|DRAGON - Sd.Kfz.263 Funkspähwagen (8-Rad)|
A look at another small scale release from Dragon...
Sd.Kfz.263 Funkspähwagen (8-Rad)
Manufacturer: Dragon Models
Serial Number: 7444
Although primarily known for their 1/35th scale armour range, Dragon have consistently been expanding their small scale range over the last few years with some truly outstanding releases in terms of subject choice and detail.
The Sd.kfz.263 Funkspähwagen was a radio reconnaissance vehicle (8-Rad differentiating it from the earlier Sd.Kfz.263 six wheeled variant) that quickly proved useless in the conditions on the Eastern Front during WWII, but was widely used by Rommel in North Africa.
The kit contents consist of a number of small light grey styrene sprues, decal sheet, and four-sided, full colour instruction leaflet.
Although aware that this is a small-scale kit, it's a tiny model even allowing this, the separately moulded one-piece lower hull being just a tad over 8cm in length. The upper hull is supplied as a one-piece moulding too. Since this vehicle had a sixed superstructure and no turret, most of the assembly consists of installing the running gear and then fixing the bed frame antennae to the top!
Regarding the running gear, it's almost a miniature work of art. Each axle is moulded more or less complete. But the large leafsprings that provide the suspension on each pair of roadwheels are provided as a separate parts. The tiny wheels themselves are supplied as complete individual parts too...if that's not a contradiction. Once the running gear is installed onto the exquisitely detailed lower hull, the separate fenders can be fixed. These are moulded with various tools etc., already in place, a seeming contradiction when you consider the work that has gone into producing the detail in other areas of the kit, but obviously this is as a result of a cost versus advantage calculation. Each of the fenders does come with tiny separate width indicators and exhaust screens though, along with some other details. Again, compromise seems to be the order of the day, since although small, I would have expected the exhaust screens to be either provided as photo-etch or produced in some other manner than just a solid plastic part. It wouldn't prove too difficult to swap them yourself, although it is obviously preferable not to have to in the first place. Speaking of swapping parts, I should imagine most modellers would also wish to remove the moulded on stowed tow cable on the front armour too. Again, not too difficult to do. The large bed frame antennae is provided as a single part, with separate supports, although it's fairly delicate so needs to be handled with some delicacy. Once you break it, it will never be the same!
The decals in the kit supply markings for five schemes shown in full colour on the reverse of the instructions, none of which are north African vehicles. Three are in Panzer grey, the other two in camouflage schemes over Dunkelgelb. See below for full details.
Another great little kit from Dragon. Superb detail, with precise engineering, what more could you want? Recommended!
My thanks to Dragon models for the review sample.