Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Heavy Armoured Car (Puma)

Matchbox 1:76 Scale Vehicle Review

German Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Heavy Armoured Car (Puma), 1:76 Model Matchbox 40076

The Puma was based on the successful Sd.Kfz. 231 series of 8×8 wheeled heavy armoured cars, maintaining many of its features. Better armour, a stronger 12 cylinder air-cooled diesel engine and the turreted weapon made the Sd.Kfz. 234/2 (Puma) a formidable reconnaissance vehicle. A total of 101 Pumas were built, and 25 of these vehicles made up an armoured reconnaissance company designated as Panzerspähwagen Kompanie Type A. Four German Divisions received armoured recce companies of this type, two serving on the eastern and two on the western front.

Contents

  • Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma
  • 3 miniatures
  • diorama base
  • Type: Heavy Armoured Car, 8×8
  • Wheelbase: 2.75 m (1.35 m bogie)
  • Length: 6.02 m
  • Width: 2.36 m
  • Height: 2.29 m
  • Weight: 11 t
  • Armament: 5 cm L/60, MG 42
  • 4 Crew: Commander, Gunner, Driver and Rear Driver (8-wheel steering)

"Reverse driver: Pull out, full speed!"

The first three production variants of the Sd.Kfz. 234 series featured 8-wheel stearing as well as a forward and a separate rear driving position which allowed the crew to drive the vehicle at full speed in either direction. Reverse driving at top speed is a very important feature for lightly armoured reconnaissance vehicles, enabling them to pull out of dangerous situations immediately, instead of carefully backing out of a tight spot or turning around under fire. Modern Bundeswehr armoured cars have maintained 8-wheel steering and the rear driver, but they are amphibious now, practically inaudible even at very close range and equipped with puncture resistant tires.

Evaluation

Scale model with much raised detail and external stowage.

Good choice of subject, a very attractive and versatile model.

Few parts, easy to assemble.

Choice of open or closed turret hatches.

High quality kit. Parts fit very well and there is minimal flash.

Compatible with Airfix, Fujimi, Nitto, and VAC-U-CAST.

License plate decals provided for the Panzerdivision Hohenstaufen have been rendered politically correct, as required by German law.

Approximately 5% smaller than the 1:72 scale figure standard. Not a problem in this case, the Matchbox Puma is the only one on the market and it is compatible with Sd.Kfz. 222 and 234/4 produced by Airfix.

Historical Employment

  • Panzerspähwagen Kompanie Type A (Armoured Recon Company), Oct. 1943-1945
    25 vehicles per company, serving in four different Panzer Divisions. Decals and camouflage schemes for the following divisions are included:
    • IX. SS Panzer Division (Hohenstaufen), Normandy 1944
    • XI. Frw. Pz.Grenadier Division, East Germany 1945

Possible Conversions

  • Sd.Kfz. 234/1 schwerer Panzerspähwagen with 2 cm L/55, open turret, 06/44
  • Sd.Kfz. 234/3 schwerer Panzerspähwagen with 7.5 cm L/24, 06/44
  • Sd.Kfz. 234/4 s.Pz.Spähwg. (Pakwagen) with 7.5 cm PaK 40, open-topped, 01/45

Matchbox's Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma is an attractive model which fits well into the range of existing armoured reconnaissance vehicles produced by Airfix. The distinctive 8-wheeled chassis was introduced with the Sd.Kfz. 231 series of armoured cars, it combined excellent cross-country mobility and speed. The Matchbox Puma may be used to raise heavy armoured car companies for simulation gaming after October 1943. A multi-purpose kit featuring all three turret variants of the 234/1 to 234/3 series would have allowed the formation of entire reconnaissance battalions, at relatively little additional cost per unit. Perhaps, a conversion specialist like VAC-U-CAST may be able to supply the required turrets some day.

Frequently Asked Questions

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