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In-Box Review
135
Sd.Kfz.234/2 Puma

by: Vinnie Branigan [ TEACHER ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

introduction
The third in the range of 234 kits released by Dragon, is the Sd.Kfz.234/2 Puma, which seems to be the one everybody has been waiting for. This vehicle was an attempt to produce a vehicle mounting a Leopard 5cm gun turret onto the basic 234 series hull, and was actually put into production before the 234/1.


The kit
As with the two previously released 2324 series kits, the kit is immaculately presented. The usual Dragon 'card' is there, in this case holding two decal sheets, one of which is the generic license plate number sheet from the 251 series of kits, the other being fairly extensive. Also attached to the card are three small sprues of transparent plastic, consisting of vision blocks etc. There are four brass width indicators, and a photo etched fret which hold inserts for the jerry cans, a star antennae, and some other small brackets.

The hull top and bottom are packed separately into their own plastic bags for protection, and there are a further nine large sprues of grey styrene, and five small sprues of grey styrene.

The kit is obviously similar to what is provided in the earlier two releases, with the addition of a new sprue C that holds the new turret required for this version. The turret itself is moulded as a one-piece shell that sits over the baseplate after the gun and breech assembly has been completed and of course, it's all to dragon's usual standard of moulding! The Gun mantlet has the correct seam along either side, with a good cast texture, there are smoke discharger's included on the same sprue, along with a slide-moulded, two-piece brake which should leave no seam to fix, and appropriate hatches, all holding internal detail should you wish to leave them opened of course. The inside of the turret is a bit sparse compared to photographs of the real thing, but even with the hatches open, little will be seen and it will look 'busy' enough. Of course if figures are to positioned as well then nothing will be seen of this.

The running gear is extremely complex, so very careful following of the instructions will be necessary to ensure everything is fitted correctly. There is a small pip on each wheel which can be removed and will allow you to pose the wheels steered, but again, due to the complexity of the steering arrangement on this vehicle, careful examination of references will be necessary. Each tyre is in two halves, as on the other releases, with good tread detail, and although there is a noticeable gap when fitted together, this gap is supposed to be there, so don't try and remove it! I've seen at least one modeller go to great lengths to to do this!

The lower hull is moulded as one large piece which then sits on the chassis, which itself is very narrow. This is highly detailed, the only thing I would have liked is separate escape hatches so that could have been modelled opened. There is a very fine pattern on the inside of the hull floor where appropriate, and the only thing missing from the inside of the hull are the ammunition stowage racks again, which may be released later by a certain aftermarket company! The upper hull fits over the lower like a glove, with the join being along the real weld seam, and this leaves no gap whatsoever, if the correct method is used to join them. Just hold them together, run some super-thin styrene cement into the gap and maintain the pressure until set. The detail inside the hull is excellent, apart from the ammunition racks of course, and the front hatch which is again detailed on the inside can be left open and the busy looking interior will look good, with full steering controls, both front and rear included. Decals are provided for the dash, but these will be almost invisible on the completed model. Also new to this kit is a new ammunition container for the fender, and a new fender stowage box. The ammunition box even has photo etched brackets included. The Cooling flaps over the engine are again provided in the open or closed position. The long fender stowage box can also be posed open but due to the thickness of the plastic, this will look completely over scale and is probably best left closed.

As in some of the 'Super' kits, some of the OV tools are supplied with and without clasps, and yet no photo etched clasps are supplied, so if you decide to use these you'll have to source them yourself, no big hardship, and a nice touch to have the option provided.


marking options
Four marking options are provided for in the kit:

20.Panzer-Division, Bohemia 1945
Unidentified unit, France 1944
Panzer-Lehr-Division, Normandy 1944
2.Panzer-Division, France 1944.


in conclusion
The one everybody has been waiting for, and it lives up to expectations. An accurate, modern representation of a Sd.Kfz.234/2 Puma. Highly recommended.


My thanks to Dragon Models Ltd for the review sample.


SUMMARY
The Sd.Kfz.234/2 Puma is the third of the 234 series to be released by Dragon, and will probably prove to be the most popular version with modellers.
  MOULDING:90%
  CREW COMPARTMENT:96%
Percentage Rating
94%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 6256
  Related Link: Dragon Models Ltd.
  PUBLISHED: Sep 26, 2006
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.97%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 86.23%

Our Thanks to Dragon Models!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
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About Vinnie Branigan (Teacher)
FROM: ENGLAND - NORTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM

Copyright 2017 text by Vinnie Branigan [ TEACHER ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.


Reader Reviews
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Comments

Yeah.............and no figures or trees either! And they're on the box! :-) That's been the danger.................because we're used to getting so much for a really reasonable price from Dragon, that when Dragon brings out a really excellent kit, but without all those extras, certain people feel somehow that they're not getting enough. Remember how good this kit is. How accurate it is, how good the moulding is. AND there's brass width indicators, clear sprues, and photo etch too! Vinnie
SEP 26, 2006 - 01:22 AM
Thanks Vinnie, for the great review! Think it will be some months before this kit makes it way here, but when it does I think I will replace the Italeri kit in my stash! Hope this one will be reasonably priced.
SEP 26, 2006 - 02:01 AM
I'm filing away the note on the wheels and the join gap belonging there...otherwise I too would've "gone to great lengths" to correct it! :-)
SEP 26, 2006 - 06:55 AM
I don't build a lot of axis armour but I've always liked the Puma since I first built the matchbox 1/72 version. Last year I built the Italeri kit and now I'm gonna have to get this one. Looks good and nice review Vinnie. My only complaint is ..........................with this kit and the M2A1 halftrack and the premium T34/85 coming out I may have to cut back on my Shermans
SEP 26, 2006 - 09:14 AM
...and I got the Italeri one at a swap meet....oh well, this looks cool too! Must resist getting into car...going to hobby store..... :-) A little , but how come Dragon don't include at least one figure in their armour kits, ie Tanker like Tamiya does?
SEP 26, 2006 - 10:19 AM
Because they would have to raise the retail price then. As is, they represent incredible value for money! Vinnie
SEP 26, 2006 - 10:22 AM
Thanks for the review Vinnie. I'll take the kit just the way it is.
SEP 26, 2006 - 10:54 AM
another must have from dragon, its amazing how fast they are releasing these new kits, these are great times for modelers. thanks for the review Vinnie.
SEP 26, 2006 - 11:08 AM
HI, Yes, I agree. Another "must have" kit to add to one of the stacks around here. One of the best things is that it has no tracks to fool with!!!! Thanks for the posting, Larry
SEP 26, 2006 - 01:27 PM
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