Last year MPK Modellbau released their Zugkraftwagen 1t (Sd.Kfz. 10) Demag Typ “D7” in two flavours; Todd Michalak did a nice review and build log of “the original” back in November, in which grey paint and mud with battle group Guderian markings signalled a vehicle taking part in Barbarossa. Here we turn our attention to the second kit release, as deployed by the Deutsche Afrika Korps.
In reality, the 94 plastic parts in the box are the same, with a few components being swapped out when built, with different decals, and desert paint schemes.
As Todd stated, this vehicle was produced in large numbers, and was the smallest of the German unarmoured halftracks (bar the Kettenkrad). Originally conceived as a very light towing vehicle with high cross-country mobility, it was also used as the mount for the 2cm Flak 30 and 38 as well as in gas detection, gas spraying, and decontamination roles (if you’re after a more unusual theme).
What you get
Packaged in their usual end opening box, the contents are sealed within a polythene bag. The box art depicts a vehicle without crew members, but with the hood up, parked in front of some palm trees; in the back ground is a brewed up Grant tank. The painting is subtitled: closed vehicle hood and burning British tank not included in the kit.
The image of the vehicle itself seems to have this photo on Prime Portal
as its origin.
Despite the vehicle on the box displaying what appears to be the desert yellow brown with grey green stripes (or possibly yellow sprayed over the early dark grey), the painting guide on the box back illustrates just overall plain yellow, despite there being three possible DAK units on offer: a 21 Panzer Nebelwerfer battery; 15 Panzer Panzerjäger group; 90 Leichte Afrika Division Flak battery. The instructions are a relatively plain, but nicely produced, four-sided monochrome sheet.
The densely packed single sprue in pale yellow plastic has sharply defined details and sprue attachment points which are both nicely tapered towards the component and not too numerous, making for relatively easy clean up. I should say that following a couple of breakages with parts on the Marder, I was especially careful with some of the smaller parts on this kit, and found I had no problems this time around; there are
some small and thin parts as you might expect, but it seemed to me that it was not quite so very delicate as the Marder, and coupled with fewer parts, this is an easier build.
In photo 17 we can see the decals next to the sheet of clear plastic which is used for the wind screen.
So, I immediately deviated from the instruction sequence and started with the main hull part; note in photo 18 the small amount of flash visible around the edges. Before we go any further I will point out a slight inaccuracy, since if you want to try to fix it, now is the time. The profile at the front of the wheel arches seems wrong; note how they have a flattened appearance right at the front so that there is a vertical face that drops off the curve of the arch; this should be a smooth curve so that from the side there is no squared edge. I only noticed this when it came to applying the decals on the front mud guard, and found that there is very little room for them, while on the real thing there is plainly a bigger surface. Anyway – fix it at this stage or live with it…
Into this hull body fits the floor pan, which includes parts of the transmission housing that sit with the two front seats (photos 19 and 20) and this goes in very well.
Conscious of the potential difficulty with painting these small interleaved wheels once constructed, I went for painting them all first, so off the sprue they came and onto some sticky tape, along with the two suspension units on to which they all mount. The separate suspension units do make things much easier than had the wheels mounted directly on the chassis. The attachment of these completed units to the chassis is relatively simple and quite hidden, so it is perfectly possible to do this almost at the very end of the build.
I wanted this to be an early North Africa arrival with dark grey over painted with yellow-brown, so the wheels were primed with grey, then sprayed with Vallejo Air Panzer Grey(photos 22 and 23).
In photo 24 we can see a couple of rather prominent ejector marks on the dash board having been filled and sanded. That bulge is the transmission housing, and note, too, the integrally moulded windscreen wipers and direction indicators. I found mounting this front bulkhead / windscreen component on to the chassis required a slight shortening of the lower outside edges so that it sat correctly on to the body. This assembly was given the same paint job so that I could get the grey into the crew compartment early in the construction. To this were added the two side covers, then the bonnet (hood) and radiator grille (photos 25 and 26). Photos of the real thing show these side cover / boxes to fit not very exactly so there’s no necessity to gap fill around them. The bonnet is possibly the most difficult kit part to clean up due to the mould line that runs straight across the small ventilation slits. I removed the radiator cap and replaced it with a slice of hexagonal rod so that it could be positioned a little farther forward in the centre of the radiator top.
