The 8 wheeled heavy armoured car Sd.Kfz.232 was developed by Büssing-NAG in 1934 and was quite advanced for it's time with 8 wheel independent suspension, 8 wheel drive and 8 wheel steering with 3 forward and 3 reverse gears powered by a 155 hp (116 kW), eight-cylinder Büssing-NAG L8V-G petrol engine which gave a top road speed of 85 km/h (53 mph) and a range of 300 km (170 miles).
The Sd.Kfz.232 8-Rad was armed with a turret mounted 2cm KwK30 cannon and co-axial 7.92mm MG34 with a crew of 4 and initially carried the Fu.11 radio with large frame antenna and about 600 Sd.Kfz.232/263 "Funkspähwagen" were produced between 1936 and 1943 when replaced by the Sd.Kfz.234. Despite being replaced the Sd.Kfz.232/263 soldiered on with upgraded radio communication equipment and the frame antenna replaced with more modern and compact wire antennas.
Tamiya first released the Schwerer Panzerspähwagen 8-Rad Sd.Kfz.232 (kit #35036) back in 1974 and was quite a detailed kit for its day with separate suspension components and nicely done hull/turret details and this newly reincarnated kit is essentially the same as the 1974 kit with the inclusion of sprues V and W incorporating updated parts for better detail as well as a small etched fret and aluminium 2cm barrel.The kit consists of 259 parts in light beige plastic, 20 stainless steel etched parts and an aluminium 2cm barrel along with the decal and instructions sheets.
Standard of plastic moulding is still quite good considering the age of the moulds and while there is a little flash about the place it certainly is not rampant as you might assume on 35 year old moulds. There are a few pin marks to contend with but again nothing excessive but some of the moulding seams have grown a little requiring care during cleanup but other than that the parts are in quite good shape.
Some of the surface details are lacking compared to contemporary kits today with the absence of hull and turret weld seams the most notable omission and some of the bolt heads are not that well defined but again we are talking of a 35 year old kit here and considering that the detail is more than respectable.
Dimensionally the kit matches available data and the 1:35 plans in both the Panzer Tracts No.13 Panzerspaehwagen Armored Cars Sd.Kfz.3 to Sd.Kfz.263 and Ground Power Magazine No.073 perfectly in all areas apart from the barrel length as noted below with any other discrepancies well within accepted tolerances.
As mentioned there are two new sprues with many of the finer detail parts redone to include better details and this includes items such as the rear engine intake louvers, head, tail and Notek lights, co-ax MG34, pioneer tools, jerry cans and storage boxes as well as the metal parts. There is also new later style turret vision port covers as an option and a couple of new figures to add more to the kits value.
The hull is split in two halves, the upper and lower hull tub which has separate side entry doors and all the suspension components as separate parts.
There is the central transmission made up of 3 parts and each of the four differential/suspension assemblies are made up of five parts each although the suspension is not movable and the steering is fixed in the neutral position. Due to the design on the suspension it wouldn't be too much trouble to reposition the wheels if you wanted to include a bit of animation in the final model.
The four leaf springs and mounting axles are also separate as are the connecting drive shafts and the steering linkage arms to give a quite nicely detailed suspension set up but there is also plenty of scope for adding additional details if you wish.
As mentioned the side entry doors are separate parts but the hinges are fixed in the closed position and as there is no interior it's best to fix these as intended in the closed position but being separate allows for better definition and if you did want to included an interior?
Each of the main wheels is in three parts, the full tyre and wheel rim/hub plus the inside tyre section at the back which traps an inner disc between the wheel parts that is glued to the axle stubs allowing the wheels to rotate but you have to be careful with the glue here if you want the wheels movable.
Detail on the wheel rims/hubs and tyre tread is best described as adequate and not that well defined by today's standards but will do the job unless you use resin replacements such as those from Hussar Productions (set #HSR35053) or Royal Models (set #391)
The front and rear underguards are also provided as separate parts to be added after all the suspension has been fixed in place.
The upper hull is one large moulding with the vision port covers and rear side access hatches separate but the only actual opening is for the turret ring as the forward and rear upper access hatches are moulded in place. Detail on the hull is quite crisp but fairly basic as there are no weld seams or other surface detail and some additional work here will improve the overall appearance.
All the vision ports are moulded with their corresponding rain guard above and these are simply glued in place around the hull as are the rear side access hatches and rear engine louvred panel which is new with better defined louvers detail than the old panel.
Other items added to the hull include the newly tooled head and tail lights with separate blackout slit covers and there is also etched mesh to add over the front lights as an alternative. All the pioneer tools have also been redone with finer detail but still have their clips and brackets moulded in place with the tools. The small lifting eyes located around the hull are provided as etched parts for better definition and these are easily bent to shape and fitted to the hull with a dab of super glue.
