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CyberhobbyDragon
Sd.Kfz.7 8t Late Production
Cyberhobby/Dragon 1:35 Scale Kit #6562
Review by Terry Ashley

Dragon
Introduction:

As with many vehicles, the construction of the Sd.Kfz.7 8ton half track was also simplified in later models for quicker and easier construction as the German industrial capacity came under more strain from the Allied bombing campaign.

The late production Sd.Kfz.7 had a simplified driver’s compartment with revised instrument panel and other modifications such as squared off fenders for easier manufacture. There was also late production style road wheels with a different hub design and modified later tracks again with simplified track links with just one lightening hole in the “shoe” and a revised hub design on the front wheel.

The Kit:

My initial review was based on information on hand at the time, but additional information has been made available which show some of my initial conclusion were incorrect. There for the review below has been amended to reflect the new information available.

The kit is labeled “Late Production” but it would be better as "Later Production" as it lacks some of the true “Late Production” features such as the road wheels and track but includes the revised cab, fenders and rear flat bed tray.

Included on the sprues are a few parts from the previous kits giving you some duplicates such as the engine bay sides and hood, the cab floor, bulkhead and seats which means you have to be careful to use the correct parts fro this kit. The rest can be added to the spares box.

DS Tyres
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Etched parts
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Clear parts
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The standard of moulding is extremely good with clean crisp parts that did not have any flash apparent with just a few pin marks and the usual small moulding lines and many small plastic knock out nodes on the parts which requires a bit of care to remove on some of the smaller parts but the additional cleanup here results in overall cleaner parts free of blemishes.

Dimensionally the kit matches available 1:35 plans and data nicely with any discrepancies well within acceptable tolerances

The kit gives you a full Maybach HL62TUK 6 cylinder engine and gearbox as well as the full chassis with rear mounted winch as well as the new wooden panels for the rear cargo bay as well as some extra 155mm howitzer rounds to provide some cargo.

While the kit is very well done overall it is not without some issues as are most kits and I will simply present the facts here as always and it’s up to the individual to take or leave these as they see fit.

Chassis/Gearbox:

The main chassis frame is one large moulding that includes five cross members and is quite an impressive moulding with the detail on all sides is crisply done. There is some mould seams on the insides to be cleaned up, but as these are difficult to see after assembly you could even not bother.

Added to the chassis are the rear suspension components and leaf springs and apart from cleaning up the fine mould seams everything fitted perfectly without the need for any trimming. At the front is the single suspension leaf spring with the correct contours and is moulded solid and not designed to articulate. Added to this is the large suspension stabiliser with front axle and a very fine steering arm that needs care removing from the sprues and cleaning up the fine mould seam.

The front wheels are not designed to be movable and are fixed in the neutral position but you could modify the position of the axle stubs with a little work if you wanted to show the wheels turning.

The inner chassis frame (part B57) is another impressive moulding with cleanly rendered details and you have to fit the two part muffler and exhaust pipes inside the frame. This requires you to feed the pipe and half the muffler into the frame “before” gluing the muffler halves together, don’t glue the muffler before hand or you will never get this inside the frame. This means you can’t clean up the join line on the muffler but it’s not easily visible after assembly so isn’t a problem.

The two part final drive housings and the steering arm linkages plus a few smaller fittings are added to the chassis along with the 2 compressed air tanks and 4 part winch assembly. This is nicely detailed but lacks the 5 prominent cable guide pins around the cable drum and these can be added from thin wire or sprue. The kit doesn’t include the tow cable either so you will have to source some thread or braided wire for this to finish off.

At the back is the rear chassis bulkhead with separate parts for the large towing pintle, the compressed air outlet and tow cable rollers and guides as well as the large tow cable hook. The rear section of the exhaust pipe is also provided but you will have to drill this out for a better appearance.

The gearbox has just 2 parts plus the 2 brake drums and the gearbox is quite basic lacking many of the large bolts and other details of the actual gearbox but as this is all but hidden after assembly this is probably not really an issue.

