Fans of German halftracks should be pretty happy right now. With the exception of the Sd.Kfz.8 12ton, the only other platform that wasn’t represented in styrene up to now was the Sd.Kfz.6— notice I said “was.” Bronco has already released the odd-ball Sd.Kfz.6 “Diana,” and very shortly will release a version sporting a 3.7cm PAK antitank gun. I say “oddball,” because the so-called Diana mounted a captured Soviet 76.2mm field gun with shortened traces, and only 9 were produced, all serving in North Africa in a single unit (the 605th Panzerjäger Abteilung in 1942).
The Sd.Kfz.6 was something of a failure. It was more expensive to build than the three-ton Sd.Kfz. 11, and only slightly more powerful. It was phased out of production after 1943, and gradually given over to duties as a gun platform.
Right on cue, Quick Wheel is releasing two versions of their superb resin road wheels plus painting mask sets for the Sd.Kfz.6 kits, one with so-called “common” tread and one with a wavy “uncommon” variety (to be reviewed separately).
The set includes the usual matching front road wheels, one spare tire and two sets of hubs, plus the vinyl masks that make painting Quick Wheels a snap. Additionally, there is a sheet of historical and modern photos, plus a guide for assembly.
Greg Rossa of Quick Wheel continues to produce some of the best resin wheels in the hobby. They are meticulously-researched, and give modelers a choice of different tread patterns or manufacturers (where established historically). No cookie-cutter solutions here, these tread patterns are distinctive, and (from what I can determine from historical photos) completely accurate. The common pattern tires in this set will work for both the “Diana” kit and the upcoming Sd.Kfz.6/2; the uncommon tread would appear to be the right option for the artillery version not yet released by any manufacturer, at least according to the photo included. Finally, the casting is nearly flawless with none of the air bubbles and others glitches of many resin upgrades. They're certainly the equal of the "big name" resin wheel companies.
There’s no way styrene can compete with the crisp detail of resin, including a slot for the air valve nipple and the manufacturer’s logo (Continental) and stenciling. The tread looks like something reduced from 1-1, and the spare already has the lug bolt holes pre-drilled, meaning there’s nothing else needed for adding a spare tire. For one this good-looking, I’d wire or bolt it to the back of the vehicle as a field modification so it shows.
The set offers two wheel hub options: smooth and a drop lug bolt (see photos at right). As we often advise here on Armorama, check your historical references before making your choice.
It’s no secret I am a big fan of Quick Wheel products because I hate making my own masks. With a basement full of kits, why do I want to spend time on something so boring when QW makes masks for most major vehicles, especially those where masking is a pain in the butt? German tracked vehicles especially have highly-detailed rubber tires on their bogey wheels, and painting them by hand never looks as good as using a QW mask. If you’re one of those modelers who prefers to make your own masks, I salute you. For me, I’ll take the QW solution any day.
The front tires on the new Bronco kits are decent, but two-piece styrene halves simply can’t offer the sharp detailing of these resin replacement ones. Switching the kit parts with this set will significantly increase the realism and accuracy of your build. The masks will make painting them almost painless. What more do I need to say?
Thanks to Quick Wheel for providing the review sample. Please mention you saw them here on Armorama when ordering.
Highs: Excellent detailing and casting with almost no clean-up. The mask makes painting the wheels ridiculously simple.Lows: Pricy for some, and available only from a limited number of vendors or directly from Quick Wheel.Verdict: They simply blow away the kit wheels in the Bronco Sd.Kfz.6s. Highest recommendation.