Kit Preview : 1/76 Matchbox SdKfz 232 6-Rad Radio Car
About the manufacturer
Matchbox released several ranges 1/76 armor kits in the seventies and eighties. They were characterized by their interesting choice of subject and use of two color plastic. Much of the range is being re-released by Revell (in single color plastic) and this kit is currently on the market (2007).
About the vehicle
The SdKfz 231 6Rad was a prewar armored car, based on 6 wheel 6x4 truck chassis. The 232 model incorporated a radio and a very recognizable frame aerial. The 6 wheeled armored cars ahas almost no off road capabilities and were quickly replaced by 8 wheelers. They served in Poland and France.
Three manufacturers built this vehicle with visible differences in front fender shape and aerial mounts.
They were replaced by the 8 wheel series soon after the French campaign. As they were essentially armored trucks, narrow wheels and all, their off road performance was terrible.
About the kit
Classic Matchbox with two sprues including a mini diorama base.
The model represents the Daimler version of the 232, with longer front fenders. Most photos show the Bussing-Nag vehicle so be sure to check your references.
The one major gripe is that the frame antenna and its supports are too thick. This is a major scratch job and I believe most modelers will live with it.
The stowage boxes need some work to look the part. The separation groove on the dual boxes (parts 33 and 34) needs to be filled in and resculpted to look much finer. The box covers need to be added to all boxes using 10thou plastic card. Make sure they overlap the box sides a little. Then add latches made from thin plastic strip. Here is a pic from the ESCI box. Note the different fender shape.
The headlight mounts look too thick. Thin them down or better cut them off, drill the lights and make some new mounts from brass wire. Make sure you have a photo of the front to position the lights correctly. The link above show the lights hugging the body. It seems to me that they would be too far from the body if mounted as Matchbox designed them.
Just for the record, the triangular armor plates on the rear wheels are missing but I suppose not all vehicles had them.
I actually own two of these models. The original Matchbox release, of which I broke the frame aerial, and the more recent Revell release, reviewed here. I will build one as a 231 without the aerial. The aerial mount slots and hole on the turret and hull need to be filled in and a AA MG mount built from plastic rod and card as shown here. Markings would be the same as for the 232. There were no individual numbers on these machines apparently, so I assume you can build a companion 231 to the 232 from Panzer Gruppe Guderian in 1940 France (the kit's option #2) by using different license plate numbers.
Overall a very nice kit of an unusual subject.