ARM: Review - DML 1/72 scale Sd.Kfz. 231 8-rad

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/72 scale Armor Pro Series Kit No. 7483; Sd.Kfz. 231 Schwerer Panzerspaehwagen (8-rad); 93 parts in grey styrene; p re-order price US$19.95 via Dragon USA Online

Advantages: state-of-the-art kit of this popular vehicle in this scale

Disadvantages: no etched brass may disappoint some

Rating: Highly Recommended

Recommendation: for all small scale German and wheeled armor fans

After a seven month hiatus DML has now completed its early production Germ an eight-wheel heavy armored car series with the base model Sd. Kfz. 231 va riant. Essentially it is the preceding Sd.Kfz. 232 model less the antenna m ount and fittings.

As previously noted, prior to WWII every nation felt wheeled armored vehic les were useful and developed a large number of them for scouting purposes. But while many of them were only converted car or truck chassis, the Germa ns had a complete line of all wheel drive vehicles in 4x4, 6x4 and 8x8. con figurations. The latter vehicles underwent development in 1934 and emerged as the Sd.Kfz. 231 (8 Rad) and Sd.Kfz. 232 (8 Rad) series vehicles. The dif ference between them was primarily in their radio equipment, as the 232 had a high power HF set for long range communications. (A later variant, the S d.Kfz. 263, was a dedicated armored command and control vehicle.)

Over 600 of these vehicles were built and used in all theaters of operatio ns during WWII. Popular and effective, they did have some failings such as being top-heavy and this was addressed in the follow-on Sd.Kfz. 234 series.

As before, this kit is all styrene - no etched brass or DS Plastic is prov ided. The kit produces a model with its forward standoff armor/stowage bin, two jerry cans, and a spare tire provided in the kit.

The directions - considering by DML standards this is a ?simple? kit - are STILL confusing at best. In Step 1 it shows the two wheel bogie assemb lies (two axles assembled together) as ?optional? parts! (I suspect the y meant ?either/or? but it is unclear due to the monkey-see-monkey-do s ymbols.) It would appear that parts A6-B21-A7 make up one bogie and A8-B31- A9 the second one. They should mount with the A6 bogie in the front with th e drive end of B21 towards the center and A8 in the rear with the drive end of B31 also facing the middle.

Step 5 now only shows the option of fitting the spare tire over the air gr ille.

Some parts are molded in place such as the tow cable on the forward armor and some of the fender details, but in this scale it is hard to get both sc ale effects and separate parts to work well.

Technical assistance was provided by Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.

Five finishing options are shown: 2st SS Motorized Division ?Das Reich ?, Yugoslavia 1941 (grey with black/white crosses, reg number SS-5931); 1 st SS Motorized Division ?LAH?, Greece 1941 (grey with black/white cro sses, no reg number); 23rd Panzer Division, Mozdok 1942 (sand over grey wit h no reg number); 2nd SS Panzer Division ?Das Reich?, Kursk 1943 (sand overall with black/white crosses, reg number SS-152276), and Aufkl.Abt. 129 , 29th Panzergrenadier Regiment, Sicily 1943 (sand with green overspray, no reg number). A ?number jungle? sheet plus targeted decals are provided by Cartograf. However, note that all five vehicles are shown without eithe r the standoff armor or the spare tire. Also, due to CE requirements the tw in ?SS? runes are provided for the registration plates as two minuscule separate halves to be assembled on the plate decal.

Overall this adds to the DML stable of early war armored cars.

Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.

Cookie Sewell

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