Dragon 1/72 SdKfz 232 Schwerer Panzerspahwagen (FU)
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Armor Pro new tool kit|
The heavy Panzerspähwagen was a large but very fast addition to the German mobile arsenal of the early war years. The original 6-rad (6 wheeled) versions were based on a 6x4 truck with armoured body, but by 1937 they were being replaced by the 8-rad versions. During the replacement, the Sd.Kfz - (Sonderkraftfahrzeug, or special purpose vehicle) numbers were carried directly over; differentiation is made by the addition of 6-Rad or 8-Rad (Ger: "6 wheel" or "8 wheel") in the vehicle name.
These vehicles first saw combat with the campaign against Poland and in the Battle of France. Later they saw use in both the USSR and North Africa. Extreme climatic conditions in both these areas proved too severe for the vehicle. In the USSR, adverse ground conditions immobilized 150 Sd.Kfz 232s during the first wet season of the campaign.In the desert, heat and sand created some maintenance problems. Still, the eight-wheeled cars turned out to be the best vehicles that Rommel had for long range reconnaissance across the wide desert territory.
The Sd.Kfz. 232 (8-Rad) was produced from 1938 to 1943, when it was superseded by the Sd.Kfz. 234/2 "Puma". The 232 were not withdrawn from service; many of the old vehicles were upgraded with new radio communication equipment, replacing the "bedstead" with more modern and compact wire antennas. These vehicles are often referred to as Sd.Kfz. 232 (Fu) (8-Rad) (Fu; Funkapparat; radio, Rad;wheel) It was armed with a 2 cm KwK 30 L/55 autocannon that had a muzzle velocity of 899 m/s, the 232 also carried a 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr 34 machine gun.
As is obvious from the box art, this is the 8 wheeled version. Typical of Dragon, the molding is up to industry standards. The 90 piece kit has all of the sprues individually bagged, and that includes the separate upper and lower hull pieces. I particularly like that this one is without any photo-etch , which does help me to speed up building as though I am comfortable with p.e., I would still rather not have to deal with it.
Here are all the various features of the kit, straight from the Dragon PR sheet:
- Newly produced Sd.Kfz.232 w/fine details
- New preformed frame antenna made from injection-molded plastic
- Vision ports on turret displayed
- Realistic 2cm KwK 30 L/55 and MG34 included
- Injection-molded tow cables reproduced
- Highly detailed rear hull
- Delicate grill on engine deck
- Turret hatch can be assembled open/closed
- Sharply reproduced cargo and jerry cans
- Turret made by 3-directional slide mold
- Slide-molded upper hull
- Slide-molded fenders w/on-vehicle tools
- Underside of hull made by slide mold
- Chassis possesses full detail
- Detailed wheels w/authentic tire tread pattern
Typically, the instruction sheet is well done with Gunze and Model Master color references. The decal sheet is somewhat generic and provides a variety of license plates and additional numbers/letters so you can do your own. The four color options provided are two panzer grey vehicles. One from the Poland campaign with the large white crosses and another from the invasion of France. The other two are base panzer tan with the 'plain' one from 5. Division "Wiking" at Acbtyrka in 1943 and the other with green camo over the tan is from 4. PzDiv on the eastern front in 1943.
Dragon has been stepping up their 1/72 release schedule as it seems there is at least a pair of kits available each month. This one just adds to a great lineup and will certainly put other kits of this vehicle on the road to obsolescence.
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local hobby shop.
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