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In-Box Review
135
Sd.Kfz. 7/1 Late War
German 2cm FlaK Vierling auf Selbstfahrlafette [Sd.Kfz.7/1 late version] with Sd.Anhänger 52
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by: Bill Cross [ BILL_C ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

Over 12,000 Sd.Kfz.7 eight ton prime movers were produced for the Wehrmacht in WW II. Its original mission was to:

1. tow artillery (principally the 88mm FlaK and sFH 18 15cm howizter)
2. carry Panzergrenadiers into battle
3. recover tanks

As the war developed, however, the Sd.Kfz.7's stable chassis made it a favorite gun platform for at least two major anti-aircraft weapons. The version mounting the Flakvierling 38 (FlaK quad 38) was designated the Sd.Kfz.7/1, and was first developed in April of 1940. By December 1944, 750-800 had been produced, including versions with an armored cab and radiator shield to protect against small arms fire (the armor wasn’t sufficient to counter strafing from aircraft, and did not protect the engine). Trumpeter has released that later version to supplement the unarmored early version I reviewed here. The full title of the new release is 2cm Flakvierling 38 auf Selbstfahrlafette (Sd.Kfz.7/1 late version) With Sd.Anhänger 52 (“2cm FlaK quad on a self-propelled platform with special trailer 52”).

The kit

The model is well-boxed in the usual sturdy Trumpeter carton with another distinctive cover, this one showing a camouflaged 7/1 beside a bridge. The box contains 14 sprues of light gray plastic parts (plus the armored cab as a stand-alone part), six sprues with mocha Modelkasten-colored track parts that assemble into workable links, a 28-page instruction booklet, a 1-page painting guide, a small sheet of decals, three black vinyl tires in a poly bag with string for making the tow cable, and five frets of PE.

the review

Like Trumpeter’s other Sd.Kfz.7 kits, this one has a number of exemplary features, including a highly-detailed engine, transmission box and winch. The detailing is superior to other kits on the market, though sadly the latter two are not visible once the vehicle is finished, though the hood or bonnet can be assembled in the open position to show off that detailing. The gun shield is made of photo etched brass, which no styrene can match for scale thickness, but which may bedevil junior or less-experienced modelers. Other PE parts give the kit an attractive overall impression, including PE “mesh” for the sides. Unfortunately, the mesh looks very nice, but is incorrect, since a sort of slatted grating was used on the real vehicles instead of mesh.

As with the early war version already reviewed, additional positives include Trumpeter’s usual clear instructions, which generally avoid ambiguity about part placement. The tracks require a bit of clean-up, but will go together easily. Be careful when mounting them to the vehicle, as the plastic is soft and the track pins can be easily stripped off. What's more, the drive sprocket is incorrectly-configured and you will struggle to fit the tracks snugly against it (PMMS has a work-around you can follow here).

Other lows include the tires: the usual vinyl, which I intend on replacing with one of the after-market resin versions from Tank Workshop, R&J or Armorscale. At least they have a correct tread pattern. As with the early war version, the gun can be built only in the firing/deployed mode, and not with its shield folded back and the platform sides hitched up for travel. The Dragon kit offers both options, and is the only choice if you want to depict a vehicle on the road.

A number of basic accuracy problems have been identified with the Trumpeter Sd.Kfz.7 base kit from which this was extended, as well as features from the early war 7/1 version this kit shares a good deal of its parts with. As was pointed out above, the drive sprocket's detailing is reversed and it doesn't mesh properly with the tracks. Other glaring errors are the front mudguards (too high), 7 ammo bays along each side of the base of the quad (instead of the correct 8), the gun barrels (too long and too thick), and the gun sight (not resembling anything ever found on the real gun), The barrel and sight issues can be remedied by using four of the many after market brass barrels, along with a sight from the Tristar or Dragon 2cm kits. But the mudguards cannot be altered without major surgery. Their inaccuracy is not obvious except to the expert or the fanatical, so like with the early war version, this isn’t a fatal flaw for a majority of kit builders, especially given the lower price of Trumpeter kits vs. DML.

