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Tamiya SdKfz 2 Kettenkraftrad Mid-Production

Build review of the 1/35 scale German army half-track model kit — an excellent intro to individual-link tracks
The SdKfz 2 Kettenkraftrad is a half-tracked vehicle designed for transportation of small artillery pieces and supplies for the German army during World War II. Originally meant for mountain and airborne troops, it proved so adaptable that it ended up used on all fronts by every branch of German service throughout the war. About 8,420 vehicles were produced from 1941-1944. 

Tamiya has a new-tooled 1/35 scale model of the Kettenkrad that replaces its original model first produced in 1973. It consists of 256 styrene parts molded in dark yellow with two photo-etched metal (PE) screens for the engine compartment. The molding is crisp with only a few ejector-pin marks. The tracks are link-and-length with separately molded track pads . 

A trailer is also supplied, along with a driver and two machine-gun crew figures. A color pamphlet contains a brief history and two profiles is included along with Tamiya’s usually clear instructions. Color callouts are shown throughout using Tamiya paints; the body colors for the Kettenkrad and trailer are shown in its new lacquers (TS) and standard acrylics (XF). No vehicle markings are provided, but a single decal for the gauges is included.  

Construction starts with assembly of the body, and most everything fits together well. There is a prominent joint between the side panels and front hull (Part R4). The box art shows a weld seam in the same location, so I replicated one with stretched sprue. Various other weld seams and handles are also shown on the box art that would not be too hard to add. 

The kit supplies a form to get the proper bend for the engine grilles. There is an inside and outside for the grilles, so pay attention to the pictures in the directions to make sure they are right-side up. The engine and floor can be left out to make painting easier, but you shouldn’t glue the inside panel (Part R7) and dashboard (Part R3) until painting is complete. 

The inner six road wheels are molded in two, three-wheel parts per side. These are sandwiched between two outer and two inner road wheels hiding the inner road wheel connectors. These are then glued to the sponsons. The instructions have you build the track runs off the vehicle. Tamiya designed the track pads to be left on one side of the sprue tree, allowing you to glue seven pads to the flat sections of the tracks at one time. Once the tracks are assembled, the whole run can be glued to the model. 

The fender on the front fork is molded in two halves which left a nasty seam that needed filling. I thinned the mud flaps to make them closer to scale thickness. The trailer hitch can be modeled in either the stowed or in-use position. The hitch on my model was loose and kept falling out, so I punched a 0.010-inch plastic disk and glued it to one side of the of hitch — this solved the problem. There is detail on the inside of the trailer, but there are ejector-pin marks that need filling. 

I modeled the three-color camouflage Kettenkrad using mostly Tamiya colors. I did not think that the single gauge decal would settle down over the detail on the dashboard, so I removed each gauge with a punch. This allowed each gauge decal to settle down nicely inside the bezel. A drop of gloss gave the gauges a glassy look.

The figures went together with only a small amount of filler needed on the seam of the driver’s seat. Make sure that the ammo pouches on the ammo carrier figure and the box on the machine gunner figure are glued in place before you add the arms; they can’t be added afterward. The heads are molded separately with good detail. You get two head options for the driver figure: one head faces forward and the second looks left. You can also have both arms on the handlebars or the right hand resting on the driver’s leg. 

This model is a big improvement over Tamiya’s first offering of the early-production Kettenkrad. It took me 27 hours to complete. That may seem high, but much of this time was spent painting figures, which is not my specialty. The model’s small tracks might seem intimidating, but the ability to completely assemble them off of the body is a big help. 

This is a good kit to introduce someone to assembling individual track links. The book, The Kettenkrad Sd.Kfz. 2 Vol. 38 (Friedhelm Abel; Schiffer) is a good resource to see different markings and color choices. However, you will need to source these marking from aftermarket companies and probably in 1/48 scale since the Kettenkrad is such a small vehicle.  

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