Dragon 1/35 SdKfz 10 Ausf B (1942 production)
The Sd.Kfz. 10 (Sonderkraftfahrzeug - special motorized vehicle) was a German half-track that saw very widespread use in World War II. Its main role was as a prime mover for small towed guns such as the 2 cm FlaK 30, the 7.5 cm leIG, or the 3.7 cm PaK 36 anti-tank gun. It could carry eight troops in addition to towing a gun or trailer.
The basic engineering for all the German half-tracks was developed by the Reichswehr's Military Automotive Department, but final design and testing was farmed out to commercial firms with the understanding that production would be shared with multiple companies. Demag was chosen to develop the smallest of the German half-tracks and spent the years between 1934 and 1938 perfecting the design through a series of prototypes.
The chassis formed the basis for the Sd.Kfz. 250 light armored personnel carrier. Approximately 14,000 were produced between 1938 and 1945, making it one of the most widely produced German tactical vehicles of the war. It participated in the Invasion of Poland, the Battle of France, the Balkans Campaign and fought on both the Western Front and the Eastern Front, in North Africa and in Italy.
The Sd.Kfz. 10 was unique among German half-track designs as it used a hull rather than a frame. Power was provided by a Maybach 6-cylinder, water-cooled, 231.3 cu in (3.791 liters) gasoline engine of 90 horsepower (91 PS). It had a semi-automatic Maybach Variorex-transmission with seven forward and three reverse gears. The driver selected the desired gear and initiated the shift by depressing the clutch. It could attain 47mph (75 km/h), but the driver was cautioned not to exceed 40mph (65 km/h). In 1942 the Luftwaffe limited its vehicles to a non-tactical speed of only 19mph (30 km/h) to extend the life of the rubber track pads.
Both tracks and wheels were used for steering. The steering system was set up so that shallow turns used only the wheels, but brakes would be applied to the tracks the farther the steering wheel was turned. The drive sprocket had the track-saving but more complicated rollers rather than the more common teeth. The rear suspension consisted of five double road-wheels mounted on swing arms sprung by torsion bars. An idler wheel, mounted at the rear of the vehicle, was used to control track tension. The front wheels had transversely mounted leaf springs and shock absorbers, the only ones on the vehicle, to dampen impacts.
The upper body had a baggage compartment separating the driver's compartment from the crew compartment. Bench seats on the sides of the vehicle, with under-seat storage, could accommodate six men. The windshield could fold forward and was also removable. A convertible canvas top was mounted at the upper part of the rear body. It fastened to the windshield when erected. Four side pieces could be mounted to protect the crew from the weather.
Initially it was planned to use the Sd.Kfz. 10 as a towing vehicle for various light guns and trailers, but it was authorized as a substitute for the Sd.Kfz. 250 light armored personnel carrier in 1939. The Ausf. B model saw its use broadened to tow heavier weapons like the 5 cm PaK 38 as well as their ammunition trailers. They also served in the maintenance and supply companies of motorized and tank units. Nine were delivered to Romania in 1942 as tractors for anti-tank guns.
This is one of Dragon's newer kits in the Sd.Kfz. 10 line-up. Inside the typical Dragon-sized box contains some 360-ish parts laid out across 15 sprues (14 gray and one clear). In addition, one slide-molded hull, 2 bags of teeny MagicTracks, a PE fret, decals and instructions.
The parts themselves are superbly molded with no flash that I could find. Very delicate parts too, some of which threatened to break just by looking at them, let alone handling them. Impressive indeed. Plenty of options are included: normal two-piece tires or the multi-slice type, the engine hood can be positioned open or closed, two different types of rear ends, and the crew compartment sides can be positioned up or folded down, and the tiny Mauser rifles can have their bolts open or closed. There are also two different types of battery boxes to choose from, though the instructions show just the one, the other is not labeled “not for use” in the sprue layout drawings.
The instructions are typical Dragon. A fold-out affair printed in blue and black. Fourteen assembly steps, the aforementioned sprue layout, and a painting and marking guide round things out. Interestingly, the instructions show the use of paint masks for the windshield in step 14, though none were included in my box.
The one thing in omission here would be a foul weather tarp, though I admit it would be a shame to hide all the detail inside.
Construction starts with the road wheels and front tires. I opted for the multi-slice ones just to see how they build up. There are 5 slices for each tire instead of two for the other. They do make a fine rendition, though to be fair, the simpler ones have very nice tread pattern detail and are, well, simpler. The rear end assembly is next, and since I didn't know the difference between the two, I chose one and moved on. The front suspension and torsion bars came next and the hull was set aside to dry.
