Sd.Kfz.2 Kettenkrad late production & 3.7cm PaK 36 w/crew (Premium Edition)

Published: October 4th, 2011     
Box Art
Box Art
Reviewed by: 
Scott Hollingshead, IPMS# 34786
Scale: 1/35
Company: Dragon Models
Company: Dragon Models
Price: $34.95
Product / Stock #: 6556

The Sd.Kfz.2 Kleines Kettenkraftrad (ketten is German for tracked, kraftrad is German for motorcycle) was one of the more unique vehicles designed and used during World War II. Initially designed for use by the airborne troops, and able to be carried inside of a Junkers Ju-52, the vehicle was used to lay communication cables, pull loads, and could carry two soldiers on the rear bench seat (probably not comfortably though). Towards the end of the war, the Kettenkrad was also used for towing aircraft in order to help conserve their aviation fuel. When operating at higher speeds, steering was actually accomplished by applying the brakes to the tracks, as the front wheel was more useful at lower speeds. There are some photographs that exist of the vehicles in use with no front wheel installed. During the war, two versions of the vehicle were produced with a total production of some 8,345 units. After the war, an additional 550 were produced for use by farmers, with units being turned out until 1949. The Kettenkraftrad was nine feet, ten inches long; three feet, three inches wide; and three feet, eleven inches tall. Powered by an Opel water-cooled four-cylinder engine, the vehicle could reach speeds of up to forty-four miles per hour.

Developed by Rheinmetal, the 3.7 centimeter PaK 36 was first designed in 1924 as an anti-tank gun to be pulled by horses, and was designated 3.7 cm PaK L/45. The guns were initially issued in 1928, and were changed to the PaK 36 designation when the wooden spoked wheels were changed to metal ones with pneumatic tires in 1934. The guns had early success with light tank designs, but became ineffective when facing the medium tanks that soon began to enter battle as the war progressed. On the Eastern front, the gun became known as the "door knocker" for its inability to penetrate the armor on a T-34. The rounds for the gun were 37mm in diameter and were 249 mm in length. The gun could elevate -5 degrees to +25 degrees, and could traverse 30 degrees left or right. The 2500 feet per second projectile had an effective range of 300 meters, with a maximum limit of 5500 meters, and the gun had a rate of fire of 13 rounds per minute.

Typical for the latest releases from Dragon, there is a painting on the top cover and pen and ink drawings and CAD drawings on the sides and bottom of the box. There are eleven sprues of plastic parts, a Dragon Styrene piece holding the two tracks, and a small photoetch sheet, along with a small decal sheet. All totaled, there are over 365 individual parts in this kit (as is typical with Dragon, there are several unused parts left for your spares box). I found very few flaws on any of the moldings in my sample, just a small molding line on a few of the individual parts. There is also a direction sheet and suggested paint numbers for Gunze and Testors paints.

As I, and most likely other modelers have come to expect, Dragon has done a nice job in their rendering of the Kettenkraftrad and towed artillery piece. The detail is very well done with the inclusion of hold down straps for the items on the sides of the vehicle, and the screens over the engine are a nice touch. I took the time to clean up the back of part A3 so that one can see through the screens; otherwise, there is a molded screen in the back. Some of the parts used for this kit are upgrades from those of earlier Kettenkraftrad releases, as the original parts are still contained on the sprues. The figures are also nicely done, but the parts for them did require a little more clean-up than the ones used for the vehicle and gun.

As is typical with Dragon kits, the overall construction is mostly straightforward, but there are steps where you need to pay close attention as to where and how parts need to be attached. I can only recommend patience, dry fitting, and an occasional look at a reference photo or two for keeping yourself out of trouble. There were instances such as in steps 2 and 3 where parts B11 and B12 are swapped, and in step 2, subassembly C is not mentioned, but needs to be installed to the rear where an additional subassembly B is in the directions. In step 10, parts A14 and A15 are not shown or mentioned, but are used to hold parts A11, 12, and 13 in place. Finally, in step 13, the elevation gear is actually part B8, not the B17 mentioned, and the table for the gun is part B7, not B27. I would also mention that in the subassembly for this step when adding parts B12 and 13, to ensure that the openings in the center of the parts face down toward the base of the shield. I did have some slight fit issues when attaching the body sides to the floor assembly on the vehicle, so just be cautious there.

I used Model Master Acryl "Dunkelgelb" for the main color on the vehicle and gun, and "Aircraft Interior Black" for the leather covered seats. The tracks received Panzer Aces "Track Color" for a base, the rubber treads are Andrea "Dark Rubber" (which was also used on the tires and rubber road wheels), and the metal highlights are Model Master Enamel "Steel". The figures were painted with Andrea's Flesh paint set and "Field Gray" was used for the uniforms (I lightened and darkened this color for the highlights and shadows). The leather items were painted with Andrea "Flat Black" and "Dark Leather" as appropriate.

Aside from the overall level of detail, my "hits" for this kit would be the ease of construction. The use of the Dragon Styrene for the tracks is another plus, as they can be joined using Tenax-7R (my adhesive of choice), and they can be tacked down to the tops of the half-track wheels to create a realistic sag. The figures are a nice addition, and I had no problems with getting them into their correct positions. The CAD drawing on the bottom of the box helps tremendously when assembling the figures around the towed gun.

As far as what I would consider "misses" on this kit, there are no painting directions mentioned until the end when painting the overall vehicle. It would have been nice for tips on painting a few interior items prior to them becoming inaccessible. Another thing that I noticed was the molding of straps on the figures. My issue would be that none of the three figures surrounding the PaK 36 have a strap for their gas mask canister, so I left them off. One figure was also missing the gun strap for his rifle, so I opted to leave that off as well. I will not call it a miss, but I would like to see pre-made plates for the vehicle, as it is very challenging to install a code and six numbers in the areas of the plates (the one above the front wheel also gets a small dash on each side). This does allow the builder to represent any Kettenkraftrad of their choosing, which many may prefer, but I would like to install a single decal instead. Aside from that, I had no bad experiences in building this kit.

In conclusion, I would highly recommend this kit to those who want to add a Kettenkraftrad and towed PaK 36 to their collection. The cover shows a scene where the PaK 36 is being towed through low water, with the figures helping to push it out, but I am sure that modelers will come up with other scenarios for the kit as well. There are some figure options with the kit, so the builder could make some changes along the way.

I want to express my thanks to the folks at Dragon models USA for providing this kit for the IPMS-USA to review, to John Noack for running the review corps that allowed me to do this evaluation, and to you for taking the time to read it.

  • Completed model front left quarter
    Completed model
  • Completed model top view
    Completed model top view
  • Completed model right rear quarter
    Completed model right rear quarter
  • Completed towed gun
    Completed towed gun
  • Gun and crew
    Gun and crew
  • Gun and crew
    Gun and crew
  • Gun and crew
    Gun and crew
  • Gun and crew
    Gun and crew
  • Completed vehicle and towed gun on base top view
    Completed vehicle and towed gun on base top view
  • Completed vehicle and towed gun on base right side view
    Completed vehicle and towed gun on base right side view

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