Over 12,000 Sd.Kfz.7 eight ton prime movers were produced for the Wehrmacht in WW II. Its original mission was to:
1. tow artillery (principally the 88mm FlaK and sFH 18 15cm howizter)
2. carry Panzergrenadiers into battle
3. recover tanks
As the war developed, however, the Sd.Kfz.7's stable chassis made it a favorite gun platform for at least two major anti-aircraft weapons. The version mounting the Flakvierling
38 (FlaK quad 38) was designated the Sd.Kfz.7/1, and was first developed in April of 1940. By December 1944, 750-800 had been produced, including versions with an armored cab and radiator shield to protect against small arms fire (the armor wasn’t sufficient to counter strafing from aircraft, and did not protect the engine). Trumpeter has released that later version to supplement the unarmored early version I reviewed here
. The full title of the new release is 2cm Flakvierling
38 auf Selbstfahrlafette
(Sd.Kfz.7/1 late version) With Sd.Anhänger
52 (“2cm FlaK quad on a self-propelled platform with special trailer 52”).
The model is well-boxed in the usual sturdy Trumpeter carton with another distinctive cover, this one showing a camouflaged 7/1 beside a bridge. The box contains 14 sprues of light gray plastic parts (plus the armored cab as a stand-alone part), six sprues with mocha Modelkasten-colored track parts that assemble into workable links, a 28-page instruction booklet, a 1-page painting guide, a small sheet of decals, three black vinyl tires in a poly bag with string for making the tow cable, and five frets of PE.
Like Trumpeter’s other Sd.Kfz.7 kits, this one has a number of exemplary features, including a highly-detailed engine, transmission box and winch. The detailing is superior to other kits on the market, though sadly the latter two are not visible once the vehicle is finished, though the hood or bonnet can be assembled in the open position to show off that detailing. The gun shield is made of photo etched brass, which no styrene can match for scale thickness, but which may bedevil junior or less-experienced modelers. Other PE parts give the kit an attractive overall impression, including PE “mesh” for the sides. Unfortunately, the mesh looks very nice, but is incorrect, since a sort of slatted grating was used on the real vehicles instead of mesh.
As with the early war version already reviewed, additional positives include Trumpeter’s usual clear instructions, which generally avoid ambiguity about part placement. The tracks require a bit of clean-up, but will go together easily. Be careful when mounting them to the vehicle, as the plastic is soft and the track pins can be easily stripped off. What's more, the drive sprocket is incorrectly-configured and you will struggle to fit the tracks snugly against it (PMMS has a work-around you can follow here
Other lows include the tires: the usual vinyl, which I intend on replacing with one of the after-market resin versions from Tank Workshop, R&J or Armorscale. At least they have a correct tread pattern. As with the early war version, the gun can be built only in the firing/deployed mode, and not with its shield folded back and the platform sides hitched up for travel. The Dragon kit offers both options, and is the only choice if you want to depict a vehicle on the road.
A number of basic accuracy problems have been identified with the Trumpeter Sd.Kfz.7 base kit from which this was extended, as well as features from the early war 7/1 version this kit shares a good deal of its parts with. As was pointed out above, the drive sprocket's detailing is reversed and it doesn't mesh properly with the tracks. Other glaring errors are the front mudguards (too high), 7 ammo bays along each side of the base of the quad (instead of the correct 8), the gun barrels (too long and too thick), and the gun sight (not resembling anything ever found on the real gun), The barrel and sight issues can be remedied by using four of the many after market brass barrels, along with a sight from the Tristar or Dragon 2cm kits. But the mudguards cannot be altered without major surgery. Their inaccuracy is not obvious except to the expert or the fanatical, so like with the early war version, this isn’t a fatal flaw for a majority of kit builders, especially given the lower price of Trumpeter kits vs. DML.
While I can appreciate Trumpeter’s desire to maximize its return on investment in the molds for both the base kit and the 7/1 early version, these accuracy issues have not yet been addressed in any Sd.Kfz.7 release, and are passed along as each new version appears. I had hoped the company would at least have fixed the gun’s problems by this time, but the same incorrect number of ammo bays and gun sight issues remain unresolved.
One added bonus with these Trumpeter FlaK Sd.Kfz.7s is the inclusion of an ammunition trailer. All evidence indicates these quads had hearty appetites: the FlaK 38 could fire up 480 rounds/minute. Trucks were apparently used to re-supply 7/1s in the beginning of the war, but special trailers were developed for each variant. The 7/1 was issued both the Sd.Ah. 52 and the larger Sd.Ah. 56; Trumpeter has mixed up the details of each one, producing a hybrid with a 52 chassis and a 56 body. As a result, the housing sits too far back on the trailer chassis. Currently there isn’t a proper Sd.Ah.52 or 56 on the market in either resin or styrene.
Decals and Painting
The painting guide is even poorer than the early war version, with only a single tri-tone camo. While I have seen no photos of these vehicles (early or late versions) in North Africa, they served on both fronts in Europe (France & Italy) and the Soviet Union. Trumpeter could have done a little more research to offer some real units and a few tactical markings; as it is, the license plates are for a single Luftwaffe vehicle, a step down from the early war kit which had 2 Luftwaffe license plates, one Wehrmacht Heer, and one SS, along with a “G” for Guderian’s Panzer Group in Russia in 1941. Instrument dials are included, a distinct improvement over the Dragon kits which have no dials supplied.
While this kit (along with the Trumpeter Sd.Kfz.7s in general) have some accuracy issues, it will build up into a huge improvement over the ancient Tamiya versions. Price differences with DML will likely lead some to purchase the Trumpeter kit in spite of these accuracy problems, especially as it includes an Sd.Ah. 52/56 ammunition trailer. I would not counsel against buying the kit because of these issues, but neither can I recommend it highly.