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In-Box Review
135
Sd.Kfz.7
German Sd.Kfz. 7 Mittlere Zugkraftwagen 8t early version
  • 001146

by: Bill Cross [ BILL_C ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction
Few kits recently have produced the kind of “buzz” that the announcements of competing versions of Germany’s Sd.Kfz. 7 from Trumpeter and Dragon did. The first to the finish line is Trumpeter’s “early version” of this widely-used prime mover. The original was developed by the firm of Kraus-Maffei in Munich between 1934-1938, produced later by other factories in Germany and Austria. While the vehicle could transport mechanized troops, its intended purpose was to drag around a variety of artillery, especially the various models of the 88mm and several field guns.

As Allied air power began to erode Germany’s initial advantage on the ground, the Sd.Kfz. 7 platform was fitted with 3.7 cm and 20mm “Vierling” (quad) guns to provide anti-aircraft fire cover. There are also three other variants, including one mounted with a 7.6 cm PAK anti-tank gun, one with an AA range finder, and (strangest of all) one used for fire control with V2 rockets. The Sd.Kfz. 7 served on all fronts, and nearly 12,200 of them were produced through 1945.
The Kit
The box contains 17 sprues with nearly 850 parts modeled in Trumpeter’s usual soft light-gray plastic, and includes three “rubber” tires (one for the under-mounted spare), plus 2 sheets of PE brass additions (including some anti-skid plates), and Trumpeter’s usual detailed instruction book.

The model comes with a reputation already; the company’s critics say it has poor design, inaccurate measurements and is simply the ancient Tamiya version many of us have labored with for decades that incorporates the various AM upgrades. This is emphatically not the case. The kit’s power train is a thing of beauty, so much so it’s a shame to mount the body and cover up the details that no after-market manufacturer I know of offers. The engine promises to include all details found in the R&J Enterprises resin engine I never put into the Tamiya I recently finished, though I promise to do a side-by-side comparison when I build this kit for Armorama. The only thing that appears to be missing from the motor are some of the hoses and cables, which the serious modeler can easily add.

The vinyl tires do appear to have an incorrect post-war tread pattern, but there is an abundance of AM tires intended for the Tamiya kit to correct that, including DAK sand tires and snow tires. My build plan for this kit will be a Winter Eastern Front diorama with a FLAK 36, so I already have a pair of R&J snow tires in-house. I probably wouldn’t use the vinyl tires included any more than I would use “rubber band” tracks on tanks, so it’s not a major mistake in my opinion. Still, I sympathize with those of you who object to correcting a manufacturer’s oversights and shortcuts.

Overall detail on the individual pieces is sharp and appears correct, in keeping with other Trumpeter kits I’ve handled. Sadly, the company’s issues with knock-out holes and flash continue somewhat, though the cumulative effect is nothing particularly onerous to an experienced modeler (and this kit is too complex for the novice). Other nice touches include correctly-sized handles for climbing onto the vehicle or holding on from the bench seats, latches for rifle mounts in the correct in shape (unlike the Eduard PE set), and rear storage bins with doors you can have open or shut (an Eduard PE upgrade was required for the Tamiya kit-- and even then the handles on the set are incorrect).

The tracks mimic the excellent Modelkasten plastic versions, though this time with a two-piece track pad instead of MK’s one. The track components are mounted on sprues and will go together into a working linkage. The tracks appear to have no great flash issues, and actually less flash than the Friulmodel version I included on my Tamiya build.

A decal sheet and painting guide offers four choices of historical vehicles, though none are attributed to any actual unit:

• 2 Luftwaffe variants in panzer gray (presumably Early War)
• 1 DAK Luftwaffe variant in sand yellow
• 1 Wehrmacht Heer variant in tricolor camo
Conclusion
The problems with the kit’s dimensions have been mentioned in other reviews, including an inaccurate angle on the front fenders and thick hatch covers. I will be better able to comment on these and any other issues as I get into the log build of the model. For those asking whether it would be better waiting for Dragon’s version (promised at some point in the next two months), I can’t say. Will DML improve on Trumpeter? I have yet to purchase a perfect kit. This kit is a valuable addition to the hobby, a huge improvement over the old Tamiya kit, and looks like it will go together into a vehicle that many of us want in our collections.


A Build Log has been started on the Forums to evaluate the kit construction.

SUMMARY
Highs: Outstanding detail in the power train, excellent working tracks, fine detail inside and on the exterior, including working hatches for the storage bins.
Lows: Some issues with the angle of the fenders and the thickness of the hatch covers.
Verdict: Ready to assemble as a stand-alone or as part of a diorama on any front and during all periods of the war.
Percentage Rating
85%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 01514
  Suggested Retail: 65.00
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Jul 04, 2008
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 90.08%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 84.63%

Our Thanks to Stevens International!
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 Bill Cross (bill_c)
FROM: NEW JERSEY, UNITED STATES

Self-proclaimed rivet counter who gleefully builds tanks, planes and has three subs in the stash.

