Over the past 18 months, we’ve been treated to the “Half-Track Wars” between Dragon and Trumpeter as each company released multiple versions of the German Sd.Kfz.7 Prime Mover. The importance of this can’t be overemphasized: the Sd.Kfz.7 concept proved so successful that over 12,000 were produced through 1944. It filled a variety of roles, including pulling artillery, carrying Panzergrenadiers into battle, and recovering tanks, as well as mounting two major anti-aircraft weapons: the 2cm Flakvierling
38 (“quad”) and two versions of the 3.7cm single barrel AA gun. No build of any variant of the 88mm FlaK 18/36/37 or sFH 18 150mm howitzer is complete without an Sd.Kfz.7 to pull it.
Not surprisingly, a whole set of AM photo etch has been released by several manufacturers, including Griffon Models. Their set for upgrading the engine detailing for the Dragon Sd.Kfz.7 series makes up for some things the kit parts lack.
The set comes with:
3 frets of photo etch
1 1mm x 50mm ABS rod
0.2mm x 100mm wires (2)
0.3mm x 100mm wire (1)
0.5mm x 100mm wire (2)
This set can work on any Dragon Sd.Kfz.7 or variant; presumably most of it would work on the Trumpeter kit as well, though I have not checked it part-by-part (the two versions of the Maybach HL62 6-cylinder engine are handled quite differently, with 16 parts in the Dragon kit vs. Trumpeter’s 27, almost twice as many. The set has levers, wires, gaskets, radiator coverings and support framing to-scale. But the most delightful option is the chance to put one of two logos on the front end: either the main producer (Kraus-Maffei) or Borgward. Sd.Kfz.7s were built by several firms besides these two, including Büssing-NAG. Hats off to Griffon for giving us the additional option (both the Dragon and Trumpeter kits have the Kraus-Maffei logo molded onto the kit’s styrene radiator housing).
This set expands on Griffon’s resin radiator housing (L35A052, reviewed by me here
) using one of that set’s two PE brass frets for the radiator interior screen and the manufacturer’s logos. Purists will likely want to have both sets if they plan on showing the engine with the cover off or the excellent louvered doors in the open position (think North Africa and the photos of Sd.Kfz.7s with just the top part of the bonnet and the sides off for cooling the engine).
The Dragon Sd.Kfz.7s are already expensive, and don’t scream out for upgrading, though the engine detailing is less than that offered by the Trumpeter kit, for example. This set will delight those who want the utmost in accuracy, since no styrene technology can recreate the delicate scale thicknesses of metal. And because this set doesn't have the resin radiator cover, it's actually cheaper and gives you more for your money.