Hobby Boss 1/35th Sd.Kfz.223 Leichter Panzerspähwagen Funk
|DECALS:||For as many WW2 German vehicles as you can imagine.|
|NOTES:||Fairly complicated, not for the beginner. You almost think you could turn the ignition and drive it around.|
One thing the Germans like to do is build a lot of various types of different vehicles that really aren’t any better than the next. Adapting the “venerable” 222 armored car for radio duty was a fill in until someone came up with the much better idea to use the halftrack 250. The large rail antennae kind of gave it away to spotters, and a dismountable series of straight rods were later installed. I am sure this bummed out the fellows in the Afrika Korps, as they often mounted netting/sunshades on the railing.
The cross country performance of the 222 was less than stellar, and having a radio car in the city doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense. You would be blocked in by buildings, able to see very little, and unable to cross any rough terrain at all in a very, very lightly armored truck.
(Allow me to hijack Greg's background info for a paragraph or two. What many may not realize is that most of the radios in use during this time period operated at much lower frequencies than we use today. LF and HF were the main frequency ranges used at the time (hence the rather large antennas) and these are not bothered by problems with line of sight as is the case with higher VHF frequencies and all UHF radios that came into use later in the war.
These 1939/40 radios were used in both voice and CW (continuous wave as in Morse code key) modes with CW having a range of about 40Km and voice about 10Km when using the main radio of the day, the FuG 10. radio cars also carried the . These radio cars were not in the forefront of the advance for the most part. The unit commanders often rode in these so they could stay in touch with their units. It was not anticipated that they would be involved in combat and compared to even cars of the day, they were plenty fast enough to get out of harms way. And now, back to your regularly scheduled review. Ed)
Enemy snipers must have loved this new piece of…junk in ‘39. At least it had angled armor, so maybe some of the stuff bounced off. It also came with state of the art screens to keep out those pesky grenades. I am sure that having a solid turret would have used too much metal, and the added air noise would make more sense in a radio car. Right?
Armed with a 7.92 machine gun and a lot of determination, the 223’s soldiered on in North Africa in the heat, and the frozen tundra of the Eastern theatre. With a top speed of just 50 miles per hour (and that would be really pushing it, maybe going downhill on skis) this thing was a sitting duck. Cross country was even worse, can you imagine being in this tin can bouncing over rough ground under enemy fire at the blistering speed of a mere 25 mph ? The eight cylinder engine was just not powerful enough to move this thing, especially when loaded up. By the bye, those are top speeds. Going in a straight line. With no obstacles. In wartime, it would have been a nightmare.
I can’t imagine trying to use the 223 as any sort of command car. Why would you put your radio operators in such a deathtrap? Guess yet another reason why the Nazis lost the war.
Scott did a nice preview of the kit, far be it for me to try to do better. Here is the link.
On a side note, be ready to handle a lot of small fiddly bits, for such a small model ( 5 “ long) this thing has a million pieces. O.K. I am exaggerating. But just a bit. The entire interior is complex and complete, and you can’t see most of it when you are done…but hey, YOU will know it’s there !
The PE is flawless, and in a nice way, they packaged it with a slightly sticky surface tape, so you can keep the carpet monster at bay. A very nice touch. It also does not need to be annealed at all, and folds easily.
As Scott noted, the moldings are just about perfect. Nary a sinkhole on the horizon ! You start off with building the frame of the car, and this will take some patience. The location marks are dubious, and it is easy enough to get the parts in the wrong place, which will come back to haunt you later. It is quite intricate, and if you have the space to make a small jig, I would recommend it. The gear housings fit in nicely, and require little filler. I still don’t understand why the whole frame wasn’t just a one piece molding.
I was surprised, at first, at how simplistic the engine is. No worries, you will never see it once the model is together. Be aware that the directions use the same ¾ perspective of the model assembly, but switch from front to back often, this can be confusing. It took me a while to understand how the springs were mounted to the axles, but then, I am a blonde.
The tires are remarkable, which is nice, because the wheels and mounts are not. The joining of the wheels to the axles is an exercise in patience and C/A glue, as the attachment points are incredibly weak.
The Hull: Oh boy ! Now that you have gotten the rail car of the thing built, you get to start on the interior. This model was designed for JMN’s at conventions, as they have every single bell and whistle that goes into the hull. The only way you will ever see the nicely molded gas/clutch pedals is with one of those super-duper sneakerscopes the judges use at a competition. Make sure you put in the side supports (C60) prior to installing anything else, then start gluing in all of the doo-dads. Of course, it goes without saying that you will want to paint as you go.
If you thought the seat was hard to put together, and it was, just wait until you get to the upper hull and its windshields. The dashboard is simplistic, which actually makes sense, as it is invisible to the eye once the two halves of the hull are attached.
Attaching the upper hull and the lower hull made me nervous, and I was pleasantly surprised by the near perfect mating of the two ! It took just a little bit of sanding and a smidge of filler to have the seat well together. Then, I ran into a PE nightmare. If you don’t have a photo etch bender, you are going to want to use some stretched sprue or styrene rod for the little rails that go about the hull. I finally folded (sorry for the pun) and purchased a bender after getting frustrated trying to manipulate these tiny bits of metal into shape. Once the mufflers are on, you need to attach the exhaust pipes from the engine to them…mine did not fit at all, and I made copies that did with copper wire.
The Turret: Sitting in this after eating rations must have been a hell of a treat for all of the three man crew. Bouncy bouncy ! I hope the LT. didn’t eat beans. The seat and the machine gun mount seem flimsy, but go together well. You will definitely need C/A glue for this one, and probably accelerant, unless you have the patience of Job. I don’t.
Wait to put on the railing mounts until the very end, as the location points are hard to, hard to…well, locate. The PE screens go on without a hitch, and cover up all of that detail you just spent fifteen hours on. Smile ! Now that you have all of the fiddly bits on the outside, get ready for:
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
As with most AFV’s, you have to paint as you go…in this sense, this is an easy one. Most of the armored cars were factory grey on the outside, and an off white inside. The desert versions were painted the typical sand, but camouflage seems to have been rarely used. Reading a book on German armored vehicles, I was happy to see that the Germans regularly used captured enemy stockpiles of paint on their vehicles once on the front lines, so any of you who moan about the colour of a tank or whatnot can go jump in a lake.
I started by painting everything primer black whilst still on the sprue. The interior of the hull halves were sprayed with a light gray, even though the instructions call out for white, as I didn’t want mine to be a show car just off the rack. I did not use any of the interior decals, as no one would ever see them in a million years.
After the whole project was assembled, sans clear parts and the spare tyre, I airbrushed a medium grey over the panels, then a lighter grey to accent. I only did a little bit of weathering with pastels, as I like the menacing way the dark grey looked overall.
I painted the spare tyre covering with a leather sort of colour, and installed the clear headlights. I did get mine wrongly oriented, check on the left right, up down molding. I installed them side to side, and the grooves should be up and down. Ah well, such is life.
Not a kit for the beginner, this is a fabulous representation of a mediocre vehicle that served in every theatre of the war. With patience and a lot of deep breaths, you can really build a show stopper with this model from Hobby Boss. It blows the Tamiya kit out of the water. Or mud, I suppose.
Thanks to Squadron Products via Modeling Madness for the review kit.
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