KIT: Roden 1/72 SdKfz 234/3
KIT #: 707
PRICE: $6.98 ($6.46 at Squadron)
DECALS: options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES:  

HISTORY
 
Immediately after the advanced new Sd.Kfz.234/2 Puma eight-wheeled armored car was accepted for service in 1943, an order was given to the Bussing NAG firm for the construction of a variant with a 75 mm caliber gun installation. This machine would replace similar machines of the Sd.Kfz.233 Stummel type, which was not in series production, but adapted from GS 8-Rad machines under repair after use in combat.

The Sd.Kfz.233 Stummel had proved the concept of artillery support by armored cars, and consequently the work on developing the Sd.Kfz.234/3 began straight away. In October the first prototype Sd.Kfz.234/3 was delivered to the range of the armored-technics concern Ariss.

The armored hull was not greatly altered in comparison with the Sd.KFZ.234/2 Puma. As with the Sd. Kfz. 233 Stummel, the superstructure and top armor plate were dismantled, but unlike the Stummel, the new armored car received the more modern K51 L/24 75mm caliber gun. Elevation was limited from -10 to +12; and Sfl Zf 1b periscope sights were fitted.

Batch production began at the end of 1943 and continued up to the end of 1944. In total there was the opportunity to build only 88 units of the Sd.Kfz.234/3, as in 1944 the German war industry experienced widespread destruction from Allied bombing strikes, and any areas which had escaped, directed their efforts towards repairing the damage of existing armor and equipment.

The overwhelming majority of the 88 completed Sd.Kfz.234/3 served with the 116th Panzer Division which was at war in Normandy. Data on the operational efficiency of this type was not kept, but at least one Sd.Kfz.234/3 was captured by the British Army. This armored car was examined at one of the allied testing grounds, and then it was sent to the Tank Museum in Bovington, in Dorset in Southern England, where it is exhibited today.

Thanks to www.rodenplant.com for the historical background.

THE KIT

As this is just a variation on earlier kits, there is very little that is actually different. As you look at the sprues, the one on the far right is the one that carried the additional cannon that makes the  '/3' variant. Parts are well molded and though there are some small defects in terms of sink areas and a few ejector pin marks they are, for the most part, easily removed or filled.  I should mention that I pinched the image from the Roden web site and the wheel/suspension bits are actually in black plastic.

Instructions are very good with well-drawn construction steps. Those parts not used are shown in the parts diagram. Color information is provided in both generic and Humbrol  references. There is a full color painting guide on the back of the box as well. Since this vehicle didn't see that much action due to the few that were actually built, you only get what I consider rather generic markings for it. The lone example is in overall panzer yellow. The sheet itself is well printed and appears to be the 'new' decals, so that being the case, they should work very well indeed.

CONCLUSIONS

Yet another fine small scale armor kit from the Roden folks. From my count this leaves only one more variant of the 234 to be done so we can expect to see that one in the near future. Thanks to the reasonable price of these kits, you really should look into picking one up.

July 2005

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