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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Bolt Action - Review: Sdkfz 247 Aust B

The SDKFZ 247 Aust B was a short run German recognisance vehicle during WW2.  It was small, it was fast and I definitely wanted one... or two for my late war German army.

Tank Encyclopedia says this about the 247:
"In 1936 the high command asked for a command car to the Waffenamt, the Sd. Kfz. 247. Eventually two completely different versions would be delivered: The prewar Ausf A, a 6 wheeled version, and after the war, the Ausf B, a 4x4. But both were lightly armoured, fast, open-top, and unarmed. Their off-road capabilities were average, especially for the heavy Ausf A.

In 1941, losses and needs for a new model led the Waffenamt to emit specifications for the Ausf B. Daimler-Benz presented a model, this time based on the S.Pkw. Typ 1c heavy car, in a more modern a 4x4 configuration. It was propelled by a 8-cylinder, 3.823-litre (233.3 cu in) Horch 3.5 petrol engine, giving 81 metric HP and a power/weight ratio of 18.1 HP/t (sources stated 70 hp in the early version, 90 hp in the late version). The four independent road wheels were suspended by coil springs. Maximum operational range was 400 kilometres (250 mi) thanks to a 160 litres (42 US gal) fuel tank, and around 220 km off-road, while top speed was better than the Ausf A, at 80 kph (50 mph) thanks to a lower weight (4.46 tons). The sloped hull (ranging from 30 to 38° inclination) was armoured as follows: 8 mm (0.31 in) at the front, side rear of the hull and superstructure, and 6 mm (0.24 in) at the rear and bottom. The upper hull comprised eight vision slits, and access hatches were located into lower hull, right below the driver compartment. The hull rigidity was therefore superior. It was still open-top and unarmed, although later a fitting for a pintle mount were welded on the front allowing to use a portable standard Mg.34 or 42 for AA and ground defence. 58 vehicles were produced between the end of 1941 and 1942."

Our old buddy Brian Ward, from the US Bolt Action Facebook page, turned me onto a 3D printed kit from Shapeways.  For those who follow the Ghost Army Podcast, I am a massive fan of the Horch field car. I saw the SDFKZ 247 and immediately fell in love. I did a little research and the 247 seemed like a pretty good "counts as" Horch that looks different than the other 4 Horches I already own. 

Shapeways sells two versions of the 1/56 kit. A cheaper white nylon plastic version and a much more expensive ultra detailed frosted plastic version. As I did not want to pay over a $100 for a car, I went for the cheaper option (and I got two of them). They were cheaper than most kits from most companies but I did kinda get what I was paying for. The detail was excellent on most of the top, front, back, and one side. It was not good on one side though, it was very rough. You can see it in the pictures below. 
Shapeways is a major internet manufacturer of 3D designs. I bought these models and they arrived in short order and packed well.
 You can see the rough side above. I know Brian sanded his rough side smooth. I just washed the kit and painted it up. My highlighting style covers the sins of some kits and I gambled that it would work this time.
Size wise, the kit fits perfectly in with my 1/56 kits from a variety of manufactures. A+ for that.
 I leave you with the pictures of the finished product so that you can judge their quality yourself. I would definitely consider buying a white resin kit again, although before I did I would carefully consider the more detailed and more expensive frosted kit.
As you can see, once they are painted it is hard to tell which side is the rough side. (It is the bottom one for the record). 
To conclude, I am glad I bought these models. They are a unique and colourful addition to my German army list. It is definitely worth popping over to Shapeways to see if they have anything you could add to your army.

Til Next time...

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