Dragon Sd.Kfz. 265 kleine Panzerbefehlswagen,
1/35 scale, ‘39-‘45 Series No. 6218
by Cookie Sewell
465 parts (437 in grey styrene, 25 etched brass, 3 clear styrene); price
estimated at USD $27.98
Advantages: clear, crisp, state of the art version of this little vehicle;
crew a bonus
Disadvantages: single-link track not likely to appeal to all modelers
in this scale
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: to all early war and German armor fans
F I R S T L O O K
The Germans learn from their mistakes, as a general rule, and when they
create something new out of whole cloth they look to the past for guidance.
In the First World War, tanks were generally unable to communicate with
each other with the exception of visual signals, e.g lights, flags or
even a semaphore system of wig-wag signals used by the British. But the
French grasped the basics and created an armored radio command tank on
the FT-17 platform, the T.S.F.
When the Germans went to create their new tank force in the 1930s, they
realized early on that it had to be a radio-equipped force to be most
effective on the battlefield. Not only would it need to have a radio in
every tank for short-range control and coordination, but they would also
need longer-range sets to keep commanders in touch on a much larger battlefield
than those fought over in past wars. But even then, only a receiver would
fit in the first tank, the tiny Pzkw. I. As a result, a specialized model
had to be created to carry both a transmitter and receiver so that a commander
could control his tanks on the battlefield.
In 1935, between 6 and 15 early model Ausf. A tanks were converted to
become the kleine Panzerbefehlswagen or Sd.Kfz. 265 – small Armored
Command Wagon. As time progressed, a special longer chassis was used,
eventually becoming the hull for the Ausf. B version of the "battle"
tank. A total of 184 of these were produced between 1935-1937. Later,
when larger tanks came into service and the Pzkw. I series was judged
obsolete, they were converted to fill other functions as an armored ambulance,
a mobile command post or a mobile observation post.
DML's kit uses the hull of their nice new Pzkw. I kit but with two new
sprues added (J and K) providing the 34 parts needed to convert it to
a command vehicle. It provides parts for both the early split-hatch model
and the later rectangular cupola. It also has more optional position hatches
and a choice of view port styles. The only thing I did not see in the
kit was a blanking plate for the machine gun mount as used in later vehicles.
The kit only has one part (K15) for this and that is the gun mount itself.
The model also comes with the old StuG III crew set from DML (#6029) so
the modeler has a set of figures as well. Note that both the early "crash
helmet beret" and the later sidecaps are also included in this kit.
The headset bands are now part of the etched brass fret ("MA Parts")
so there is no more steel fret for this kit.
The only squawk I ever hear over kits like this have to do with the itty-bitty
single links for the tracks, which can be tedious to assemble. Still,
this tank used "dead" tracks made of cast steel links, and it
is the only way to get them to look right.
The kit comes with five different marking schemes – an exercise
one in Germany in 1938 which is actually somewhat gaudy, and four solid
Panzergrau ones – one of which is an ambulance with the 4th Panzer
Division in France 1940.
Overall this is a nice little kit and one that begs for an interior, so
I am sure the aftermarket boys will be modifying their old Italeri kits
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.