Tamiya 1/35 Sd.Kfz.7 8 Ton Semi-Track Kit First Look
By Ray Mehlberger
|Date of Review||March 2008||Manufacturer||Tamiya|
|Subject||Sd.Kfz.7 8 Ton Semi-Track||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||35148||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Neat German heavy half-track||Cons||Vague marking descriptions and currently Out of Production. Rubber band type tracks very poorly detailed|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$24.95 (back in 1999)|
The Sd.Kfz.7 (Sonderkraftfahrzeug 7) was a half-track military vehicle used by the German Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS during WWII.
Development of the Sd.Kfz.7 can be traced back to a 1934 requirement for an eight-ton (7.87 tons) half-track. The vehicle first appeared in 1938 and was destined to be used mainly as the tractor for the 8.8cm Flak gun and the 15cm sFH 18 150mm howitzer. The vehicle could carry gun crews of up to 12 men in theatre-type seats. The rear of the vehicle was an enclosed compartment for storage of ammunition. The tractor could tow loads up to 8,000kg (17,600lb) in weight. Most were fitted with a winch.
The use of half-track prime movers for artillery was common in the German forces, but not elsewhere. Compared to wheeled vehicles, half-tracks are more difficult to maintain and slower on roads. However, they often had superior off-road mobility.
Some Sd.Kfz.7’s were pressed into service by the Allies during and after the Second World War. An Italian manufactured variant was also built, and is easily recognized by it’s longer hood and right-hand drive steering.
The kit comes in a large tray and lid type box. The boxart shows a Sd.Kfz.7 with a driver and 7 passengers (included in the kit). It is in a base color of earth yellow with a green camouflage. The license plate number is WL-605030 for a ground Luftwaffe unit. No other markings appear on it. This is painted on Tamiya’s usual chalk white background that they use for most of their boxarts these days. A side panel of the box shows a Sd.Kfz.7 profile pulling an 88mm. It is in overall panzer gray and mention is made that the 88 is sold separately (of course).
Next to this illustration is a paragraph in Japanese. Don’t know what that says. Another side panel has a color 3-view illustration of a Sd.Kfz.7 in the same camouflage as the box art. It carries a license number for the Luftwaffe also: WL-62176. No other marks appear on it. Next to this illustration is another paragraph in Japanese and small color profiles of the Sd.Kfz.7/1 and the Sd.Kfz.7/2 variants that Tamiya markets. These mentioned license plate numbers are both included on the decal sheet.
The kit contains 3 large tan trees of parts, 1 large medium gray tree, a single upper and lower body part in tan, a small tree of tan vinyl poly-caps, 2 black vinyl tires, black vinyl rubber-band type treads, some metal screws and a nut and 2 metal rods all in stapled poly bags. The decal sheet and instructions complete the kit’s contents.
The instructions consist of sheet that accordion folds out into 8 pages of 7” x 10 ¼” format.
Page 1 of the instructions begins with the history of the Sd.Kfz. & in English, German and French. This is followed by a black and white photo of the model made up. Below that is Japanese text (I assume the history again).
Page 2 begins with “Read before assembly” instructions, pictures of hobby tools and a listing of Tamiya paint colors, suggested to finish the model with. The bottom of the page has the first 2 assembly steps.
Pages 3 through 7 give a total of 17 assembly steps, with step 17 being for the assembly of the 8 crew figures. The bottom of page 7 has the decaling instructions in Japanese, English, German and French.
In the very first step, you screw two parts together with the metal screws in the kit. I believe this is parts of the underslung wench assembly.
In step 15, you can opt to install either the open or folded canvas roof.
Step 5 assembly shows that the front wheels can be steered.
Page 8 is the Painting and marking instructions. There are 4 schemes shown as 2-views, showing the front and rear of Sd.Kfz.7s.
- An Sd.Kfz.7 of the Guderian Unit, Herman Goring Div., Luftwaffe. It has a white letter G on the passenger side fender and the right side rear compartment door, a white clock face symbol with the hand pointing at the 2 o’clock position, a RGG shield with oak leaves and acorns on it on the driver’s side front fender, white borders on the fenders for night time formation driving and the license number WL-35431. It is painted overall panzer gray. The caption says that it is a vehicle with a Luftwaffe Airborne Tank Division in the summer of 1941, on the eastern front
- An Sd.Kfz.7 of a Luftwaffe Airborne Tank Div., with the same clock face symbol on the driver’s side front fender and the left rear compartment door. It has another variant of the RGG shield on the passenger side front fender and the right rear compartment door. It too is in overall panzer gray. The license number is WL-123006. The caption just says summer of 1940
- An Sd.Kfz.7 of a Luftwaffe unit, in North Africa in 1942. It is in overall dark yellow. It carries the license no. WL-86338 and a tactical mark on the passenger side front fender and the left rear cargo compartment door for an artillery unit
- An Sd.Kfz.7 of a Wehrmacht unit in the winter of 1941. It is in overall panzer gray with the license number WH-438173 and the tactical mark for a motorized towed howitzer battalion on the driver’s side front fender and the left rear cargo compartment door
The other 2 markings (just license numbers) are the one that is the boxart and the one on the 3-view on the side panel of the box.
Tamiya does not give complete information on these markings. I found out most of what they represent in Squadron’s Panzer Colors, vol. I and II books.
Large tan letter A parts tree holds: exhaust pipe with muffler, suspension parts, leaf springs, cab floor, steering wheel, shift levers, notek lamp, engine hood parts, radiator, dash board, drive shaft, headlights, cab seat etc. (72 parts)
Large tan letter B parts tree holds: road wheels, idler wheels and drive sprockets (36 parts)
Large tan letter C parts tree holds: an open or folded canvas roof part, passenger compartment seats and railings etc. (21 parts)
Lettering now jumps to medium gray letter Z parts tree. It holds all the parts for the 8 crew figures. All are seated. They are divided into torso with head, lower body with legs and separate arms. Also on the tree are eight 98K rifles, eight steel helmets, one pistol in holster and one map case (50 parts).
Next in the kit is the tree of 18 tan poly caps, the 2 black vinyl tires, the black vinyl rubber-band type treads, the metal screws and nut and the 2 metal rods for axles. The black vinyl rubber-band type treads are really sad in this kit and best replaced by some by an after-market company. They don’t really replicate the look of the tracks on a real Sd.Kfz.7 and on the inside of them is only molded the teeth. There is no division between links molded there.
The decal sheet, markings already described above, completes the kits contents.
This kit has the year 1972 on all the parts trees. The box gives another date of 1999. So, obviously my kit is a re-issue. The detail is darn nice for this old a kit. It will eventually be built pulling the 88 that it was used to pull.
This version of the Sd.Kfz.7 kit is out of production currently. It may appear again, in re-release…as mine did. However, the 7/1 version and the 7/2 version by Tamiya are to be found here and there yet. Recommended to modelers with a few other AFV kits under their belts, due to it’s complexity.