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Friday, February 17, 2012

German Reconnaissance Vehicles

This post covers a variety of German reconnaissance vehicles. These vehicles were important within the German military as even before the war, the military planners already envisioned the upcoming conflict as a new kind of warfare in which high and fast mobility would play a key role. Most of these vehicles were designed before the war and they did not require many subsequent models. Their original designs met their requirements well from the beginning. Let's take a look.

Forces of Valor Kubelwagen Type 82 - 21st Panzer Division

The  Kübelwagen, short for Kübelsitzwagen or 'bucket seat car', was a scout vehicle designed by Ferdinand Porsche and built by Volkswagen. The prototypes were tested during the invasion of Poland and by early 1940 it went into production and continued to be built until the end of the war. Over 50,000 of them were built. Even though it was a 2-wheel drive vehicle, its flat underbelly allowed it to slide over snow, mud or sand, allowing to go where only tracked vehicles or all-wheel drive vehicles could. Being 300 kg lighter than the American Jeeps, it could travel up to 50mph using an engine comparable to that of a VW Beetle. In general this was a very reliable and rugged reconnaissance car. This model comes to us from Forces of Valor. Very nicely detailed and painted. It comes with a crew of three. Not included in the picture is the top which can be removed.

Forces of Valor Kubelwagen Type 82 - Africa

Same vehicle, different finish. This one is missing the spare tire on the front, but when you buy it new, it is included. Note that the front doors are hinged at the back. Since I got this one second hand I am not 100% sure if the three passengers were included with this model.

Forces of Valor Kubelwagen Tye 82 - Normandy

Third variation of this vehicle from FOV. This one is shown with the top on. Note also that the shovel on the side of the car is present, although I did not mount it right. The spade is supposed to face the back of the vehicle and the handle is supposed to point forward, resting above the headlight.

Forces of Valor Kubelwagen Tye 82 - Holland 1944

Here is another variation of the Kubelwagen. It's different in two respects. One is the cammo pattern, and the second one, which is the one I found ost interesting and appealing is the fact that it belongs to a field hospital unit. It also comes with the second top, to enclose it if that's how you like it, but in that case, the man on the side won't be able to sit on the edge and I prefer to display the figure. 

Britains Deetail Kubelwagen - Part I

This is a nice model by Britains. It's not so easy to come by so it took me a while to find one. As you can see, the vehicle comes with a driver and a machine gunner. The only thing that I don't quite like is that they chose to paint the fenders and the tire rims green.

Britains Deetail Kubelwagen - Part II

From this angle you can see the mounted machine gun a bit better. Also note the corrugated detail on the body of the car. Gives it a nice, realistic look. Also, depending on the condition of the vehicle, they might still have the wehrmacht stickers on the doors.

Britains Deetail Afrika Korps Kubelwagen

This is also essentially the same Kubelwagen as the one made for the regular German Infantry figures, but in a desert sand color scheme and with the two men in Afrika Korps gear. Note that instead of a Wehrmacht sticker on the door, it actually has the AK symbol painted on to it. The man on the back is also just holding the MG, instead of aiming. A bit of a hard to find item, particualrly for a reasonable price.

Forces of Valor Schwimmwagen Type 166

The VW Schimmwagen Type 66 was the most successful amphibian car in history in terms of numbers built. Between 1941 and 1944 over 15,500 were produced. Many of its components were adopted from the Kübelwagen, with the 'bodytub' and the propelling mechanism on the back being the main innovations. One 'funny' aspect of this vehicle was that it could not use its propeller to travel in reverse, so paddles had to be used or they had to let the wheels spin in the water in reverse to move in that direction. It was also designed by Porsche's firm and manufactured by Volkswagen. This model was produced by Forces of Valor, with its customary nice level of detail. It must have been a popular item because it was released in about 4 or 5 other color schemes.

Forces of Valor Schwimmwagen Type 166  - view from behind

Here you can see the propeller. It can be lowered or lifted according to where the vehicle finds itself. You can also see how the vehicle looks with the top on.

Forces of Valor Schwimmwagen Type 166 - Normandy 1944

This is the same vehicle as the previous Schwimmwagen, with a different and, in my opinion, much inferior paint job. Part of it is that the cammo pattern does not seem very realistic, and partly that the paint job looks too clean. It would have been nice if they had given the vehicle a bit of weathering. One small improvement over the prior model, is that it also comes with an oar which I suppose might have come handy if the vehicle ever lost power while crossing a body of water. 

21st Century Toys Sd Kfz 222

The Sd Kfz 22 was a light armored scout vehicle based on the Sd Kfz 221, but instead of a machine gun, it carried a 20mm KwK38 Flak Cannon as its main weapon -and a MG as secondary armament. It was built between 1936 and to mid 1943. During this time almost 1000 vehicles were manufactured. It was phased out of production by the Sd Kfz 234. The Sd Kfz 222 could travle up to 85 mph, despite a weight of almost 5 tons. It was operated by a crew of 3. This model was one of the first to be produced by 21C Toys, along with the Tiger I and the Hanomag. They were truly revolutionary when they came out, with a level of realism not seen previously. The vehicles comes with one figure and a top that opens. It was also released in a tan cammo paint scheme.

