- Published on Thursday, 17 November 2011 09:00 Nick Mayhew
1/35 Honeycomb Deck Set for Tamiya Sd.Kfz. 223
Kamizukuri of Japan, kit ref #FP-6
Kamizukuri of Japan are a company producing aftermarket products for armoured fighting vehicles and also accessories used in dioramas. They specialize in using laser cut, compressed paper for their products, rather than say photo-etch (PE) metal, which is the medium most people associate with these products.
The Sd.Kfz. 223 was the radio car version of the original Sd.Kfz. 221 Leichter Panzerspähwagen or light armoured recon vehicle. Like the 221, it was armed with a MG34 machine gun, but also included additional radio equipment, and probably the most recognizable feature of this variant was the large ‘bed frame’ antenna over the vehicle. Although it was able to perform its duties well enough in the early stages of the war, it was gradually phased out in favour of the Sd.Kfz. 250 halftrack, which had far superior off-road performance.
This update set is designed for Tamiya’s venerable Sd.Kfz.223 Leichter Panzerspähwagen (Fu) kit #35268, which first hit the model shop shelves nearly 30 years ago. Those who follow such matters will know that Tamiya has a successful history of continuingly re-releasing these older kits, and the same applies here. It has been ‘upgraded’ with photo-etched (PE) metal parts for the turret roof hatch / anti-grenade mesh, which was one of the original kit’s biggest weaknesses (I know – I remember building it when I was about ten years old!). Although Hobbyboss have since released a newly tooled Sd.Kfz 223, the Tamiya kit can still hold its own, especially with the use of this set from Kamizukuri.
The ‘new’ Tamiya kit has not addressed the other parts of the vehicle which were covered in this type or similar mesh, and this is where the upgrade parts from Kamizukuri come in; the set also provides other details such as jerry can holder and tool clasp, but more about those in a minute.
The set comes in a flat pack clear plastic bag, just like a regular photo-etch set. The contents comprise 2 small frets of compressed paper detail parts, and an instruction sheet showing colour pictures the parts installed on a finished and painted model. The text is in Japanese only, but there are line diagrams which show the (simple) construction required, so there shouldn’t be any problems with working out what goes where.
The first fret contains just one piece, the main engine deck grill which on the 223 is partially covered by the turret ring. This fret is about 1mm thick, so much thicker than typical PE details, and that is a good thing here, because this grill was not a wire mesh, but rather a cast metal grate. In traditional PE, this piece just would not look right, so well done to Kamizukuri for getting this right. And just because it is made of compressed paper, do not think that detail is at all soft or vague. The upgrade has exactly the same sharpness as PE metal, with intricate curves and recessed panel lines around what I believe are access points and air filter entry port.
The second fret contains a number of other detail parts, including two smaller grill pieces for the engine deck, mesh covers for the headlights, jerry can holder and tool clasp for the spade / trenching tool carried on the side of the vehicle. This fret is about half the thickness of the first – the light covers and deck grills are very delicate indeed. Both the tool clasp and can holder need some assembly, and I think a traditional PE bending device will come in handy, but if you don’t have one of these it should still be possible, if a bit more fiddly. Finally, there are also seven padlocks provided on this fret which are not, as far as I can see, mentioned in the instructions; these were typically seen on stowage boxes and the like, and will be a useful addition to the spares box if you don’t use all of them on your 223.
Modelling with Compressed Paper Parts
A short note on construction with compressed paper parts: although the text is in Japanese in the instructions, if you go to the Kaizukuri product listing here you will find some helpful tips, which I think are worth listing in this review.
- Before separating parts from the sheet, undercoat with non-water based paint or plastic cement [personally I will use my regular Mr.Surfacer primer, but anything similar will do the job; Halfords rattle can acrylic primer is cheap and easily available]
- When using water based paint directly, the paper may become deformed if waterlogged or ‘wet coats’ are used.
- When water is applied the paper becomes soft and able to bend.
- When dry, paper becomes firm into the shape that it was bent., and can be filed or puttied as required.
None of the above is too complicated and should not pose any problems for the average modeller I think. Most of the parts in this set will be simple add-ons, even if a little bending is required. The only tricky part of using this set will be inserting the main engine deck grill, because the kit part looks to have this moulded integrally in to the hull shell. As such, you will have some cutting out to do, and will probably need small razor saw, pin vice and files or sanding sticks. A bit of a pain, but the difference will be really worth it.
So What Do We Think?
Because the original kit was of such high quality, adding this simple upgrade set will be really worthwhile. All the pieces are highly visible, and provide a significant increase in both detail and accuracy over the kit parts that they replace. A great little set that really will help bring Tamiya’s old Sd.Kfz. 223 right up to scratch.
With thanks to the team at Tasca for the review sample.
Kamizukuri products can be purchased directly from the Tasca website here.