|Kit # 7047||Preview by Doug Chaltry - 172tankmodeler(at)comcast(dot)net|
of only two kits available of the Sd.Kfz. 234/4, this kit
is OK, but its horrible PaK 40 relegates it to second
place after the Roden kit.
The main vehicle parts will look familiar to anyone with the other Italeri Sd.Kfz. 234 kits, as it is mostly the same. The primary difference with these parts is the upper hull, which has been modified to accomodate the PaK 40. Interior detail is sparse, and limited to only some bulkheads, storage boxes, and very poor driver's seats. Although the gun will block much of the interior view once mounted in place, there will still be a bit visible, so I think some effort will be required here to correct and improve upon the interior. Luckily, there is a photoetched detail set available from PART that includes many parts that will greatly improve this kit. Exterior hull details are basic, but not bad. Some pioneer tools are molded as separate parts, which is good, and others are molded in poor relief on the hull parts, which is not good. The small tie-downs molded onto the hull corners should be carved off and replaced, though the armored viewport covers look pretty good, assuming you want them closed. The exhaust pipes should be carved off and replaced, and the mufflers could stand to be improved a bit by the modeler as well.
As with the other Italeri kits, optional parts are included to make a simplified chassis with workable wheels for those who want a quick build toy. The standard chassis parts are fairly well done and look good when built, though they lack some smaller suspension details seen in other kits. The wheels are nicely done, probably as good as possible for plastic parts, but for best results they should be replaced by resin aftermarket wheels, several designs of which are available.
For those of you familiar with the old ESCI kits, this sprue may look familiar to you, as it is the PaK 40 that is included with the ESCI (now Italeri) German Guns Set. This of course means that it is pretty bad. While the detail on the gun is nothing special, the real drawback is the fact that for some inexplicable reason, the gun is molded in the recoil position, as though it is caught in the act of firing. Perhaps if you want to build a diorama depicting it thusly, this gun may not be too bad. But even so, if you can afford to buy a replacement gun, that would work best. Right now, the only PaK 40 sold as a separate kit is from Roden, which is pretty good. Other potential replacement guns can be obtained from other kits. By the way, the figures included here are poorly detailed, and in no way will fit within the confines of the kit's fighting compartment.
The decals are nicely printed, and include license plates for four vehicles. Three paint schemes are shown on the rear of the box, all of unknown units, so these markings are rather generic in nature.