The Sd.kfz. 263 Panzerfunkwagen (8Rad) is a heavy, but fast armored car for reconnaissance and communication. It is based on the chassis of earlier variant- Sd.Kfz.232 Panzerspahwagen. It is 8-wheeled car with omitted turret, instead a larger welded combat compartment was installed, to accommodate maps and radio equipment. It had also a square antenna and retractable one (umbrella type) on top of the vehicle, the armament consisted of only one machine gun with 750 rounds in front of the armored car for self-defense. A total of 207 were produced, issued mainly in reconnaissance or signal battalions in armored divisions.
Until now, there was no plastic kit of that rare vehicle in 1/35, but AFV Club filled that gap recently. It is based on their earlier Sd.kfz. 232 model, with new parts for the turretless top and the antennas.
The kit is in a standard box with nice box art, showing a desert camouflaged vehicle. In the box we have the following:
-8 sprues of tan styrene
-1 piece for the chassis
-2 separate pieces for the hull
-1 small clear sprue
-8 vinyl tires
-2 small vinyl sprues with driveshaft boots
-2 small photo etched frets
-1 small decal sheet
-1 instruction booklet
-1 poster size A4 with the box art
Sprue “A”: two pieces-with the elements of the wheels, suspension, levers, shafts etc
Sprue “B”: lower part of the hull, engine, other parts of the transmission
Sprue “C”: side parts of the hull, various hatches
Sprue “D”: mudguards, various boxes, exhausts, two shovels
Part “I”: one piece for the frame of the chassis, packed separately for preventing damage
Part”E”: two pieces for the main parts of the hull
Sprue”H”: clear parts for headlights etc.
Sprue “L”: parts for the two type of antennas
Sprue “N”: elements for the front shield
Sprue “M”: one part for the turetless top of the hull
Parts G1 and G2: photo etched frets
Part J: decal sheet
Parts T: vinyl driveshaft boots and tires
The moulding of the parts is excellent with no flash and crisp details. Starting with the chassis we have a very detailed transmission and suspension (shafts, levers and so), which is workable in fact and the wheels can be positioned on uneven terrain, for dioramas for example. You should be careful though, because there are many tiny and fragile parts that can be easily broken. There’s basic engine, consisting only of the lower half which is petty if you want to leave the hatches open. Two fuel tanks are also provided.
The next component is the hull-the lower part is consisting of bottom and two sides. An angled frame is provided for correctly positioning and holding those parts. There’s interior included, but no engine compartment. Also no radio equipment is present, which is surprising considering this is a radio car. The top of the hull is consisting three parts with nice details and weld representation. All hatches can be positioned open or close, if you decide to put some crew in the vehicle or interior to be seen. There are optional parts for building initial or early version.
Next step is building the wheels-each wheel is consisted of brake drum and hub carrier plus a vinyl tire. They can be positioned straight or steered. For easy handling is better not to put the assembled wheels in this stage.
Mudguards are angled and have various tools and boxes stored on them. There’s also a flag staff on the front left mudguard-this was included only for initial production series.
Front shield is also included-it is optional for some vehicles and has acceptable thickness, but if you want can be replaced with photo etched one.
Antennas are two types-framed and umbrella type. They are very well represented, but attention is required, because are very fragile. The umbrella type may be positioned stretched, which will look pretty impressive once deployed.
Two small photo etched frets are included for various small details.
Instruction is comprehensive, clear, with all steps very clear. The color chart is with numbers for Gunze, Humbrol,revel and Lifecolor paints.
Four different camouflage options are provided, but in black and white type scheme-colored will be preferrable. Decal sheet is printed well, clear, with various crosses and markings.
-7th Pz.Div., Russia 1941 in overall German grey
-3rd Recon.Bn., 21st Pz.Div., Libya 1941 in overall Sandy yellow
-7th Pz.Div., France 1940 in overall German grey
-4th Pz.Div., Poland 1939 in overall German grey
I like this rare vehicle and the AFV Club done very good job of representing it, with crisp moulding and details. My only criticism is the omission of radio equipment for the interior, engine compartment, also adding some figures would be nice. For me the icing of the cake is the umbrella type antenna, which fully deployed, will look rather impressive.