Roden is launching a new series of 8-wheeled armored cars, with this Sd.Kfz. 231 the first to hit the streets. This is the first time this vehicle has been made in plastic in our scale, and it is superb.
The hull is obviously designed to provide for future versions of this vehicle. The molding quality is excellent, with no flash or sinkmarks visible. Some of the tools are molded separate (I'm not real happy with the shovel, but the jack is great), but unfortunately, some are also molded onto the hull nose. And to make it worse, the nose is on an angle, so the relief on these tools is poor. They will need to be sanded off, and replaced. The other details are molded very well, especially the machinegun barrel. All of the view ports are molded closed, as are the various hatches around the hull, which is not surprising.
What I don't like, however, is the closed turret hatch. For those modelers talented at scratch-building, it should be fairly easy to remove the hatch, and make one from scratch. I'm sure that the forthcoming etched brass detail sets will have replacement hatches. Aside from this oversight, the detail on the parts is very well done.
For some reason, the suspension parts are molded in black plastic, which makes them difficult to scan. The real parts look much better than this picture. The wheels are excellent; I like the hub and tread detail very much. It looks as though the suspension is designed to allow the wheels to turn, but since I have no intention of "driving" my 231 around the house, I'll build it static. There are a couple of jerry cans included, which is great, and also several spare infantry helmets. At least I think they are helmets. The instructions don't indicate what they are, or precisely where they are to be glued, but the boxart is more useful for this. The helmets lack the front lip (rim), which makes them look strange. I think it would be best to cut of the back rim, and then they would look like excellent paratrooper helmets. Oh, there are two of this sprue included in the kit.
The box has beautiful, color, four-view drawings on the back. The instructions are very well done, and beginners should have no problems building this kit. There are markings included for four vehicles: two SS, one Wehrmacht, and one Luftwaffe (Hermann Goering Regiment). The decals look very good: thin, and sharply printed.
I haven't yet spent a great deal of time researching this vehicle, but from preliminary measurements and investigation, it looks very accurate in size and details. If this kit is indicative of things to come from Roden, I think we will be very happy with this manufacturer's forthcoming kits.