While I can appreciate Trumpeter’s desire to maximize its return on investment in the molds for both the base kit and the 7/1 early version, these accuracy issues have not yet been addressed in any Sd.Kfz.7 release, and are passed along as each new version appears. I had hoped the company would at least have fixed the gun’s problems by this time, but the same incorrect number of ammo bays and gun sight issues remain unresolved.

One added bonus with these Trumpeter FlaK Sd.Kfz.7s is the inclusion of an ammunition trailer. All evidence indicates these quads had hearty appetites: the FlaK 38 could fire up 480 rounds/minute. Trucks were apparently used to re-supply 7/1s in the beginning of the war, but special trailers were developed for each variant. The 7/1 was issued both the Sd.Ah. 52 and the larger Sd.Ah. 56; Trumpeter has mixed up the details of each one, producing a hybrid with a 52 chassis and a 56 body. As a result, the housing sits too far back on the trailer chassis. Currently there isn’t a proper Sd.Ah.52 or 56 on the market in either resin or styrene.

Decals and Painting

The painting guide is even poorer than the early war version, with only a single tri-tone camo. While I have seen no photos of these vehicles (early or late versions) in North Africa, they served on both fronts in Europe (France & Italy) and the Soviet Union. Trumpeter could have done a little more research to offer some real units and a few tactical markings; as it is, the license plates are for a single Luftwaffe vehicle, a step down from the early war kit which had 2 Luftwaffe license plates, one Wehrmacht Heer, and one SS, along with a “G” for Guderian’s Panzer Group in Russia in 1941. Instrument dials are included, a distinct improvement over the Dragon kits which have no dials supplied.

Conclusion

While this kit (along with the Trumpeter Sd.Kfz.7s in general) have some accuracy issues, it will build up into a huge improvement over the ancient Tamiya versions. Price differences with DML will likely lead some to purchase the Trumpeter kit in spite of these accuracy problems, especially as it includes an Sd.Ah. 52/56 ammunition trailer. I would not counsel against buying the kit because of these issues, but neither can I recommend it highly.
SUMMARY
Highs: Lots of photo etch brass, ammunition trailer (though not entirely accurate).
Lows: Incorrect gun base and sight. Extensive PE will deter some modelers.
Verdict: It could be much better and needs redesigned gun parts, but will build up into a nice model.
Percentage Rating
75%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 01524
  Suggested Retail: $54
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Nov 03, 2009
  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

