Sd.Kfz. 263 (8-rad)
Kit # 708 Review by Doug Chaltry

This new armored command car from Roden is almost identical to their earlier Sd.Kfz. 231, which is to say that it is a very nice kit. This is the first time this vehicle has been made available to us in plastic, although both Al.By and MarS make superb examples of it in resin.

Most of the parts are the same as with the 231. The main hull sprue, as well as the wheel sprues are the same, but in place of the turret sprue, we have a new sprue of parts for the upper hull superstructure. The lower hull is obviously designed to provide for many versions of this vehicle, and this is the second one released. The molding quality is excellent, with very little flash, and no 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.

Once again, the commander's hatch is also molded closed, as is the rear superstructure hatch, which is unfortunate. For those modelers talented at scratch-building, it should be fairly easy to remove the hatches, and make replacements 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. One problem however, will be making the join line between the main hull and the upper superstructure disappear. Most photographs and artwork I have seen show this to be a smooth steel plate, with no join line at all. Someone posted a single photograph at Missing-Lynx showing a weld line demarcating the upper and lower superstructure, but this line was very fine, and would best be represented on the finished model by painting it on. Due to the presence of the visors and other details on this kit, it will be a very delicate process to fill and sand away the join line on the this model.

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 model 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. There are two copies 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 three vehicles: Poland 1939, France 1940, and Libya 1941. The decals look very good: thin, and sharply printed, but of course the two-color crosses are printed horribly out of register.

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.

Thank you very much to Roden for providing the review kit.

Back to Roden Kit List Back to Home Page
Article last updated: 29 June 2003