Moving to the front wheels, these are in two halves, with nice clear bolt details on the outer face, although there’s another ejector mark visible (photo 27, at 11 o’clock on the wheel). Tyre patterns are basic but OK, though with no pattern in the centre of the tread, so not like the tyre illustrated on the box art.
The wheels will be mounted on a front suspension assembly composed of four quite fine parts that require some careful clean up, but which then fit together well to make up a convincing looking unit that is quite visible on the completed model. The wishbone shape part has locating pins which are also the attachment point to the sprue, so take care not to remove them. This was put carefully aside to set (photo 29) and attention then turned to the rear wheel assembly.
Photo 30 shows the sequence of the three layers of road and idler wheels. The left side went together perfectly well, but the two track units are not exact mirror images; the front road wheel on the left can be seen in photos of the real thing to only overlap the roller teeth of the sprocket, while on the right, the front road wheel overlaps the drive wheel to the extent that it cuts across the arc of the rim by a few centimetres. On the right side I had a problem due to this overlap, arrowed in photo 31: there wasn’t sufficient space for the inner and outer leading pair to sit either side of the drive sprocket. For a good appearance, the outer wheels must align at the edge of the track, so my solution was to slightly shorten the sprocket mount to move it closer to the body and to move it forwards a little, just enough for the leading road wheel to sit flat.
The two sets of wheels were left overnight to set completely before attaching the tracks. These are a single length of polystyrene, the moulded joints between the links being thin and delicate to provide the flexibility for the quite tight bend that takes them around the wheel unit. A little pressure was necessary to get them to seat into the sprockets correctly. Now, the instructions are to remove two links to get the correct length; having moved one sprocket forward by a millimetre or so, I had lengthened the track run on one side, but even on the other side, you can see, in photo 35, there is little room for play in these tracks – note the small gaps arrowed. Photos show that when correctly tensioned, the tracks would only sag on to the middle three wheels, while I had made them contact the outer two as well, which shortened them too much. With regulation tensioning applied, I guess the length provided is exactly right.
Take care which way around the tracks are fitted; as with the Marder II kit, there is an error in the instruction drawings: in fact the first illustration in step 3 shows them the right way, but the drawing in step 4 shows them fitted backwards. It’s not that easy to tell the difference, but note that the links have a shallow L shape profile when viewed from the side.
Once set, the tracks and tyres were painted (photo 36), and while that was drying, the front suspension was attached (photo 37), then the front towing hooks. In photo 39 observe the optional headlamps: parts 38 have the slit covers, while 39 (ringed) are empty shells, presumably to give the option for lenses to be made or fitted, or to allow an authentic broken look. As with the front suspension part, the headlamps are mounted using locating pins which are also the sprue attachment point, so some careful cleaning and shaping is necessary to make the pin thin enough to fit the tiny hole on the wheel arch.
The rear side body panels feature a couple of circular moulding marks (photo 40) which are best dealt with before assembly, and in photo 45 you can see how I failed to notice those on the back panel until they were in place… Photo 46 shows these filled, and also the hole in the bonnet where I removed the filler cap from the radiator. Here too is the movable lamp mounted on the windscreen frame; it has a somewhat vague location, kind of just sitting there, and I think it could justifiably be omitted if preferred. The driver and front passenger “doors” are also now added; don’t miss these out as the instructions just show them already in place in stage 15, and I found I had to reshape the edges of these slightly in order to fit them under the windscreen mounted indicators: it’s a tight fit.
A couple of boxes are provided for the track guards, one looking like the wooden tool box normally fitted in the space on the guard just behind driver, so I narrowed it slightly and put it there instead of the two strapped jerry cans.
