Bolt Action – Sd.Kfz. 222 / 223

Let's tackle the second new plastic kit from the A Gentleman's War box, the Sd.Kfz. 222 / 223. We've covered the Humber AC earlier this week.

Bolt Action - SdKfz 222 / 223

There are already a couple of the Sd.Kfz. 2xx vehicles available as multipart plastic kits by Warlord Games, the latest was the Sd.Kfz. 250 Alte combi kit, and others with a base kit like the Hanomag Sd.Kfz. 251 Ausf. D and its variants like the 251/7 Pionierwagen or 251/16 Flammpanzerwagen, which we already covered on this blog.

As with many of the plastic kits, the 222 was formerly only available as a resin kit, with the 223 being a new addition to the range. They are not the first produced in plastic, competitors offered these as a plastic made combi kit as well. The one we're covering today was a pre-release that Warlord Games send to me prior to the official release, thus lacking the boxing, etc. and minor tweaks might be done until the actual release outside the themed starter kit for North Africa.

Sd.Kfz. stands for Sonderkraftfahrzeug ("special motor vehicle") and was the denomination pre-fix for all kind of military vehicles with a number following up, identifying the actual model. A Sd.Kfz. 222 is a Leichter Panzerspähwagen ("light armoured reconnaissance vehicle"), a four-wheel drive armoured car that was produced from 1935 to 1944. While the Sd.Kfz. 221 looks similar and has a very close designation, the 222 (2cm Kanonenwagen) and 223 (Fu Funkwagen) needed a wider hull to for the gun turret and radio setup of the two variants, but made room for a third crew member. This alteration is most likely the reason why this is not a Sd.Kfz. 221, 222 and 223 combi kit and "just" covering the later two.

While the Sd.Kfz. 222 was armed with a 2cm KwK 30 L/55 autocannon and a MG 13 machine gun, which was replaced in 1938 with an MG 34 and in 1942 the KwK 30 was replaced with the faster-firing KwK 38, of the same calibre. The Sd.Kfz. 223 only covered the MG 13, which was replaced in the same year as the 222 with an MG 34. As a radio wagon, it covered a frame antenna and 30-watt FuG 10 radio set, which was later replaced with an improved 80-watt FuG 12. Production numbers of the 222 were around 1,000 units between 1937 to 1943, and more than 550 units of the 223 between 1936 and 1944.

Both saw action on all German Theatres of War, but only performed well enough in those countries with a good road network, like in Western Europe. On the Eastern front and in the deserts of the North African campaign it had its limitations due to its relatively poor off-road performance. These limitations came clear during the Invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, where the Sd.Kfz. 222 was often replaced with the Sd.Kfz. 250  half-track, but in the 250/9 variant - a variant that can be built from the 250 Alte combi kit.

Bolt Action - Humber Armoured Car Mk II / IV

Similar to the Humber AC, I assume the RRP of the final product will be 21 GBP, covering the two-sprue kit, instruction leaflet and usual additional material like the data card and smoke / damage markers. The sprues were produced by Italeri in Italy, unlike the Humber which was made in the UK. So, this is a more like a model kit, comes with thinner sprues and partially rather fine bits. Casting is proper, minor mould lines, no mould slip or flesh.

Bolt Action - SdKfz 222 / 223 Bolt Action - SdKfz 222 / 223 Bolt Action - SdKfz 222 / 223 Bolt Action - SdKfz 222 / 223

You can build either the Sd.Kfz. 222 or 223 from this kit. Magnetising won't be a good option, as the antenna won't support such an endeavour. As I already have a Sd. Kfz. 222 for my Afrikakorps, I decided to build this up as the Sd.Kfz. 223.

We begin this from the bottom up, starting with the lower hull and carriage. Which is surprisingly detailed, but once again, this is not a wargaming model but a model kit in 1:56. The tires are fully casted and the overall fit so far is fine.

Bolt Action - SdKfz 222 / 223 Bolt Action - SdKfz 222 / 223 Bolt Action - SdKfz 222 / 223 Bolt Action - SdKfz 222 / 223

In the next step, the upper part of the chassis is added, along with first details of the exterior. Make sure to use sharp cutters, as the parts are delicate and might break or be damaged while removing from the sprue.