Engine:

The full Maybach HL62TUK 6 cylinder engine is included with the engine block in two halves with separate lower sump cover and upper rocker cover as well as separate parts for some of the engine accessories. Some of the details are such as the intake manifold is included with the engine block and lacks a little definition while the separate exhaust manifold is a little on the thin side compared to the actual manifold.

The separate carburettor has the intake pipe that mates with the air cleaners located on the engine bay side panel along with the front fan and belt pulleys and overall it is a good representation of the Maybach engine but there is scope for adding the finer details as well as the associated plumbing applicable to any engine.

There are additional parts to be added to the engine later during assembly after the firewall has been added which we will get to later.

You shouldn’t fit the engine to the chassis until after the front fenders are added later in step 9 but the gearbox and large fuel tank can be added earlier while assembling the chassis.

Running Gear:

Starting with the front wheels (and spare), the tyres are in the Dragon DS vinyl with a “normal” plastic rear insert and one piece cast “star” wheel hub. The tread pattern on the tyres very nicely depicts the wartime diamond pattern but the tread doesn’t extend quite far enough around the shoulder as seen on photos of this tread pattern. This is only marginal and while the instruction drawings show the correct tread it would probably not be noticeable on the kit unless you carry around a pic of the actual tyre.

You also need to take care when eliminating the join between the vinyl and plastic wheel insert as these will sand at different rates if sanding is needed, but being on the inside it may be easier to leave the join as it comes as it’s not that prominent in any case.

The main issues are with the wheel hub and it should be noted there are about five different hub cap designs used on the 8ton wheels with these hubs having one of those designs. The late style wheel hubs don’t include the grease nipple seen on the earlier hubs and as Dragon didn’t include this anyway they have the hubs okay for this version.

The rear of the actual cast “star” hub is hollow but the kit hub is moulded solid and doesn’t represent the real hub at all well. The back of the wheel hubs cab be easily seen as the 8ton sits quite high off the ground but there is little you can do to correctly represent the hollow hub design other than use aftermarket wheels if this is of concern to you?

The drive sprockets are in 2 parts with an additional etched tread plate strip for around the central step ring, but take care as this strip is not mentioned in the instructions for the sprocket assembly in step 6 but only gets a mention later in step 13.

The sprockets have the correct 14 drive rollers and these are correctly offset on the outer sprocket facets which mean you need to take care to fit the appropriate sprocket on the correct side, parts B20, B24 on the right and parts B26, B19 on the left. This has the drive rollers positioned forward on the facets on either side for the correct position.

On the sprocket hub there should be three small holes around the central hub which can easily be added but the central step ring is quite oversized without any tread plate pattern on the inside. The additional etched tread plate strip to be added to the outside of the step ring only compounds the thickness of the ring also leaving a gap around the outer etched plastic join which is not easy to eliminate.

The etched strip is best annealed by running through a candle flame to allow it to be bent easier around the step but the strip is also a little too long and I had to trim about 0.75mm off this for it to fit snugly around the plastic ring. This would have been better represented entirely in etched metal for a better scale appearance as well as allowing the tread plate to be shown on both sides and cutting away the moulded on plastic step and just using the etched step is one option to improve the appearance of the step.

There should also be a series of round rivet heads around the insides of the sprocket lip which you can add from this plastic card discs punched out using a punch and die set and the small fillets are a little on the thick side if you are really picky.

The road wheels as mentioned are the early style and not correct for the “late production” 8ton other than those seen on the prototype vehicle in 1944. The later style wheels have a different hub cap design which is quite distinguishable from the earlier style and it’s a pity these are not included.

The Zgw.50/360/180 tracks are the same individual link “magic track” as included in the previous Dragon 8ton kits and photos indicate these were used on the later production 8tons. While the tracks are packed loose there is some cleanup still needed on the links before assembly. There is a small pour lip on both the link and pad to be trimmed, the pad will not fit flush unless this is trimmed and there is also two small pin marks on the inside of each track link to be removed. The wheels will hide most of these but they will show on the track lengths between the wheels are removing these will result in a cleaner appearance.

