German Leichter Panzerspahwagen (2cm) Mid Version Sd.Kfz. 222
Reviewed by Brett Green
|Stock Number and Description||Tristar Kit No. 043; German Leichter Panzerspahwagen (2cm) Mid Version Sd.Kfz. 222|
|Media and Contents:||282 parts in tan coloured plastic, six parts in clear, four vinyl tyres, two photo-etched frets and eight metal springs.|
Distributed in USA by Pacific Coast Models
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||Excellent detail; full fighting compartment interior; posable engine hatches suggest after-market engine will follow;|
|Recommendation:|| Highly Recommended
Tristar has taken a completely fresh approach to the German Leichter Panzerspähwagen with their brand new 1/35 scale Sd.Kfz. 222.
The German Leichter Panzerspähwagen was a family of light four-wheel drive armoured cars used mainly by the reconnaissance battalions of Panzer Divisions during the Second World War.
Commencing production in 1935, the series started with the Sd.Kfz. 221. This vehicle was based on the chassis of the s.Pkw. I Horch 801 heavy car fitted with sloped armour and an MG34 machine gun. The Sd.Kfz. 221 was manned by a crew of two.
The Sd.Kfz. 222 featured a modified turret, upgunned with a 2 cm KwK 30 L/55 autocannon and a 7.92 mm MG34 machine gun. The crew was increased to three.
The Sd.Kfz. 223 was a radio car version of the 222. It was fitted with additional radio equipment and a large bed-frame antenna.
The Leichter Panzerspähwagen saw action in Poland, France and the Low Countries, the Balkans, North Africa, the Soviet Union and in defence of the Reich. These light armoured cars performed well on sealed roads but struggled in the mud and snow of the Eastern Front, despite their four-wheel drive and four-wheel steering. Even so, production continued until 1944, and this versatile vehicle remained in service until the very end of the war in Europe.
This is not the first Sd.Kfz. 222 that we have seen in 1/35 scale. Tamiya released their Leichter Panzerspähwagen in the 1970s, which was a great kit in its day. Tamiya re-released and upgraded their Sd.Kfz. 222 and 223 kits in 2003 with a metal 2cm gun barrel and accessories, but the basic models remain the product of an earlier era.
Enter Tristar in 2009 with its all-new 1/35 scale Sd.Kfz. 222. The kit comprises 282 parts in tan coloured plastic, six parts in clear, four vinyl tyres, two photo-etched frets and eight metal springs.
The model represents the later production version with the larger driver’s vision port. The upper and lower hulls are supplied in one-piece each. Weld beads are subtly done on the hull and the turret.
The chassis is made up from multiple parts, including the transmissions and suspension. The suspension boasts lovely detail including metal springs and individual steering rods. It would appear that the wheels and steering rods may be offset to any angle.
The fighting compartment bristles with authentic interior detail. The sidewalls are fitted with separate parts for structural detail and stowage, while the seats and driver’s paraphernalia look great. Instrument dials are supplied on the decal sheet. Vision blocks are clear parts, and separate frames will further enhance their interior appearance. The two large side doors are separate parts, so you may admire all of your handiwork even after the hull has been buttoned up.
The gunner’s station with its 2 cm cannon and MG34 machine gun is a mini-model in its own right. Detail is exquisite, and the barrels are both hollowed out at the end.
The turret is provided as a single piece for the main section. The thickness of the plastic looks a little over scale at the top of the turret, but this will be completely hidden if the mesh grenade covers are fitted in the closed position. These covers are beautifully done, with thick photo-etch provided for the frame and thinner metal for the mesh.
The woven texture of the mesh is very impressive. These photo-etched elements are further enhanced with fine plastic parts. Photo-etched non-slip surfaces are fitted behind the turret too.
Clear parts are provided for vision blocks and headlight covers.
The vinyl tyres are well done.
An engine is not included in the kit, but the engine hatches are separate so we can probably expect something in the future from either Tristar or from the after-market.
Markings are offered for three options on the Eastern Front and Hungary 1945. The absence of any tropical options suggests that we might see a dedicated desert version in the future.
Instructions are offered over 16 illustrated steps. Surprisingly, there are no colour callouts for the interior, so additional references will be helpful.
Tristar’s 1/35 scale Sd.Kfz. 222 is a little jewel of a model. Detail is extraordinary inside and out. I can’t wait to start mine!
Thanks to Tristar for the sample www.tristar-model.com