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. The importance of this can’t be overemphasized: the Sd.Kfz.7 concept proved so successful that over 12,000 were produced through 1944. It filled a variety of roles, including pulling artillery, carrying Panzergrenadiers into battle, and recovering tanks, as well as mounting two major anti-aircraft weapons: the 2cm Flakvierling 38 (“quad”) and two versions of the 3.7cm single barrel AA gun. No build of any variant of the 88mm FlaK 18/36/37 or sFH 18 150mm howitzer is complete without an Sd.Kfz.7 to pull it.
Not surprisingly, a whole set of AM photo etch has been released by several manufacturers, including Griffon Models. Their resin radiator housing for the Sd.Kfz.7 series is one of those upgrade options.
The set comes with a resin housing and two frets of PE (one for the radiator louvers that allow air in, and brass screens covering the radiator from the inside.
The set can work on any Dragon early Sd.Kfz.7; I also compared it to the Trumpeter Sd.Kfz.7 radiator and it appears to be the same dimensions, though the mounting lugs are very different. Still, with a little surgery, I believe it could be adapted to the Trumpy kit, which could use a better radiator option. The resin radiator housing is well-cast with crisp lines, no flash and a pour plug that runs cleanly along a lower edge for easy removal (though the housing is very thin and therefore delicate).
The brass work really kicks the detailing up several notches on the front end of these kits, with one of its most exciting features the chance to put the logo of either the main producer (Kraus-Maffei) or Borgward on the front of the radiator. Sd.Kfz.7s were built by several firms besides these two, including Büssing-NAG, but hats off to Griffon for giving us the additional option (both the Dragon and Trumpeter kits have the Kraus-Maffei logo molded onto the kit styrene radiator housing). This set nicely compliments Griffon’s Engine Compartment Update set (#35A053) that shares the radiator interior grill and logo options, but not the resin radiator shell.
The Dragon Sd.Kfz.7s are already among the more-expensive kits on the market in 1/35th scale, and don’t scream out for upgrading. But this set will delight those who want the utmost in accuracy, since no styrene technology can recreate the delicate scale thicknesses of resin and metal.
Highs: Excellent, crisp molding; adds amazing detail to the kit. A quick upgrade that makes a good kit even better.Lows: Expensive for a kit that’s already close to $50.Verdict: Definitely recommended for those who want the ultimate in realism and detail.