I recently obtained the Dan Taylor Modelworks German Vehicle Fittings etched set and so used the width indicators to replace the kit items. It seems that later vehicles had the “ball on a rod” type as the kit provides, while earlier versions had the “flat disk on a strip” type as in the Dan Taylor set. I also used the set’s brass front number plate instead of the kit item; the brass item has a fine rim, rather than being a dead flat plate.
With the front seats, tools, steering wheel, canvas hood, and all the wheels still separate, the main assembly, front wheels and jerry cans were sprayed dark grey, followed by decals and satin varnish (photos 51 and 52). The rear registration decal had to be trimmed a little to fit on to the number plate. Photo 53 shows the front tyres being painted using the “Ken Abrams method”. ;)
Blu Tack masking was added, then some Tesco Value hairspray on to the vehicle and the jerry cans, then a thin coat of Vallejo Sand Yellow, followed by some gentle chipping with water, brush and cocktail stick (photos 56 and 57). The transmission housing in the driver compartment was painted a paler grey to represent unpainted alloy and the rear seats pale brown; I couldn’t really decide if the seats should authentically be black or brown, but the thought of black seats in the desert sounds terrible. I didn’t paint the lens of that windscreen lamp as I assumed it to be painted or muddied over to prevent reflecting the desert sun.
The final stage was to add the tools, jerry cans, the folded hood and the windscreen glass. You could justifiably leave any or all of the tools off if you wished, although they seem correct apart from the axe, which has too long a handle and has brackets that mount it facing the wrong way; it should sit just on the wheel arch on a 6” high bracket, with the head facing inwards and to the rear. I had assumed that the seven unstrapped jerry cans would fit exactly into the rack on the back of the vehicle as the instructions suggest, but only six fit in side by side – you just can’t squeeze the seventh in, but they look good. The instructions have a slightly odd drawing for the drop top hood, which is telling you to remove the central dimple right underneath; this is necessary to get it to engage correctly with the body work. Its appearance is OK, perhaps not sitting quite low enough, and MPK’s site shows a model where someone has presumably scratched a much nicer looking hood. The windscreen glass was cut out in two sections and glued on with Deluxe Materials’ Glue’n’Glaze. Finally, a spray of Tamiya Buff plus some Vallejo pigments to give an appropriate dusty desert appearance.
With relatively few parts, this was a fairly quick and certainly fun build to do, and due to the numbers of these vehicles that were deployed, there’s plenty of scope for varying things with lots of stowage, guns being towed, potential conversion subjects, and of course some decent crew members would add a great deal.
Fit of parts was mostly very good, with the few difficulties encountered as noted above. While not at the very cutting edge of moulding technology, there are some impressive components, with the tracks in particular representing the real thing very well indeed, and the track units once made up really give the finished model the characteristic look possessed by this family of halftracks. The main body parts, the floor pan and the front bulkhead are fairly complex shapes and nicely thought out so that detail is represented well using only a few parts, so there’s less complicated construction. The decals are of decent quality, and the instructions pretty clear, with only one or two errors.
I thought the painting instructions weren’t quite up to the impressive standard as in the same company’s Marder II where they are a separate colour sheet, with back of box used for some useful 3D CAD shots. There’s plenty of free research material around however to enable variations on that basic colour scheme to be easily contrived. A number of ejector type circular marks appear in noticeable places though they are all shallow and quite easily dealt with. I’ve described one or two possible accuracy questions, the main issue being the shape of the leading edge of the wheel arches; the boxes that sit behind them also seem a bit too tall, with the arches slightly too low, so that the tops of each are almost at the same level; there are however slight variations in the real thing, and it may depend on when / where it was built and the reference photos one is using.
Overall, I enjoyed building this, my second model from MPK and hope they continue to produce more great kits.
Prime Portal Demag-D7 Sd.Kfz.10 Walk Around
Prime Portal Demag-D7 Sd.Kfz.10 with Pak 40 Walk Around
Panzer Tracts No.22-1 Leichter Zugkraftwagen 1t (Sd.Kfz.10)
by Thomas L Jentz and Hilary Doyle