Assembly of the track links follows the normal procedure for German half-track links where you slip the pins from one link into the recesses on the next to be held in place by the track pad. You need to be careful not to use too much glue to allow the links to articulate after assemble which they do nicely and fit snugly around the drive sprockets for very good looking track runs.

Early pattern Dragon rack links and assembled links
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Late style track from the Trumpeter 8ton kits included for reference

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Fenders/Engine Compartment:

The front fenders are moulded in one piece with the front body and tow hitch included and has the correct three flat rivets at the front of each fender and the side angles of the fenders are also portrayed correctly. There are some fine mould seam lines to be removed but otherwise it’s ready to go, there are no underside fender supports which I presume will be in the inevitable etched update sets released for the kit? One nice inclusion is the heat exchanger pipe added under the right fender and you just need to drill out the end of the pipe that exits the side lip of the fender to improve the appearance.

The large radiator housing has the front louvers and mesh moulded as one closed unit and not open but we are yet to see this feature rendered correctly in any half-track kit so can’t single this out for any more comment than the others. At the top is the “KRAUSS-MAFFEI” name plate embossed but the panel is bevelled either side of the name plate and not flush as seen in all photos of the Krauss-Maffei produced Sd.Kfz.7s, those produced by Borgward do show this bevelling so there may be a bit of cross over here.

At the top is the separate radiator cap and there is the inside radiator coaming and the radiator housing fits neatly between the fenders without any problems. The side steps are separate parts with etched tread plate panels added as well as other smaller items best left off until later in construction to avoid damage. These include the head lights with separate clear lenses, finely moulded width indicator posts and rear view mirror post as well as the Notek light which is a little undersized along with an etched mounting but you don’t get the pin for the front towing hitch for some reason?

The two side compartment panels have the closed louvers and T clips moulded in place but there are separate fine grab handles added for a bit of detail definition, these panels fit neatly to the sides of the radiator housing and rear fender floor panel. Added to the side panels is the compartment hood which is cleanly moulded and fits without any problems.

Cab:

The new cab consists of the forward firewall, cab floor plate, side panels plus the seats and rear cab wall with additional smaller details added.

The firewall is nicely detailed with the two front supports, but still has the early style horn and not the smaller later style as well as the oil/fuel filters and tyre inflation valves on the engine side. The dash board supports for the separate panel and central instrument panel on the cab side but the panel is the early style from the previous Dragon 8ton kits and not the correct revised later style. The actual late style instrument panel has additional dials and other minor alterations which wouldn't be that difficult to modify and I have included a reference image here showing the panel differences. Note the actual dials a different, not just an extra one added.

Reference image showing the early and later style instrument panels.
Note, the instruments may not be authentic in these museum rebuilds?

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The cabin floor has fine tread plate included with separate hand brake and gear shift levers as well as small brake and clutch pedals but the accelerator pedal is still missing being just a small spot on the floor where it should go? There is also the steering column and finely moulded steering wheel with the column fitting through the recess in the floor.

The two part crew seat has the correct division between the driver’s and passengers sections with new flat panels for the cab sides and the top panel between the dash board and engine firewall and care is needed to align this to the two side panels to keep the join seam as small as possible but again the fit is good. Added to the floor section are the new square profile fenders with etched steps added between these and the front wheel fenders after the two sections are fitted to the chassis.

Added to the top panel is the clear plastic windshield with small internal wiper motors and etched wiper blades. Included in the kit are painting masks to aid in painting the windshield frames with masks for both sides of the windshield and it would be best to leave the etched wiper blades off until after painting the windshield. There is a problem with the paint masks as the left one does not take into account the frame for the lower fixed section on screen and you will have to cut the mask accordingly to fit the clear windscreen frames.

