Gepanzerte Zugkraftwagen Sd.Kfz.7
|Kit #: 72052||
- F. Giovagnorio
This vehicle was built on the Sd.Kfz.7 chassis to serve as a tractor for the 8.8 cm Flak 18, which, in the very early version, was conceived as an "anti-fortification" (Bunker Buster) gun. Probably, no more than 36 Gepanzerte 7 were built from 1938 to 1940, most (if not all) assigned to 525, 560 & 605 sPz.Jag.Abt. seeing action on the French front. The vehicle carried the gun crew and their equipment, while an armored structure on the rear probably carried ammunition. There were certainly some differences between single vehicles. The driver's cab and the posterior armored structure were open at the roof, although some photos show various self-made protections applied in cold weather. At least one photo shows the existence of a door allowing crew to access the posterior compartment.
Parts are finely cast in the typical cream-colored resin, with no short shots, pin holes or warps, but with some thin flash that will be easy to clean up, a bit excessive in some areas, although it is probable that the one I am reviewing is a pre-production sample, hence the final kit might have a better quality than mine.
There are many pieces inside the bag, which can be divided into 2 sub-assemblies: one for a "normal" Sd.Kfz.7 (without the superstructure) and another specific for the "up-armored" version.
The first sub-assembly is an amalgam of pieces cast from commercial versions of this vehicle. The largest piece, cast after having assembled the original pieces from the donor kit, is a single block containing the whole lower hull with front mudguards, suspensions and inner roadwheels. This simplifies assembling and saves the modeller from fiddling with a lot of pieces, but, because of the physical limitations of resing casting, has the space between hull and wheels occupied by an amorphous resin block. This block should be barely visible after adding the outer wheels and tracks, but I must admit that is something very awkward at first sight.
Nice detail on sprockets, idlers and outer roadwheels, coming from the same donor kit. The tracks come with four pre-assembled parts to be mounted around sprockets and idlers.
The anterior wheels share the same problems with those from the original kit, namely the wrong shape of the tyres which look rather toy-like; there is no thread pattern at all so the modeller must carve one, or better substitute the whole piece.
Lateral mudguards are acceptable.
Arriving to the second sub-assembly, we find the pieces specifically designed for the Gepanzerte version. GBModelli followed the pictures and schemes, which produced the most probable version with open at the roof compartments, with a door between the cabin and the posterior armored compartment.
The last sprue contains smaller pieces like lamps, steering wheel, vision blocks.
The Gepanzerte version of the Sd.Kfz.7 was absent from the Braille Scale world, so this is a welcome addiction.
GBModelli might consider releasing the specific parts for this version as a stand-alone conversion kit, which would be cheaper for modellers having a Sd.Kfz.7 in their stash.
Preview sample provided by GB Modelli.