|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
TheSd.Kfz. 7 (Sonderkraftfahrzeug 7) was a half-track military vehicle used by the German Wehrmacht, Luftwaffe and Waffen-SS during the Second World War.
Development of the Sd.Kfz. 7 can be traced back to a 1934 requirement for an eight-tonne (7.87 tons) half-track. The vehicle first appeared in 1938 and was destined to be used mainly as the tractor for the 8.8 cm FlaK gun and the 15 cm sFH 18 150 mm howitzer. The Sd.Kfz. 7 also became the basis of a number of self-propelled anti-aircraft variants based on 20 mm and 37 mm flak types in use. Further because of its heavy power it often found use as a recovery vehicle.
The vehicle could carry gun crews of up to 12 men in theatre-type seats. Under the seats were storage for various tools, and the whole vehicle spacious enough to carry their kit. The rear of the vehicle housed an enclosed compartment for storage of ammunition, though a second ammunition carrier was desirable. The tractor could tow loads up to 8,000 kg (17,600 lb) in weight. Most were fitted with a winch. The windscreen was able to fold down and a canvas roof could be erected. A number were also constructed with a hard top, but this was less common in service. A later simplified type appeared with a timber frame truck-type layout, the ammunition being stored behind the driver's station and the gun crew having space on wooden benches behind.
The running gear consisted of two front wheels with hydro-pneumatic tires for steering and a track each side with 14 road wheels (7 overlapping on each side of the vehicle); a drive sprocket was located at the front of each track system. Minor variations on the track and road wheel design and manufacture took place throughout the course of service, some being combined in the field as repairs took place.
The use of half-tracked prime movers for artillery was common in the German forces but not elsewhere. Compared to wheeled vehicles, half-tracks are more difficult to maintain, they often suffer track breakages, and slower on roads. However, they may have superior off-road mobility.
The iconic Sd.Kfz.7 was used throughout the war. Sd.Kfz. 7 were seen during the 1940 Paris victory parade and the Sd.Kfz. 7 features in much German wartime propaganda footage, contributing to the myth of the mechanized Blitzkrieg. In fact while produced in large numbers there were never enough to fully equip the German forces. Typically like many other types, the artillery elements of Panzer and mechanized units (Panzer grenadier) received them, while others continued to rely on horses to draw their guns.
Some Sd.Kfz. 7 were pressed into service by the Allies during and after the Second World War. An Italian-manufactured variant was also built, and is easily recognized by its longer hood and right-hand-drive steering.
This is the initial production version of this vehicle and if you have seen the movie 'The Dirty Dozen', I do believe this is the vehicle in which the survivors made their escape. As an early model it has the theater style seats for up to 12 soldiers and all their equipment. In the scheme of Dragon kits and parts count, this is a medium-weight kit with a mere 500 pieces, many of those used for the individual track links. I really like the DS tires as those combine the look of rubber with the ease of painting of injected plastic. For a full listing of the features of this kit, I'll once again, allow the Dragon PR folks to provide that.
- Brand new German Sd.Kfz.7 Initial Production
- Intricately detailed internal mechanical components: engine, gearbox, fuel tank, compressed-air tank, suspension, exhaust and winch
- 6-cylinder engine represented by multiple parts
- Delicate engine housing
- Slide molds enable one-piece chassis frame w/support-brace detail
- Realistically produced 6-cylinder engine has internal detail
- Brake drums have detail on both sides
- Detailed gearbox has multi-part assembly
- Fully detailed steering mechanism
- Winch assembly w/rope, towing hook and actuator realistically reproduced
- Rear crossbeam w/roller and trailer coupling depicted like the real one
- Detailed winch spool has bolt and rib detail
- Finely detailed sub-frame made by slide molds w/muffler and exhaust-pipe assembly
- Suspension system as per the real vehicle; slide-molded suspension arms and springs w/delicated detail
- Front wheels w/authentic tread detail made from DS
- Sprocket w/realistic ribbed detail
- Different road wheels rendered w/delicate detail on both sides
- Photo-etched flange around sprocket wheel center
- Brand new Magic Tracks for German half-track tractor
- Track links have reinforcing structure
- Final-drive housing made from separate parts with bolt and rib detail
- New accurately shaped front fenders made from 2-directional slide mold
- Tread pattern, rifle holders and lifting rings on floor replicated
- One-piece slide-molded floor w/fender assembly
- Side panel produced to scale thickness
- One-piece side panel has bolt detail on both sides
- Bench seats w/realistic texture
- Dashboard and pedals finely detailed
- Underside of floor w/supporting braces and openings
- Spare tire in carrying frame stored under floor
- OVM w/clamps mounted on seats or sides
- Crisply detailed stowage rack on superstructure
- Detailed rifle clamps and handrails
- Finely detailed clear plastic windshield w/photo-etched wipers
- Windshield can be portrayed folded up or down
- Different doors w/bolt, hinge and handle detail
- Stowage compartment doors w/realistic detail on both sides
- Includes clear lenses for headlamps and spotlight
- Movable spotlight mimics the real one
- Photo-etched steps w/tread pattern next to front fenders
- Front tow hook details courtesy of slide mold
- Refined bolt detail on front fenders
- Realistic engine hood formed from multiple parts w/louver detail
- Detailed radiator cover w/filler cap
As usual, the Dragon instructions are quite complete and provide Gunze and Model Master paint references. This isn't a curbside so you do have a full engine and drive train to build. There are a couple of areas where you have optional bits and in some cases, you need to cut away detail that is not part of this variant. But those with a few of these kits under their belts know all about what has to be done. There are five markings options, with four of them on the Eastern Front. Three of these are in Panzer Grey from the 1941/42 time period with a fourth in Panzer Yellow with green and brown mottling from 1943/44. A fifth option is from North Africa in overall Sand.
A superb kit, especially for those who like half tracks or soft skin vehicles. It should be a real beauty when it is done. For sure it is not small!
My thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. You can get yours today at your local shop or on-line retailer. If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors. Back to the Main Page Back to the Review Index Page
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
Back to the Main Page
Back to the Review Index Page