The softskins are multiplying.
It seems that pretty soon every half-tracked vehicle the Wehrmacht ever used in any variation will be released in styrene.
One of the more-important families of German half-track is the Sd.Kfz.10, which saw service, first as a cargo carrier or prime mover for light artillery, and later was modified to carry a variety of loads. These included esoteric things like chemical decontamination tanks, as well as mounts for gun platforms such as the 2cm FlaK 30, and later, the FlaK 38 (an improved version of the 30). Dragon has already released the Sd.Kfz. 10/5 some time back (reviewed here
), and the kit is generally very good. Cyberhobby.com has now released an Early War version of the Ten that will be reviewed here shortly.
While it seems that Dragon has finally heard the complaints about not including instrument dials and placards on its halftrack decal sheets, the quality of the decals released doesn't even come close to Archer Fine Transfers' new set for the 10.
what you get
Inside one of Archer's usual glassine envelopes is a transfer sheet with enough dials and placards to handle two full kits, a sheet of instructions, and a small piece of Wet Medium Paper.
If you look at the photos to the right, the Dragon decals are certainly acceptable. But they aren't accurate. That's because the placards on German vehicles were chrome with black enamel overlay, so the edges of the placards should "read" silver and not white as on the kit's decals. These transfers have that silver sheen, and recreate the originals more closely. It isn't a fatal flaw like Dragon not including placards and instrument dials at all in its earlier halftrack kits, but the Archer set is simply at a higher level of accuracy and quality than anything you'll get in-box.
Unlike the armored-cab versions of the Sd.Kfz.7, for example, the open cab of the 10 series means the instrument dials and cab placards will be visible by even a casual observer. If you plan on building your vehicle with the hood/bonnet open, then the placards on the engine will also show. These placards were intended to help the crews maintain the vehicle.
Applying the instrument faces and placards is extremely easy: Archer doesn't want you to use them dry, but to first apply them to their Wet Transfer Paper, then cut out the individual items, and finally applying them like ordinary waterslide decals. The two sets are arranged side-by-side on their transfer film, allowing you to use an entire vehicle's worth in one application. A little decal setting solution is advisable once the transfers slide into place. Most of the dials and placard locations have raised edges on the kit parts, so again, it's a snap to install these as the photo at right shows.
If you don't care all that much about accuracy, then you won't spend the money on this little sheet. On the other hand, if you want your money well-spent and a kit that looks as accurate as possible, then you'll want this set, no questions asked. It isn't a matter of "rivet counting": the instrument dials are in plain sight on this kit, and Archer's transfers are way better than the kit decals.
Thanks to Archer Fine Transfers for providing this review sample. Be sure to mention you saw it reviewed here on Armorama when ordering.