The full cab assembly is then attached to the lower chassis and again the fit is good without any problems but it is advisable to test fit as always before gluing to make sure everything is aligned correctly. Once attached there is additional piping and the hood V support added between the firewall and engine/radiator to finish off the engine compartment.

Rear Cargo Bay:

This is entirely new for this kit and has the large floor with separate side and rear panels and all these have very nicely done wood panelling with subtle wood grain and no hint of pin marks anywhere.

There are smaller details added to the side panels such as latches and the two rear wood slat bench seats while on the is the underside spare wheel rack and you should install the spare wheel before attaching the rack as you can’t fit this later, there is also a couple of bed mounting brackets.

There is a large inner storage “box” also made from separate wood panels and again have nice texturing without any pin marks and the tray side panels can be show lowered to expose the lower storage compartments in the “box”. You are provided with a selection of 155mm rounds from the sFH18 kit to add to these compartments if you wish.

The canvas cover frame is supplied but not the actual canvas cover which is seen on most photos of active late 8ton vehicles, you could make this from tissue or wait for the inevitable resin sets to come along. Added to the rear wall of the inner “box” are racks for 12 Kar98 rifles but as with the previous kits you only get 2 rifles for the racks and you’ll have to find the other 10 elsewhere if you want to fill the racks.

Decals:

The small decal sheet is well printed with four blank number plates (2 front, 2 rear) and a selection individual numbers to basically make any number plate plus a few arm of service insignias.
There are also a selection data panels and stencilling to add as required.

There are 3 marking options included in the instructions; all marked as unidentified units which is quite common with Dragon kits leaving the actual unit research up to the modeller.

One of the options shows an all over grey scheme and considering the late production vehicles were only produced from 1944 this is hard to believe with all vehicles of that period finished in overall dark yellow with or without green/brown cam schemes applied.
  • Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front 1944
    Dragon
  • Unidentified Unit, Western Front 1945
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  • Unidentified Unit, Western Front 1944
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Conclusion:

As mentioned the additional information obtained shows the early style suspension and track was used on the later production 8tons allowing you to build a basically accurate later half-track, but there are a few alterations still required. The instrument panel will need updating as well as the horn should you be showing the engine compartment open and you'll have to find the extra Kar98s to fill the racks.

The kit has excellent production standards including clean crisp details, little or no flash/pin marks and builds easily due to the very good fit of the parts overall. Also included are a few ‘extras’ to fill the rear cargo bay if used to tow the 150mm sFH 18 Howitzer, this being one of its primary functions.

The additional reference information alleviates most of the previous concerns but it would have been nice if the later style road wheels and track was included here as well as with the later Flak 8tons with numerous photos showing the later wheels and track fitted to those vehicles.

Highly Recommended

8ton prototype lateFootnote: A very common photo of a "Late Production" with early style road wheels and track is in fact that of the Prototype "Late" taken in front of the factory in 1944. This shows the main feature missing from the kit, the large canvas cover which is seen fitted in nearly all photos of active late 8ton half tracks.


The Sprues:

Click on thumbnails for larger view
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Detail images:
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References:
Halbketten Zugkraftwagen 8t Sd.Kfz.7/1/2
AFV Super Detail Photo Vol.9
Published by Model Art Co.Ltd.
Book
Sd.Kfz.7 in detail
Special Museum Line No.36

Wings & Wheels Publications
ISBN 80-86416-60-7
book
Halftrack Vehicles of the
German Army 1395-1945

Schiffer Military History
ISBN: 0-88740-758-7
book
Allied & Axis No.21
Ampersand Publishing
Sd.Kfz.7, 8-ton
KM m 11 halftrack
Book
German Medium Half-track
Prime Movers
1934-1945

Reinhard Frank
Schiffer Military History
ISBN 0-7643-0263-9
book
German Half-Tracks
Panzer 12
Argonauts Publications
Tokyo, Japan
Book
Thanks to my credit card and the excellent service from Hobbyeasy for the review kit.



Page created August 25, 2009
Page Updated Sept 6, 2009
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