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Sd.Kfz.234/3 Schwerer Panzerspaehwagen (7.5 cm)

DML 1/35 Sd.Kfz.234/3 Schwerer Panzerspaehwagen (7.5 cm) Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review August 2007 Manufacturer DML
Subject Sd.Kfz.234/3 Schwerer Panzerspaehwagen (7.5 cm) Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6257 Primary Media 573 parts (530 in grey styrene, 22 clear styrene, 17 etched brass, 4 turned brass)
Pros New, well detailed and very complete kit of this popular vehicle completes the series; complex driveline appears to be fully replicated; includes fighting compartment interior Cons Side bins and lower hull access doors molded in closed positions; engine bay will be difficult to open up
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $40-45

First Look

After nearly one year since the last release (the Sd.Kfz. 234/2 "Puma", kit No. 6256) Dragon has now completed their totally new series of Sd.Kfz. 234 heavy armored cars with the "Stroke 3" variant.

As with the first three kits, the Germans continued their prewar designs throughout the war, and the Sd.Kfz. 231 heavy eight-wheeled armored car series was replaced by the Sd.Kfz. 234 series beginning in September 1943. Four different vehicles were produced in this series:

  • Sd.Kfz. 234/1 (Geraet 95) 200 built 2 cm cannon/7.92mm MG in open turret (built Jun 44 - Jan 45)
  • Sd.Kfz. 234/2 (Geraet 93) 101 built 5 cm gun/7.92mm MG in closed turret (also called the Puma) (built Sep 43 - Sep 44)
  • Sd.Kfz. 234/3 (Geraet 94) 88 built 7.5 cm L/24 in open mount (built Jun 44 - Dec 44)
  • Sd.Kfz. 234/4 (Geraet 96) 89 built 7.5 cm Pak 40 in open mount (built Dec 44 - Mar 45)

The "Stroke 3" was designed for use as a heavy armored that would at least have sufficient firepower to deal with most unfortunate encounters. But by that stage of the war, and even with the advent of hollow charge ammunition, it was too light to have much effect on enemy forces. Ergo it was quickly replaced in production by the very heavy Sd.Kfz. 234/4 with the long-barreled PaK 40 7.5 cm antitank gun.

As with all of the 234s the "Stroke 3" was fast (80 kph/48 mph), moderately well armed, and had a long range (900 km/560 miles). Armor provided proof against small arms of 7.62mm caliber and shell fragments. Since its Tatra 103 engine was a 12-cylinder air-cooled diesel, it had a major advantage over other nations' armored cars.

Dragon has once again played "mix and match" with this kit, offering some 98 new or replacement parts to convert the kit basic parts to the "Stroke 3;" they have also tweaked some of the other molds from earlier kits. The gun here comes from their recent line of Pzkw. IV tanks (Ausf. B-E) and provides the basics for the gun, with new moldings adapting the L/24 gun to the 234 chassis. A new sprue of clear parts from one of the other recent kits (alas, I forget just which one) provides the periscopic sight as a clear part for the L/24 gun.

Also new to this kit is a set of three "street" tires with sectional tread, using the now optional DML "sandwich" method of assembly to get sufficient tread depth. Six sections are used to create each tire, and these tires can then be used to replace the stock tires that have been used in the other three kits. These are featured on the box art and they offer some variety in the model.

The etched brass has been minimized in this kit, and most of the parts provided are either tie-down fasteners or the centers for the six "jerry" cans. There are no brass parts for the engine access vents.

Once again however the fenders are molded "solid" with four stowage that have their doors closed.

The suspension and interior are beautifully rendered and this version even includes the "jump" seats for the gun crew which can be built as folded up or down. Ammo racks with separate rounds are provided for the interior.

Finishing options are provided for three vehicles: 226. Aufklaerungs Abt., 116th Panzer Division, Normandy 1944 (tricolor patches); "Ulrich von Hutten" Division, Germany 1945 (tricolor patches); Unidentified Unit, Normandy 1944 (sand brown overall). Two Cartograf decal sheets are provided, one targeted and one generic number plates and serial numbers.

This project was supervised by Hirohisa Takada, with technical drawings by Shin Okada and technical help from Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.

Overall this is a great series from DML and now the four vehicles are complete.

Thanks to DML for the review sample.