Bolt Action - SdKfz 222 / 223 Bolt Action - SdKfz 222 / 223 Bolt Action - SdKfz 222 / 223

In this step a lot is going on, covering the wheel arches and a few further details. Unfortunately, there's an error in the instructions. Don't look for the parts highlighted in red, they aren't part of the sprue and already designed on the flat pieces. As this is a pre-production kit, it is likely, that this might be fixed in the final product.

Bolt Action - SdKfz 222 / 223 Bolt Action - SdKfz 222 / 223 Bolt Action - SdKfz 222 / 223

So far, we have the build up for both variants. The first difference comes now with the upper plate for the turret. As the Sd.Kfz. 222 has the KwK cannon mounted, it comes with a larger turret. The radio wagon doesn't need that, therefore comes with a smaller turret mount. A few more tools, like the car jack are added in this step.

Bolt Action - SdKfz 222 / 223 Bolt Action - SdKfz 222 / 223 Bolt Action - SdKfz 222 / 223

Antennas and jerry cans are added in this step. As these are often in use and regular stowage, see this is a partial optional step along with some freedom on placing them. Anyhow, with the tools, I would suggest that you really study the instructions or wait for the antenna frame to be placed and then add these, as you might create collisions here.

Bolt Action - SdKfz 222 / 223 Bolt Action - SdKfz 222 / 223 Bolt Action - SdKfz 222 / 223

The small MG turret is quickly built and added to the mount be placing it 90°, letting it slide in and then turn forward.

Bolt Action - SdKfz 222 / 223 Bolt Action - SdKfz 222 / 223

This was the most annoying step of the entire build. The antenna frame is rather loose and you have no proper glue spots, so this is a bit of a freehand and the instructions aren't as clear as they could be. Don't be too generous with the glue at this point, as you might damage the surface around the glue spots. Still a better solution than the metal casts on the Blitzkrieg Miniatures radio vehicles or some brass etched aftermarket items.

Bolt Action - SdKfz 222 / 223 Bolt Action - SdKfz 222 / 223

A comparison of the Italeri/Warlord Sd.Kfz. 223 (right, darker plastic) with the Rubicon Sd.Kfz. 222 (left, lighter plastic). From a detail grade point of view, both are on eye-level. Not much difference here, and scale wise / proportions they are practically identical so you can use both in the same project.

Bolt Action - SdKfz 222 / 223 Bolt Action - SdKfz 222 / 223

And here is the Sd.Kfz. 223 from a few different angles.

Bolt Action - SdKfz 222 / 223 Bolt Action - SdKfz 222 / 223 Bolt Action - SdKfz 222 / 223


Similar to the Humber, I heard a bit of harsh critique on this kit. I understand the point about the antenna and that many prefer the "UK-style frames" and casting over the Italeri kits. A few minor details are a bit flimsy and might be left aside or replaced with something more flexible for gaming purpose (this is a flaw of the Rubicon 222/223 kit has well). The Sd.Kfz. 222 is a less hassle to build, compared to the 223, as you don't have to build the antenna, so that's that. But as mentioned above, I have built radio wagons from resin-metal hybrid kits, that was a bigger problem, so as far as they make the instruction clearer on the final product, this is a much more convenient option, to what was available before.

As mentioned above, you can use this for most mid-war projects of the German armies, most likely as a captured vehicle in the Northern African campaign with the British or Commonwealth troops as well. But they were not in service after the second world war.

How this kit will perform on the market, will most likely depend on the price, as there is another plastic option available (more limited compared to Warlord Games' trade network) and with the Italeri kits there's often the option for the model kit repack, without the gaming materials, which can be a bit cheaper from time to time.

Bolt Action is a brand of Warlord Games.

The reviewed product item was provided by the manufacturer.

Posted by Dennis B.

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  1. Dennis B.
    What you have built in this article is NOT a Sd Kfz 223. This vehicle is a Sd Kfz 260 or 261 and they almost NEVER came armed with a MG 34.

  2. Warlord Games and Wikipedia say otherwise

    The Sd.Kfz 260 is the unarmoured variant of the Funkwagen 223, without the MG34.

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