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Italeri 1/72 scale SdKfz 234/3 "Stummel"

RELATED TOPICS: ARMOR | AUTO | MILITARY
Kit: 557037
Scale: 1/72
Manufacturer: Italeri, from Model Rectifier Corp. (MRC), 732-225-2100, www.modelrectifier.com
Price: $14
Comments: Injection-molded, decals
Pros: Crisp detail, optional simplified suspension
Cons: Gaps, dimensional inaccuracies

The eight-wheeled SdKfz 234/3 "Stummel" armored car was developed as a reconnaissance and support vehicle. Almost identical to the 234/2 "Puma," it differed with the inclusion of a 7.5cm KwK51 L/24 and a 7.92mm machine gun.

The 234/3 production's run was very short, from June 1944 to late 1944.

Italeri's 1/72 scale Sd Kfz 234/3 is molded in 64 tan styrene parts. Part casting is crisp, with little flash and light seam lines. Some parts, particularly in the interior, appear simplified.

Options are few, consisting of separate mining tools and fuel cans. For the beginner, a simplified suspension is included with straight axles for the wheels, eliminating the leaf springs and individual wheel axles.

The two-page 10-step instructions are clearly illustrated using part numbers for locations, with inset illustrations for details. Three of the ten steps are for the simplified suspension option.

One error of note is in step 4. The part numbers indicated for the exhaust mufflers should be transposed from what is indicated.

Painting and marking diagrams are also included, using both Federal Standard color numbers and Model Master paint codes.

Decals are thin, in-register, and their color appears accurate. Unit markings for two Normandy units and one Western Front vehicle are included.

Construction is straightforward and quick! I spent a total of 3 hours in construction.

There weren't any building problems to speak of. Part fit for the most part was excellent. The interior floorboard-to-hull joint (illustrated in step 2) had a large gap, which required a .010" styrene shim along its length. Plus, a couple of the leaf-spring locating pins can be seen in the interior floor; I used .010" styrene plugs to fix them. Lastly, in step 3, the upper and lower hull had a gap at the rear corners that required filling.

I built the kit in subassemblies. Leaving off the main gun, mining tools, wheels, and fuel cans until after painting was completed.

Vallejo Model Air acrylic paints were used, with tank dark yellow 1943 (No. 081) as a base. The camouflage pattern is painted with tank brown (No. 041) and Panzer olive Green 1943 (No. 096). The tires are painted with Gunze Sanyo tire black paint.

The Model Air paints dry with a glossy sheen that is fine for applying decals, so gloss coat wasn't required.

The various unit markings and data stencil marking decals laid down nicely with Micro Sol.

Finishing up, I applied a light dusting of Tamiya weathering pastels to bring out detail and add a bit of weathering.

I spent 8 hours building and painting my 234. The kit scales well in height and width, but it is a scale foot short in length according to the dimensions given at www.wwiivehicles.com.

Inaccuracies aside, the kit was a fun build, and assembles into a fine representation of the real vehicle. It's engineering makes it easy for a beginner with a few kits under their belt to build, yet is detailed enough that the more experienced will be pleased as well.

- Phil Kirchmeier

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