Dragon 1/35 SdKfz 2 with 3.7cm PaK 36

KIT #: 6446
PRICE: $33.00 SRP
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES:  

HISTORY

he SdKfz 2, better known as the Kleines Kettenkraftrad HK 101 or Kettenkrad for short (Ketten = tracks, krad = military abbreviation of theGerman word Kraftrad, the administrative German term for motorcycle), started its life as a light tractor for airborne troops. The vehicle was designed to be delivered by JunkersJu 52 aircraft, though not by parachute. The vehicle had the advantage of being the only gun tractor small enough to fit inside the hold of the Ju 52.

Steering the Kettenkrad was accomplished by turning the handlebars: if little movement was used then the wheel would steer the vehicle, however if they were turned further they would engage the track brakes to help make turns sharper.

The SdKfz 2 was designed and built by theNSU Werke AG atNeckarsulm, Germany. First designed and patented in June 1939, it was first used in theinvasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. Later in the war Stoewer from Stettin also produced Kettenkrads under license, accounting for about 10% of the total production.

Most Kettenkrads saw service on theEastern Front, where they were used to lay communication cables, pull heavy loads and carry soldiers through the deep Russian mud. Later in the war, Kettenkrads were used as runway tugs for aircraft, especially for theMe 262 jet fighters. In order to save aviation fuel, the aircraft would be towed to the runway, rather than taxiing under their own power.

The vehicle was also used in theNorth African theater and on theWestern Front.

The Kettenkrad came with a special trailer (Sd.Anh.1) that could be attached to it to improve its cargo capacity.

Being a tracked vehicle the Kettenkrad could climb up to 24 in sand and even more in hard ground, as long as the driver had courage for it.

Only two significant sub-variations of the Kettenkrad were constructed, and production of the vehicle was stopped in 1944, at which time 8,345 had been constructed. After the war the production at NSU went on until 1949 for agricultural use. Around 550 Kettenkrads were built postwar until 1948 (Some sources say 1949).

THE KIT

This is not the only Kettenkrad to be produced as nearly every major armor kit maker has had one. Even Dragon did one long ago, but this one has been re-tooled with new bits and pieces to match a late production vehicle. I really like that this one includes the DS tracks so no fretting over individual track links or 'rubber band' vinyl tracks.

Having the PaK 36 is a real bonus. So is having a driver for the Kettenkrad and a full crew for the field gun. As you might expect, you can build the gun either ready for use or in a towing configuration to be attached to the Kettenkrad.

Here are all the features, straight from the dragon promo:

- Newly tooled Kettenkrad late production side hull
- Newly tooled Notek light and rear light
- Newly tooled axe and shovel
- Newly designed front driving fork and spring for Kettenkrad late production
- Newly produced one-piece DS track
- Control panel reproduced w/interior details
- Tow hook is fully represented
- Injection-molded OVM w/clasps
- Engine cover can be assembled open/closed
- Intricate engine reproduced
- Accurate superb interior details including engine and cooler
- Cooling tunnel w/sharp detail
- Intricate gearbox w/great details
- Seat cushions are injection-molded w/details
- Delicate 3.7cm PaK 36 reproduced
- True-to-scale gun shield molded w/great details
- Sprocket and idler w/correct details
- Detailed road wheel assembly
- Delicate wheels w/authentic tread pattern
- Accurate front wheel reproduced
- 4 realistic figures are included

Markings are provided for just about any later Kettenkrad you can think of as the decal sheet is simply generic plates. The painting guide has three machines, all from the ever-popular 'unknown unit in Russia' 1943. Two have different brown/green camo over the panzer tan while the third is uncamouflaged. The gun can either be in tan or grey and since it a relatively old gun it is probably best to leave it in grey.

CONCLUSIONS

Dragon sure isn't afraid to pack a box as this one is just crammed with 270 parts, leaving little shuffle room for the parts. I think it is a great combination as it is like getting two great kits in one with the Kettenkrad and the PaK 36 with crew. This one should be very popular.

REFERENCES

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SdKfz_2

August 2011

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