Forces of Valor Zündapp KS 750

The Zündapp KS 750 was a heavy duty sidecar motorcycle that was nearly as effective off-road as it was on roads. From 1940 onwards until the factory was bombed in 1944 over 18,000 of them were built. Capable of carrying 500kg or 3 fully armed men plus ammo, it could travel as fast as 60mph. When going X-Country, it would be able to travel in mud up to its axels, thanks to its muffler which was installed higher than usual. A very interesting feature of this bike is that the driver could control whether to shift power to the side wheel when traveing off-road. This very nice model comes to us courtesy of Forces of Valor. The mud paint is very realistic, the figures very well sculpted. It even comes with a small trailer.

Forces of Valor Zündapp KS 750

Here is another view from the side. The only inconvenience is that those luggage bags on the sides of the sidecar easily come off when you handle it, so you often have to put them back in place. The other thing is that the machine gun mount is a bit brittle and mine broke when I was trying to get the gunner to hold it.

Marx German Motorcycle with Sidecar

This is Marx's representation of a Zundapp I suppose. For the 60's this was probably a highlight of the Battleground set, and I am sure that once it is painted it looks fairly decent. The only thing that I find amusing is that the feet of the man riding on the sidecar actually reach the ground. It reminds me of the Flintstones!

Atlantic German BMW with Sidecar

This is a nice model from Atlantic. It comes in multiple pieces that easily snap together. The level of detail is quite nice, for a platstic set. If you compare it to the Marx motorcycle with sidecar, there is actually no comparison. The only thing I wich they had done better is to have the passenger hold/operate the machine gun to give it more of an action feeling.

Britains Deetail Africa Corps Dispatch Rider

Britains Deetail also produced a nice set of motorcycles. This one has some similarities with the Zündapp, but I believe it is actually a BMW. Notice how they gave the driver goggles, which would obviously come very handy in the desert.

Britains Deetail Afrika Korps Motorcycle w/sidecar

This is essentially the same as the stand-alone motrocycle, with an attached sidecar. Notice how the caps on the two men are painted in different colors. That was not the case in all of these sets. I've seen it before with both men wearing the field grey cap, so I think these two guys are a bit of an oddity. Other than that, this model is not much different from the one made for the regular German Infantry.

Britains Deetail German BMW w/sidecar

 There are also a couple other German motorcycles from Britains Deetail. This is one of them. It is supposed to be a BMW.  The driver normally has a rifle across his back, but this one came without it. The other model is a standalone bike.

Britains Deetail German BMW - Part I

Here is the motorcycle by itself. It took me a while to find one that was in good shape and fairly priced, but it was worth the wait. The only funny thing is that the factory paint gave the rider a silver nose!

Britains Deetail German BMW - Part II

Here is another view. You can see the rifle on the back and how it is attached. Most models nowadays are missing it as it comes off relatively easily.

Britains Deetail German Motorcycle - Early model

I recently ran across this version of the Deetail German BMW bike. According to the seller, this was an earlier and apparently less common version than the dark grey model. There are a few other differences in the design of the bike, like the muffler for instance and the fact that the engine is a different color. The rider seems to be the same.

Britians Deetail Kettenkrad

This one was an elusive one to obtain. They are usually priced beyond what I want to pay for something this size, or they have some damage. In this case I got lucky and was able to pick up the Kettenkrad with a towed PAK 40 for a bit less than what a good Kettenkrad usually sells for. If you watched Saving Private Ryan, you might recall the prominent role that one of these vehicles plays in that movie. 

Britians Deetail PAK40 towed by Kettenkrad

The Kettenkrad comes with a hook where you can attach the PAK40. I've actually seen real pictures of Kettenkrads being used for this purpose. One nice feature of this PAK is that it can actually fire. It has a small lever that you can pull to compress a spring and when released it could fire a round. I don't have the ammo that came with it either, but it should not be hard to improvise some rounds.

LFL German Motorcycle w/sidecar Part I

This is a 1/32 motorcycle that I came across on eBay. the listing did not state the manufacturer and the vehicle does not have much in terms of branding to help identify its maker. All it says is: "2008 LFL Made in China". The level of detail is good, so it would be good to be able to know more about LFL and what other vehicles they have released.

LFL German Motorcycle w/sidecar Part II

Here is another angle, from where the side car and its unit insignia can be seen better. As you can see the sidecar has the piece to rest the MG. I don't know if the vehicle came with figures originally, but I suppose it might have. If you happen to know more about it please leave a comment. 


  1. That bike at the end is a Indiana jones collectable thing. I found one of those in like a T.J Maxx or something similar to that store. They made many other cool stuff like that from the Raiders of the lost ark like the Flying wing.

    1. Thanks a lot for clearing up the mystery!

    2. The sidecar bike is from HASBRO TITANIUM SERIES and only the in 1.32 scale approx. made as far I know. It come with Indy and his father ,not MG mounted as is base in scene when father discard the MG during the ride .It come in oblong blister clear and card pack.(The made 8 different pack toys)
      Rest of vehicles and planes else are either too small ,one tank in 1.48 scale approx. and a HD motorcycle from Skull film in 1.24 scale.