The Sd.Kfz7/2 was a modification of the standard Sd.Kfz 7 8 ton halftrack, armed with a 3.7cm gun. It was initially built to provide anti-aircraft defenses to ground forces, primarily armored units. There was a secondary designation of 36/37/43 depending upon the version of the 3.7cm flak gun used. The vehicle had a 7 man crew, including the driver. The gun could be traversed a full 360 degrees by hand and the flak 36 could be elevated from -8 to 85 degrees.
Approximately 1,000 of the sd.kfz 7/2 were manufactured from 1942 to 1945. In addition to its anti-aircraft capabilities, the gun was frequently employed against ground targets. I recently watched a program on public television about the battles around Stalingrad and there was film footage of these vehicles being deployed to the north of the city, firing mainly at ground targets.
have previously released the armored cab variant of the sd.kfz.7/2, armed with the 3.7cm flak 37. This release covers the initial variant with standard, unarmored cab and 3.7cm flak 36. The kit comes in a large, top opening box with nice artwork of the vehicle in action provided by Ron Volstead. The artwork will play a significant role in the evaluation of the kit.
The sprues inside were all individually packaged, with a large card holding separately wrapped etch parts, clear parts and the two part magic tracks. Overall, molding appears to be excellent with no flash, only a couple of very minor sink marks, no broken parts and very clear details. There are prominent mold seams to clean up, but most were removed easily. They are about the same as any other kit I have built. Mold attachment points were kept as small as possible, with multiple knock out pins attached to the parts. It makes it time consuming to remove the little pins but saves having to fill ejector pin marks. The plastic cuts and cleans up easily with sharp tools.
The parts breakdown is as follows:
, parts for the 3.7 cm flak. Most of this is from the flak 37, but many parts are applicable for both guns.
, transmission, drive sprockets, winch and front suspension.
, suspension and road wheels. Sprue D, Engine, engine compartment and cab.
, gun shield.
, windshield and other clear parts.
, more cab parts, gun deck and side panels.
, parts for the flak 36 mount.
, four tires made from DS 100 material.
, vehicle frame.
, rear fenders.
, single sprue with Gen2 weapons. Two Kar98 rifles are provided.
-etch parts with mesh side panels, textured steps and notek light mount.
Parts Y and Z
are the magic tracks, consisting of the metal base and rubber pad.
Masks are provided for both sides of the windshield.
Decals are provided in generic format for multiple vehicle marking possibilities, with some specific markings for one vehicle, with black and white painting reference at the rear of the instructions and color reference pictures on the side of the box for three vehicles. They are:
• A vehicle from the Infanterie Div. (mot) "Grobdeutschland", Ukraine 1942, in dark gray
• The famous Unidentified Unit from the Eastern Front, 1943, in dark green over dark yellow
• An Unidentified Luftwaffe Unit, Western Front, 1944, in tri color scheme of red brown and dark green over dark yellow.
A painting guide is provided with references for GSI and Model Master colors. The instructions are line drawings presenting the build in 17 steps, with the last four being two parts each for presenting the vehicle in fighting or travel mode.
Careful dry fitting of parts must be done throughout the build as many of the mold seams run close to the edges of the parts and will affect fit. I built this kit as it came from the box, no additions at all. Comments on parts and any kit issues will be made during the commentary on the build. As a primary reference, I went to Toadmans Tank Pictures and examined the excellent walkaround of the sd.kfz 7 that is included there. I also followed Bill Cross' review of the sd.kfz 7 and his build of the 7/1 to make sure I did things right:
Sd.Kfz.7 Initial Production review
Sd.Kfz.7/1 Flakvierling build
I will offer no comparison to the Trumpeter kit.
covers assembly of the base suspension components on the lower frame, and attachment of the leaf springs. Next was attaching the front axle and exhaust, which fits in a small frame. The front axle position is fixed so the front wheels are not position-able on their own. I did not have any issues with the fit of any parts.
Steps 3 and 4
cover the assembly of the engine and transmission. The engine is suitably detailed and looks nice when completed. If you wish any additional wiring it can be added from scratch if you have a good reference photo. Details on the transmission are basic, probably from economy as it is fairly hidden inside the assembly.
covers assembly of the power winch, drive sprockets and tires. The instructions state there are 3 tires included, but I have four in the box. Again detail is very nice on the tire surface and other major parts, but Toadman's reference photos show the spokes on the hub should be hollow on the back and there should be a prominent grease nipple on the front. In the kit part they are not. Also, there is no cable included for the winch assembly.
