ARM: Review - Italeri 1/72 scale Sd.Kfz. 234/3

Kit Review: Italeri 1/72 Scale Kit No. 7037; Sd.Kfz. 234/3; 66 parts in
light ochre styrene; retail price about US $12.50
Advantages: nice, clean kit of this vehicle; options for either
detailed or simplified wargame version of the model
Disadvantages: somewhat simplistic parts will not be popular with
current small-scale modelers
Rating: Recommended
Recommendation: for all small-scale German WWII fans as well as
While some of the other companies now making kits in 1/72 and 1/76
scale have gone to great lengths to increase the accuracy and
resolution of their kits, with some now numbering more parts and types
of materials than some of the better 1/35 scale models, Italeri has
taken a different tack and is now trying to appeal to both the
small-scale modeler and the wargamer who wants a simple but accurate
model to use with miniatures gaming rules. As such, their new kits
provide different options, from either a 2-in-1 choice like this kit
(either detailed or wargaming) to one of each type in the same box to
two wargaming versions in one box.
This particular kit is based on the "Stroke 3" variant of the later
model heavy armored car series. The Germans continued their prewar
designs throughout the war, and the Sd.Kfz. 231 heavy eight-wheeled
armored car series was replaced by the Sd.Kfz. 234 series beginning in
September 1943. Four different vehicles were produced in this series:
Sd.Kfz. 234/1 (Geraet 95) 200 built 2 cm cannon/7.92mm MG in open
(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 first one to see service was the Puma, as it entered production
nine months ahead of the other models. It was followed by the "stroke
1" and later the "stroke 3" and finally the "stroke 4." The
latter was purely a heavy tank destroyer version, as by that time the
Germans needed all of the heavy (75mm and up) antitank guns they could
muster. Both the 3 and 4 were similar, with the exception of the
heavier gun in the 4, and used the standard hull but with no turret and
modified decking.
Italeri's new kit is of the "Stroke 3" with the L/24 7.5 cm
howitzer and as noted comes with two build options which they call
"Fast" or "Skillful" on the end of the box.
They both use the same parts but the difference is that the "fast"
version leaves most of them out. The "Skillful" version takes 58 of
the 66 parts on the single sprue whereas the "Fast" version only
requires 26 and provides sturdy if inaccurate axles.
The kit comes with the main hull split in half lengthwise, four
separate leaf springs and eight complete suspension units. It has a
very spartan interior of only six pieces - base, two steering wheels,
rear bulkhead, and two simplified ammo lockers (e.g. no openings for
the rounds or round bases molded on them). The late-model four-bin
fenders are each one unit and the mufflers attach at the rear of each
A number of details are separate parts - jerry cans, fire
extinguishers, jack, shovels, lights, and fender guide rods. But the
gun consists of a main unit, a muzzle, light mount, MG42 machine gun,
and a frame for the armor protection, all of which fit into a casemate
base. These are very simplified, and I know that some modelers are
going to squawk about that. However, they should realize that this kit
is aimed at the wargamer and not the collector, and as such is designed
to be easy to assemble in numbers, look great when done, and survive
years of table top battles and the normal wear and tear of coming and
going to wargame venues. The fact that it can be built as a normal
model with the basics provided so that the hard-core modeler can
upgrade it is a bonus - if you wonder what I mean, think back to the
Edori PVC kits of about 30 years ago and you will find wargamer items
that could not be brought up to collector's standards.
A nice sheet of basic markings is provided along with finishing
options for four vehicles. Two are unknowns, one in Normandy and one on
the Western front, one is 21st Panzer Division in Normandy, and one is
the 116th Panzer Division in Normandy. Italeri calls them "A. A."
vehicles which I assume was their stab at Aufklaerungsabteilung
(reconnaissance battalion) or something like that. The ones on the
direction are in black and white but there are color prints on the back
of the box.
Overall, look at this kit as what the Airfix Sd.Kfz. 234/4 kit of 40
years ago SHOULD have been and you will be able to determine its
overall worth. Molding is not bad and the kit should answer the mail
for more than a few modelers.
Thanks to Bob Lewen of MRC for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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