There is also new number plates and rear convoy light as well as the spare wheel bracket for the spare wheel provided with the kit. Added to the hull side are the basic turn indicator assemblies and small position lights as well as the large rod guard added over these parts. Care will be needed cleaning the mould seams from the guards to avoid any breakages in the process.
Added to the hull front is the large additional armour plate with the side mountings with cleanly depicted holes and the top V support with the Notek light fitted in alternate positions depending on the decal option being used, so check the painting guide for this as you go.
The four large fender sections fit neatly to the hull sides with additional panels for between the wheels and between the two fenders themselves along with numerous storage boxes added to the fenders as well as the four width indicator posts in plastic.
At the back are the two large exhaust mufflers and covers but these are still the solid covers from the original kit and would have been better represented in perforated etched metal, maybe an after market set will include these?
This has the upper turret shell and lower turret ring as separate parts along with separate top and rear access hatches, vision port covers and the front plate and mantlet.
Detail on the turret shell is again quite plain without any weld seams other other surface detail while the front plate and mantlet have the appropriate bolt heads included.
The rear hatches have separate hinges which allow you to have the doors open or closed as you wish and the top hatch can also be shown open or closed, there are some shallow pin marks on the inside of these hatches to be eliminated if you do show them open?
The vision port covers are all separate but are not designed to be shown open and there are alternate covers for the forward side ports, the original hinged covers with rain guard included and the later cast port cover (as on the 222/251 etc.) allowing you to build an early or mid variant, note the late production 232s had the cast port covers on the hull as well as the turret in place of the earlier hinged port covers. Check the painting guide for which cover goes with which decal option provided.
The front plate traps the mantlet in place allowing this to elevate and you are provided with a new aluminium 2cm KwK30 barrel but this lacks detail especially with the flash suppressor and front collar which are solid and lack any of the perforations and holes in the actual barrel. There is also another issue in that the aluminium barrel is 2.5mm too long compared to the Panzer Tracts No.13 Panzerspaehwagen Armored Cars Sd.Kfz.3 to Sd.Kfz.263 plans and the latest data on the 2cm KwK30 in Panzer Tracts No.2-1 Panzerkampwagen II Ausf.A-C.
While the metal barrel in perfectly round and the muzzle slightly drilled out the length issue and lack of muzzle detail sort of defeats the purpose and if you wanted to really add the detail a metal barrel offers the new 2cm KwK30 barrel from Lionmarc/Passions Models would be the pick of those available.
length Lionmarc/Passions Models 2cm KwK30 barrel
Also included is a new MG34 barrel section for the co-axial MG and this has considerable more detail than the original barrel provided and while you need to drill out the muzzle it has quite nice detail for a plastic MG34 barrel. Again if you wanted even more detail using any of the available metal MG34 barrels then either that from ABER (set #35 L-70) or Adlers Nest (set #ANM-35006) would be the choice.
to the MG34 barrel from the original Sd.Kfz.232 kit.
The large frame antenna mounting is added to the turret roof with the frame antenna added to this (do not glue) and to the two rear hull support posts and it's best not to fit these posts until fitting the frame antenna to ensure the correct alignment. Care fill be needed dealing with the moulding seams on the frame antenna to avoid any breakages but other than that it fits in place without fuss.
Included in the kit is the original Commander figure but this is best not spoken of in polite company along with a new standing figure with binoculars and the three quarter Commander figure for the turret hatch. Both these have quite well done uniform detail applicable for North African and the Balkan marking options but not really for the Kursk markings provided.
You also get two new Jerry Cans with separate spout and handles to use as required with the kit or in a diorama setting.
These are the usual Tamiya exploded view drawings that are very clear and easy to follow but as with any instructions you should study these before any assembly to avoid any mistakes or misinterpretation.
The decal sheet is nicely printed and includes a selection of balkenkreuz in four styles, tac markings, number plate vehicle registrations, Afrika-Korps palm trees and vehicle names for the four vehicles included as well as some small tyre pressure stenciling.
The four marking options are:
While this kit is nudging 35 years old it still scrubs up okay only lacking some of the finer details found in current generation kits (hull/turret welds etc.) and the inclusion of the re-tooled smaller detail parts as well as the metal parts makes for a respectable kit if built from the box.
As with any kit there is room for improvement but being the only plastic Sd.Kfz.232 8-Rad game in town it's good to see this kit available again along with the minor improvements.
Highly recommended for German armour fans.
Panzer Tracts No.13
|Ground Power Magazine
GALILEO Publishing Co.,Ltd
Schiffer Military History Vol.66
Panzerspähwagen in Action