In-Box Review
Sd.Kfz.7 Engine Detail
Engine Compartment Update Set for WWII German Non-Armoured Cab Type
  • move

by: Bill Cross [ BILL_C ]


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 kit

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)

the review

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.
Highs: Adds amazing level of detail to the kit.
Lows: Expensive for a kit that’s already close to $50.
Verdict: Definitely recommended for those who want the ultimate in realism and detail.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: L35A053
  Suggested Retail: $13.95
  PUBLISHED: Jan 18, 2010

Our Thanks to Dragon USA!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

View This Item  |  View Vendor Homepage  |  More Reviews  

About Bill Cross (bill_c)

Self-proclaimed rivet counter who gleefully builds tanks, planes and has three subs in the stash.

Copyright ©2021 text by Bill Cross [ BILL_C ]. All rights reserved.


thanks for the review on this. I have the 7/1 w/Flak 38 kit, and have been trying to decide on the Griffon or Voyager sets..or a mix..just waiting on some reviews to come out for them before I spend the bucks...unless...James?
JAN 18, 2010 - 12:49 PM
Bill I was always under the impression that Allied armour was superior to German armour at the start of the war, but the tactics used by German forces negated that superiority.
JAN 18, 2010 - 02:25 PM
Hello, This statement is true in regards to the invasion of France of 1940. I don't recall many specifics, but British armor, especially the Matilda was proof against german tanks.
JAN 18, 2010 - 03:04 PM
Wow, talk about taking this thread off-topic. Thanks for the review, Bill. I'm hoping Griffon do some PE for the new Bronco Sfz 13/14's.
JAN 18, 2010 - 03:18 PM
Gents, I don't mind a little thread hijacking, LOL! It's a good "what if?" topic. The British tanks superior? Why is it the DAK whupped their asses in the desert, LOL?? Tactics were definitely a part of the equation. The French in particular followed the WWI custom of dispersing their armor throughout their forces, rather than concentrating them in spearheads like the Germans.
JAN 18, 2010 - 05:06 PM
2 Reasons: - Most important: Erwin Rommel - Already in the West, the Germans had learned to use the 88mm FlaK guns against the French B-1 and British Matilda. Where the regular AT guns had little punch against these, the 88mm gun flew right through them. And about the perceived lack of follow up on German WW-2 armour by the Western allies, that's just how you look at it. America didn't do much with it indeed, as they already had the Pershing that equaled or outmatched the Panther and Tiger. Britain was in shambles. They couldn't overhaul their tank design from the Cromwell and Churchil, and the Chieftain was already developed. Russia as America had a superior tank, the IS2/3 tanks. So it all boils down to no immediate need and don't underestimate, you are not going to openly implement technology from the enemy you crushed. Now, talking about jet-aircraft and rockets... The French however weren't so squeamish, they used the Panther in numbers after the war, and also fully embraced many of the late war German developments and ideas. The first French heavy tank (AMX-50) can be seen as a direct offspring of the Panther/Tiger, and used for instance the Mayback HL-234 engine. Another reason German tank design wasn't found on other countries, the reason for steel wheeled running gear in Germany was due to a dire lack of rubber. When the French looked into their new heavy tank design (one of which was a scaled down, thinner armoured Tiger-B) they were not held back by any rubber shortage, so designed their new tanks with running gear based on rubber rimmed wheels. Perhaps not so clear, but the MG-42 is STILL in use by NATO as the MG-3, adapted to the NATO 7,62mm ammo, and the M-60 machinegun is directly based and improved upon the MG-42. And to talk about the vehicle this thread is about, just about right after WW-2, the halftrack as a part of the mechanized forces all but disappeared. APC came into play, fully tracked. The late war German Katzchen was the first fully tracked APC ever designed. Based on the 38(t) this design influenced the ideas for personel transport. The AMX APC is almost a 1-1 copy. The KwK 42 L/70 75mm gun from the Panther was long used by the French in their AMX-13, whilst being upgraded. The Israeli iSherman also used this gun, adopted from the French. Torsion bar suspension was a design the Germans also themselves already were looking at to replace in the Panther/Tiger (E-series designs) with external disc-suspension.
JAN 18, 2010 - 10:01 PM
I read in "Wheels & Tracks" (remember when that was about ) that the British Army were specifically interested in the Panther as they felt it matched their needs!!! They even had the Russians ship over a Panther captured at Kursk for testing/appraisal etc... then it was jacked up on angle and bombed to test it's Armour! They reasoned that the Centurion was a result of this... coupled with information on the T-34 (thinking ahead next enemy)!!! Plus when the British Army took over the Panther Factory in their sector of Germany after WWII they had them finish building several Panthers G's and JagdPanthers minus their barrels/mantlets (put glass in? looked strange) then they did trails with them too. But I'm with you Alan with this love-affair with German Armour it's very interesting but in perspective it didn't work!!! built lots of simple Squaddie proof Tanks (T-34 or Pz IV) or built over engined complex Wounder Stuff that breaks down a lot (King Tiger etc...) ... my Father once said that the German's were over glorified toy-makers and I think that to a point is very true!
JAN 18, 2010 - 10:46 PM
Oh by the way Bill nice Griffon Model SdKfz7 Engine Detail kit
JAN 18, 2010 - 10:52 PM
It is a myth that the heavier German tanks, Panther and Tiger, were mechanically unreliable. That is just not true. The first 13 Panther-D suffered many mechanical problems, but after these were sent back to MAN for a complete re-build, and improvements were made, they became reliable. Also, both were given a very good guidebook for the crews, the Panther or Tiger Fibel. This told the crew how to maintain and use their vehicle. The fuelsystem on the Tiger-B had too many couplings and leaked, this was overhauled into a simpler system with much less couplings. Result of this is the appearance of the pressure exhaust lines later seen on the engine deck and hull sides. The HL-230 engines were governed well within their RPM to prevent problems with the crankshaft and pistons. What WAS a problem, due to the industrial situation, was that these 25 litre engines had too little lubricating oil, and foaming occurred. A point I completely agree with is that both the Panther and Tiger were extremely well engineered and especially the gun and armour outclassed anything on the battlefield until the Firefly, the IS-2 and Pershing arrived, but that they were consuming huge amounts of material, manpower and were in too little numbers to really make their mark. But unreliable... that is a myth. What also really hampered the German forces was the sheer multitude of variants in production, running from Pz 1 to Pz VI, all the halftracks, all the wheeled armoured cars, all the different vehicles for similar roles. At the end, work was put into unifying this extravaganza of vehicles into much, much less base-vehicles, upon which per vehicle class, a SINGLE variant would be designed to fullfill that role. Dispersion of production also played a role in keeping the numbers of production low. Point of fact, MORE Tiger-B's were destroyed before they were completed at Henschel than were knocked out on the battlefield.
JAN 19, 2010 - 02:04 AM

Click image to enlarge
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move