Steps 6 and 7
adds the tires and drive sprockets to the body, but I held off on them for the end. I did add the idler axle. The transmission goes in over some smaller parts and the fit here was tricky and it took a couple of times dry fitting to get everything together. Then the fuel tank goes in, resting on elevated supports.
The winch is installed along with the power shaft and part B1, which I guess is the control lever. I took a photo to show how it fits as the instructions don't show this clearly. I put it in first, then added the winch and the power drive shaft last. The rear plate of the vehicle is somewhat complex as well. I glued the tow bracket, B48, to the hitch point, B50, and into the base, part B7, and then glued the entire assembly to the rear plate, B5, to get it positioned right. Part B49 is the roller for the tow cable. It is molded solid, and mounts to a solid section on the rear plate, which, I guess, is why there is no tow cable provided, as there is no opening for the cable to go through. The tow hook, B14, is shown hanging on a loop on the plate. One of the reference photos at Toadman's clearly shows the rear plate and tow cable set up. I said I wouldn't do this, but by comparison, the old Tamiya kit did show the tow cable, which actually worked on the old model I had. With all the details on the kit, this was disappointing.
Steps 8 and 9
adds the running gear, which I saved for later. The two compressed air tanks needed some cleanup to remove the seams, then went in fine. Step 9 has a sub assembly of the details for the front end-fenders and radiator. I decided to wait before adding the lights and curb feelers as I tend to knock them off and break them.
The engine mounts on small tabs inside the engine compartment. Fit was a little difficult to get right. The fender assembly fit right to the frame. One issue that came up later for me was attachment of part D7 to the air filters, D46. A hose will attach to that later and may not line up. so it could be helpful to hold off on D7 until you are ready to put everything together.
is the crew cab which is attached to the fender assembly. Levers and the clutch and brake pedals are installed on the cab floor. There is a small nub that is supposed to represent the piston used for the accelerator. This is another detail that should have been included, especially based on other details included, but is missing. All levers and pedals are attached to the floor but on the actual vehicle they extended through the floor. The bench seat and backrest has nice texture and appearance.
completes the cab with the addition of the firewall and cab sides. The firewall has multiple parts for great detail with the dial faces on the instrument cluster nicely shown. Dragon offers decals for the sd.kfz 251 kits, but no decals are offered here for this kit. Archer have come out with complete dials and markings if you want the option. The steering wheel must be placed along with the firewall, as it extends through the floor and connects at the frame to the front suspension. Fit was a little fiddly but it went in.
is the rear deck onto the fender/cab assembly, mounting the spare tire to an under deck box and the top body cover over the firewall. Everything lined up well, except for the body cover, which, even after multiple attempts, still wouldn't quite fit for me. The simplified flak 36 base is placed on the rear deck. I opted not to add the windshield until I am ready to paint. This completed assembly is then added to the frame. The hose I mentioned earlier is added to part D7 and the hood brace is put in. The hood (bonnet) then goes on, along with the vented side panels. Detailing is only on one side for the panels and the brackets are molded in place.
calls for the placement of the tracks. Again, I waited until the end of the assembly.
starts with the assembly of the flak 36. The kit includes a new slide mold barrel with slots in the jacket base molded in place. There are also newly molded parts for the main gun mount, with different patterns in the wiring and other small details. There is an order of placement of parts that is not clearly indicated. Part A8 should be attached to the gun breech assembly, and then part A7 is placed on top of that. The instructions show A7 going into the placement tab for A8. Parts L10 and 11 are optional, which is nice as my part 11 broke as I removed it from the sprue and promptly got lost in the carpet.
continues the assembly. The instructions show part A49 going over the top of A50, but it should be the opposite. A49 attaches to the side of the gun mount, L1, and A50 goes over it. Part E13 should be placed after the hydraulics, A64/A5/A38 are in place as E13 goes through that assembly. Or you can install A38 after it is in place. E13 should be placed with the small pins on each end flush with the mount sides. Part A48 does not need to be glued if you want the gun to elevate easily. It will rotate in place.
The instructions show part L20, one of the seats, being attached to what looks like the side. It goes on the rear of the frame, and there are markings showing placement. This should only be placed if you are going to show the gun in the deployed position. If you are going to show it in transport mode, don't place it. I placed the flash suppressor last. The slots at the base are open but the holes in the jacket were just indentations. I opened them up carefully with a drill, but some of the holes ended up a little larger than I wanted.
