Kit Number 706

1/72 SdKfz 233 'Stummel'

Reviewed By Chad Richmond, #10346

MSRP: $9.98 USD

Roden has come out with a lot of kits of aircraft subjects that we have previously had no models of, or the ones that existed were really lacking.  They have branched out into armor as well; in 1/72nd scale with three variants of armored cars based on the SdKfz 231 basic structure.  The 233 “Stummel” was conceived in 1942 in an effort to provide reconnaissance units with some extra fire power to help them disengage from the enemy and to return some of the artillery fire they frequently received.  The experiment of adding the 75mm KwK L/24 gun to a 231 chassis was highly successful.  It was, however, not placed into serial production.  There were only a few built, but they were used in every theater of conflict through the end of the war.

I was very enthusiastic when John Noack sent me the kit, and at first glance it looked like it was going to be a nice adventure.  Sadly, however, that was not the case.  The kit consists of 120 parts on four trees of light gray and black rather soft plastic.  Out of all of those pieces, only the top and bottom hull pieces fit with no problems.  And, the plastic is the same strange petroleum product that I have met in other Roden kits that sometimes defies any adhesive from working.  I used Tamiya extra thin liquid glue as much as I could, but had to use alcohol to clean some parts and super glue to bond them.  The plastic, being soft, does allow small, delicate parts to be snipped from the parts trees with no damage, but cleanup was a different story.  The plastic does not act like most styrene, so it does take some careful use of knives, sanding sticks and files to get the desired clean up.

The instruction sheet is the typical Eastern European exploded views with arrows going to the vicinity of where the part is supposed to go.  In some cases it is sheer guesswork, because there are also no locating holes, pins, slots, lines, indentions, etc., except for the upper chassis lights, rear view mirrors and hand hold bar.  The rest is solely based on looking at the painting and decal guide.

I built the model per the instruction sheet sequence, except for leaving the wheels off for painting.  Nearly every one of the tire has a distinctive casting sink mark.  The drive shafts, if trimmed from the parts tree to match the drawings, will be too short when the suspensions are assembled.  I had to glue some plastic rod to the drive shafts to make them long enough.  The spring assemblies only have spring detail on one side, and it is visible, even though the springs are close to the frame supports.  There is a hole, rather than a slot, to join the springs and the frame, so you have to eyeball the alignment.  It does come in to play later when joining the assemblies to the body, if they are out of alignment.  The suspension assemblies also do not line up with the wheel cutouts on the body.

The interior is very simplistic.  And, since it is highly visible, there’s a lot of vacant space that the scratch builder and detailer can have fun with.  The gun assembly is mounted to the interior floor and the assembly as a whole is set into the bottom hull.  It does fit rather well, but is not quite wide enough, leaving a small gap on each side.  I did not opt to try to fill that gap, since it was so small.

The various tool and equipment boxes, jack, shovel, horns, lights and mufflers are attached to the fenders prior to attachment to the lower hull in the instruction sheet.  Since there were no locating holes or aids for placement, I glued the fender to the chassis first.  This way I wouldn’t have to move something later to make sure it would fit.  I didn’t run into any insurmountable problems until it came time for the headlight and tail lights.  They definitely don’t fit like the drawings show.  Their being too big creates the majority of the problem, but I finally maneuvered them around and bent the supports to the point that they are kind of acceptable.

I painted the suspension and drive train assemblies black and the body desert tan before assembling the undercarriage.  As I stated earlier, misalignment of these assemblies can make this part of the assembly rather frustrating.

Markings are provided for one Russian Front vehicle, one Polish Front and four Afrika Korps vehicles, including Rommel’s personal armored car and an American marked captured vehicle.  I chose to do the makings for the 10th Panzer Division in Tunisia, 1942.  The decals reacted well to solvents and lay down well over a coat of Future.

The finished product gives a good representation of the SdKfz 233, even though there are some rough spots in the process.

My thanks to Squadron for the review kit and to John Noack for allowing me to review it.

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