Options abound with Dragon's new SdKfz 7/2, giving you a choice of three variants of the German halftrack (mesh or wood bed sides, plus a museum version). You may also position the bed in a combat-ready or travel position. The instructions do a good job of leading you through the options, but with 682 parts it's not always easy to keep things sorted out.
The build is broken into three main subassemblies: chassis and motor; crew, cab, and bed; and the FlaK 37. A ton of chassis detail is provided but, sadly, most of it will not be seen after the cab and bed are installed. Although, with a little modification of the hood, all that lovely motor detail can still be seen; or, you could save some time by skipping the motor and gluing the hood shut. Part J13 is about 1/8" too short and will not fit properly. Also, pay close attention to the instructions when placing the wheels; it's easy to get them wrong.
Armor detail on the crew cab is fantastic, but I had some difficulties lining up the hood, which is about 1/16" too short and doesn't sit correctly. Instructions are vague about placement of the cab assembly on the chassis. It took a but of work to get it to sit flat because it's such a snug fit.
The vinyl tires are very realistic, the tread pattern looks in scale, and, though they look intimidating, the "Magic Tracks" couldn't have been easier. I referred to pictures to determine the sag, easily done because the tracks are workable so you can bend them as needed.
I chose to pose the mesh bed sides in a travel position, and the photoetched-metal mesh fit perfectly. Locating the bed on the chassis is a bit difficult and, unfortunately, it hides a nicely detailed winch.
Cluttered directions make assembling the FlaK 37 very difficult, but the finished weapon looks lethal. You must choose whether to position the gun in firing or stowed position. The barrel is a single piece with a separate muzzle break. Included are 3.7cm shells to add to the gun.
I used Model Master paints on my halftrack. However, the directions fail to mention the vehicle's color base. I assumed it should be panzer grey, but I couldn't find a good reference photo of a winter-scheme SdKfz 7/2 to tell for sure. Still, panzer gray is what I used, and I followed with a thin, flat-white wash. The kit provides six choices of markings; the decals provided with the model went on with no problems.
I spent about 45 hours on my halftrack, far less than what I anticipated when I opened the box. Overall, the build was a breeze, especially considering the amount of detail and the number of parts. The instructions may be difficult, but someone with a couple of years' modeling experience should have no trouble turning out a decent-looking SdKfz 7/2 - the kit is truly a gem.
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