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Sd.Kfz.234/2 Puma

Roden 1/72 Sd.Kfz.234/2 Puma Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review February 2005 Manufacturer Roden
Subject Sd.Kfz.234/2 Puma Scale 1/72
Kit Number 0705 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Great details Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $7.98

First Look

Sd.Kfz.234/2 Puma
Sd.Kfz.234/2 Puma
Sd.Kfz.234/2 Puma

The German armored cars were an instrumental part of the success of the Wehrmacht throughout the war. The eight-wheeled cars had good mobility and were able to keep up with the tanks and troops on the field, not only serving as the radio communications links to other units on the field, but they also carried good firepower as well.

As the war drew on however, it became clear that there were some serious deficiencies to deal with. The earlier series such as the Sd.Kfz.232 had water cooled engines that were underpowered, causing problems especially for the Afrika Korp. The vehicles sat high above the ground, making them easy targets for gunners, and the armor wasn't thick enough to withstand much firepower.

The Puma addressed these deficiencies effectively. Its air-cooled engine was powerful enough to get the vehile around the battlefield. It boasted a range of 1000 kilometers with its 360 liter fuel tank. It sat lower to the ground and carried armor several times thicker than its predecessor. It was also armed with a 50mm main gun in its turret with full 360 degree coverage. In the end, only 101 were ever produced due to manufacturing challenges at the end of the war, but post-war trials by the UK and US determined that the Puma was probably the best armored car of WWII.

Roden has captured the Puma! The kit is molded in styrene, with the hull, turret and chassis parts molded in tan and the suspension and wheels molded in black. The kit is presented on four trees in all and the detailing is quite nice.

Assembly begins with the turret showing off the 50mm main gun. Four sets of wheels and suspension assemblies come next with each assembly showing an interesting approach to shock absorbing between the two wheels of each assembly.

When you remove the turret, you'll be surprised to see an interior, with a driver's position and another operator in the lower hull. The Puma also comes with a serious load of supplies on the fenders, complete with six Jerry cans for fuel and water, tools and antennas. By the time you get the wheel assemblies on the lower hull, you'll see how the engineers managed to successfully lower the vehicle profile, a technique used in other successful designs like the BTR.

Markings are for two Wehrmacht machines that were assigned to France during the Normandy invasion in June 1944.

Roden has turned out another beauty with this Puma. At the suggested retail price, this kit is definitely a great buy!

My sincere thanks to Squadron Mail Order for this review sample!