by: Robert Blokker [ ]
Introduction - Some background
Development and production of the Sd.Kfz. 222 started in 1935 and ended in 1944. The idea was to make a light reconnaissance vehicle based on the standard Horch 801 chassis with an angular armored body. Development started at Eisenwerk Weserhutte in Bad Oeynhausen, Autounion in Zwickau made the Chassis, and assembly happened at F Schichau of Elbing and Maschinenwerk Niedersachsen located in Hanover Linden.
The Sd.Kfz. 222 had a rear mounted 3,5 L Horch petrol engine producing 90 HP. On the road it managed a nice 80 Km/H while cross country it drove 40 Km/H. The maximum range of the vehicle was around 300 Km
The vehicle performed remarkably well in good circumstances and on good roads such as in western Europe. Sadly, with its relatively poor off road performance in Africa and on the Eastern front it was gradually replaced by the Sd.Kfz. 250 in its reconnaissance role.
This kit by HobbyBoss is packaged in a sturdy cardboard box approximately 41 cm wide, 26 cm high and 5,5 cm deep with very nice boxart by Vince Wai.
Inside you will find 4 light grey styrene sprues, 1 small transparent sprue, the body of the vehicle in two halves (top and bottom), 4 rubber tires, no less than 3 sheets of PE, and a decal sheet
In total 276 styrene parts are in the box, 3 of which are transparent. No flash, no sink marks, few pushout marks, but assembly will tell how many of those will actually be visible. Comparing the locations of the marks with the drawings I don’t think that many will be visible.
Now, I first have to explain this is the first HobbyBoss kit I ever had in my possession, so I only know the company from reading reviews about other kits by them. And boy, was I in for some surprises.
On sprue A you will find the suspension parts and the wheel hubs, along with some additional stuff like an MP40 and some Stielgranate, (more on those later). Very nice detail on all parts.
Sprue B holds several parts for the underside of the vehicle on which the running gear attaches to. It also has the parts for a very complete engine. Yes, HobbyBoss provides a complete and very nice representation of the 8 cylinder Horch 3.5L engine in the kit. Further, you will find more running gear parts and the front bumper. Again, really nice detail on all the parts, especially the engine which will be a joy when built and ready for painting. It sure has everything to turn it into an absolute beauty.
Sprue C is a bit of a mixed bag…you will find a lot of exterior stuff like fenders, the stowage bin for the side, the spare wheel in canvas covering, and to top it all off… a lot of details for the interior. All parts are really nicely molded…. Wait.. what!! Yes this surprised me quite a lot. Not only does HobbyBoss give you a very nice engine… the vehicle actually has a full interior. I already mentioned the MP40 and the Stielgranate on sprue A… they are also to be placed inside the vehicle.
Sprue D is the sprue that supplies you with the armament of the vehicle. The gun pedestal, three choices of main gun and the parts for the anti-grenade hatches are included on this sprue.
The hull parts are also molded in light grey styrene and are divided by top and bottom. Both parts are crisply detailed and the welding detail on the top half is some of the best I have seen in 1:35 injection molded plastic. The bottom half has some very nice tread plate pattern on the bottom and on the sidewalls it shows you where the stuff on the interior needs to be placed.
The tires, well they are from rubber. This will undoubtedly have people who love them and people who hate them. I personally like them… you can’t make anything look better like rubber then rubber itself. But again Hobbyboss comes with a surprise around the corner. The wheels are not attached to some rubbery sprue but delivered separately. There is virtually no molding line visible. The tread pattern on the tires is spot on and the tires have hollow insides. This of course is not that interesting when you are putting them on the vehicle but imagine having them lying around a workshop or garage. It will look like the real thing.
The small transparent sprue holds 3 lenses; 2 for the head lights and 1 for the taillight, all nicely detailed.
Photo Etch Frets:
Fret A holds an engine screen for the firewall on the inside of the vehicle. Several hatches for the outside storage bins in the fenders, number plates and a lot of other details.
Fret B has the Stielgranate holders for the inside of the vehicle.
Fret C carries two types of anti-grenade screen, the engine deck screen behind the turret, the radio frame and some smaller parts.