Thank you, Doug, that's really appreciated. ON A RELATED NOTE: My favorite PE maker, Griffon Model, have just released several upgrade sets for the 7/1 that are truly outstanding. They range from a basic upgrade of the gun that corrects the ammo bay and site issues, adds PE shields (missing in the DML kits), and allows you to have the gun in deployed or travel mode, all the way to the "ultimate tread head's delight" that includes a grille, Kraus-Maffei nameplate (molded-on in the kit), hood louvers, and extra gear lockers mounted in the rear under the platform. They also have issued new FlaKvisier sites to correct that glaring error with the Trumpeter kit, which can be purchased separately in the later FlaKvisier 40 version (the upgrades come with the earlier 20 model). In terms of "value for money," the price of the gun upgrade (about $16) puts the Trumpeter kit at about the same cost as the more-expensive, but more-accurate DML. The Dragon kit has has styrene gun shields, so that's a minus IMO. Both kits will profit from barrel upgrades, so that's a wash cash-wise. You end up with the better, more-detailed Trumpeter engine and transmission, decals for the instrument panels (missing from the DML kit but available from Archer Dry Transfer for about $10), an ammo trailer (a bit incorrect, but you get NO TRAILER from DML), and workable tracks (the Dragon Magic Tracks are not workable from what I can tell). You'll still have to correct the drive sprockets, but Terry has a work-around posted on his review (I link to it in mine). Suddenly the Trumpeter kit compares very well to the DML, minus the issue of the mudguards, which, as I stated, are not enormously out-of-whack and won't be apparent to anyone but the expert. Not perfect, but you now have choices.
NOV 05, 2009 - 11:17 AM
Hi Bill, please accept my congratulations for your review, I'm not even a returned-modeller yet (I still have to decide where to start) so my point of view has little value compared to the others, but I really appreciate the accuracy you put in the description of the Sd.Kfz.7 On the other side I think it is well over my head, I was reading on another thread that for re-entering in the armor model world the best choice would be a Tamiya kit in 1/35 scale. So Dragon or AFV Club kits are "too much", right? Do you have in mind...let's say three kits from Tamiya in 1/35 that are good as warm-ups? I have a preference for tanks and any nationality will do given that the crucial point is to begin again Thanks for your time, Riccardo
NOV 05, 2009 - 03:24 PM
Bill, I liked the review. Everything you said made sense to me. I keep thinking about the Trumpeter kits as I haven't built one yet, and I wanted to do one with the trailer. I build for myself, OOB mostly, with some basic scratch building. I just cant decide between this variant and the 3.7 cm flak. That, and I suck at painting German camo. Riccardo, check the reviews section here and at PMMS for Academy, Tamiya, AFV Club, and anything else that appeals to you. All make nice kits that are easy to build.
NOV 05, 2009 - 06:46 PM
Thanks for that, Bill. I will pick up the appropriate Griffon sets and some resin wheels before I dive in. Do you have a recommendation for the latter, specifically for Trumpeter 1514? Has anyone released replacement front fenders for these things? I love scratch building, but that will require some effort to correct and while maintaining symmetry. -Doug
NOV 05, 2009 - 10:57 PM
Riccardo if you want to build a Dragon kit check out the ERSATZ M10, it is a very accurate kit and includes minimal PE. It will not tax your ability that hard. Tamiya I would go with a SturmTiger or M26 Pershing.
NOV 05, 2009 - 11:32 PM
Riccardo writes: Thanks, Riccardo. My goal is to be helpful wherever I can be. Not at all! The Trumpeter version might be a challenge because the gun shield is PE, but the Dragon kit is mostly styrene. The Tamiya versions are NOT RECOMMENED. The wheels are wrong, the tracks are vinyl, and the front wheels a poor grade of vinyl. I would suggest the Dragon Sd.Kfz.7/1 (early war). Tamiya's Panzer III Ausf. L is one of my favorite kits that builds up very nicely OOB. The Dragon Tiger IIs are very nice kits, especially the "Smart Kits" which have fewer parts and usually little or no PE. Russ Amott writes: Thanks, Russ, I appreciate your support. I would recommend the 7/2 Early War (kit 1525) since you only need Panzer Gray. Doug Dropeskey writes: You're welcome. I like the Tank Workshop version: Regular Civilian pattern Armorscale also make a superb set: I have also used the ones by R & J but found them requiring quite a bit of work removing the resin pour plug. They DO have one advantage in that they offer a snow tire version I have used on this build here: Your only solution at present for the front fenders will be scratchbuilding. Terry Ashley has some rather detailed analysis of the problem, but he says fixing it will require major surgery.
NOV 06, 2009 - 01:26 PM
Great review Bill, I found it helpful, useful all what review must have. Thanks for your time to review this.
NOV 06, 2009 - 05:48 PM
Check check and thanks again. Now I need to figure out what it should tow. -Doug
NOV 06, 2009 - 08:37 PM
Thanks, Martin. If the review is helpful, I'm happy. It's a great time for that, Doug! The Wiener Modelbau trailer is the way to go. As for prime movers, there is (as you know) a complete line of 88s on the market (18, 36, 37), the sFH 18 and you could even have it in a recovery mode.
NOV 08, 2009 - 08:13 AM
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