by: Kevin Brant [ ]
The Kettenkrad was small tracked utility vehicle used by the Germans in World War 2, looking more like a tracked motorcycle. The vehicle was originally designed for use with airborne troops as it was designed to fit inside the Ju52 aircraft. Designed and built by NSU Werke AG, there were over 8,300 built between 1939 and 1944. Most Kettenkrad saw service on the Western front, while some did see service in Africa and on the Western Front.
This is not the first Kettenkrad kit from Dragon Models, but the first to feature the Infanteriekarren. The Infanteriekarren was a small cart/trailer designed for the infantry to provide movement of extra equipment with ease.
Being not a large vehicle, the kit comes in a medium size box, containing the following:
7 sprues of grey molded plastic
1 very small fret of photo-etched
1 set of DS Track
1 small sheet of decals
The Kettenkrad kit is molded in the usual Dragon Models grey plastic and looking over the molding most detail is well done, but I do find some of the detail is a bit soft. This would leave me to believe that the molds have not been updated since the original Kettenkrad was released back in 2001. Looking over the parts I did not find any flash and from my first look most, if not all, ejector marks should be covered up in the build.
Even with some details being a bit soft on the moldings, there are some very fine small detail parts and the kit should build up into a detailed model. Included is the full engine, even though most of it will be unseen once the model is built. Looking at the running gear, it is very fine and some extra care will be needed when removing the parts from the sprues. The same care will be needed for the handle bars and front forks, that being said they look to be well detailed.
The overall exterior detail of the vehicle looks good, with photo-etched screens included for the engine compartment. There is an option in the instructions to remove the plating inside the rails at the back, which would allow the vehicle to resemble the early production. Looking at the parts, this does not look to be an easy job, as the rails are thin and extreme care would be needed not to damage the rails. I would think that the rails should have been separate parts from the body to make this easier.
Also included in the kit is the smallest set of 1/35 scale Dragon Models DS Track I have seen. It does look well detailed for one piece track, and I am thinking what a chore it would have been if this was Magic track.
The new component in this kit, and main reason of the re-release from Dragon Models was the inclusion of the Infanteriekarren. These parts are included on one sprue, and the parts look to be very well done, with some great looking detail. Again, care will be needed to remove some of the fine parts from the sprue. I would suggest in investing in a good razor saw. There are four ejector marks on the floor of this little wagon that will need to be dealt with, but they are to the outside of the part and should not be very difficult at all to fill and sand.
Included in the kit is one figure, the Kettenkrad driver, and unfortunately the female passenger shown on the box art from Dragon Models is not included. The included figure looks to be well done, with good details and posed sitting in the driver seat operating the vehicle.
The kit contains markings for two vehicles, both Unidentified units in 1941. One in a gray scheme, the other in a winter white wash. The decals are a generic plate and numbers, so a little work will be required applying the small numbers to ensure they are lined up correctly.
The instructions are laid out in 13 steps. Being the typical Dragon Models instructions, I strongly suggest dry fitting and double checking parts as you go. There are some options included within the instructions, so keep an eye out for those.
Overall this looks to be a great little kit from Dragon Models, and with the inclusion of the Infanteriekarren it provides some new options for displaying the Kettenkrad. While some of the moldings are a little soft, the kit does include some fine detail and should build into a great little model to display or include in a diorama. I would recommend this kit for anyone looking to build this odd looking, but useful utility vehicle.