by: Jan Etal [ ]
Originally published on:
Designed to supplement the Sd.Kfz. 223, the Sd.Kfz. 260 was a reconnaissance and radio command vehicle based on the Sd.Kfz. 222 chassis and equipped with a medium range radio set with a rod antenna. In the 260, the 223’s turret was replaced by a superstructure composed of an anti-grenade screened enclosure. Armament was restricted to the crew’s personal weapons.
The four wheel drive vehicle had a crew of four, was lightly armoured and weighed 4.3 tons. It was powered by an eight cylinder engine producing between 75 and 85 horsepower. Top speed was approximately 50 mph (80 km/h) with a range of 175 miles (300 km). They entered service in the spring of 1940 with Nachrichten (Signal) troops and remained in service to the end of the war.
The subject of this review is the Dragon Models 1/72 Armor Pro Sd.Kfz 260 Kleine Panzerfunkwagen, kit #7446.
Three sprues of styrene plastic, moulded in the standard Dragon light grey colour, are present. The two larger sized sprues are common to the previous 222 and 223 kits and the one midsized sprue is specific to the Sd. Kfz. 260. A separately bagged hull bottom and hull top are also included. No Dragon accessory card is present but there is small bag containing a sheet of Cartograph decals.
Also in the box is a four sided instruction card. The card contains one page of sprue parts layout and two pages of build diagrams in the form of exploded view line drawings. The last page provides painting and marking options for two vehicles.
Perhaps the most telling feature that will strike the modeller will be the plethora of unused parts in this kit. The number of these parts total 38 that will be added to your spare parts container. These parts are made up of pieces from both the Sd. Kfz. 222 and 223 kit sprues that are common with this kit. Turrets, weapons, Jerry cans, a Jerry can rack and even the entire 223 frame antenna are examples.
Looking over the sprues one will see that the parts are moulded with extremely crisp and fine detail. There are no sink holes and ejector pin marks are only present on areas that will be hidden after assembly. Flash is virtually non-existent and the majority of moulding seam lines are light and should be easily removed with a scraping of a sharp hobby knife.
While an improvement in the size of sprue connection points (gates) is evident when compared to some older kits, it’s still not universal with the parts in this kit. Many of the smaller parts have equally small gates to them but some parts, such as the radiator cover and the top anti-grenade screen, have larger connectors, at awkward locations, that will require careful cleanup.
With only a few exceptions, the tools and external stowage are all moulded as individual pieces. Unfortunately, while separate pieces, the driver’s doors have no internal detail and possess a rectangular depression where a moulded on storage box is present on both. The fighting compartment vision ports and engine compartment hatches are all moulded on. Other than a minimal amount of internal detail (seats and their supporting framework) left over from the previous incarnations of this chassis, there is no other interior detailing.
While the lower hull appears to be the same as in the other two 22X kits, the upper hull is quite definitely a new tooling. There are many subtle detail changes including the front plate, vision ports and the engine compartment area. The side engine compartment access doors are more pronounced, as are the radiator shutters. There is some rivet detail on this piece and what appear to be some sort of brackets in the rear area.
The options for painting and markings are as follows:
• A Field Grey unidentified unit vehicle, 1941
• A Sand coloured with khaki green and red-brown unidentified unit vehicle, 1942
A full set of water-slide decals is provided for the vehicle. Unfortunately, while a good selection of decals is provided, markings will prove frustrating for the majority of modellers. This is because the license plate decals are provided for as blank white plates and then individual numbers and letters to make up your own. These are absolutely tiny and will prove awkward to individually place and line up in this scale. I think that while one or two modellers will love this, more will find it very frustrating and look for an alternative option.
The colour references provided are for the GSI Creos Corp Aqueous Hobby Color, the same company’s Mr. Color and Model Master enamels.
What had, at first glance, appeared to be a simple and uncomplicated kit, proved instead to be quite troublesome. As with any kit, the builder should review the instructions thoroughly before starting construction.
In Step 1, a highly detailed drive train (A5) is to be attached to the hull bottom. The fit and positioning of this piece was absolutely perfect. The second part to fit was a tie-rod (A22) that has no features to assist in its proper positioning. Each end fits onto two fine lugs, or pins, and there are no corresponding holes for them to engage. Care will be needed to achieve proper positioning.
