ARM: Review - DML 1/35 scale Sd.Kfz. 234/3 - Premium Edition

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale '39-'45 Series Kit No. 6786; S d.Kfz. 234/3 - Premium Edition; 643 parts (541 in grey styrene, 72 etched b
rass, 22 clear styrene, 8 pre-bent steel wire); pre-order price US$56.95 vi a Dragon USA Online
Advantages: new, well detailed and very complete kit of this popular vehicl e completes the series; complex driveline appears to be fully replicated; u pdated version now includes adjustable eight-wheel steering; detailed fight ing compartment interior
Disadvantages: engine bay will be difficult to open up
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: to all German armor and wheeled vehicle fans
    As with the first three kits, the Germans continued their prewar designs throughout the war, and the Sd.Kfz. 231 heavy eight-wheeled armored car ser ies was replaced by the Sd.Kfz. 234 series beginning in September 1943. Fou r different vehicles were produced in this series:
    Sd.Kfz. 234/1 (Geraet 95)    200 built     2 cm cannon/7.92mm MG in open turret                             (built Jun 44 - Jan 45)     Sd.Kfz. 234/2    (Geraet 93)    101 built     5 cm gun/7.92mm MG in closed turret ( also called the Puma) (built Sep 43 - Sep 44)     Sd.Kfz. 234/3    (Geraet 94)    88 built    7.5 cm L/24 in open mount                             (built Jun 44 - Dec 44)     Sd.Kfz. 234/4 (Geraet 96)    89 built    7.5 cm Pak 40 in open mount                             (built Dec 44 - Mar 45)
    The "Stroke 3" was designed for use as a heavy armored that would at least have sufficient firepower to deal with most unfortunate encounters. But by that stage of the war, and even with the advent of hollow charge ammunitio n, it was too light to have much effect on enemy forces. Ergo it was quickl y replaced in production by the very heavy Sd.Kfz. 234/4 with the long-barr eled PaK 40 7.5 cm antitank gun.
    As with all of the 234s the "Stroke 3" was fast (80 kph/48 mph), moderatel y well armed, and had a long range (900 km/560 miles). Armor provided proof against small arms of 7.62mm caliber and shell fragments. Since its Tatra 103 engine was a 12-cylinder air-cooled diesel, it had a major advantage ov er other nations' armored cars.
    Six years after DML released their ultimate Sd.Kfz. 234 series armor car k it (No. 6257) they have now re-released it with new parts as a "Premium Edi tion" kit.
    This one now comes with alternate position doors for the fender bins and a lso adjustable eight wheel steering so the wheels can be posed as per the a ctual vehicle. They are not linked (e.g. each axle must be set individually ) but anyone wanting to pose the vehicle now has the option. New lower link arms, ball joints, wheel mounts and steering arms are provided.
    As it retains most of the 2008 kit, Dragon used"mix and match" with it off ering more than 90 new or replacement parts to convert the kit basic parts to the "Stroke 3;" they have also tweaked some of the other molds from earl ier kits. The gun here comes from their recent line of Pzkw. IV tanks (Ausf . B-E) and provides the basics for the gun, with new moldings adapting the L/24 gun to the 234 chassis. A new sprue of clear parts from one of the oth er recent kits (alas, I forget just which one) provides the periscopic sigh t as a clear part for the L/24 gun.
    Also new to this kit is a set of three "street" tires with sectional tread , using the now optional DML "sandwich" method of assembly to get sufficien t tread depth. Six sections are used to create each tire, and these tires c an then be used to replace the stock tires that have been used in the other three kits. These are featured on the box art and they offer some variety in the model.
    The etched brass has been increased for this kit and adds a new fret of 55 parts for the fender doors and locking chains among other parts. The origi nal fret is still here but provides either tie-down fasteners or the center s for the six "jerry" cans. There are no brass parts for the engine access vents.
    The suspension and interior are beautifully rendered and this version even includes the "jump" seats for the gun crew which can be built as folded up or down. Ammo racks with separate rounds are provided for the interior.
    As before, this project was supervised by Hirohisa Takada, with technical drawings by Shin Okada and technical assistance from Tom Cockle and Gary Ed mundson.
    Finishing options are provided for three vehicles: 226. Aufklaerungs Abt., 116th Panzer Division, Normandy 1944 (tricolor patches); "Ulrich von Hutte n" Division, Germany 1945 (tricolor patches); Unidentified Unit, Normandy 1 944 (tricolor spray). A single small Cartograf decal sheet is provided with generic crosses and registration number plates and numbers. No registratio n numbers are given, however.
    Overall this is a nice upgrade to a good DML kit and should be popular, es pecially with diorama or base fans as it can now easily be posed.
    Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell     
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