You cannot really build this kit without the PE as it the kit does not offer plastic counterparts. The PE is really detailed and will, without doubt, be a super addition to the vehicle.
The Decal Sheet:
Well, this is one thing I have mixed feelings about, but let me start off by saying that it is a very well filled decal sheet. And once again, HobbyBoss managed to surprise me. In the instruction sheet I noticed that you have to put a lot of decals on the inside of the interior. I was a bit puzzled by this, but the Germans labeled everything on the inside of the vehicle. So a Stielgranate would have had the word Stielgranate printed above it. Same goes for pretty much all the other things inside the vehicle. Yes, Hobby Boss added the interior stenciling on the sheet. Aside from that brilliant detail you will find a really nice dashboard, tire pressure decals, Afrika Korps decals where the swastika is done in 2 parts, Balkenkreuze, a TETRA decal for the fire extinguisher and number plate decals.
And it is with the number plates that I have found the first damper on this so far stunning kit. At first sight Hobby Boss gives you number plates for 3 different vehicles. The 222 has 2 number plates on the back fenders and one rectangular number plate stencil on the nose. However…where the number plates on the back are indeed of three different vehicles, the rectangular plates are of only one of the three. And you get three of them. This means you are limited to only one vehicle of which the decals match. Possibly HobbyBoss corrected this already at the time I’m writing this review, but you can see the mistake in the pictures of this review.
The kit comes with 2 folded instruction sheets where in 14 very detailed steps is shown how to assemble the vehicle. I have not come across any mistakes yet… if there are any mistakes at all they will probably come up when I start building the vehicle. Although the drawings are very crowded and busy they are very clear.
Next to that you will find an A4 sized painting and decal instructions page which is double sided printed giving you two vehicle options, both of which represent a DAK vehicle. One is of a sandcolored vehicle belonging to 21. Panzer Division in Libya, may 1941. The other is a Panzer grey vehicle belonging to 10. Panzer division, Tunis February 1943. Sadly with the mistake in the decal set you cannot make any of the vehicles shown in the painting guide as you will not have the correct license plate for on the nose of the vehicle.
The kit vs the real deal
I did a quick comparison of the vehicle against the line drawings from Panzertracts and it appears to have a few dimensional issues. The wheels are a little too small and the width of the vehicle a little too narrow. Looking at the interior I have the feeling that they took a very good look at the restored SdKfz 222 from the Littlefield collection, as the interior of the kit pretty much matches perfectly with the pictures I have seen of that vehicle.
A nice touch of the kit is the choice of three main guns, you get to choose between the FLAK 38, KWK30 and KWK38. The choice of gun kind of depicts which type you are building; Early, Mid or Late. However, looking at my references, most of the features of this kit are from a late version. Still, it is really nice to have the options. The guns themselves are very nice although they lack the detail on the muzzle brakes that pretty much all the injection molded Flak guns have. You can either enhance them by drilling out the holes in the flash suppressors or replace the barrels by metal ones. Looking at the drawings, the gun pedestal also seems to lack some details, one of the most important are the firing pedals for the gunner.
As I said earlier, this is my first HobbyBoss kit, and I did not really know what to expect when I purchasedt it. I have to say, in my opinion, that I bought a terrific kit. It has really sharp molding, no flash, no sinkmarks, and a complete interior including the engine. Lots of PE complementing an already nice kit, interior stenciling, a dashboard decal in color, and a choice of three guns. To top it all off, really nice rubber tires without a seam line. Even with the mistake on the decal sheet, and some missing detail here and there, it is very clear that HobbyBoss did their homework and all that is mentioned above seems to be a steal for less than 30 Euro.
Even though the decal sheet has its problems, lack of detail on the gun barrels, and certain areas of the gun pedestal might not be complete, these are all things that can be easily overcome. Maybe HobbyBoss will correct the number plates on the decal sheet, the gun pedals are only really visible when the vehicle is opened, and the guns can be detailed with a little care and the advanced and/or purist will swap it with metal barrels anyway. Even the dimension issues will not be very apparent when the vehicle is built and painted.
I recommend this kit to anybody who wants to build a really nice looking Sd.Kfz. 222 model.