|KIT:||ESCI 1/72 SdKfz 11 Half Track|
|PRICE:||$won in a raffle|
|DECALS:||Missing from the box|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Still an excellent little kit|
Development was started in 1934 on a half-tracked vehicle with a 3-ton towing capacity for "the towing of trailers and the carrying of special bodies." The actual production vehicle was the HL kl 6 produced by Hanamog, Adler, Auto-Union and Skoda from 1938 to 1944. Designated le Zgkw 3t SdKfz 11, a total of 25,000 of these 3-ton chassis were produced with 16,000 being used as the basis for the m Schutzenpanzerwagen (medium armored personal carrier) SdKfz 251.
The SdKfz 11 was powered by a Maybach NL38 TUKR or HL42 TUKRM 6-cylinder engine having a top speed of 53 kph for a 250 km range. The standard version was mainly used to tow light artillery weapons such as the 37 mm and the 105 mm along with ammunition. A very rare specially designed multi-door version was produced for engineer battalions. All versions saw heavy use on all fronts. Often this vehicle was called upon to pull more than its design load, a job it generally performed with minimal problems.
By 1944 only the le.Zgkw. 3t mit Holzpritsche (light tractor 3 ton with wood plank bed) model was being produced.
It has been known by small scale armor builders that probably one of the best companies in the early years was ESCI. They produced interesting subjects and had very nice detailing. As such, they commanded very high prices for the size of the kits after ESCI went out of business. ERTL bought the company, but did not release many of the kits that they had acquired; and almost none of it was 1/72 armor. Even today, it is Italeri who is reissuing many of the older ESCI kits. This is bad news for the collector but good for the builder as the prices of these new reissues is high, but not as outrageous as those when the kits were rare.
The date on this box is 1983, which sounds about right as this was one of the earlier releases, judging by the part number. It has two sprues of OD plastic and two light grey vinyl tracks. The molding on the parts is really first rate. Moldings are crisply done with sharp edges. There is a touch of flash on one part, and a few depressed areas in some of the thicker bits, but these should be invisible when the kit is complete. Ejector pin marks are everywhere. The vast majority will be on pieces that will be covered when done, but some are right atop detail and will be quite difficult to repair. However, this was not considered a 'problem' in the early 1980s and we often find things like this on even the best kits of the time. There are no clear bits, though the modeler can easily use a piece of clear acetate for the windscreen.
Instructions are four construction steps with the parts clearly numbered. A parts guide is offered to make finding the bits easy. Color info is provided though I could find nothing in the kit that indicated what letter represented what color. I can only assume that there was an additional slip of paper that gave that information. It disappeared along with the decal sheet. This kit was won in a raffle at a show. The real problem with some raffle kits is that often the vendors give their junk to the raffle folks. I've gotten kits that were started, kits that were missing major assemblies, a box of sprues, and kits that are missing decals or instructions from raffles. It sort of take the fun out of having won something when that happens. This one was missing decals and obviously the color guide as well.
Not to worry as there are a lot of aftermarket decal sheets for these kits and color info can be gleaned from the box art. I should also mention that the kit comes with a driver. Any additional occupants will have to come from some other source.
All in all, this is a very nice kit. It is able to produce a good level of detail without resorting to lots of teeny pieces. As such, it makes it a kit that is good for nearly all levels of experience.
Kit courtesy of the Cedar Rapids raffle
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