by: Darren Baker [ ]
Originally published on:
The Sd.Kfz.247 Ausf.A is an armoured car that was designed and built prior to the start of hostilities that was to be World War Two. The 6-wheeled (6×4) version was designed and produced in 1937 by Daimler Benz, but it is often cited as being built by Krupp. This was because the largely available Krupp L2H 143 Prötze was used as a basis. The Ausf.A reused its chassis, engine and suspension, with few modifications except for the sloped armored hull, entirely welded. There were three axles with six single wheels, standard tires, and only the front axle was used for steering. They were all suspended by leaf springs, common for the rear axles. The air-cooled four-cylinder gasoline Krupp M304 engine, 3308 cubic cm, gave a maximum output of 60 hp at 2500 rpm. The transmission was a Zahnfabrik Gb35bL with four forward and one reverse gear. The 110 litre tank allowed a maximum range of 350 km (220 mi) on road and 220 km (140 mi) off-road. Since it weighed 5.2 tons, the top speed was around 70 km/h (43 mph) on flat ground. It was unarmed, open-top, although a tarpaulin could be deployed to cover the rear compartment. The only weapons on board were the personal weapons of the crew. They were often equipped with telescopic sights, but no radio. The hull counted six vision slits and two lateral access doors, just behind the driver’s compartment. Armor thickness ranged from 6 to 8 mm (0.24-0.31 in). Only ten were delivered in 1937.
The above information is from www.tanks-encyclopedia.com
This offering from Bronco Models is packed in the typical manner of a cardboard tray and separate card lid. The lid has an artist’s impression of the Sd.Kfz.247 Ausf.A. Inside you will find:
A promotional flyer
9 grey sprues
1 clear sprue
6 rubber tyres
A photo etched fret
A decal sheets
A check over the sprues of this product reveals very little to be concerned about. There are a few ejector pin marks that will need attention, areas such as the underside of the running boards/mud guards. The inner faces of the main suspension rails also have a few, but these are not easily seen and so could be ignored. The rest that I have found will I believe be hidden during construction. Other than what is mentioned here I did not find anything to concern me so far.
Assuming that you read the introduction you will be aware that the chassis of the Sd.Kfz.247 Ausf.A is that of the Krupp L2H 143 Prötze. Bronco Models has provided us with a very complete chassis minus only the pipes and cabling as far as I can see. The chassis has been provided as a multi-part offering and so care will be needed to insure it is assembled square. Looking through the assembly I do not see any easy way of insuring the chassis is kept square during assembly and so I recommend using the grid supplied on most cutting mats to aid in that purpose.
The engine, gearbox and drives are very well done and I only have one complaint, it will be difficult to provide visual access to this glorious detail. Bronco Models has also added some great detail for both of the axle drives on the rear wheels. The exhaust has not been skimped on either, Bronco has slide moulded the ended in order to give it a pipe look rather than a bar. The four rear independent suspension unit are particularly well done and that is pleasing as it is an area that is on display.
Another nice area of the model is the front axle, not so much for how it looks but that it has been designed to allow the orientation of the front wheels can be decided by the modeller; I always think that turned wheels give a finished model added interest. Bronco Models has even provided accurate steering linkage to the steering column. The tyres provided with this model are rubber offerings which are unusual for Bronco; they are usually multiple slices of plastic. With that said the tread detail is good and there is even text on the sidewall but I cannot read the text.
Moving onto the interior of the vehicle and some guess work on my part. I have not been able to find any photographs of the interior layout of this very rare vehicle, but I have found some schematic drawings, unfortunately these do not show an interior layout that matches the kit. Bronco Models have provided sitting for six crew in the model, the schematics show sitting for four and they do not match the front seats at all. Now before anyone starts saying its wrong I will restate that only 10 were built and I believe that none have survived, I was also unable to find any interior shots.
What we get is two bench seats that place passengers back to back, I really like these seats as the bases have nice subtle wear detail to them that looks very accurate for worn seating material. The backs of the seats have even finer detail that also looks very good and will I believe be well received detail. The front seats are curved at the rear and I find this detail hard to accept as I would expect seating of a similar design to most of the armoured half tracks; that said the seat and backs again have nice wear detail. There are a number of storage bins inside the vehicle along with mounted gas mask containers. A telescopic set of observation scopes is mounted on a pedestal inside the vehicle, but for an artillery observation vehicle there does not appear to be any radios present as indicated by the introduction. The instruments on the dashboard are moulded on, but no decals are provided for this area which is a little disappointing.
Moving to the outside of the vehicle is where some issues raise their heads. The issues really relate to viewing ports on the vehicle: Bronco Models has provided 7 ports and they are located as follows:
2 in front
2 left front
1 right front
2 on the rear
Period photographs of the actual vehicle do support the positions provided by Bronco Model, but I also have evidence of at least one more port down the left side of the vehicle. While only 10 of this version were built and I have observed a mix of 1 or 2 ports on the front left and so I am reluctant to say that Bronco has got it wrong.
In all other respects Bronco Models looks to have nailed the details shown in period photographs. Storage bins are well placed and look to be correctly sized. The spare wheel with its cover matches up with the photographs I have found. Looking at the front the pennant holder, lights, horn and width indicators match up well with reference.
I am a little surprised at Bronco Models releasing such a rare vehicle in injection moulded plastic, but it does mean that they are a good way towards a possible Krupp L2H 143 Prötze release. Detail and accuracy would appear to be good from the limited number of images I could find; however I have to make it clear that the accuracy aspect I am talking about stops at the external body, mechanicals and chassis. If this model appeals to you remember the crew figures will usually be wearing the helmet with baggy beret over it.