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Dragon 1/35 scale SdKfz 2 kleines Kettenkrad w/Puppchen

Manufacturer: Dragon, distributed by Marco Polo Import, 532 S. Coralridge Place, City of Industry
Kit: No. 6114
Scale: 1/35
Price: $19.98
Comments: Injection-molded, 325 parts, decals.
Pros: Good detail, separate engine, individual-link track, well-formed driver figure, bonus antitank gun
Cons: Challenging fit, lots of parts for the size of the model
The Kettenkrad (or Kettenkraftrad) was just one of the many half-tracked vehicles developed by Germany in 1939. Developed as a light artillery transport for airborne troops, its main design consideration was that it be transportable by air. When the unique vehicle was put into service, other units found it useful as well. Eventually over 8,000 of the vehicles were built.

Dragon has just released a new model of the Kettenkrad, pairing it with its previously released Püppchen antitank gun (Püppchen, or "doll," was the cover name for this gun). This time it is on wheels (the original release was on skis). The kit features a seven-piece engine, individual-link tracks, and a well-molded driver figure. Decals are provided for two different vehicles.

I started my project by assembling the engine. Before attaching it to the floor, I moved on and assembled the side panels in step 3, so that I could paint all of the interior surfaces before assembling the basic body of the vehicle.

The fit when installing the side assemblies to the bottom plate was not the best. Small gaps where the sides met the front plate were filled with super glue and filed smooth. The side tops (parts No. A14 and A15) fit well on the right side, but the left had small gaps that I filled with Squadron putty. The engine cover (A3) was a little narrow (or perhaps my sides were a little too far apart), but this let me install the cover after all painting was finished.

I skipped the tracks and installed the front and rear assemblies (steps 10 and 11). This may have been a mistake because my front wheel did not touch the ground once I installed the tracks. Had I waited to install the front assembly after the tracks, I might have been able to correct this.

At this point I painted the exterior of the vehicle, and all of the road wheels. Once they were dry, I glued the road wheels into place. The drive sprockets were not installed until the tracks went on.

Each track link comprises two pieces, with the pad (B2) trapping the next link in the chain. A set of tweezers, tweezer-style sprue cutters, and a magnifying device (or good eyes) are recommended. While assembling the tracks is tedious, I fell into a rhythm and they went more quickly than I expected. With care it is possible to make the tracks actually work, but I suggest that you install them while the joints are still a little soft - that way, the links can still be flexed even if glue finds its way into the joint. I used 43 track links on each side. Once installed I flooded the links with Weldon 3 to fix them into place with the proper sag.

Building the gun was much easier. Assembling the pivot (D9 and D10) was a problem until I glued a small piece of sheet styrene to the bottom to hold both pieces in alignment. This was later drilled out so I could install the gun on the carriage.

Take care removing the mold seams from the carriage (D1); you can easily cut off the delicate molded-on handles. The axles are fragile, so be careful installing parts D2 and the wheels.

Dragon's Kettenkrad is by far the best-detailed kit of this vehicle available in standard armor scale, but the many tiny parts and minor fit problems clearly require experience. I spent about 18 hours building mine, somewhat more than one would expect for a model of this size. However, the finished model looks good, and matches the dimensions in The Encyclopedia of Military Vehicles by Hogg and Weeks.


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