Over the past 18 months, we’ve been treated to the “Half-Track Wars” between Dragon and Trumpeter as each company released multiple versions of the German Sd.Kfz.7 Prime Mover and its variants. This vehicle saw over 12,000 units produced through 1944, and carried at least two major AA guns: the 2cm Flakvierling
38 (“quad”) and two versions of the 3.7cm single barrel AA gun. An entire range of AM photo etch has been released by several manufacturers, including Griffon Models. Their Spare Road Wheel Locker/ Rack & Rear Storage Locker set is a small gem to complete your build of the Dragon version of the Sd.Kfz.7/1 2cm Flakvierling
The set comes with a fret of PE for making and two strands of copper wire for making hinges (0.2mm and 0.3mm), plus instructions, and is packaged in the usual attractive Griffon plastic bag container with photo illustrations.
Unlike the Prime Mover which had ample storage lockers, the Sd.Kfz.7/1 had only two compartments, one on either side of the spare tire storage area. Dragon’s Smart Kit of the Sd.Kfz.7/1 has a one-piece rear facing with molded-on doors, so if you want to show the lockers in the “open” position, then this set is a must-have. The upgrade allows for the doors, their hinges and also the chain-mounted latches that kept the doors closed. On the styrene part that comes with the kit, the hinges are rendered in acceptable detailing, but the latches are more suggested than actual.
Another nice feature of this set is the handling of the spare tire storage area. Not only are the support bars that hold up the tire under the gun platform rendered in a scale thickness PE, but you also have the choice of using a closed door or an open-work pair of retaining doors over the mouth of the storage compartment. This feature is only suggested with the usual pointing arrows, but is illustrated in the photos on the packaging.
The good news is it appears this set will work for both the Dragon Sd.Kfz.7/1 (reviewed by Jim Starkweather here
and 7/2 (reviewed by me here
) variants, making it attractive to a wider range of kit builders. One criticism of German armaments procurement was the tendency to approve designs that were both overly-complex and expensive (in terms of manpower and resources) to produce. The Sd.Kfz.7 series was beautifully-crafted, but the exigencies of wartime soon meant it had to be simplified With the FlaK variants, this meant doing away with the door covering the spare tire compartment.
The Dragon Sd.Kfz.7s are already among the more-expensive kits on the market in 1/35th scale, and don’t really cry out for upgrading. This set is probably too expensive even at a modest $8.50 for all but the most-demanding rivet counter such as myself, unless you are building the kit for a situation where you must show the storage locker doors open.