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Ryefield Schützenpanzer Puma

Review of the 1/35 scale armor kit with excellent detail

Developed as a replacement for Germany’s aging Marder APCs, the Schützenpanzer Puma comes in two versions, the basic “a” model and the up-armored “c” model. Originally there was to be a “b” version but it was dropped when the “c” model came in under the max weight for rail transport. The additional armor of the “c” version simply bolts on the basic Puma allowing easy conversion between the versions.

Ryefield Models’ Puma represents the up-armored “c” variant. Molded in tan plastic, it features excellent detail. Especially nice is the delicate nonslip texture on many of the hull panels and the finely detailed add-on armor.

Other features include individual-link tracks, clear plastic periscopes, lights, sensors, and armored glass for the rear hatch. A small photo-etch (PE) fret provides small details as well as the front and rear mud flaps and warning placards that German vehicles use when operating on civilian roads.

A small decal sheet provides markings for just one vehicle, but there is also a blank number plate and individual numerals if you want to make a different vehicle.

The instructions feature large diagrams but a few are cluttered and it is sometimes difficult to see exactly were some of the parts go.

The painting and markings diagrams are small and the complex NATO camouflage doesn’t always match between top and side views. The diagrams printed on the side of the box are better, but lack a right-side view.

Assembly begins with the turret, where you have the option of posing the coaxial machine gun compartment open or closed. The main gun can elevate and the covers for the sensors can be shown open or closed. I left off the sensor array and beacon until final assembly.

Assembly of the lower hull was quick and easy. I left off the running gear until painting was complete.

Surprisingly there were no instructions for assembling the tracks. I later found out that they are on a separate sheet that wasn’t included with my kit, but I found them online. Track assembly is pretty easy for individual-link tracks and went quickly. The instructions call for 71 links per side, but that was very tight, so I added an extra link on each side. You could omit the upper run of tracks as they’ll never be seen under the side armor.

I prefer not to add details before the major components are assembled, so I diverged from the instructions and added the main upper hull piece (Part D1) to the lower hull and main rear plate (Part B1) right away. In hindsight, if I had followed the instructions, I might have avoided the fit issues I experienced with the side armor. I wound up with some small gaps at the front mainly on the right side.

All of the hull’s main hatches are workable, but in the absence of any interior, I glued them shut.

The armored sides were built up but left loose so I could install the running gear after painting. I added the rest of the details leaving off some of the more delicate pieces such as the mirrors and the rear slat armor. These were painted off the model and added during final assembly.

I used AK-Interactive Real Color NATO acrylic lacquers mixing them with Tamiya lacquer thinner. The colors looked great and the paint sprayed well.

I applied the decals over a coat of clear gloss and they responded well to Microscale Micro Set and Sol. Once dry the model was sprayed with Tamiya flat clear.

Finally, I added the parts left off. For some reason, the PE front mud flaps and warning placards were curved on the fret. I was able to straighten them by applying my Mk.1 thumb and forefinger.

I spent about 32 hours building my Puma. The finished model matched perfectly the dimensions I found online and verified at a couple of websites. With its small parts and many subassemblies that need to fit, this kit is definitely for the experienced builder, but the finished model was worth the effort. I wonder if, with all the working hatches, Ryefield might be planning on releasing a version with an interior?

Note: A version of this review appeared in the September 2019 issue.


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