Enter keywords or a search phrase below:

AFV Club 1/35 scale Schwere Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 231 (8-Rad)

Kit:AF35231 // Scale:1/35 // Price:$59.98
AFV Club, from Merit International, 626-912-2212
Interior detail; posable hatches and wheels; one-piece frame; clear parts for lights
Some interior details missing; only lower half of engine provided; rubber wheels; errors in instructions
Injection-molded, 482 parts (24 photoetched metal, 16 vinyl), decals

Before AFV Club’s new SdKfz 231, Tamiya’s 40-year-old kit was the only game in town. According to Museum Ordnance Special Number 11: Schwerer Panzerspähwagen (Sd.Kfz.231) 8 Rad, by Thomas L. Jentz (Darlington, no ISBN), the kit represents a vehicle built before 1938, when the bullet splash guard was added in front of the turret.

In AFV Club’s state-of-the-art molding, hatches and even storage bins can be posed open or closed. The wheels may be posed, too. Interior detail is good except many lesser details, such as the ammo racks, are missing. Also, the engine is only represented by the lower half.

Clear parts are provided for the vehicle’s lights. The tires are soft vinyl, and there is a small photoetched-metal sheet included. Three sets of markings are accompanied by  a separate print of the box art.

A one-piece molded chassis helps keep everything square. Don’t install the rear driver’s foot pedals (parts B33 and B34) as shown in Step 2, as they hamper floor installation later. Do not glue on the suspension arms (A12, A13) in Step 3; these must be movable to install the springs and brake drums later. I wouldn’t glue the leaf springs (A15) in Step 8, either. They are not keyed, and adjusting them later will help ground all eight wheels. I did not glue the wheel rims (A2) to the brake drums (A1) as shown in Step 13. That way, I could add the wheels after painting. However, I did add the brake drums to the suspension arms. The wheels can be posed, but the steering links need to be glued in place. So, pick your wheel positions, then glue everything. Remember, all eight wheels steer and are interconnected; if you pose them turned, they’ll all need to be turned correctly.

I added most of the hull details after painting. Instructions are to paint the interior flat white, but they should really be RAL 1001 elfenbein, a bone or ivory off-white. I would suggest dry-fitting the front and rear panels (B20, B21) when attaching the lower side panels (B6, B19) to ensure the best fit. Doing Step 16 before Step 15 will make it much easier to install the foot pedals without the front plate (B21) in the way. I found that many of the photoetched-metal parts for the interior were misnumbered, but it was pretty easy to figure them out. Vision ports in the rear deck (C41) are labeled as subassemblies K and L; they should be parts A28 and A29, respectively.

The turret is a little gem. Included is the turret basket and most of the major interior details; I posed all the hatches open to show it off. While the photoetched-metal hinge parts for the rear hatches are not numbered in the instructions, you’ll see how they go. The tiny hinge pins (F3) jumped from my tweezers into oblivion, but I just glued the hinges together with super glue once the hatches were attached.

I painted my 8-Rad with Tamiya German gray, then post-shaded using a lightened shade of the base. Applied to a gloss coat of Pledge Future floor polish, the decals settled with a little Micro Sol. I airbrushed thinned Tamiya earth on the undercarriage, then applied a wash and dry-brushing with artist’s oils.

On the fenders, I roughly shaped the guards, concentrating on getting a good fit where the rim of the guard met at right angles, then secured this joint with the tiniest bit of solder, being careful to keep it from flowing into the mesh (paste flux is your friend). With that secure, I worked on the mesh seam until it was almost invisible.

The finished model matches the dimensions in David Doyle’s Standard Catalog of German Military Vehicles (Krause, ISBN 978-0-87349-783-1), except it was a little tall; I think the body sits a little too high over the wheels.

AFV Club has produced a top-flight model, and I suspect we will see more. I spent about 27 hours on mine. Modelers will need experience with small parts and photoetched metal to handle this kit.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the September 2012 FineScale Modeler.

Read and share your comments on this article

Want to leave a comment?

Only registered members of are allowed to leave comments. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.


Essential finishing techniques for scale modelers.
By signing up you may also receive reader surveys and occasional special offers. We do not sell, rent or trade our email lists. View our Privacy Policy.