Dragon Armour 1/72 Sdkfz 222

The Leichter Panzerspahwagen, or Light Armoured Reconnaissance Car was a wdely used design, built between 1935 and 1944.  Built by Auto Union on the Horsch 801 Field car chassis, with bodies assembled by other contractors and powered by a 3.5 litre petrol engine giving it a top speed of about 80kph on the road, down to 40kph cross-country.

The Sdkfz 222 carried a 20mm Kwk 30 cannon plus a co-axial MG34 in a turret that also had mesh screens which provided some protection against grenades being thrown into the open top.  It carried a crew of 3, Commander, gunner and driver.  Other variants using the same chassis included the Sdkfz 221, though this had a slightly smaller turret and only carried an MG34, as did the Sdkfz 223, which carried a distinctive frame aerial for a greater radio fit.  Other unarmed, radio equipped versions included the Sdkfz 260 and Sdkfz 261.

Dragon 1/72 Sdkfz 222
Dragon Armour 1/72 Sdkfz 222 Dragon Armour 1/72 Sdkfz 222

This particular model is one in the Dragon Armor range of ready made models, where they have ready made and painted examples of models they also sell in kit form.  This one is in the overall Panzer Grey colours and markings from the early period of the war, with the invasion of Poland in 1939. At this stage they carried the national cross in white, as seen in the model.  Combat experience showed that these all-white crosses provided some excellent aiming points for enemy anti-tank gunners, so they were later filled in with black centres, leaving the white as an outline, the style they then used through to the end of the war.  The model has some light grey dry-brushing to bring out the details and give a bit of contrast to the solid grey colour, a style which works well.  It doesn't feature any other dirt/weathering on it.  The mesh screens over the top of the turret are done in etch brass, so you get the right look to the mesh effect, much better than a solid representation.

This light armoured car served the Panzer Division reconnaissance units well throughout the war, so you would find them in the sand colours used by the Afrika Korps in North Africa and after 1943 in the sand/green/brown camouflage schemes of the later periods of the war.  They had their best results where good road networks were available, such as Western Europe in the French campaign of 1940.  Conditions in North Africa and later in Russia, where the going was rougher, led to many being replaced by the Sdkfz 250/9 Half-track.  This was a standard light half-track based on the chassis of the unarmoured Sdkfz 10 artillery tractor, and still mounting the same turret seen here on the Sdkfz 222.

There are still some originals left in museums and private collections, but there are also some modern replicas based on a Land Rover chassis which is often seen at the big War and Peace show at Beltring each year, and another replica that is based on it can be found at the History on Wheels museum at Eaton Wick that we featured a little time ago, the one which starred as Lt Gruber's 'Little Tank' in the 'Hello, Hello' TV series.

Replica Sdkfz 223 seen at Beltring Replica Sdkfz 222 seen at Beltring
Replica Sdkfz 223, with the distinctive fame aerial, seen at the War and Peace show at Beltring, in Afrika Korps markings. Replica Sdkfz 222, seen at the War and Peace show at Beltring, in Afrika Korps markings.
Late war camouflaged example of replica Sdkfz 222, at beltring Lt Gruber's Little Tanks at Eaton Wick
Replica Sdkfz 222, seen at the War and Peace show at Beltring, in post-1943 camouflage colours and a tarp to keep the rain out of the open top turret! Lt Gruber's Little Tank seen at the History on Wheels Museum, Eaton Wick, Berkshire.

Robin