The Sd.Kfz.7 8T was a prime mover for German forces during the Second World War. It was often used to tow the famous (or infamous) "88" and all other German artillery. Late war versions did not have the stamped steel side panels on the rear of the vehicle, they were replaced with wooden slats due to material shortages and ease of manufacturing. Almost 13,000 Sd.Kfz.7 8T were produced throughout the war years.
This is a big and impressive kit. Although it it is not mentioned on the box the kit is designed to tow the s.F.H 18 cm Field Howitzer. The kit includes 15 cm ammo and ammo racks. However, I think you can skip the addition of the ammo rack and just build the kit as a generic big hauler.
in the box
The kit comes packed in the sturdy standard DML cardboard box. The kit contains 13 sprues plus one loose frame, one pack of three Dragon Styrene tires. There are also two bags of track parts. The kit also contains the standard DML cardboard insert with things stapled to it. Those include a generic decal sheet, Dragon Styrene ammo storage tubes, a small fret of PE and masks for painting the wind shield.
All the sprues are individually packed to prevent damaged and everything was undamaged in my review sample.
There is no good way to determine the parts count of this kit since so many parts are for early versions and will not be used. That said, the parts count is up there.
The sprues, in no particular order;
2 sprue A with additional parts for the truck bed and storage racks for the sfH18 Ammo
1 Sprue B Suspension and running gear parts
2 Sprue C containing running gear parts
1 sprue D, engine and cab interior parts
1 sprue E with the bulk of the truck bed parts
1 Sprue G sfH18 Ammo (more on this later)
1 Sprue G with front fenders, firewall etc.
1 Sprue H consisting of the clear parts
1 Sprue WA infantry weapons, which feature the KAR 98 rifles from the “2nd Generation” figure kits with the slide molded open breach and separate action, a nice touch.
1 Sprue J Pioneer tools
1 loose frame
Bag with 3 Dragon Styrene tires
Frame, suspension and engine
The frame in my sample is free of flash, warp and ejector pin marks. The leaf springs, parts C17, C18 and B30 do have some very minor parting line flash that will need to be removed. There are no sink holes due to the large number of of sprue attachment points on most of the large parts. There are twelve attachment points on part B57 alone. I think this is a plus. It is much easier to sand a positive defect than it is to fill a negative defect.
The engine is a kit in itself. All of the parts are extremely well detailed and look fragile. You could spent a week building and detailing the engine. It is a shame there are not optional instructions or parts to open the engine compartment since the whole assembly will be hidden if the kit is built according to the instructions. The transmission and rear frame assembly are as detailed as the engine, again flash free and fragile.
I have a minor issue with the fact the front tires can only be fixed straight ahead. It would have been handy if the front tires could have been built turned one way or the other. The DS tires are flash free and no seam needs to be removed.
The road wheels, driver sprocket and idler all feature outstanding detailing on both faces. There are four attachment points on the inside diameter of parts B25 and B26 that will need some attention but again, there are no sink marks. Beginners should take care in step 8 of the instructions as the placement order of the rod wheels is critical.
front end suspension and fire wall
There are actually some ejector pin marks on the underside of the front fender assembly but they will be extremely hard to see after the kit is put together. There is also a "remove" note called out in the instructions which would be easy to miss in this busy step. Again, there are a lot of extremely small and fragile parts, such as the fender guides, parts C11, and care should be taken when dealing with them. These look like the parts I will either break or lose when I try to remove them from the sprue. The fire wall is well detailed, again, most of it will not be seen.
There are no decals provided for the instrument panel, part number C38, so builders may want to consult references for painting details before they close up the dash board. The assembly and masking of the wind shield are called out in step 11, including the masks that are provided and the addition of the PE wind shield wipers. I would recommend added the PE wipers until final assembly but I think the inclusion of the masks for the wind shield is an extremely nice touch. Again, the molding is extremely well done.
The kit includes an excellent set of pioneer tools without attachment points and a fret of PE fasteners. Beginners will have trouble with the intricate folding involved to make the provided pioneer tools fit the hood. There are a lot of "remove" and "fold" steps called out and I think some modelers may want to grab some parts from the spares box if they are inexperienced with folding PE tool hold down points.
The kit includes "magic tracks" which come packed in two bags, one each for the two different parts. The good thing about the track parts is that they do not require any clean up. They are however small and numerous. According to the instructions there are 54 of each for a total of 108. This might be intimidating without experience using individual track links.
The molded on wood grain on the cargo bed parts is outstanding. There are no ejector pin marks on the top side of the of the bed. There are a number of holes that will need to be drilled into part number E4. Plan ahead and I think if certain holes are omitted you can build the kit without the ammunition racks, benches, etc. These options are not mentioned in the instructions. Options to build the kit with the cargo beds open or closed are mentioned.
The rifles are excellent, featuring slide molded open muzzles and separate slides. There are however, only two provided to fill twelve slots if you decide to add the racks on both sides of the ammunition stores. The s.F.H 18 cm Field Howitzer rounds are well detailed. There is a small molding seam one the side that will need careful clean up if they are displayed loose in a diorama. Well detailed painting instructions and decals are included for the ammunition, which I think is a major plus. I doubt many modelers will spend the time painting and applying the decals to the 18 cm rounds and then install them in the racks where they will be hidden.
clear parts, PE fret, and DS ammo storage crates and tubes
One fret of clears part is included and contains the headlights and windshield.
The photo etch brass fret contains tread plate details pieces, the hold down clamps for the tools and some very tiny windshield wipers.
The detail on the DS ammunition tubes looks a bit soft to me. It will also be difficult to remove them from the "sprue" without damaging the woven texture on the sides.
Also included are two woven mats and four powder charges. These will make nice additions to a diorama.
Instructions, decals, masks
The instructions are the typical Dragon black white and blue and contain sixteen steps on eight pages. There is a comprehensive parts map on the first page which will come in handy on a kit this size. Some of the steps are rather busy and I would recommend reading through them several times before beginning assembly. Painting instructions are included, all for various "unidentified" vehicles.
The decal sheet contains generic letters and numbers for the blank license plates that are included on the sheet. So, any specific vehicle could be modeled. Also included are the decals for the 15CM ammo. There are no decals included for the instrument panel.
Four self adhesive masks are included for the windshield. There are two the front and back side of each side of the windshield. Anyone who has made their own masks to paint clear plastic will appreciate their inclusion.
There is a lot to this kit. It is a box full. There are plenty of extras as well as a lot of small parts. The moldings are crisp with almost no flash or ejector pin marks.
Some of the details will be hidden, like the engine, if the kit is built per the instructions. The individual tracks links and photo etched pioneer tool tie downs may be intimidating for modelers without experience assembling them.
Overall, this looks like an outstanding kit in the box that I would recommend highly to any German armor fan or any fan of transportation vehicles.
A Build Log
has been started on the Forums to evaluate the kit construction.