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SdKfz 232

n model by Marcus Mohlin
n text and images by Martin Waligorski 

In the German Army, armoured cars were designed for the vital role of reconnaissance, ranging ahead of the Panzer spearheads to assess enemy strength and intentions. The 8-wheeled heavy Panzerspähwagen was a large and ungainly but very fast addition to the German mobile arsenal of the early war years. The SdKfz 232 was actually one of the entire family of Schwerer Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 231/232/233 and 263 (8-rad). The 232 version differed from the other models mainly in the specialized wireless radio communication equipment, Fu.Ger.11 SE 100 medium range radio and Fu. Spr. Ger. "a" short range radio. The visible attribute of this model was the "bedstead" antenna which was welded on top of the body of the car. At the point where the antenna was connected to the turret a special joint was installed which allowed the turret to stay mobile and rotate 360 degrees.

These vehicles first tasted combat with the campaigns against Poland, France and the Low Countries. The radio communication cars proved their ability in infantry support, especially during street fighting. Later they saw use in both Russia and North Africa. Extreme climatic conditions in both these areas proved too severe for the vehicle. In Russia, "General Mud" immobilized 150 SdKfz 232s already during the first wet season of the campaign. In the desert, heat and sand created serious maintenance problems. Still, the eight-wheeled cars turned out to be the best vehicles for long raids in wide desert territory that Rommel had.

SdKfz 232 (8-Rad) production was stopped in 1943 with the appearance of SdKfz 234 Puma, also an eight-wheeler, which some sources rank as the best armoured car of World War II. The service use of the 232 didn't end there, however. Many of the old vehicles were upgraded with new radio communication equipment, replacing the "bedstead" with more modern and compact wire antennae. This vehicles are often referred to as SdKfz 232 (Fu) (8-Rad) Spät, one of them being the subject of this model. Other were converted to a gun version, the Sd.Kfz 233 Stummel. Several SdKfz 232 still fought for Berlin during the last days of the war.

About the model

Although the SdKfz 232 Tamiya kit had its debut many years ago, there is still no more modern substitute from another company. This model built by Marcus Mohlin is a combination of Tamiya SdKfz 232 and New Connection conversion set.

Despite its age, the Tamiya kit still holds a reasonable level of detail and fits together well. On top of it, the New Connection 232 set proved quite badly engineered with poor fit in just about every joint. Marcus had to work a lot with filling and sanding to achieve acceptable results.

The star antenna was scratch built using plastic rod and the shorter stab antenna was similarly constructed from plastic rod, slightly scraped to obtain a "pointy" shape.

The paint finish of overall Panzer gray is simple enough to apply, but it still takes the usual weathering work to give it that subtly interesting look. Weathering was applied in the nowadays more or less mandatory way with filters ala Miguel Jimenez and others. Scratches and other wear and tear was applied with a dark colour by means of a small paintbrush. Finally dust was accomplished using traditional pastels.

Marcus put the finished vehicle on a wooden base as shown. The commander figure comes from is an older Italeri figure that Marcus picked from the spare box. It was improved beyond recognition by replacing a new head from Hornet, new resin arms and Historex hands.

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Additional images, click to enlarge

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