by: Sebastian [ ]
The Panzerspähwagen Kfz.13, also referred to as the Maschinengewehrkraftwagen Kfz.13, was the first armored reconnaissance vehicle produced for German service from 1932 through 1934. 147 units in total were produced featuring a lightly armored open-top superstructure mounted on a Daimler-Benz chassis with an ‘Adler-Motor Standard 6’ six-cylinder engine.
The crew consisted of a driver and a second person manning the 7.92mm MG13 (some sources indicate an MG34), traversable by 360°. It could reach a top speed of 70 km/h (44 mph) on road, but it suffered from poor cross-country performance. Despite this, it still saw service in Poland and France before ultimately being pulled from the front in 1941 to be used for training purposes.
The Funkkraftwagen Kfz.14, an unarmed variant fitted with a foldable aerial frame and a long-range radio was also produced from 1932 to 1934.
After having released many armored cars in the recent past, Bronco Models now offer a full injection molded kit of the Panzerspähwagen Kfz.13 with all the small details cleanly represented in plastic and photo etched brass. The kit also offers you the choice of fitting either the MG13 or MG34 and decals for three different vehicles to choose from.
The ‘German Adler Kfz.13 Armored Car’ (Bronco CB35032) kit comes with over 140 light brown plastic parts on 5 sprues (quite a few are marked not for use) and 31 parts on a sheet of photo etched brass. The molding of the plastic parts is excellent with hardly any noticeable flash.
The parts marked as not for use on Sprue E include two jerry cans, flasks, Stielhandgranaten, a fire extinguisher and many other useful accessories that can be put to use in the interior.
The kit comes with all the parts required to accurately construct the full exterior with the undercarriage, as well as the interior. However there are no parts included for the engine, which on the one hand speeds up the building phase but then leaves the modeler with fewer options for displaying the model.
The decals and paint guide provide three options:
• Unknown unit, France, 1940 (Panzer gray, Balkenkreuz on the right side and a few smaller insignias)
• Unknown unit, Poland, 1939 (Panzer gray, white cross on both sides and grille with ‘Marder’ written on the side of the hull)
• Unknown unit, Training facility Germany, 1937 (Panzer gray with brown camouflage, no insignias)
The instructions for building the model are covered over 7 pages and are in color with conventional exploded views in black and white line drawings. The parts are shown quite large which won’t cause any confusion during the building phase. Some parts are shown in color, depending on how they are to be painted. The steps are clear and quite easy to follow, but they still have to be studied carefully to prevent mistakes when constructing the model.
The chassis frame is molded in one large piece, which also includes the transmission and the front fenders. The rear transmission differential consists of 4 pieces and is attached first along with the propshaft and the two rear leaf springs. A cross bar for the front wheels and the two front springs are added next. The chassis assembly is rounded off by various smaller parts to support the turning of the front tires, the fitting of the exhaust and tires.
There is only one option provided for the wheels and one for the tires which had numerous tread patterns as can be seen on photos of the Kfz.13. The tires that are included appear to be of the narrow type, whereas wider ones were also used. There is a problem with the accuracy of the wheels, which I will explain later.
The main hull of the chassis consists of a couple bigger parts for the crew and engine compartment along with the grille. Sadly there is no engine included in the kit, but if there had been one it couldn’t have been seen because the dual engine hoods are molded in one piece and are thus static. The sides of the upper hull surrounding the engine feature two flaps each which are also molded in place rather than being separate parts which would have made them displayable in an open position. The grille consists of two parts and is covered by a one-piece armored cover.
The crew compartment is assembled on a base plate, which features a neatly molded tread pattern. This is attached directly to the chassis. Two large parts for the front and rear portions of the crew compartment are glued on top of the base plate. The gap between the plates is closed by two doors, one on each side, which can be displayed open or closed. The hull exterior also features two boxes mounted to both sides of the rear of the upper hull, one on the right side next to the engine compartment and one large one that consists of five plastic parts and a few photo etched ones for the license plate that attaches to it. A spare tire covered by a tarp is also fitted to the rear of the hull. The last touches to the exterior are the large lights fitted on the front fenders.
The interior of the crew compartment is a little sparse but that is due to the nature of the vehicle itself and not a fault of the kit. The driver’s seat is made up of four parts and is glued right on to the base plate, along with the shifter and handbrake. The mount for the MG is a bit more intricate with four parts for the gunner’s seat, five parts making up the turning structure attached to the base plate along with the MG shield, an ammunitions case and of course the MG itself. The instructions indicate using the MG13, with the option of fitting the MG34 instead. Either one is superbly molded. It is possible that MG34s were fitted to the Kfz.13 later on in the war, but because it was pulled from active service in 1941 it is more likely that this was done in the training facilities. All my photographic references show MG13s being used. The whole MG structure is fitted to the base plate. Additional parts fitted to the interior include the steering wheel, dashboard and the rear and front visors.
All in all this is a very good little kit of a rare vehicle, which only saw short service with the Wehrmacht. All the parts are rich with crisp detail and molded nicely with no noticeable flash anywhere. The weld seams on the upper hull are also very nicely represented. Dimensionally, the model checks out with what little data is available out there and the fit of all the parts is superb, but test-fitting should be done just to be sure.
The only negative comment on accuracy I have to make is with the wheels. I have thoroughly checked my references for the type of wheels included and have noticed that when the wheels are assembled with the tires the indentation on the edges of the hub in relation to the tires is not deep enough. What I am talking about can be better seen on one of the pictures included with this review. Along with this, the wheel hubs don’t seem to protrude as far out as they do on the actual wheels. This is but a minor fault which is hardly noticeable and doesn’t make this any less of a good kit.
With this kit, Bronco have released an outstanding recreation of the Kfz.13 which many modelers have been awaiting for a long time and they will have lots of joy assembling it. This is without the slightest doubt the best kit of this vehicle out there. The molding is superb and rich in detail, the fit is excellent and it is not very difficult to build. The only complaint I have is with the wheels and the inclusion of an engine would have been nice as well.
All in all I can do nothing but recommend this model, a job well done by Bronco.