Who needs big Tigers and Panthers for your little toy Germans when you could have a Sd.Kfz. 221 recce vehicle? It’s small, it has crappy armour, it’s only got a machine gun! Great stuff!

This is a resin one in 28mm from Warlord.

The Sd.Kfz. 221

Designed in the 1930s the 221 was intended to provide fast reconnaissance for the panzer divisions. It replaced the earlier Kfz.13, which had been built on the chassis of a civilian car. The 221 was a purpose-built military design, and proved very successful.

A small and simple vehicle, it had a crew of two with the commander operating the only weapon. Originally armed with an MG13, and then later the more familiar MG34 it was found to be handy and reliable, but a little underarmed. Some were upgunned by fitting a sPzB41 anti-tank rifle in place of the MG to give the recce platoons some light anti-tank capability, although at the cost of anti-personnel performance.

To fix some of the shortcomings of the 221 a larger heavier version armed with a 20mm autocannon was designed and became the Sd.Kfz. 222. For a while both versions were produced, with the 221 phased out in 1940. Overall, the Whermacht shifted away from wheeled recce vehicles over the course of the war. While the 221/222s were fast and reliable on road they weren’t as good off-road as the tanks they were supposed to be scouting for, so were phased out in favour of tracked and half-tracked vehicles like the Sd.Kfz.250 and Panzer II Ausf L.

During the Polish and French campaigns 221s saw extensive use due to the good road network, but after Barbarossa their off-road performance became more of an issue. After that they were more likely to be seen in security police and rear-echelon units, such as anti-partisan duties or as liaison vehicles and officers’ runabouts.

The Warlord Model

This is a resin kit with several metal parts (front bumper, wheels, grenade screens, weapons, and one jerry can) and mine was well-cast with no major defects at all. The wheels fit well with only a minimal trim required to the axles.

Two weapon option are included: an MG34 or the sPzB41 AT rifle. The MG34 isn’t a great casting, and I instead grabbed a plastic MG34 out of my bits box and fitted that. I also stuck in a spare plastic head, as the kit doesn’t include a commander even though the top of the turret is open. All the vision ports are modelled down in the fighting position. I added a resin cam net and a spare helmet to the rear of the vehicle, no stowage is included in the kit, but photos of real vehicles on campaign don’t show loads of stuff stowed on them, so there must have been decent room for the crew to store their gear inside.

The kit also does not include any insignia, you’ll need to provide your own. Again, photos of real vehicles shows they didn’t have a lot, things like number plates and divisional signs often not being shown at all. I went for just a pair of crosses for recognition and left it at that.

Overall though this is a good little model, and a much better quality casting than some of the other resin I’ve got from Warlord in the past.

I’ve painted this in early-war colours, as that’s it’s main stomping ground, and early war colours work fine for commando raids and anti-partisan games through to quite late in the war, as stuff behind the front lines didn’t always get repainted.