Sd.Kfz.223 German light radio communications vehicle, leichter Panzerspähwagen (Fu)

Kit # 72421 Review by Rob Haelterman

For a previous preview by Stephen Brezinski click here. It contains scans of the manual, parts and decals. I will mainly focus on the accuracy of the vehicle here. As the kit shares many components with the ICM Sd.Kfz.222 kit, I expect many aspects of its construction to be similar.




Dimensionally the hull of this vehicle corresponds well to the drawings in my references, but the detail is somewhat simplified, and some parts are a bit thick, whereas the MG is sub-calibre and rather poorly rendered.
The turret is a good milimeter too narrow, and it really shows. It kind of reminds me of the Esci Sd.Kfz.290/9 turret. Another issue with the turret is the lack of an interior; not even a seat is given.
To get a convincing see-through effect, it is also best to remove the plastic underneath the PE mesh at the rear of the top plate.

Unfortunately, ICM mixed up some features, probably due the use of as many parts of their Sd.Kfz.222 kit as possible.

  • A 5.Series vehicle should have a driver's roof that is higher than the rest of roof, but only at the extreme front. ICM gives us a 1.-4.Series roof that has a larger portion that is raised.
  • The mesh on the top plate behind the turret is the large, 1.-3.Series mesh.
  • The turret in the kit has 2 domed visors. Domed visors were introduced in the 3.Series and dropped altogether during 5.Series production. According to my references, 3. Series had 2 or 4 visors ([16] contradicts itself), 4. Series had 4 and 5.Series had 4 or none.
  • The driver and co-driver each have a domed front visor in the kit, which is ok for a 5.Series vehicle, but not for a 3.-4.Series vehicle, which only had a single visor. The lateral visors are both to the front of the hull, which is only correct for a 5.Series as well.
  • The shape of the antenna corresponds to a 3.-4.Series vehicle, the 5.Serie was bigger and had a bit more taper at the rear.
  • The lateral engine hatches are of the small, 5.Series type.

So, what version do we have. The visors are domed, so it's a 3.-5. Series, but which one exactly?

  • 3. Series: the top mesh, turret roof and antenne are ok, but the domed visors need to be replaced/repositioned/added and the engine hatches widened. Good luck.
  • 4. Series: the turret roof and antenne are ok, but the top mesh needs to be altered and the domed visors need to be replaced/repositioned/added and the engine hatches widened. Good luck.
  • 5. Series: the engine hatches and domed visors on the hull are ok, but the turret needs either more or less visors, while the roof, top mesh and antenna needs to be altered. Perhaps that would be the easiest option.

If we choose the build the kit as a 5.Series vehicle, the modeler should best omit the armored hubcaps, and add width inidcators and turn indicators to the front fenders. A small plate on these front fenders will go a long way to mimic the fender bins that are also lacking.


Decals and painting options:

The decals are very good. They are thin, sharp and in excellent register. This decal sheet is the same as for the 222, 260 and 261, so you get a LOT of spares.
Unfortunately enough, in some kits (I have 7 of this kit and its variants) the SS licence plates are removed by the censor (who, in one example, was overly enthusiastic and damaged others).

Painting options for this kit are

  • 2 PD, Lybia, May 1940, overall grey. Too early for a 5.Serie vehicle.
  • 5 PD, Lybia, March 1941, overall "Sand". Still too early for a 5.Serie.

Color references are for Model Master.

Something peculiar is that the decals react with Revell Matt varnish (and probably also with other enamels). They actually dissolve to a paint-like substance, which means you will get no silvering and perfect adhesion, as the carrier film also dissolves. That is, if you take care. If you don't, you might VERY easily ruin the decal, but if you manage to pull it off (which is easier when applying the paint with an airbrush) you will have a "painted" on decal.



Compared to ICM's Sd.Kfz.222, this is the inferior kit, mainly due to incompatibility issues between Series and the size of the turret, and the lack of detail therein.


Sample kindly provided by my own pocket money.



[1] Samochody pancerne 4x4, J. Ledwoch, Militaria.

[2] Missing-Lynx website ( Discussions on forum, e.g. Robert Johnson, 27/02/05

[3]  AFV Interior, (Currently closed)

[4]  DAK SdKfz 222 (Currently off-line)

[5]  Littelfield collection pictures, (/Sept_2004/Sdkfz222)

[6]  Petr Vanek, private communication.

[7]  SS Armor, R.C. Stern, Squadron/Signal

[8]  Panzer Colors I, B. Culver & B. Murphy, Squadron/Signal

[9]  Panzer Colors II, B. Culver, Squadron/Signal

[10]  Panzer Colors III, B. Culver, Squadron/Signal

[11]  Gepanzerte Radfahrzuege, W.J. Spielberger, Militärfahrzeuge 4, Motorbuch Verlag

[12]  Panzer Tracts N°13, Panzerspaehwaegen, T.L.Jentz, Panzer Tracts

[13]  Panzerspähwagen, Ryton

[14]  Steelmasters 53, “Les automitrailleuses SdKfz 222 et 223”, October 2002

[15]  SdKfz 253, 252 & early 250, Archive Part 1, M. Kögel, Total Detail

[16] Panzer Tracts N°13-1, leichter Panzerspaehwaegen and kleiner Panzerfunkwagen, T.L.Jentz & H.L. Doyle, Panzer Tracts

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Article Last Updated:
24 July 2011
27 December 2018