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In-Box Review
135
German Half-Track Riders
German Half-Track Riders
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by: Bill Cross [ BILL_C ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

introduction

My reaction when I saw this release was “it’s about freakin’ time!”

Dragon has had its Sd.Kfz.7 prime mover out since January of 2010. But for those modelers who want to show the vehicle with a crew, their only choice was MiniArt’s artillery crew riders (and you’d need two sets plus some heads for variation). These vehicles were intended to pull large guns like the sFH 18 and 88mm, so we’re talking about a crew of 10-11. And since no self-respecting artillerist is going to go about the battlefield unarmed, there are latches on the rear of the seats for a rifle. Given how hard (and expensive) it is to secure enough of these, it has been a challenge up to now to show an Sd.Kfz.7 properly kitted-out, even without a crew present.

Finally Dragon has released a set of half-track riders that does justice to the Sd.Kfz.7 and other prime movers.

what you get

The set comes in the usual Dragon two-piece box and contains:

5 sprues of gray styrene parts
An assembly and painting guide is printed on the box bottom

the review

To say that I’ve been waiting for a set like this is not an exaggeration. Photos of Sd.Kfz.7s and other prime movers show them crowded with soldiers sitting on the wide bench seats with Kar98k rifles between their legs. Instead of scrambling to come up with a crew from this set or that, we can now use this excellent set for artillery riders or Panzergrenadiers (and just in time for Bronco's Sd.Kfz.6 "pioneer" variant or even the old Tamiya Sd.Kfz.9 which has an artillery version via an Aber PE set).

The figures look a bit smaller in scale than other Dragon offerings I’ve seen recently. The molding is crisp, with minimal flash, and the figures are in an average of nine pieces, including separate "wings" for the "skirts" on their field jackets. The lower torso and legs are in two pieces, and the result is more-detailed than with single-piece lower body molding. The usual seam lines for styrene will require some clean-up, but the seams are often well-hidden at bend points.

The weapons are the vaunted “Gen2” variety, and have very sharp molding (as well as delicate “fiddly bits” in some instances like the machine gun legs). But they are not as detailed as other offerings; for example, the four Kar98s are one-piece molds instead of separate bolts as in other sets.

And four Kar98s is another problem: you need at least seven to do a proper artillery crew, since everyone in the rear two banks of seats would have had a Mauser to themselves. Their hands won’t be empty, as the set includes three MP40s, an MG42 and an MG34, along with rifle grenades (Schießbecher) and a single Gew43 semi-automatic rifle. But these are for Panzergrenadiers like the Großdeutschland motorized regiment or some of the Waffen-SS units, not for an artillery crew. While some of you will be looking to have shock troops in your half-tracks, I suspect most will want them pulling guns.

instructions & painting guide

The instructions are really just a photomontage of the assembled figures with sprue letters & numbers indicating where the parts belong. The painting guide is any color of Feldgrau you could want in three brands of paint. It would be nice if Dragon included a fret of PE for the rifle slings, but I’ve given up on that ever happening.

conclusion

The set is a good value for money because for little more than Dragon’s usual set of four figures, you get ten. While the purists among us will want to add an 11th figure, this set is really perfect for most occasions. I wish Dragon would be more mindful of small details like including enough rifles for the entire crew, but this is easier to fix than trying to modify smaller figure sets to kit out the big half-tracks.

Thanks to Dragon USA for providing this review sample. Be sure to mention you saw it reviewed on Armorama when ordering.
SUMMARY
Highs: A generous assortment of riders for German artillery half-tracks. Good variety of poses, etc.
Lows: Only four helmets, limiting modelers to the garrison cap. Not enough Kar98s for the entire crew.
Verdict: Big half-tracks like the Sd.Kfz.7 had big crews. This set gives you what you need.
Percentage Rating
90%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 6671
  Suggested Retail: $14.95
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Jul 15, 2011
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 90.08%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 86.19%

Our Thanks to Dragon USA!
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

Nice review, Bill. Would this set work as figures for a vehicle such as the 7/1 or 7/2 variants
JUL 14, 2011 - 07:47 PM
I too have wanted something like this for a long time so when it came out I jumped on it. The first couple of guys I glued the torso to the pair of legs then the 4 part jacket bottoms and ended up with a few gaps. The rest of them I did legs first then the jacket bottoms then glued the torsos on, the gaps were a lot smaller then. There is no web gear or belts on the little dudes. So I'm building as a pre-war, coming back from a training mission. They all have side caps on so I have substituted other Dragon Heads for a few with helmets on. My question is, " what year did the billed caps appear?". I'd like to have a couple of those on the troops. But a welcome addition never the less. Thanks Bill for the review ! Tom
JUL 14, 2011 - 08:33 PM
Thanks, Russ, these figures would work for those vehicles, though the crews are smaller. You're welcome, Tom. My information has the overseas cap (the "side cap") being supplemented by the M41 billed cap in the early part of the war. The M41 was developed from the mountain troop's ski cap (Gebirgsjäger), and was modified by the Waffen-SS (there's a nice overview here). This was then modified again (though very slightly visually) for the M43 model. As to the belts, the same topic came up here when I cross-posted this review. There is some question whether artillery crews would be wearing accoutrements that might get caught in the gun's pointy parts. The photos in this book show the crews wearing no belts or accoutrements when working their guns. The question would be whether they would be wearing them when in the half-track. The visual record is mixed on that. Some photos show the crews with the "Y straps," while the majority that are clear show them with nothing more than the standard leather belt.
JUL 15, 2011 - 12:50 PM
The "billed" field cap is the Einheitsfeldmutze and was first issued in 1943. The post war collector community commonly calls it the M43 cap. The m41 field cap generally refers to the tropical billed cap as worn in Africa. Artillery troops, had no requirement for the belt support suspenders as much of their personal gear could be carried on the towing vehicle (horse drawn or motorized). Typically, the belt would be worn with the single ammunition pouch (as already pointed out) and perhaps the bayonet. Removal of such items would have been at the discretion of the unit commander. FWIW Ron Volstad
JUL 16, 2011 - 05:41 PM
A very useful set and some heads added by "Hornet" etc. will really elevate their overall appearance. Looks to be an excellent V.F.M. figure set as well. Gary
JUL 18, 2011 - 06:55 AM
Ron, thanks for clarifying that. I think the chance of having your gear get caught in the gun would induce most artillerists to shed things like belts and gas mask cans. Gary, I agree, and Hornet heads will make a few of these sets stretch out over my numerous 1/2 track builds.
JUL 19, 2011 - 05:03 PM
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