The selection of German halftracks in styrene is getting better all the time. Except for the Sd.Kfz.8 12ton, all the other Wehrmacht halftrack platforms are now available. The most recent is Bronco’s line of Sd.Kfz.6 variants.
Bronco started strangely with the somewhat obscure “Diana” gun platform mounting a captured Soviet 76.2mm field gun with shortened traces. I say “obscure” because only nine were built, with all of them serving in North Africa in a single unit (the 605th Panzerjäger Abteilung during 1942). Now the company has moved out to the more-common Sd.Kfz.6/2 mounting a 3.7cm FlaK antiaircraft gun, known officially as 37 mm FlaK36 auf Fahrgestell Zugkraftwagen 5t (SdKfz 6/2). Bronco’s release is entitled Sd.Kfz.6/2 (BN9b) 3.7cm FlaK36 auf Fahrgestell Zugkraftwagen 5t (Early/Late Production). The “BN” designation refers to the firm of Büssing-NAG, who with Daimler-Benz produced the vehicle.
While the Sd.Kfz.6 was originally intended to pull the 10.5 cm leFH 18 light howitzer, it proved to be a let-down in that role. More expensive to build than the three-ton Sd.Kfz. 11, and only slightly more powerful, it was phased out of production after 1943 at around 3,600 units. Nearly 340 were mounted with the 3.7cm FlaK cannon in 1937, with all of them deployed to the Luftwaffe.
The model comes in an enormous Bronco two-piece box with a lot in it:
41 tan sprues with 675 parts as well as another 220 odd parts for the tracks
3 styrene wheels
1 sprue of clear parts
1 large fret of PE
1 string for tow cable
27-page instruction booklet in full color
1 page painting & decal guide with 3 camo variants not in the instructions
The kit design makes several construction decisions that should simply assembly, including the use of smaller sub-assemblies and a one-piece chassis (much like the Dragon Sd.Kfz.7 if you’ve built that kit). It includes a full engine and transmission, and reminds me of a smaller Sd.Kfz.7 in many respects, including a full winch underneath (indeed, the Seven replaced the Six as the war dragged on in many of the same roles such as gun platform). I’m glad to report the road wheels are not vinyl, but styrene, although fanatics will want to add BitsKrieg’s resin wheels (in two styles: common
patterns). Three are present (2 active wheels and a spare).
The good news about the tracks is that they’re workable once assembled. The bad news is they must be removed from their sprue trees. The good news is: there are no obvious knock-out holes requiring eyestrain in order to remove them. The bogeys are thin enough that Bronco has disguised the mold seam lines on the edges, so again, clean-up should be minimal. There are six Kar98 rifles, one for each member of the seven-man crew except the driver.
The kit has some very nice features, including plenty of jerry cans, an R36 rangefinder and storage box, and a box you can show open or closed that contains two extra barrels for the gun. Its rapid rate of fire (150 rounds per minute realistically, 250 theoretically) meant that barrels got hot and sometimes failed. The kit has two extra ones in their own carrying case, and delicately-molded styrene muzzle brakes (which are removed for storage in the box when not being swapped-out).
There are some oversights, including no instrument dial decals. I look for our friends at Archer Fine Transfers to put out a set to remedy that. The “mesh” sides are just that: mesh, instead of the narrow slats in the original, but the only accurate solution to that problem would be to somehow modify an impossibly difficult set by Griffon Model for the Sd.Kfz. 7/1
or the laser-cut paper one by Kamizukuri for the Sd.Kfz.7/2
I have been hard on Dragon for not including an ammunition trailer with their half-tracks, as well as Trumpeter for including the wrong ones. I can't let Bronco skate on this, either, especially since they have a fine trailer for the 3.7cm FlaK guns on the market already (reviewed by Patrick Selitrenny here
). It doesn't help that the painting guide includes three color views of the trailer with the words "not included."
One of the nicer features of the kit is the lavish, color instruction booklet.
decals & painting guide
Bronco has gotten their research right and included only “WL” license plate markings (for Wehrmacht Luftwaffe
). While technically part of the Luftwaffe, these vehicles were placed within larger army units (usually at division level), and the options include:
11th Panzer Division, Balkans Campaign 1941 (Panzer Gray)
Four unknown units with various WL license plates (PG)
Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler, eastern front 1941-1942 with SS license plates (PG)
4th Panzer Division, 290. FlaK Abteilung (Luftwaffe), eastern front Summer 1944 (dark green & red brown wavy lines over Dunkelgelb)
Where appropriate, the decals include tactical markings and some “kill” hash marks for the splinter shield. Things like seat covers and rifle stocks are called out during the assembly process in colored drawings (beats looking up paint numbers all the time).
All in all, this looks to be a very good kit, and a welcome addition to the German half-track family. Bronco has done a very good job with the details, and even though some modelers will want to improve on the kit with a metal barrel, brass muzzle brake and perhaps even metal tracks, the kit should build up OOB very well.
Halftracked Vehicles of the German Army1909-1945 by Walter J. Spielberger (Schiffer)