by: Frederick Boucher [ ]
introductionGermany produced the 8-ton SdKfz 7 (Sonderkraftfahrzeug 7) as the prime mover for the 8.8 cm FlaK gun and the 15 cm sFH 18 150mm howitzer. It carried seats for twelve gun crewmen and had an enclosed rear compartment for transporting ammunition. Variants of the versatile machine were the SdKfz 7/1 with the 2 cm Flakvierling 38 L/112.5, the SdKfz 7/2 with the 3.7 cm FlaK 37 L/98 gun, and an enclosed launch variant for the V-2 rocket. FlaK SdKfz 7’s sported both open and armored cabs.
Bandai or FROG or Fuman?
Paired with their own 1/48 88mm FlaK 18 anti-aircraft gun model, Bandai first issued this model SdKfz 7 (Sonderkraftfahrzeug 7) in the 1970's, and re-issued the kit in the late 1980's. A decade later these were re-reissued once again by FROG/Fuman. Though this model is the FROG molding, for review sake I consider it Bandai. Any differences between the releases will be noted. Bandai’s molds had held up well but are rumored to have been mishandled by Fuman and subsequently scrapped.
the kitDepending on the manufacturer, the box will be a sturdy two-piece box (Bandai), a flimsy two-piece box (Fuman), or a single flip-top box (FROG.) Bandai's original box had a red stripe with a Wehrmacht eagle on the bottom of the colorful, action oriented box art. Eventually the Swastika was deleted from the eagle, and later the boxes lost the red stripe. During the 1980's reissue, the box art was a full color four-view of the subject. FROG's box art is a full color exciting ‘in-action’ scene. All sprues were sealed in plastic bags.
Two hundred eight pieces build this kit. This includes one hundred forty-one tan pieces on four sprues and the separate superstructure, two vinyl rubberband style tracks, a clear windshield, twenty 8.8 cm rounds, and the sixty-three piece crew sprue. As with Bandai's FlaK 18 model, the rounds are the wrong type. The FlaK used long straight rounds. The kit rounds are contoured like the stepped casing Pzgr.39 / Pzgr.40 rounds of the Tiger I.
The parts are crisply molded with sharp detail and virtually free of mold marks, ejector marks and sink holes–with the exception of the shielded headlight. Many parts are marred with various amounts of flash. There are some mold seams along part edges, but most of these can be eliminated with a quick pass of an X-acto blade. The rear deck storage basket and a few other parts are too thick.
The lightening holes for the interleaved roadwheels are not molded open. The tires are molded on the hubs, though the detail of the treads and hubs are good. Happily, no details are molded on the fenders or other parts. The shovel (part A 33) is poorly designed.
The Maybach HL 62 6-cylinder engine is built with eleven separate pieces (twelve if you count the radiator, fourteen if you include two pieces set on the inside of the firewall.) It attaches to a transmission that includes the winch. Including the suspension and torsion bars for the bogies, the fuel tanks and other items, the frame and chassis underside is very busy.
Three Fuman 1/48 AFV's which I have recently built have generally good fit.
The five figures are the same except the driver is in a different pose. However, there are eighteen arms for the five bodies, presumably to vary the poses. Each character has a six piece field kit–bread bag, water bottle, mess tin, Zeltbahn, gas mask canister and entrenching tool. Each figure has a Kar 98 rifle and a helmet, too. The cartridge pouches are molded onto the figures. The figures seem too big. The badly molded field kit equipment can be recognized if you know beforehand what it is supposed to be.
Decals and Painting:
This Fuman release has easy to follow diagram instructions printed on heavy gloss paper. It appears to be an original Bandai instruction sheet with Fuman’s logo. Unfortunately, it is all in Japanese. I assume some of the text is painting information.
The markings offer several choices for Armee, divisional and battery markings, and tactical symbols. These are the same markings in their 1/48 88mm FlaK 18 anti-aircraft gun. No doubt these are the same markings released in the original Bandai and FROG releases. The big disappointment is that Fuman's "decals" are vinyl peel-N-stick stickers, printed on a tan background! Bandai and FROG supplied water-slide decals.
conclusionWhether an original Bandai release or a FROG/Fuman’s reissue, this kit offers us a good quarterscale SdKfz.7. The kits are not hard to find, but an original Bandai 'red stripe' can be expensive.