Kit Review: DML 1/35 Scale =9139-=9145 Series Kit No. 6446; Sd.Kfz. 2 Kettenkrad Late Production & 3.7 PaK 36 w/crew - Premium Edition; 366 parts (351 in grey styrene, 13 etched brass, 2 DS plastic track runs); pre-order price US$27.95 via Dragon USA Online
Advantages: New way of offering older kits in useful packaging
Disadvantages: two-piece styrene barrels; perhaps not enough etched brass to please some modelers in a Premium Kit
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: to all German and =93Ostfront=94 fans
Back in 2004 DML released a kit of a Sd.Kfz. 2/2 Kettenkrad as a field wire layer (No. 6128) with a crew of three. While it was a huge upgrade from the ancient Tamiya kit from the early 1970s it did have some quirks and drawbacks, including tiny two-piece single link tracks which were smaller than many 1/72 scale tracks. Later on DML also released kit No. 6139 of the 3.7 cm PaK 36 =93doorknocker=94 antitank gun with some nice touches like the oversized stick bomb with HEAT warhead. In 2008 they released a modified version of their 7.5 cm PaK40 with a new mold five-man Wehrmacht crew.
Now DML has recombined these three kits into one new =93Premium Edition=94 kit with some modified parts for the Kettenkrad to change it to a late production vehicle.
The =93Late Production=94 changes to the model include replacing the motorcycle style headlamp with a =93Notek=94 light and new drivers. Most important, the model now comes with a set of DS Plastic track runs vice the incredibly tiny and tedious two-part tracks from the original. While there are arguments to be made both ways about single link versus single run tracks for larger vehicles, I daresay most people will appreciate not having to futz around with minuscule track links in this scale. Track details are amazingly well replicated (check out the bolt head details) and these should be well received (barring fit problems).
The Kettenkrad still comes with a complete engine-transmission assembly, separate road wheel arms, and interior details as before. The seat parts are now provided for the two-man crew carried at the rear of the vehicle (which was replaced by a cable reel assembly in the 2/2 variant). A tow hook and taillight casing is also now present. The box sides and bottom indicate several bits have been redone such as the front fork and hull parts as well.
The PaK 36 comes on two sprues with a number of nice bits, but no ammunition is provided other than the complete replacement stick bomb for the barrel, which is also not covered in the directions. It also comes with an unused barrel for the Gerlich 4.2 cm taper-bore antitank gun for no reason I can discern; only a handful were built and there were other modifications to the carriage to boot including a spaced gun shield.
The crew consists of five figures spread over three sprues and provides DML =93Gen1" style figures of six parts (head, torso, legs and arms) with attached kit. But while six figures are provided in the kit the directions only cover assembly of four (B, C, D, and E) and nothing about the driver or Figure A. (The driver is as before in a wet weather oilskin suit and may not fit well for late war summer operations.) These are in the =93stick here=94 black and white photo rendition, as well as an assumption of using the box art for painting.
DML has done this in the past, which is a shame as once again I have to note their directions consistently let down the great sets of figures they offer. I do wish they would spend more time on them, as the number one complaint I have =96 and I receive from those reading my reviews =96 are the lousy directions provided in DML kits.
Technical assistance was provided by Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
Three finishing and marking options are provided, all for =93Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front 1943": sand with green and brown stripes; sand with green and brown patches; and all sand brown. Decals from Cartograf consist of only license plate blanks and a number jungle but no finishing suggestions for actual plate numbers.
Overall while it is nice that DML does upgrade and recombine older kits into nice new packages, but they really need to upgrade their directions to match.
Thanks to Freddie Leung of DML for the review sample.