Kit Preview : 1/76 Matchbox SdKfz 243/2
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 234 /2 was a second generation 8 wheel armored car. More powerful and better armed than the 231 series, the 234/2 was equipped with a long 5cm gun and served on all fronts from late 1943.
About the kit
Classic Matchbox with two sprues including a mini diorama base. This is one of the later productions with separately molded tools.
There are two issues with the kit:
The suspension is too low.
I have an old semi-built model and the wheels go well inside the mudguards. The top of the tires should lower than the mudguards as seen in the instruction sheet's color schemes (and any period photo). If it were a real vehicle it would not be able to steer! I have been toying with the idea of mating the tires of the Airfix 234/4 with this kit's wheel centers. To compensate for the smaller wheels, the suspension must be lowered by a couple mm. Check a front drawing and you will see what I am referring to.
The nose is too short. It needs to be padded and made pointier.
Bram Cort's conversion at MiniatureZone shows how it can be done.
Overall a very nice kit if you can live with the oversize wheels.