by: Jim Starkweather [ ]
Tristar has sent us their newest major release, the Leichter Panzerspahwagen 2cm Sd.Kfz.222 (mid production). This kit shares a niche with only several other manufacturers at the moment. Notably the Tamiya release, and the (I believe) soon to be released HobbyBoss kit. Tristar's marketing team appears to be very good at recognizing where modelers need more choices and work to offer options, etc. The kit includes a full interior and drive-train (however no engine).
This vehicle is one that has always sparked my interest due to its unique shape and "cool" factor. Of course it shares it's shape with the earlier 221 variant, which boasted only an MG34 for offensive action. However this model has the much more potent 2cm gun (in combination with an MG34), which I am sure caused havoc for ground troops, light vehicles and aircraft. Production started on the 222 model and continued until the end of the war. This kit purports to represent a mid-version model, however the introduction text in the manual clearly notes that production was divided into two different chassis version; initially it was with a 3.5L V-8 Horch engine and the latter utilized a 3.8L Horch engine. I looked for a clarification on the kit to explain which version this was, but that information is not given. Perhaps they will be able to clarify that at some point for those that want to know.
The project was supervised by C.K. Pat and special thanks was given on the box cover to Mr. Thomas Jentz.
What's inside the box
There are six primary sprues in light beige plastic and the lower and upper hull are inter-connected on a sprue as well. Four rubber tires are included in addition to 4 metal springs for the suspension. The two photoetch pieces form the turret cage, screening and other miscellaneous items. A clear plastic sprue includes the headlights and several view port glass inserts. The instructions are 10 pages and outline a 16-part step process to completing the kit. The instructions do not include much in the way of text directions, but have very clear and easy to understand black and white diagrams showing the kit's assembly. There are three paint and marking schemes on the last page. They include;
1. Kradshuetzen-Btl., GrossDeutschland Panzer Grenadier Div., Orel, USSR, 1942
2. 20th Panzer DIv. USSR, 1943
3. Bulgarian Army, M222, First Army Armoured Battaliion, Hungary, Feb. 1945
These are all in German Grey and only the 20th Panzer DIv features any camo treatment.
I am no subject matter expert for this vehicle, therefore I will simply relate what I see and leave the accuracy questions to those experts who can speak to that. All the sprue parts appear to be of the highest quality without flash or apparent mold lines. The top hull has very nice weld seams over all the major joins. The tires have a unique tread pattern and no visible brand or raised lettering. The photoetch, decals, and clear plastic also appears to be well made and executed. The inclusion of the wire springs is a nice touch and given their visibility from the front of the model I think they will really achieve the desired affect. The photoetched turret cage is also a big improvement over the plastic and black mesh used in earlier kits. I am left wondering whether Tristar will release a 223 radio command version of this kit or whether they could have even made this a 2-in-1 offering.
Tristar has undoubtedly released another winning kit with this Sd.Kfz.222. I will let the pictures speak for themselves. And we will hopefully have a full build review of this kit available at some point soon. Until then perhaps you have also felt the urge to build this little scout car and create an interior compartment filled with crisp details, ammunition, and a case of schnapps. If so you may already be on your way to your LHS or online retailer to buy one; remember to tell them you saw it here!