The engine and transmission are very nice models on their own. I assembled only enough of the engine as I had too, as I was going to pose the hood down. For the hood-up option, I would suggest some kind of fire-wall busy work (wiring, etc), as it is the only thing really lacking. The transmission parts are very tiny and fiddly and lack position location points. Naturally for me, I messed things up and positioned the differential too low so that the drive shaft doesn't line up properly. Not a huge deal, as things are sufficiently busy in that area that it is hard to notice.
The engine, transmission, and dash (another fiddly assembly) were all positioned in the hull and the front and rear fenders, hood halves, and front grille glued on. The hood pieces deserve merit here. Very thin plastic with fantastic louvers molded throughout. A work of art in a piece of plastic. Well done Dragon! The crew compartment side panels are another area were the instructions are rather vague though. Panels frames are attached to the hull and then the side panels are glued to them. I really had to study the drawings to figure out what they were trying to tell me. Front seats were added, but here again the vague placement issues reared it's head. Behind the drivers seat sit a fuel tank. The instructions show attaching a filler cap/spout along the front edge, but not specifically where. Not knowing I placed it right of center and moved on. But now it interfered long with the placement of the drivers seat ..... The spout needed to go along the right edge it seemed. So I broke it back off, cleaned up the area as best I could, and reattached it so I could attach the seat. This may be a no-brainer for those familiar with these vehicles, but it would be a complete non-issue with the simple addition of a placement divot or even an outline of where it is supposed to go.
There are a lot of tiny parts in this kit. Well, not so much tiny, but very very delicate. Things like the mirrors are so frail I am surprised I did not break them removing them from the sprue, let alone cleaning up the attachment points. The kit got to a point where I had to be very careful of how I handled it, and yes .....several pieces were re-attached, a few several times. There is a sun visor that joins to the windshield top that I knocked off so many times I just gave up on it.
At this point I put everything aside and turned my attention to the supplied MagicTracks. Two bags of teeny track pieces, thankfully devoid of any sprue or attachment points (hence, no clean-up ....... YAY!). One bag contained the track links proper; these connect together and the other bag, track pads, glue atop the link joint making, if you are careful, a fully workable track. This worked fairly well, I only got sloppy with the glue a couple times, there are therefore a couple links glued together, but all in all it went well. Once I had two lengths of the specified number of links, I took them and sprayed a rust color on them and let them dry. A couple dirty washes and some dry-brushing of Testors Steel and they were good to go. They look better in person… the reddish hue pops out too much in the pics.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
As I mentioned earlier, the instructions show the use of paint masks for the windshield, but none were supplied in this kit. Not a big deal, as the windows are rectangular and masking is easy with Tamiya tape. With my trusty Badger 150, the entire vehicle was given a coat of Model Master Panzer Yellow....... all the assembled wheels and anything still left on sprues were given the same treatment. I then airbrushed on some panzer green squiggles randomly along the body. The seats needed some attention: I was sure they were not Panzer Yellow, but no color call-outs exist in the instructions for these. So off to the internet I went. From the pictures I found, the seats were dark ....... from black to darkish brown. I painted the seats in-vehicle with MM Italian Military Brown, chosen for the simple reason to just give some color variations to the kit. The rubber portions of the road wheels were hand painted a very dark gray. I attached all the wheels but left off the drive sprocket ...... This would be attached with the tracks later on.
On went the decals, and I must admit, they were a royal pain. They wanted to immediately stick where ever they touched plastic, no matter what wetting agent I used. Thankfully decals are few, but the plate numbers were the worst. Dragon supplies individual numbers, which is great in that you can model any specific vehicle you want, but getting them spaced and level while they fought never to give up ground was difficult to say the least. The numbers should be longer, but I had had enough at four and moved along. Strangely, the front plate decal curled up on me a few days after it had dried. I removed it.
The pioneer tools went on next, but since I managed to lose a bracket piece for the right front fender, I didn't put them all on. The rifles were painted a dark brown (Testers Rubber .... little bottle) and their bolts a very dark gray. When dry I attached them to the rack in the back area.
I worked the tracks around the drive sprocket and attached it to the hull. I positioned things so the final track connection was on the bottom run and this was finished off with one last little track pad. The magic tracks are impressive and can be easily manipulated for the desired sag.
This is a very impressive kit. The fidelity of the parts is amazing. Care and a light hand is required but the result can be fantastic. It looks great straight out of the box as every area is superbly rendered. Super-detailers could of course go crazy all over this vehicle and the results could be stunning. For sure a very neat kit and one that helps add size perspective sitting next to the tanks in your collection. Recommended.
Thanks to Scott, Modeling Madness, and of course www.dragonusa.com for the review kit. You can find this one at your local shop or have them order it for you.
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