in the position to be one or
the other based on the system the vehicle used.)
The etched brass is very extensive - even though the original kit
came with some 31 parts, most of them were just for the turret and not
the rest of the model. This kit comes with the complete etched brass
sheet that reads for the Sd.Kfz. 234/4 (but was NOT what came with that
kit, so it must be another upgrade set as well) and two gratings, plus
a complete etched brass 2 cm magazine rack for inside the hull that
provides stowage for 10 full magazines. Stowage for 7.92mm ammunition
is also provided, along with air intake and exhaust louvers, seat back
details, and "jerry" can racks. However, many parts are provided
but their locations are not described in the directions.
One new color profile is provided along with a new "targeted" set
of Cartograf decals, but the directions fail to say what unit or where
it was located. The model is suggested for a tri-color "patch"
scheme with a hard edge.
Overall, it is a nice idea to come up with "drop fit" conversion
kits for the company's models, but I am sure some modelers will
question why didn't these parts come in the original kit rather than
as "after market" offerings? To be sure, it keeps prices down, but
at the end of the day it's the modeler who makes the decisions as to
what is and what is not good value in a kit.
Thanks to Freddie Leung of DML for the review sample.