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Sd. Kfz. 234/1 - heavy armored recon. vehicle with 2cm cannon Kwk38

built by Johannes Schneider (1:35)

Sd.Kfz. 234/1 heavy armored recon. vehicle
At the beginning of the Second World War there were quite a few eight wheel reconnaissance vehicles operational. (Sd.Kfz. 231/232/233). It soon became apparent however that these vehicles did not offer enough armor protection and were poorly equipped with relatively ineffective weapons that put the crews at a distinct disadvantage. A successor had to be found quickly.

The Sd. Kfz. 234 seemed to be the answer. During the second part of 1943, the vehicles of this series were delivered to the troops. However not the Sd.Kfz. 234/1 but the Sd.Kfz. 234/2 with the 50mm KwK 39/1 L/60. The first Sd.Kfz. 234/1’s were not delivered until June 1944. In total there were four variants of the Sd.Kfz. 234 series:

- Sd.Kfz. 234/1 heavy recon. vehicle with 2cm KwK 38
- Sd. Kfz 234/2 heavy recon . vehicle with 5 cm KwK 39/1 L/60 "Puma"
- Sd. Kfz. 2324/3 heavy recon. vehicle with 7,5cm Kwk 37 L/24
- Sd. Kfz. 234/4 heavy recon. vehicle with 7,5 cm Pak 40 L/46

The maneuverability was very high due to the all wheel drive and steering and there was a driver seat in the front and rear of the vehicle. The high maximum speed as well as the range was also a plus for the vehicle. 500 of these vehicles were built of which 200 were 1’s.

The kit

As a basis for my project I used the new Dragon kit # 6298, a kit that sends the old Italieri kit into a well earned retirement. The details are outstanding, especially in the area of the wheel suspension and the main body of the vehicle. The fit of most parts is very good although there were some minor fit problems in the beginning. The wheels can be presented at any angle as it was with the real thing. I show how this is possible with a minor modification.

Despite the good quality of the kit I decided to use the Chinese Voyager photo- etch set # 35 133. This set was designed with Dragon in mind but presents some problems as I later found out. I also added the 2 cm cannon KwK 38 (metal, well turned) made by Lions Roar a definite improvement over the plastic kit parts. I finished with a turned 1.4 m staff antenna (# 3529) by Schatton and the excellent movable tool rack by Aber (35A93). Various odds and ends from the parts bin were also added.


As already mentioned there are no major problems in constructing this kit straight from the box. Without photo- etch one should be able to finish the kit in a few days. Extra photo- etch is not necessary since some come with the kit and the rest of the detail is really well done. I started by putting together the wheel assembly. By cutting off the small alignment pins one can angle the wheels in whatever realistic direction one desires. The steering rod (linkage) has to be carefully installed and correspond to the angle of the wheels. I then tackled the interior of the kit where most of the photo-etch parts were used. The munitions’ storage compartment for the 2 cm main gun for example. The Voyager instructions were very vague about the position of this part as well as some other smaller racks.

Original pictures of the interior of this vehicle are as far as I know are nonexistent and to my knowledge none of the vehicles survived the war. This leaves it to one’s discretion where to put them. They are practically invisible on the finished model anyway. I mixed a Tamiya Oxide Red with a little NATO-Brown and applied it as an interior coat. I followed that with a few weathering techniques such as washing and the application of pigments etc. Then the upper and lower halves of the model were glued together. The fit is great. Then I worked myself through the next steps and even the rack assembly for the fuel canisters was simple to do. Then it was the turn of the turret! The main parts of the photo-etch was to replace the armor molded in plastic with a photo-etch part. The part was much too small for the basic Dragon part. There was a lot of filling and sanding until it was acceptable.

However a lot of cursing and angry outbursts preceded it. The next problem was the storage bins located at the rear of the turret. They were not flush with the rear of the turret and whatever had been stored in them would have slipped through. I filled this gap with plastic strip and finished with thin layers of Milliput, superfine, white in order to make the corrections disappear altogether. With all the junk I then deposited in the containers I could have saved myself all the work. Better to be safe than sorry. The rest of the assembly was easy but considering the cost of the photo-etch parts and the lack of good fit does leave a bad taste.

Sd. Kfz. 234/1 - heavy armored recon. vehicle (1:35)

  Model built by & images taken by: Johannes Schneider  
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The first step was to give the whole model a good washing to remove dust and mold release agent from the surface. Then I masked all openings to the already painted interior and sprayed on my primer coat. I used Tamiya superfine, light grey, which gives a perfect surface for the colors to follow. I followed this with a black brown pre-shading color and then layered on thin coats of a dark yellow (which I mixed myself). I lightened these layers with a lighter coat in the middle of the surface in order to create the first effect of depth. After I masked everything in the general area I airbrushed the right rear wheel housing, dark green. This green wheel housing gives the vehicle a special character. Next I painted scratches and abrasions with Vallejo colors.

The whole model was now sprayed with gloss, the decals were added and some sprayed on (Grossdeutschland insignia) with the help of a mask. After that various filters were added which at times brought me close to despair since they looked at times like a catastrophe in the making. As soon as the filters had dried I began with the detailed washing of rivets, bolts and crevices. I used Umbra natural brown oil color made by Schmincke to hint at rust. A brush moistened with lighter fluid came in very handy for this process. Finally I sprayed ModelMaster matt to seal the model. I then dusted the model with dust colored pigments. Tamiya smoke came in handy in order to replicate the oil stains on the rear part of the vehicle.

The metal parts such as the KwK and the Mg 34 were polished with graphite dust which produces a nice glossy effect. The tires I washed with a mixture of lighter fluid and Umbra and brown pigments to give them a nice brownish hue. After the lighter fluid had evaporated, the extra pigments were brushed off with an old brush and the slightly muddied tires were installed. I finally added the various items that the crew stowed on the outside of the vehicle and the model was finished.


Dragon has created a true treasure for all fans of armored eight wheelers with their 234 series. A very nice model can be built straight from the box but can be improved with the rather difficult application of the photo-etch parts as described. The lack of reference photos leaves many questions open, especially about the interior. The overall satisfaction of having built a unique model however is definitely there. I recommend all extras with the exception of the Voyager parts. I can only recommend these (Voyager) parts with the reservation that they are not for beginners.

I almost forgot, I prefer to build "fictional" models. I did not build this model based on a real vehicle since photographic evidence is so rare.
  meet the modeler      

Johannes Schneider

  Hi, my name is Johannes Schneider and I was born in Stuttgart in 1987. I have been interested in modeling as far back as I can remember. Sometimes more and sometimes less! It all started with a U-boat kit by Revell and since then I have tended towards aircraft and modern armored vehicles. There have been times when modeling has taken a backseat to other things but with the internet and
I returned in 2005 with a vengeance. I bought an airbrush and a compressor to get me started again. I also received a lot of help from my colleagues in the forum and other model websites and was soon able to finish my first serious model.

My motto about model building is simple: "Don't rush it" That is why I only finish 2 or 3 models a year. My main interest is with vehicles of the Wehrmacht but I also like to build modern armor especially those of the United States ...
  Johannes Schneider  
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This page:  GALLERY: Sd. Kfz. 234/1 - heavy armored recon. vehicle (1:35) - built byJohannes Schneider
was last modified on: Nov 28, 2007
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Translation into English by Werner Stocker (Ft. Myers, FL USA).
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