MK72(MPK)

Zugkraftwagen 1t (Sd.Kfz.10) Demag "D7"

Kit # 7201

Construction Review by Rob Haelterman - heman_148(at)hotmail(dot)com


Pictures from Henk of Holland website, used with permission.

History and version

For the history of this vehicle I gladly refer to my earlier preview. I still haven't been able to tell if this is an Ausf. A or an Ausf. B, but I guess this is a rather academical question as both vehicles appear to be externally identical.
Also note that the DAK version of this kit (7202) is the same as this one, except for some optional parts that are to be fitted or left off, but which are all on the same sprue.

The only thing I would like to add to my earlier preview is that it seems that the direction indicators were left off from March 1943 onwards, which would require a very minor modification to the kit.

 

Assembly

The first thing I noticed when assembling this kit is that it reacts very well to my favorite glue, MEK, which means I had to use it sparingly. This observation is probably linked to the styrene being somewhat softer than on other injection plastic kits.
Assembly starts with the running gear, which follows an approach that has become the standard on halftrack kits these days: you get a one piece rear row of six half roadwheels, a one piece inner row with three half roadwheels connected with an arc (which becomes invisible after assembly) and three separate half road wheels for the outer row. A slight interference was noted between the front roadwheel and drive sprocket on the right hand side, which might be due to the way the kit is engineered, or my own clumsiness. (The problem was not present on the left hand side, as the roadwheels are a bit further back there, as on the real vehicle.)
As with all manufacturers (Dragon, Revell, Maco, ...) that follow this approach, all wheels are aligned at the same angle, which is technically possible, but not very likely. (Dragon has the same issue with their Sherman wheels too, by the way.) Make sure you align the holes in the outer roadwheels with the inner ones.

An innovative feature is the way the tracks have to be assembled: they are single lengths of styrene that have to wrapped around the running gear. While at first a bit sceptical, I am now fully convinced that this system mates the best of both the link and length and rubber/DS band worlds. It is very quick, assures perfect alignment of the track units, and - being styrene - glues very easily. I would go for it any time !
That said, you first have to cut off two track links. The reason for this is unknown to me, but doesn’t otherwise detract from construction.
There are some ejector marks on the inside of the track, which will mostly be hidden by the roadwheels.
The track units are separate entities, which allows you to put them aside as long as you want, making the painting of the hull easier.

After the tracks, the lower hull and driver's compartment are to be assembled. The most annoying point here the sink & ejector mark on the dashboard. Don't ask me why, but I forgot to fix it until after assembly. Why follow the easy road, huh ?
I guess that if you fix it before assembly it won't be nearly as hard as when you follow my approach....
Detail is very decent in the driver's compartment, but a small effort that will improve this area is to replace the strip of plastic below the "cavity" on the right side of the dashboard with a handrail made from brass. I also added a large saw (from a MarS accessory set) to the rear of the driver's compartment, as I noticed this on a lot of pictures of real vehicles.
Those suffering from AMS might want to add a brake and accelerator pedal and some other sundry bits.
A decal is provided for the dashboard, which is nice, but I would have preferred to have some relief added to the dashboard to really make the dials stand out.
I decided to separate the windshield from the rest of the cabin in order to position it in the folded down position, and cut off the width indicators for repositioning (see below: "accuracy").


The engine deck is nicely rendered, but suffers from an annoying seam-line running down the lateral engine gills. Very tedious work to clean that one up. Even then, I can still see traces of it on my finished model.
I was clumsy enough to shave of a cylindrical protuberance from the nose of the hood (part 4), mistaking it for a piece of sprue...

What I thought was a gap between the left fender and the box that covers the muffler (part 5) appeared to be there on the real vehicle; something Al pointed out to me when my model was already painted. Well, I comfort myself with the thought that most judges would think that the gap was just bad modeling, had I left it there.

Step 6 mentions the window insert that you have to fabricate yourself. My advice would be to keep this until most of the model is painted and weathered.
I thought the kit came without clear acetate, and made one from clear sheet. The kit Al Magnus built did come with clear acetate however, so it seems quite likely I lost mine.
The recess at the back of the windshield makes it very easy to put that piece of clear acetate in place.

The next steps have you add the wheels and suspension and the odd bit. Detail of the suspension is nice, but I noticed that pegs on part 24 in the drawings corresponded to holes on the plastic bits. As part 22 has holes as well, the pegged joint will become a butt joint in the end. The plastic being soft and reactive, this will not make it any less solid, you just have to practice more care when positioning these parts.

The wheels are made of two halves, the seam being where it is easily taken care off. What is less easily remedied is the ejector mark on the concave wheel face. The kit could have easily been engineered with the ejector mark somewhere else (the back face for instance).

A very thoughtful feature is the option between headlights with covers (the ones with horizontal slits) and hollowed out ones. While this is not mentioned in the manual, you can either leave the latter as such to simulate battle damage, or paint the insides silver and add a drop of Kristal Klear, Future or other transparent medium.

Width indicators are present (which is not the case in every small scale kit), but somewhat oversize. An easy fix would be to shave of the spherical end of each indicator and replace the shaft with thinner sprue.

After these steps, you proceed with the upper hull and driver's compartment. I noticed that there were some ejector marks on the inside of the walls of the rear compartment which only disappeared after a couple of minutes of gentle persuasion (and a couple of expletives).
Make sure to align the fenders when you mate the rear compartment to the rest of the body.

The hoola-hoop at the rear is a hoop for a K-Rolle, in case you wonder. (And, no, K-Rolle is not the Teutonic word for hoola hoop, it's some kind of barbed wire.) Some of the supports that are on the inside of the part need to be removed. This is not mentioned in the manual, but the end result is shown; even then I feel the transversal bar ought to be removed when compared to pictures of the real thing, but this would make for a very fragile part.