The next part in this step is a rear plate (A19) that has a minimal locating tab. The builder will need to survey the drawings in the instructions to determine the final orientation of this part. For these types of parts I used a gel type tube glue. It should also be noted that the part depicted in the instructions bears little resemblance to the actual part on the sprue.
The next pieces include the right side hull door, spare tire and front lower hull details. These latter pieces are the front bumper (A23), tow-hooks (A12, A13) and a front plate (A18). As experienced earlier with the positioning of the rear hull plate, the front one has a couple, if minimal, positioning features. The builder may also find that the openings for the bumper and tow hooks in the front plate (A18) may need to be enlarged slightly.
During Step 2, a number of lower hull detail pieces are added including the completion of the suspension with wheels added, rear fenders, some lower hull stowage/details and rear tow hooks. The rear hull tow-hooks (A12, A13) are meant to fit into a shallow depression in the lower hull. This combined with the tiny size of the hooks will require patience and care.
The rear fenders are attached during this step along with the stowage that resides on them. Two license plate pieces (D8, D9) proved to be problematic as the image in the instructions for the left plate does not match the actual part. The right side plate also had a strange orientation. For this build I ended up using D8 for the left side and B5 for the right.
If one chooses to install the optional triangular armoured covers for the wheels, they should be aware that there are no positive locating features. Alignment and positioning by eye will be required.
Step 3 focuses on adding numerous details to the upper hull. Among the largest pieces to attach at this point is the three piece anti-grenade screen. There are very shallow ridges in the upper hull to assist with the mostly visual alignment of the first main piece (D1). Two further side pieces (D2, D3) fit into D1 to complete this superstructure. These two side pieces engage the main piece using a press fit and there are no other features to assist in their positioning.
During this step it became apparent that the brush guards for the turn indicators (B20, B18) were transposed in the instructions. Another problem with the instructions arises with the placement of the single antenna on the hull top. The antenna has an obvious locating pin at its base but there was no corresponding hole to receive it. When viewed from the underside, the builder will find a partial hole or depression that needs to be drilled out to receive the antenna. The instructions fail to note this requirement.
Other parts added at this point are the armoured radiator cover, front fenders, headlights and turn indicators. Width markers, a Notek light and a few other external stowage pieces are also added. It will be up to the modeller to determine how many of these items are added to the upper hull before it is joined to its lower half. In this reviewers opinion, attaching most of the delicate pieces should be delayed until the hull halves are joined.
Step 4 is mainly concerned with the joining of the two body halves. It is also here that the lower muffler halves are attached to the hull. While there is a slightly raised line of plastic on the hull to show the muffler positioning, there is no other positive attachment feature to assist the builder with exact positioning.
Amusingly, it is also during this step that the instructions show two seats being attached to a supporting frame and this assembly being located in the inner hull below the grenade screen. Again, this is obviously a left over from the 222 and 223 versions as there are no other interior pieces. Also, the robust thickness of the anti grenade screen pieces would seriously detract from the finished model if posed in an open position.
This kit can produce a very fair model of the Sd.Kfz 260 reconnaissance vehicle. The fit of certain parts was as good as one would expect from Dragon. Having said that, the same cannot be said about the instructions. There are several inaccuracies and the clarity of some parts placement is sorely lacking, clearly a rework of the 222 version. Not just errors in numbering, and part number anomalies, but the construction sequence opens up the potential for significant problems for the less experienced if they don't read through the instructions thoroughly enough. These instructions could have done with some definite proofreading and testing by someone actually building the model with them.
Perhaps the greatest failing in this kit is the lack of a photo-etch alternative for the anti-grenade screening. It is definitely a step backwards in Dragon’s quality. It could also be mentioned that the kit’s hull top opening to the crew compartment is the wrong shape. It is circular, as with the 223, but should have a hexagonal shape. However, this is of little concern considering that with the styrene screening and general lack of an interior, there is no option to see into the area.
One interesting thing that may inspire some modellers is the vast number of unused parts that have potential use on this vehicle. The large number of gas cans, a corresponding rack for them and numerous unused storage boxes could be used to embellish and individualize this model. So while I am unimpressed by the instructions and lack of certain part locating features, I will still recommend this model of a rather unique subject.