Copyright ©2017 text by Bill Cross [ BILL_C ]. 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.


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Comments

Bill, all of our DML reviews are "user submitted" since DML doesn't provide review samples to Armorama. If you'd like to submit a review of the DML kit, we'd be happy to have it.
JUL 09, 2008 - 02:28 PM
I'm waiting for an understanding that this is in fact the Trumpeter model. Bill's excellent review was about this kit. Frankly, the snide comments about waiting for DML or anyone else's is totally irrelevant to this Review. Bill HAS the kit, he's gone thru it thoroughly and has considered the issues and looked at the problem areas. What more do you require? Thanks Bill, for a REALLY excellent Review
JUL 09, 2008 - 03:35 PM
Bill, consider this a public offer to do the in-box review for the DML kit AND a build log (hmmm, perhaps a DAK version?). Should be finished with the Trumpeter build about the time the DML kit hits the States (though given how long we've been waiting for the Zimmerit Tiger I, I'm not holding my breath or giving anyone money up-front to hold a kit for me). Jim, thanks for the compliments (virtual stammering). I would be happy to do more reviews as you and the staff see fit. Very appreciative of all the support from Armorama.
JUL 09, 2008 - 04:32 PM
The DML kit is already here in the states. I got one from Sprue Bros. about a week ago. I take it back--I order so much from them--it was a different kit Sorry Sorry Take Care ...Mutt...
JUL 09, 2008 - 04:55 PM
I searched all over the Sprue Brothers site and found every item that has "sdkfz 7" in its name but couldn't find DML's kit. How did you order it from them? Hisham
JUL 09, 2008 - 05:38 PM
Bill, looking forward to it! If you notice in your profile because you've provided a Review to the site you now have the "Contributor" medal/ribbon designation. You should also now have access to the Contributor's Forum where we post up available review samples and provide a place for all the site Contributors to coordinate and interact with each other and the Staff.
JUL 09, 2008 - 11:19 PM
I'm waiting for an understanding that this is in fact the Trumpeter model. Bill's excellent review was about this kit. Frankly, the snide comments about waiting for DML or anyone else's is totally irrelevant to this Review. Bill HAS the kit, he's gone thru it thoroughly and has considered the issues and looked at the problem areas. What more do you require? Thanks Bill, for a REALLY excellent Review [/quote] Okay, Jim, is the mention of the letters D M and L enough to send you up the trees? I haven't said anything that detracts from the review, but just that I AM waiting for DML's offering. I want the best option, and so far, the Trumpeter 7 has been reported to have (for me) serious issues. Is that SOOOOOOOOO not done?
JUL 10, 2008 - 06:20 AM
This, ultimately, is the goal of every review we post, to inform the reader based on the experience (and of course opinion) of the reviewer of the kit at hand. We invite comments/questions related to the kit under discussion and this can (and should) include discussions of comparison relative to similar kits on the market by other manufacturers if the readers/site users have questions in that regard. It should be no different than if someone asked "how does it compare to (insert maker X)'s kit of the same subject?". When we know that there will be competing subjects and one is out (the review subject) and the other is not, I think it's a legitimate comment for someone to make to say "I'll wait for (insert maker Y)'s kit before I make a decision", especially if X's kit is shown in the review to have issues as clearly the Trumpeter kit, in this scenario, does. At the end of the day, it's up to the individual to decide what they want based on the information provided. The Review is meant to aid that as is any subsequent discussion here in the forums.
JUL 10, 2008 - 09:44 AM
This, ultimately, is the goal of every review we post, to inform the reader based on the experience (and of course opinion) of the reviewer of the kit at hand. We invite comments/questions related to the kit under discussion and this can (and should) include discussions of comparison relative to similar kits on the market by other manufacturers if the readers/site users have questions in that regard. It should be no different than if someone asked "how does it compare to (insert maker X)'s kit of the same subject?". When we know that there will be competing subjects and one is out (the review subject) and the other is not, I think it's a legitimate comment for someone to make to say "I'll wait for (insert maker Y)'s kit before I make a decision", especially if X's kit is shown in the review to have issues as clearly the Trumpeter kit, in this scenario, does. At the end of the day, it's up to the individual to decide what they want based on the information provided. The Review is meant to aid that as is any subsequent discussion here in the forums. [/quote] Exactly! I'm now keenly following the build-up by Bill and that will also weigh in in which one will get over here. Wether or not a review is good or not, doesn't mean that that is a reason to get a kit or not. At least, I think so. A Trump and DML head to head build/review might be nice, as has been done with the flood of 251's in the past between DML and AFV. I'm also very curious about further releases, being the 7/1 and 7/2 and also the later versions, seeing as these are early 7s. And hoping for the SdKfz 8 to follow suit, Tamiya's 9 is still excellent no need for another one.
JUL 10, 2008 - 09:51 AM
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