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1/35 Tamiya SdKfz 222 Leichter Panzerspähwagen

Article by Lee Rouse
 
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Kit Review:
Subject: 1/35 Tamiya Leichter Panzerspähwagen.
Original Release date: 1975
Price: purchased for less than $5.00 by my son at the Atlanta Nationals.

History
The Leichter Panzerspähwagen (roughly "Light Armored Vehicle") were a series of light 4 x 4 armored cars produced by Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1944.

The vehicles were developed by Eisenwerk Weserhütte and based on the standard sPkw I Horch 801 (heavy car) chassis with an angled armored body and turret. The rear mounted engine was a 90 horsepower (67 kW) Horch 3.5 petrol engine, giving it a road speed of 50 mph (80 km/h), a cross-country speed of 25 mph (40 km/h), and a maximum range of 185 miles (300 km). Front and sides were made of 8 mm steel; thinner 5 mm plates protected the top, rear, and bottom. Cast vision ports later replaced ports cut into the armor. The open topped turret was fitted with wire mesh anti-grenade screens. The Sd.Kfz.222 was armed with a 20 mm auto-cannon and a 7.92mm MG34 machine gun. A third crew member could serve as the gunner, relieving the commander of that task. Some versions included a 28 mm armored piercing cannon. (read more at Wikipedia).

The Model
This was another one of the kits my son picked up for next to nothing at the Atlanta IPMS Nationals.

Out of the box, the kit consists of 3 trees of approximately 115 parts, including a 5-part figure. There is also a small piece of plastic mesh screen which needs to be cut up for the anti-grenade screen. The kit instructions are very well illustrated and easy to follow. I went strictly OOB with this kit, except for adding a piece of grooved Evergreen styrene sheet for the flooring.

Article-Pix Article-Pix Article-Pix The paint scheme is refreshingly simple - basically everything is German gray. When I originally started the model, I had a bit of Tamiya German Gray (XF63). But then I ran out of paint, and had to brew up mix of Tamiya Gray (XF24) and white XF1) - not a perfect match, but close enough. All parts, with the exception of the wheels and anti-grenade framework, were glued in place before any painting was done.

Decals
After the German gray had dried, I prepared the model for decaling by shooting a couple of airbrushed coats of Future. Decals...decals...where are the decals?? It was at this point I realized there was no decal sheet in the box. I suppose I can't complain considering how much was paid for this kit. Well, I had lots of spare aircraft decals, but nothing in the AFV line. An email to my club members brought several quick responses which resulted in all the decals I needed for this kit. Many thanks to Frank Eason, Willie Lanier, and Steve Kasza!!

Weathering
Article-Pix Decaling was followed with an oil wash of Payne's gray. This was followed with a dullcoat of PollyScale Flat. Dry brushing of the main body was done with artist's oil Mars black, rather than a lighter shade of gray. I did use a very light gray to drybrush the smaller details on the kit.

I also tried an interesting trick called color filtering, which I picked up from a build article by Vinnie Branigan on the Armorama website. Basically, this involved dotting the surface of the model with a variety of colors of artist's oils (reminds me of a Merita bread bag), and then gently brushing away most of the paint with a very slightly moistened flat brush. The resulting effect is very subtle, and difficult to see in a photograph (in fact, I may be imagining that I'm seeing any effect at all!).

Further weathering was done using ground artist's pastels. Some was applied directly to the lower sections of the model with an old brush. I also mixed up a batch of dirt sludge, using PollyScale dark earth, a little water, and a drop of dishwashing detergent. I dipped the tip of an old toothbrush into the sludge and used my thumb to flick "mud" onto the lower portions of the vehicle (not shown in the photos as this step was completed after the photos were taken).

Final Construction Fortunately, the vehicle body opening for the machine gun/cannon assembly is large enough that this can be constructed separately and added as one of the final steps. Once the assembly was seated properly, the turret ring was placed over the gun assembly and glued to the vehicle with white glue.
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The anti-grenade framework was then assembled and glued to the turret ring. Cutting the anti-grenade screening was easy. I just taped the edges of the plastic mesh over the template outlines that were part of the instruction sheet. I used a new #11 blade to cut out each piece. Applying individual mesh pieces was a bit fiddly, but not difficult. I used white glue initially to tack the edges down, then thin superglue to permanently attach each piece.

The figure was painted with a base of Tamiya flat white, followed by artist's oils mixed to represent the appropriate colors.
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Conclusions
Well, I seem to have been bitten by the "things without wings" modeling bug. I'll have to admit that although aircraft are my first love of modeling, there's something quite refreshing about building subject matter that is totally outside one's prior experience (even during my childhood modeling, I built plastic planes, ships, knights, cars, even a few birds, but no military vehicles). The Tamiya sdKfz 222 is an easy to build model that is a great starting point for anyone getting into AFV modeling!

Photos were taken with my Nikon Coolpix 4500, set on manual, and mounted on a tripod. The exposure was adjusted to maximize the f/ value, thus yielding a sharper image with greater depth of field. My background is a piece of textured wallpaper. I use the ring fluorescent light in my adjustable arm magnifier on my work bench to aim light where needed.

 
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