Historic SdKfz 231 6-Rad Build

by Kerry Ponting

First published in the August 2010 AMMS Brisbane newsletter

All those lucky people who attended Julys AMMS meeting will know Donna . ( She’s our new president of the club as voted by the committee, members and Dave Scorer).The fire sale of her uncle’s stash was well received by all including me and it started me thinking (stop those sniggers) . These kits were her uncle’s dreams and it seemed only right that at least one of these kits should be built for next meeting. So I jumped in and built the 6-Rad .

The kit is the 1/35th Scale Sd Kfz 231 (6-Rad) by HISTORIC Plastic Models produced in the Czech Republic. Upon opening the box I found a plastic bag (unopened) with the medium grey sprues of parts inside. Also in the bag was a small decal set with markings for three vehicles. In the box is a small booklet of 24 pages which contains a brief history of the 6-Rad in English and Polish. A Parts and Decal Map showing diagrams of the parts trees and decal layout, and twelve pages of well drawn, clear instructions to assemble the vehicle. In saying this last statement, this is what I believed before I started construction.

Historic SdKfz 231 1

Page 4 starts construction with D1, the lower half of the body and the chassis rail D2 , with engine sump , gearbox , fuel tank lower half, muffler and crossbeams B37 and B30. It is B30 which proved to be a problem. It is located in the lower body by two holes in the floor of the body . Unfortunately the holes are incorrectly placed as they put the beam directly between the trunion carriers for the rear spring pivots on the chassis rail s and not between the widened area mid vehicle just after the rise, as shown in the diagram. The next picture shows B30 in the widened area.

Historic SdKfz 231 2

Placement of the exhaust pipe D5 onto the lower body was the next area of concern. I choose not to attach this item until I had assembled the front springs. It was at this stage that I noted the lack of positive location pins and the small soft markings that were aides to the placement of parts on the body and chassis. The soap like plastic took to the Extra Thin Tamiya Cement quite well. But a Tamiya/Italeri kit it ain’t. The indentations that are used for doors and hatches on the turret, rear fo the body and access hatches for the engine were pretty shallow. So I digressd from the instruction sequence and started building in sub assemblies where possible.

There are a number of storage boxes placed on the substantial mudguards present on the vehicle. These are pretty crudely represented by plastic boxes with a separate lid which has a strip of plastic which has to be bent over to represent the latch. Placing the boxes on to the mudguards highlights some fitment problems. Most noticeably the left rear mudguard. If some of the boxes are not drastically shortened they will not fit on the flat of the mudguard due to the outward slope of the body.

The majority of detail on the kit is supplied in the form of separate hatches and hinges which appear quite large. It was while I was fitting the hinges to the maintenance hatches for the engine that I found the next problem with the kit . Not only had the hinge not been formed on the parts tree but it had the runner missing too! The kit nearly ended up as a plane flying through the air to land in the rubbish bin. But I perservered and managed to make a resin replacement part which seems to have done the job.

Last item for construction is paint. You can have any colour you want so long as it is Panzer Grey. So Panzer Grey it is and while painting the wheels ( 11 of the sods nearly as bad as a bloody tank! ) I was surprised by the detail on them, down to the CONTINENTAL embossed on the tyre sidewalls.

It isn’t the best or easiest of kits that I have built. But in saying that, it has allowed me to employ new skills and experiment with new techniques to achieve something approaching a reasonable model. The experience while frustrating at times did provide me with entertainment and some enjoyment. This vehicle was a favourite of the German Army in the mid 30s and was the ancestor of the 8-Rads and the many multi-axled armoured cars present today. I do not know of any other kit manufacturers who have produced a model of this vehicle. It’s a truck with slabs of armour. It’s ugly, but you can see the design innovations for blast deflection that are used today. If it had all wheel drive it would still be an effective recon vehicle even now. I do not know of too many vehicles designed in the 20s that would still have that claim.

I am going to enter it into the club competition to get the shit kicked out of it. (Someone please revive Dave as he has just fainted) I hope Donna’s uncle was watching the build and I hope he likes the end result. I hope also that this has provided some enjoyment for other members of the club.

Historic SdKfz 231 3