Lots of jerrycans are provided, most of them being for the DAK version. While the pairs are nice, each jerrycan is split in half, which leaves you with lots of difficult joints to fill and sides that in my opinion should be flatter than they are in the kit. The way the jerrycans are engineered also results in a jerrycan with only two handles, so you will need to add the middle one yourself. (The three handle system was a true revolution when this can was first put into production, allowing a soldier to either carry two full cans or four empty ones with his two hands.)
Incidentally, there are two types of jerrycans in the kit: with and without a mounting frame. As it happened, I chose the ones with a frame to fill in the small cargo box behind the driver. Very unlikely, but I only noticed this when the kit was already finished. I replaced them with the other jerrycans the kit provides. (Comparing pictures in this review will show the difference.)

The engineering of the tarp is also somewhat suboptimal, as it leaves you with a difficult seam. The best, and easiest, solution I could find was to cover it with some paper tissue, which not only took care of the seam but also gave some added texture to the canvas. Unlike what you might expect from the boxtop of the sister kit, only the folded down tarp is provided.

The only extra detail I added was a small mirror on the side of the driver's position.

 

Accuracy

I measured the overall dimensions of this kit, and compared it with the recent Panzer Tracts [1]. It appears that the kit is slightly overscale, with the length of the track units scaling out to 1/67, the total width near to 1/68 and the total length to 1/70. Front wheels are slightly under-scale, and appear to be close to 1/76.
I don't believe that these differences will be noticeable with the naked eye, however as the relative proportions and angles look correct.

What the casual observer might notice, on the other hand, is that the width of the tracks scales out to 281mm, which is almost spot on for a SdKfz251 (or Sd.Kfz 11 for that matter). The tracks of the Sd.Kfz.10 and Sd.Kfz.250 were 240mm in width.
Incidentally the Revell SdKfz251 tracks scale out to 252mm, which is almost the exact opposite problem as for this kit. If the track lengths weren't that different, one might think about swapping tracks.

Tracks: top Revell SdKfz251; bottom MPK SdKfz10


One further issue about the tracks: the MPK Demag has only 37 track links per side, instead of the 41 of the real vehicle. Not that I would suspect that anyone would actually bother counting them, but for the purpose of this review, I did.
A feature that is often overlooked is the staggering of the left and right hand set of road wheels. MPK did its homework, and the staggering is there.
The tire pattern that MPK gives you appears to be correct. As many variations existed, some aftermarket company might, in due time, release some alternative tires.

I noticed something strange when finishing the paintwork on my vehicle: the right wall of the cargo compartment does not have a ridge, like the other doors. None of my references indicate that this door was different and Peter of MPK confirmed that this was an error, not in the master, but in the mold, which he will try to fix.
As I noticed this at a very advanced stage of construction, I hesitated to correct the feature, and eventually did with some sprue sanded to shape.

Picture taken from the kit Al Magnus built, as this feature shows better on the light colors of the DAK version.

 

The "walls" of the drivers' compartment and rear cargo/troop compartment were sliding doors that had a noticeable slant, which is not present in the kit.

A picture of the real vehicle to compare with can be found here [4].

 

Some further nitpicking involves the following:

  1. the kit has the direction indicators fitted to windshield (part 13). On all pictures I have seen, they are fitted to the hull, which actually makes sense, as driving with the windshield folded down (as was often done) would render this equipment useless.
  2. All of the pictures and drawings I have, show a slightly different lay-out of the tools on the right fender.
  3. The rear fenders appear a bit more rounded in the pictures I have.
  4. The avid scratchbuilder might add some sundry bits to the inside of the vehicle, like pedals for the driver, the odd knob or handle and some fittings (like rifle racks) at the rear. The interior greatly differed from vehicle to vehicle.
  5. There should be a small reinforcement bar between the mudflap and the fender at the extreme rear of the vehicle.
  6. Troop carrying vehicles appear to have had some padding added to the rear benches to improve troop comfort.
  7. All pictures I have of the vehicle show the lateral engine gills slanted slightly backwards. This does not necessarily mean all vehicles would have this configuration, but it would at least be rare.

 

Painting and decals

At this stage, the vehicle is painted, and partially weathered. As I still haven't decided if I am going to display it in a diorama setting, I have refrained from further weathering. For the same reason I also chose to leave the decals off for the time being, except for the decal that provides the instrument panel. About that decal: I added it after construction and painting was complete. It would have been easier to leave the steering wheel off until the decal is in place.



Conclusion

For a company that is new to injection plastic kits, this is a real gem, which is far superior to the first releases of the "big names" like Revell, Dragon or Hasagawa, and even compares very favorable to their newest kits. Taken into account the difference in budgets between them, this is no mean feat at all.
Compared to the smaller companies that offer injection plastic kits, I have no qualms to state that the quality MPK offers easily surpasses them all, except for the Maco kits, which are fully comparable.
Furthermore, MPK took a daring approach with its styrene bendable tracks, which has fully proven itself in my opinion.

 

References

[1] Panzer Tracts 22-1, leichter Zugkraftwagen 1t (Sd.Kfz.10), Panzer Tracts, T.L. Jentz and H.L. Doyle

[2] Die Halbketten-Fahrzeuge des deutschen Heeres 1909-1945, Militärfahrzeuge 6, Motorbuch Verlag, W.J. Spielberger

[3] German light half-tracked Prime Movers 1934-1945, Schiffer, R. Frank

[4] http://www.primeportal.net/transports/alan_ranger/demag-d7_sd.kfz.10/

 

Thanks to MPK and Henk of Holland for the review sample.

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Article Last Updated: 31 December 2010

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