Tamiya/ICM 1/48 Sd.Kfz 222
KIT #: 89777
PRICE: 2070 yen (about $18.00)
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


The Sd.kfz 222 is part of a family of light armored cars that started with the 221. Prototypes of this series were initially developed around 1937 and were produced until 1942. However these useful vehicles were used until the end of the war. The main difference between the 221 and the 222 was in the weapon carried. The 221 had a a seven sided open topped turret with a single 7.92mm machine gun. Later in the war, a 2.3 cm anti-tank rifle replaced the machine gun. The 222 (and subject of this kit) had a ten sided open topped turret with a 20mm anti-tank gun in addition to the machine gun.

All of these vehicles were based on a Horch/Auto Union chassis which had either a 3.5 liter, 75 hp engine (Ausf A) or later production had a 3.8 liter 81 hp engine (Ausf B). Both had the engine in the rear. The chassis had a four wheel drive, fully independent suspension. Initially, they also had four wheel steering, but this was removed later as it proved to be unnecessary. The differentials were full locking ensuring that all four wheels were able to provide traction.

The hull was welded steel plate with a door on either side. The open top was covered by a framework with steel mesh (obviously to prevent the odd hand grenade from being dropped inside). Elevation and azimuth of the turret were manually controlled via small hand wheels. 


This kit shows that one needs to do one's research when buying kits. I thought this was a new Tamiya kit, but in reality it is a reboxed ICM kit. That is not bad as the ICM kit is quite nice, but not quite what I expected. Tamiya did add in a couple of sprues to provide a few detail bits, though you will only actually use a handful of these pieces.

As you might expect, the box is not exactly overflowing with parts, but what there is has been well molded.  There are two major sprues, the upper and lower body halves, and a photo etched fret. Unusual for ICM is that they have not only molded the rather large wheels as one piece, but the barrel of the main armament, the 20mm cannon, has a goodly depression in the tip. This is much like Dragon's slide molded parts and is quite welcome. The main drivetrain is also molded as one part. If I had a complaint it would be that the people removing the body sections from the sprues prior to packaging were not very careful and seem to have basically torn the parts from the sprue with the resultant damage done to the part. Yeah, a minor whine, but there it is.

Other things of note is that the outer wheel hubs are molded separately, something that will enhance painting. The photo etch fret is superbly done and is basically the screen cage that goes atop the turret to prevent hand grenades and other nasties from being tossed inside. I'm sure that Tamiya would have done this when they did their 1/35 kit had this medium been available.

Instructions are well done and as befits a kit  like this, are not too complex. A nice decal sheet accompanies the kit and provides markings for four vehicles. One is in Panzer Grey from Lybia in 1941, while the second from Lybia in 1942 is in Panzer Yellow. The other two are from Russia and both are in a base of Panzer Grey with green stripes painted in a random pattern over the surface. The decal sheet is well printed and looks to be very nice. I and others have had issues with past ICM sheets, but this one looks different so should hopefully work well.


Two things I noticed right away when I started on this were quite a few ejector marks and some rather large mold seams. These sorts of things do little more than have it take more time in the overall build as one must remove them. I used a small chisel for most of the ejector marks as they were on the inside of the fenders and the turret where they could be seen. The others were sanded away. Mold lines always have to be dealt with, regardless of the kit, but having somewhat thick ones on thin parts requires some careful and sometimes tedious work.

Since this is a military vehicle, I usually build most of it before doing any painting. Assembly is pretty straight forward and the build went rather quickly. I found that most parts were a bit 'sloppy' in where they fit. The fenders, for instance, have rather large mounting areas whereas the actual little tabs that fit in them are small. I also discovered that one needs to install the spare before the fender or it will not fit all the way in. This required the mounting tab to be cut and the spare to be placed as well as I could.

I also found that the axles were a tad undersize so when gluing on the wheels, I had to use super glue and hold them in position. The rear axle is particularly flimsy and the wheel easily flexes up and down. In the turret, installing the gun was a bit of a hassle to get it all properly aligned. I glued one side of the mount first and let it dry before installing the second. Still, it required tweezers and a small set of pliers to squeeze it all in place. Worked, though.

ICM provides a nice photo etch cage to fit atop the car. This is nicely done, however, one really cannot model it closed as it is too small. Actually, to match the angles of the turret would mean some rather hefty gaps between the sections. It is also a bear to fold, even with my Etch-Mate and I ended up using square tipped pliers.

Tamiya supplies a sprue of various bits and one is supposed to use this to improve the detail level of several parts such as the NOTEK light, horn, machine gun, shovel, and the left tail light housing. Some trimming is needed to accomplish this, but it is worth the effort.

Painting is quite straight-forward. I chose an overall dark yellow as I had some mixed already from a previous project. Tamiya paint was used for this as was the NATO black for the tires. I would have liked an actual rim for the backside of the wheel as a simple groove makes it a bit difficult to paint a demarcation line when using a brush. I put a black wash over it and used some white for drybrushing. Not a contest winner, but not bad.

The kit decals need to be coated. I started with the license plates in case there were issues and there were as these broke apart. Fortunately, the kit provides four sets so I was able to salvage the rest of the sheet with some Microscale decal film. Still had a bit of an issue with one or two, but they went on well and I used Mr. Mark Softer to keep them from curling. Finished it up by attaching the screens in the open position and used some Vallejo matte over the markings.

This isn't a Tamiya kit and the building showed it. Still, it is a fairly nice one and happened to be a subject that I like. The end result is pleasing and perhaps that is all that really counts. It is a lot bigger than you might think and will look nice in my 1/48 military vehicle collection. If you should be seeking this one, I recommend just getting the standard ICM boxing unless there is a goodly price difference.

1 September 2017

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