Sd.Kfz. 7 8t Half-Track Initial Production - Smart Kit
Reviewed by Cookie Sewell
|Stock Number and Description||Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale ‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6466; Sd.Kfz. 7 8t Half-Track Initial Production - Smart Kit|
|Media and Contents:||525 parts (256 “Magic Track” two-piece link sections, 251 in grey styrene, 9 etched brass, 6 clear styrene, 2 film masks, 1 length of twisted steel wire)|
|Price:||estimated price about US$49.95|
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||Finally the basic prime mover version of this vehicle; nicely done rear compartment with all hatches optional position and interior bulkheads; well done lower frame details and fender section; DS plastic tires to avoid seams and extra assemblies; full engine and underside details|
|Disadvantages:||As a “Smart Kit” probably not enough brass for some; small links perhaps better as DS tracks; no “kit” nor ammunition provided|
|Recommendation:||Highly Recommended for all German halftrack and artillery fans|
DML has finally answered modelers’ requests with the basic artillery prime mover version of the famous eight ton halftrack. With more than 3,200 of these workhorse prime movers built, they were the necessary companions to the 8.8 cm antiaircraft guns, 10 cm field guns, and 15 cm field howitzers. While considered somewhat at a disadvantage by Allied experts for years due to its unpowered front axle, this vehicle did all that was asked of it and more.
In 2007 both DML and Trumpeter announced new 8 ton kits. Trumpeter was the first to get theirs to market with an eager public awaiting the kit, but unfortunately it appeared to be rushed and suffered a number of errors. With box art by Ron Volstad dated 2008, DML apparently shelved theirs when the other kit was released and waited. The Trumpeter kit was later found wanting with a number of unfortunate errors, and many modelers decided to wait on the DML kit.
But first both Trumpeter and DML released Sd.Kfz. 7/1 with the 2 cm Flakviering, but and Sd.Kfz. 7/2 with the 3.7 cm Flak 37, followed by a Sd.Kfz. 7 Late Production version. While some were quite happy (especially with the AA versions) most still wanted the base model. And now DML has finally released it.
Once again, DML has provided a very thorough kit with a complete engine and undercarriage to include the winch and all associated parts, as well as passenger body with its three rows of seats and stowage compartments at the rear of the hull. Once more two-piece “Magic Track” halftrack tracks are included – this time apparently with an earlier version of the track – but as often noted are very small and DML could have made many modelers happy by molding them as one-piece runs in DS plastic. Also, as the kits are “Smart Kits” they make use of slide molding and other tricks to avoid needless small parts assemblies and minimize the use of brass.
Most of the bits missing on the Tamiya kit are present here, for as well as the complete engine there is a transfer case, fuel tank, four-part winch drum, and complete towhook installation that form part of the chassis. The drivers are two-piece with suitable rollers represented and also add etched brass centers for scale appearance. This kit also adds all of the frame brackets and mounts under the rear fender assembly which were never present in the Tamiya kit (as it was motorized it could not have accommodated motors, batteries and a detailed inter-chassis structure). The result is the “airy” feel of the original with daylight clearly visible under the fender assembly.
The front tires are again DS plastic outers and treads combined with a styrene inner section. As fit is reported as good and the joint is on the inside it should not be a problem, and the result is a nice diamond-pattern tread all the way around with no seams. Another complete tire unit is included as the spare for under the cargo bed, and here it is provided with a partial stowage bin of its own.
Once again, the grille is solid, and perhaps could have been molded differently to give it some “airiness” with the radiator behind it. The hood comes with separate side panels which can be left off as per the originals.
The passenger body is nicely done with rifle clips on the backs of the preceding seats and a very finely molded rail assembly for the cargo stowage on the top of the stowage compartments at the rear of the body.
But some things are missing. There is no top provided (many modelers do not like molded styrene tops but they usually are an option) nor any top bows and canvas for the stowed version. No rifles are provided for the rifle clips, and most of all there is no ammunition or ammo cases of any sort for the rear stowage compartments. While the compartments come with all interior dividers in place – a one piece base unit accomplishes that – the doors are molded in one piece with a thin center joint, so anyone who wants to show them open can open them up with a simple knife cut and snap. But with nothing to show for it, the modeler will have to provide his own ammo cases or kit.
This kit again provides masks for the windshield sections so that the model may assembled and then painted, and which is a nice touch.
Research and technical assistance were provided by Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
Five different finishing options are offered with a large “number jungle” set of Cartograf decals that also contains some lesser unit markings. The variants which can be modeled are: Artillery Regiment, 23rd Panzer Division, USSR 1942 (grey with white trim and unit markings); 2nd SS Panzer Division “Das Reich”, Russia 1942 (grey with white trim and unit markings) 24th Panzer Division, Russia 1941 (grey with “Figure 8" in sides and license plates); Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front 1943-1944 (three color pattern); Unidentified Unit, North Africa 1942 (sand with palm tree and unit markings). All are apparently 15 cm prime movers as they are shown as Wehrmacht and not Luftwaffe. Also two of the options are shown with optional positions for the license plates but no numbers! (As one is SS I can understand that...)
Overall this is finally the model most modelers have been holding out for, and while a bit Spartan in accessories and items provided it is a great place to start for a super model and prime mover.
B 55 8 ton - Underframe details - winch, drivers, front axle, subframe, muffler
C 42x2 8 ton - road wheels, front wheel backs, body details
D 72 8 ton - engine, hood, radiator, standard passenger body components less sides
E 6 8 ton - clear styrene
E 38 8 ton - crew body, seats, rear stowage compartments, frame mounts
G 1 8 ton - rear fender assembly
H 3 DS plastic tires
W 1 8 ton - chassis
Y 1 Twisted steel wire
Z1 128 “Magic Track” track pads
Z2 128 “Magic Track” track links
MA 9 Etched brass
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.