It seems like every week a new German halftrack kit is announced or released. Bronco has issued two Sd.Kfz.6 kits: the odd-ball “Diana” that was apparently only used in North Africa with the 605th Panzerjäger Abteilung in North Africa in 1942. It will be followed shortly by an Sd.Kfz.6/2 sporting a 3.7cm PAK antitank gun (and pulling an ammo trailer!). Now Trumpeter has jumped into the fray with an Sd.Kfz.6 sporting a PAK 37.
All this interest in the Sd.Kfz.6 is somewhat surprising, since it was really a failure in the larger scheme of things. More expensive to build than the three-ton Sd.Kfz. 11, and only slightly more powerful, production was stopped in 1943. The remaining vehicles were then used as AT gun platforms with the PAK 36 the most-common variant.
But just in time to fix the the ho-hum wheels of the Bronco kits and the vinyl ones used on Trumpeter vehicles is QuickWheel's release of two versions of their superb resin road-wheels-plus-painting-mask sets for the Sd.Kfz.6. One is the so-called “common” tread (reviewed on Armorama here
) and this set has a wavy, “uncommon” variety.
The set includes the usual matching road wheels, one spare tire and two sets of hubs, plus the vinyl masks that make painting Quick Wheels a snap. There is also a sheet of historical and modern photos that includes a guide for assembly.
The Quick Wheel resin replacement sets are some of the best resin wheels in the hobby, and rival the “big guys” in detailing, clean casting and few or no air bubbles (the bane of many resin products). They are meticulously-researched, and give modelers a choice of different tread patterns or manufacturers (where established historically). This uncommon tread pattern is just that—you won’t find it on many surviving photos where a tread pattern is discernible. The common pattern tire will work for all varieties of Sd.Kfz.6, but the uncommon one will not work for the “Diana” kit. From the photos supplied by QW, it would appear this pattern was used only on the artillery towing version not yet released by any manufacturer. But check your historical sources before ordering.
As for the quality of the wheels, there’s no way styrene can compete with the crisp detail of resin, including a slot for the air valve nipple and the manufacturer’s logo and stenciling. The tread looks like something reduced from 1-1, and the spare already has the lug bolt holes pre-drilled, meaning there’s nothing else needed for adding a spare tire. For one this good-looking, I’d wire or bolt it to the back of the vehicle as a field modification so it shows.
The set offers two wheel hub options: smooth and a drop lug bolt (see photos at right). As we often advise here on Armorama, check your historical references before making your choice.
It’s no secret I am a big fan of Quick Wheel products because I hate making my own masks. With a basement full of kits, why do I want to spend time on something so boring when QW makes masks for most major vehicles, especially those where masking is a pain in the butt? German tracked vehicles especially have highly-detailed rubber tires on their bogey wheels, and painting them by hand never looks as good as using a QW mask. If you’re one of those modelers who prefers to make your own masks, I salute you. For me, I’ll take the QW solution any day, and I hope QW will bring out masks for the bogey wheels soon.
The front tires on the new Bronco kits are decent, but two-piece styrene halves simply can’t offer the sharp detailing of these resin replacement ones. And with Trumpeter's vinyl tires, you can't really paint them or weather them properly, as the plastic resists color, especially acrylics. Switching the kit parts with one of the Quick Wheel sets will significantly increase the realism and accuracy of your build, and the masks will make painting them almost painless. The only question is whether you want the common tread pattern or the uncommon one?