Steps 16 and 17
are divided for showing the gun in combat/transport mode, I elected travel mode. There is a small hook tab on the front of the gun below the recoil housing, that fits the top of the brace on the gun mount. I placed the gun in that and then fit it to the base. The bench seat, J11, was designed to be shown in combat mode, folded up, as the braces for the bench are in the folded/stowed position. There is no option in the kit to show it deployed. The mesh sides are provided in brass etch. The detail is really very nice, and has a good appearance, but is not correct. The actual vehicle has a latticework of slats, but cannot be easily replicated. There are aftermarket options if they are needed. I did not add the tools at this point, as I want to paint the kit first.
At this point I began to assemble the magic tracks. Detail is excellent, but there are knockout marks on each side of the inner face of the metal pad. Some are more prominent than others, but they will be visible after painting. The pads are shaped such that it was hard for me to grip them with my fingers, and hopeless for tweezers. My method of assembly was simple. I carefully applied cement to the "metal" part where the two links attached, and then stuck the "rubber" pad with the tip of my hobby knife, lifting it and placing it carefully. I worked in lengths of 10. After I had a length finished, I would carefully pick it up and press the pads with my fingers, working each link to make sure they were all flexible. It took a little time, but the entire run was able to fully articulate. Again, in comparison with the old Tamiya kit, this is vastly superior. I can still position the suspension for rough terrain and get the sag the tracks depict.
The suspension arms for the track are two arms in a U shape with a single post base. I assembled the road wheels and then placed them in pairs on the arms, without gluing. I then placed each pair, vertically, into the mounts. I was then able to rotate them into place. The drive sprockets have good detail, but there is a non-skid etch part to add to the hub. From Toadman's photos, this part has non-skid texture on the inside and outside. The etch part only gives the detail to the outer surface, and comes out looking fairly thick. There are also three small holes in the face of the real sprocket that are not visible on the kit part. I had to lightly sand down the teeth on the drive sprocket to get them to fit the tracks. Once this was done I was able to place the tracks on the kit. The instructions call for 54 links per side. Fit was excellent. There are about 15 pads and shoes extra in my sample.
If the rain and wind ever stop, I can get outside and paint. I will add the small details at that time and finish the kit. All of the major components of the build went together without very many issues. As I said at the beginning, dry fit to make sure everything will go together as you want.
The kit has just under 400 parts, not including the magic tracks. The build was fairly simple and the instructions were generally good. Out of the box an average modeler can build this kit. Advanced modelers can use it as a base and add whatever extra details they want. The only problems I had with the build are those I mentioned, mostly with the gun mount, and it didn't take me long to figure out what I had to do.
In consideration of the detail included on most of the kit parts, I was surprised at the lack of detail on some key parts, specifically the tow cable, front wheel, missing accelerator piston in the cab floor and decals for the instrument panel. Two other major omissions are clearly depicted in the box art. First, there are two rifles included in the kit. The vehicles carried 6 for crew defense. There are brackets for placing the rifles on the fenders, three to each side, which are shown partially in the instructions only in step 17, but not called out and the box art clearly shows the rifles. They could have even been depicted as shown, with a cover over the trigger/breech assembly, molding it in one piece. As it is, you will have to find four more rifles on your own to add to the racks. The placement of the racks is indicated on the fenders by small marks.
The other major omission is the spare ammunition boxes that would be needed, and were carried on the fighting platform, with three to a side, along with a large box on the rear. They are clearly depicted on the box art and were critical to the functioning of the gun. Not having them is a major disappointment. As it is, there are three six round magazines included for the feed tray to the gun, with one being an optional part. No additional ammo is included. Again, you will have to go to an outside source to get the ammo. A good, current option would be the new release from Bronco of the Sd. An. 52 ammo trailer, which would be used with this vehicle, and Weiner modelblau makes the Sd.Ah 57, a much more expensive option. A third, smaller omission is the mud flaps depicted in the box art.
As for a vehicle crew, you can sort through the various figure sets offered by Dragon and others to hopefully find what you need. For my vehicle in travel mode, the recent release of the halftrack riders may do the trick.
My overall impression of the kit is favorable. I like how it looks, and it wasn't difficult to build. I can probably figure out something to attach the tow cable to the hook and just glue it to the feed roller, and I have Kar 98 rifles in the spares box. I will have to get ammo boxes, which Dragon does not offer, and a crew to complete the model. At the price for this kit I expect the missing details should have been there.