The 234/4 was the first in the 234 series to be released by Dragon, of which there are now three released. A few weeks afterwards Cyber Hobby released their 234/4 update set which included some refinements, but we have to wait until now for Eduard to release their update set. Was it worth waiting for? Read on.
The set consists of two decently-sized photo etched frets and two small inserts, one of paper, the other acetate. The usual Eduard instructions calling out removals, replacements, etc. this time run to five sides.
Depending on h ow many update sets you're using on a kit of course, it can sometimes be difficult keeping track of what needs to be done. Even with just one update set to be added, it can often be a case of going back in the instructions to alter or remove something that you should have done earlier, but never noticed. I'll give Eduard their due, they do try and keep their instructions tied into those of the base kit as far as possible. Of course, with every set of this kind, careful study of all the instructions before beginning pays dividends, but mistakes do happen, and Eduard do their best to minimize this.
As anybody who has built the Dragon 234/4 knows, it's beautifully engineered kit, and goes together like a dream. Due to the limitations of Injection moulding however, there are always parts that can be better represented by photo etch, and generally, these are the parts that Eduard will provide replacements for, as well as trying to provide any parts not provided in the base kit.
Generally Eduard make sets that are extremely accurate and make few mistakes. The references listed as used in the production of this set are the 'Museum Ordinance Spec. No.24 - Schwerer Panzerspaehwagen Sd.Kfz.234 & 'Puma' by Schiffer Publishers.
As everybody who has bought the 234/4 knows, it comes with a complete interior.............or nearly complete. The first thing Eduard offer are sets of foot pedals for both driving positions. Dragon do offer these in plastic, and although they're a bit thick being moulded form styrene, they're a bit difficult to see close up on the finished model, so I'm not sure replacements are really necessary? New angle brackets are provided for the bulkheads, which look a lot better than the kit parts, as well as new clips and hinges for the ammunition lockers and a new map case for the side of the ammunition locker that Dragon didn't supply.
There is a photo etched radio housing supplied, but since Dragon supply their radio with the housing as one moulding, this does mean you'll have to shave off the entire housing if you want to use it. It would probably be better to try and source another radio from a different manufacturer? Gas mask cylinder brackets are provided, along with various small fixtures and brackets, and new replacement containers for the spare vision block holders, and also a new dashboard on which the acetate film can be used.
Moving to the outside of the vehicle, and we're offered a complete replacement for the spare wheel bracket, which will be particularly useful if the spare wheel is left off so that it can be seen. New hasps are provided for the right fender stowage locker, as well as replacement tool clamps for all the on vehicle tools and equipment such as the fire extinguisher, bolt cutters, shovel, cleaning rods etc.
New tie-downs are provided for around the top of the superstructure, along with a long rivetted strip that runs along the top of each fender where it joins the hull. This strip can be seen clearly on pictures of 234/4's and was omitted by Dragon. Also provided are replacements for the small armoured squares under the hull at each end that protected the steering linkages, which look more in scale than the plastic parts.
For the lights, there are parts to improve the look of the Bosch headlight, as well as parts for the rear Notek convoy light and diamond pattern panels for the small flat parts of the fenders that the lights sat on.
For the gun there's a insert that will nicely cover the join between the two halves of the slide, as well as the locking assembly for the top of the muzzle brake, here I actually prefer the kit part, which looks better! There is also a new gun shield which is the correct size and shape, but is let down by the way Eduard would have you join the two spaced shields. In reality, the spacing between the two shield was achieved with spacing bolts, but Eduard would have strips folded in two perform this function. These can actually be seen when finished and just don't 'look' right? of course you could make your own 'spacing' bolts from rod? The real shields also featured fairly prominent bolts on the outside which are provided as photo etch. Again better replaced with scratch built items. Lastly, we are provided with photo etched brackets for the spare jerry cans. You are provided with two of these, which really are a vast improvement over the kit parts!
A fairly extensive set from Eduard that will improve the look of your 234/4 if used selectively. By that I mean to get the best from it you'll have to omit some parts, and add your own improvements, such as the bolts and spacers on the gun shield. Recommended with these reservations.
My thanks to Eduard for the review sample.
A good set that offers a lot of small improvements to make your 234/4 look that bit more special. Some additions of your own are going to be needed however to make the most of this set