Zugkraftwagen 5t Sdkfz.6 Pionier

Kit #: 72567 Preview by Stephen Brezinski - sbrez1(at)comcast(dot)net
Edited by Al Magnus

The 1/72-scale Sd.Kfz 6 Zugkraftwagen 5-ton (towing motor vehicle) released in 2020 by ACE Models represents the Pioneer (Pionier) variant used to tow trailers of bridge pontoons and other heavy engineer equipment. Rather than an ammunition compartment like on the Sd.Kfz 6/1, this variant has an addition bench seat in the rear. Inside we see the cushioned seats with storage bins underneath the rear three seats. On the front fenders are the width indicators with a small mirror on the driver's side width indicator. The front wheels appear to have stamped rims like those used by the Sd.Kfz 11, rather than the spoked rims used by the larger Sd.Kfz 7.

The ACE Sd.Kfz 6/1 artillery prime mover kit 72568, pictured below, was not yet released when I built my model and wrote this review, but I very much look forward to getting it for use with the ACE 10.5-cm le.FH.18 kit. The main difference between the two model kits is the substitution of the ammunition compartment and doors on the side in lieu of the rear bench seat.

Printed in green, ACE gives us a large and accurate parts diagram and 3-view drawings showing painting and placement of the decal markings. On the last page are four 3-view diagrams showing painting and the markings. The assembly instructions appear very complex but I found them accurate and clear. There are a lot of parts, and assembly is complicated so please pay attention. One will need a sharp knife blade and some small and fine files to clean-up the parts before gluing. The parts fit well together with occasional use of filler putty.

Kit Parts

Inside the box are about 164 pale-gray, injection molded, styrene plastic parts on three sprue, plus two soft plastic band track. The gray plastic is a change from the white styrene of many of my other ACE kits. Molding quality is very good with no significant sinkholes on the kit parts and just a small amount of minor flash. Assessment of this model kit should be similar to the other Sd.Kfz. 6 kits by ACE Models. ACE typically uses short run molds that wear out with time, so the first kits are sharper and more defect free than the 500th kit molded. The kit's excellent parts diagram will be especially important since I found small sinkholes on the sprue obscuring the part numbers.

Sprue-C, above left, is particular to the Pionier halftrack and includes parts for the passenger area. Sprue-A, above right, is common to the three ACE Sd.Kfz. 6 kits and holds frame and cab parts. Molding quality appears sharp and largely defect free. At upper and lower right are the frame parts A2 & A3 providing a clear view of the torsion bar suspension arms.

Sprue-B, above, is common to the three ACE Sd.Kfz. 6 kits and carries the sprocket and roadwheels and the front rubber tires. The tires (parts B39 & B40) have very nice detail and molded in two parts (so as to have less chance for sink holes in the tire?). The soft plastic band track at far right appears well detailed. I have heard it's recommended to prime the track with paint first before mounting it (to prevent a chemical reaction of the two dissimilar plastics perhaps).

In the above photo, a comparison of the halftrack frames shows how far modeling has come since the early 1970's. On the 1/76 Airfix Sd.Kfz. 7 four-part frame (tan plastic), note that the roadwheels use a leaf spring suspension which was a feature of the Sd.Kfz. 7 during its production. The ACE Sd.Kfz. 6 frame, left most, is more than 15 parts and features torsion bar suspension which is in all those tubes traversing the frame. For the conversion we could simulate the torsion rod suspension or just leave it as is, since the suspension cannot be seen when the model is assembled and affixed to a base. Second from the right, and last on the right, are the frames from the ESCI and the Special Armour three-ton Sd.Kfz 11 kits for comparison.

Thank you, ACE, for doing homework to get a detailed suspension and steering, particularly with the design of the drive sprockets (parts B32, B35 & B38): very realistic in this scale in my opinion. Study the assembly well, as things can be confusing.

The ACE Sd.Kfz. 6 is modular with separate sprue for the suspension, frame and cab so as to easily offer model kits of other variants of the vehicle.

This tractor commonly towed trailers of engineering equipment such as bridge pontoons. ACE does not yet make one to my knowledge, but should. TP Model sells a 1/72 trailer with pontoon boat (kit T-72175) that would be appropriate for this tractor.


[1] German Army Semi-Tracks 1939-45, P. Chamberlain and H.L. Doyle, Bellona Handbook No. 2
[2] ACE Models website
[3] Panzer Tracts No.22-3 mittlerer Zugkraftwagen 5t (SdKfz 6), Schwerer Wehrmachtsschlepper, development and production from 1934 to 1945, Thomas L. Jentz and Hilary Louis Doyle
[4] German Medium Half-Tracked Prime Movers 1934-1945, Reinhard Frank, Schiffer Military History (1997)

Preview sample purchased by the author.

I purchased my Modelkrak and Trumpeter model kits at Tracks & Troops

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Article Last Updated: February 26 2022