KIT: Roden 1/72 SdKfz 234/1
KIT #: 703
PRICE: $7.98 (6.96 at Squadron)
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken

After the Hawker Typhoon fighter was added to the R.A.F.'s inventory the Panzerwaffe endured heavy casualties and German troop movements became complicated. As the Typhoon was armed with 4 cannons and 8 rockets the German Military Command put out a requirement that a new armored car, intended to replace the out-of-date Sd.Kfz 231 (8 - Rad) and Sd.Kfz 232 (8 - Rad), should be able to resist air attacks.

The new Sd.Kfz 234 was equipped with a 20-mm KwK38 gun installed in a hexagonal turret, allowing 360 degree rotation and a good vertical arc of fire (from - 4 to + 70 degree). Installed the same way in the Sd.Kfz 222 and the Sd.Kfz 250/9 it showed itself to be very effective in combat. The low turret was covered by netting, and had 14.5 mm armor on side and 30 mm in front. A 7.92 mm MG 42 machine gun was also installed on the turret, offset to the left.

Nevertheless, as the Sd.Kfz 234/1 (as the new car was classified) was mainly designed for reconnaissance, it was equipped with two wireless stations (Fv. Ger 12SE80 and Fv. Ger "F") and a 2 meter radio aerial was fitted at the rear of turret.

Serial production of the Sd.Kfz 234/1 started in June 1944 and it was an opportune time, as the Allied Air forces dominated on the Western Front and the air raids of British and American ground attack aircraft were continuous.

Most of the 200 Sd.Kfz 234/1 produced up to the beginning of 1945 were sent to the Western Front and they fought there in the last battles of WWII.

Thanks to for the historical background.


Roden continues with their policy of doing as many variants of a subject as they can, so this is the initial SdKfz 234 to go along with the 'Puma' that was first boxed. This version has a 20mm cannon as its main armament. While this was generally satisfactory, it was later upgraded to larger guns.

The Roden kit has basically swapped out the turret sprue of the Puma with one that has the 20mm gun. In all other respects, the kit is identical. The molding on this kit is very nice with the bodywork parts being done in a brownish plastic and all the running gear and some of the add-on bits being supplied in two black sprues. Because of the contrast and difficulty in photographing the different shades, I've pinched the image from the Roden web site to illustrate this version as they have all their photo sprues in white plastic. You can see the different turret sprue in the upper right corner of this image.

As you might expect from something that has hundreds of moldings on it already, there is a tad bit of flash on some of the body sprues. Nothing major and it is something that you'd normally clean up during standard construction anyway. I saw no major problems with ejector pin marks or sink areas. Roden's more current kits seem to have been improving in this area and I'm glad to see it. Instructions are well done providing easy to follow construction sequences. Colors are given as either Humbrol numbers or generic names. There are markings for one vehicle as shown on the box art. On the back of the box is a three view in color to help with painting. Basically Panzer yellow with brown and green areas on the upper surface. The small decal sheet is well printed and I can only hope that it will be useful as early Roden decals were rather lacking in stick and the ability to conform to surfaces.


While the new mold Hasegawa kit of the Puma has stolen a bit of Roden's steam on this series, the fact is that you'll get all the variants from Roden and you'll get them at a considerably lower price. 1/72 armor builders will really like this one and I can recommend it.

April 2005

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