Dragon 1/35 SdKfz 3a Maultier

KIT #: 6761
PRICE: $55.50 SRP
DECALS: Five options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


During 1941 Germans troops discovered that their wheeled transport vehicles were unsuitable for the muddy "Rasputitsa" conditions that marked the beginning and end of the Russian winter. Only halftracks were able to operate in these conditions, but removing them from their operational purposes for supply duties would have been unworkable. Instead, Germany began to build half-tracked versions of their Opel, Daimler-Benz and Ford trucks by removing their rear axles and placing new driveshafts connected to Panzer I track assemblies with Carden Lloyd type suspension assemblies. The Panzer I was out of production at this point, and existing track parts could be used for cost effective conversion of the trucks. The Carden Lloyd suspension was similar to that used by the Universal and Bren-gun carriers.

Most conversions were to Opel trucks, which proved successful in service - although they lacked the overall mobility of purpose-built halftracks. From 1943 the Germans equipped some Maultier trucks with armored bodies, designated SdKfz 4. Some of these were armed with 10 tubed rocket launcher Panzerwerfer 42, and were designated SdKfz. 4/1.


Not that long ago, Dragon released a very nice Opel Blitz truck kit. It is no real surprise that it would be the basis for this equally nice Maultier kit. Like that kit, it has full engine detail and so you will find many of the same sprues as with the earlier one. This time, the rear suspension details are very different as it includes the Panzer I running gear.

As with the earlier kit, the hood can be posed open as can the cab doors. This one has a new bed with separate side panels. Dragon's Magic Tracks individual track links are included for the rear running gear. The kit also comes with a full set of window masks to help ease the job of painting. The full load of features from the Dragon PR folks is listed below.

- Newly tooled Maultier rendered w/full detail
- Intricate fuel tank mounted on newly produced chassis
- Fully detailed cargo bed can be assembled open/closed
- Delicate side and tailgate w/great detail
- Delicately detailed cargo compartment
- Fully detailed chassis
- Delicate engine represented
- Realistic road wheels assembled from separate in separate parts
- Sprockets and idler wheels rendered w/accurate detail
- Realistic engine hood formed from multiple parts w/louver detail
- Detailed radiator cover w/filler cap
- Accurately shaped front fenders
- Slide-molded engine hood frame
- Realistic engine hood covers can be assembled open/closed
- Detailed dashboard and driver's compartment
- Intricate driver's seat w/realistic cloth pattern
- Driver's door can be assembled open/closed
- Delicate wheels w/authentic tire tread pattern
- Includes clear lenses for headlamps and spotlights
- Finely detailed vehicle tools
- Highly detailed Magic Tracks reproduced

Five different markings options are provided in the kit . Starting on the top row is a truck from Panzer Grenadier Regiment 33 on the Eastern Front in 1943. In fact all of the Panzer Tan vehicles are from the eastern front during 1943/44. The winter camo one is from 4. Panzer Division while the other uncamouflaged one is from an unknown unit. The one with the green bits is from Panzer Grenadier Regiment 12. The last one in Panzer Grey with the big white numbers is from a training unit in Germany during 1942.


If you are still holding on to the old Italeri kit and assuming the rubber tires in that haven't eaten away at any plastic touching it, you might want to relegate that to the sales table as this one is superior in just about every way.



August 2012

My thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local retailer or on-line store.

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