Reviewed by Cookie Sewell
Back in 1973, Nitto and Tamiya both came out with kits of the smallest manned German tracked vehicle from WW II, the Kettenkraftrad (tracked motorcycle) Sd.Kfz. 2. Both had different versions; Nitto provided a trailer and accessories, and Tamiya provided a white metal engine. Neither one was very good, as Nitto's suffered from their lack of detail in that time frame, and Tamiya skimped on theirs with one-piece running gear sets with stick-on outer wheels. But for years, the Tamiya kit, in its various re-releases, has been about all one could find in 1/35 scale.
DML originally announced the Puppchen kit back in 1998, and the Sd.Kfz. 2 kit in 1999. Both wound up being delayed due to the unforeseen popularity of the 1/6 scale collector ("G.I. Joe") figures, which have taken up a good deal of DML's production facilities. While I have heard that the Puppchen kit was released (never saw it) this is the first release of the Sd.Kfz. 2 and it is something else entirely.
It would seem that DML is going to yield the "in your face" end of plastic armor kits to Tamiya (their M25 Dragon Wagon and FAMO with Sd.Ahn. 116 are hard to compete with, even at the price) but is not going to give an inch in the quality or detail end of the market. For those of you curious about the number of parts listed above, yes, that is correct; and all of this builds into a tiny gun and a prime mover less than four inches (10 cm) in length.
For those modelers who do not like tiny parts, even when essential to the accuracy of the final model, this is not your kit. DML has provided a complete drive line for this model, including separate torsion bars, individual road wheels, and working two-piece single link tracks. There is a complete 8-piece engine assembly, much nicer than the fishing sinker which came in the Tamiya kit, as well as a very nice figure of a driver which comes with the vehicle as well. The steering works and the "hood" can be opened and closed, and all of this is very close to pure scale. (The grilles in the hood are solid, which is one of the few things most advanced modelers will want to fix with aluminum or brass mesh.)
The 8.8 cm Puppchen is a jewel, and after talking to Steve Andreano about the old Modelbau Tom kit of it, this is a light years different kit. It consists of 31 parts (8 of which cover the ammo boxes and four rounds) with very delicate moldings. There are scale (yes, scale) thickness hand grabs on the gun trail, as an example of the molding detail on this kit. There is a seam running right next to them, unfortunately, so one will have to exercise great care in cleaning up the trail. Diehards may want to replace the gun shield, but it is around .010-.015" thick so it really can just be built out of the box.
Overall this is a beautiful little kit, and most modelers will be amazed at what can be packed onto a model which is not much more than the same size as a 1/72 scale main battle tank. Markings are provided for the 7th Fallschirmjaeger Regiment in North Africa and the 1st Gebirgsjaeger Division.
Thanks to Freddie Leung of DML for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell AMPS
Review Copyright © 2001 by Cookie