by: Cpt. C. Sosebee, USA (Ret [ ]
Tamiya’s 1/35 scale kit of the Sd.Kfz. 9 FAMO was released more than 13 years ago, and, in my opinion, is an excellent kit straight from the box. But…it can be made even better with the help of a photo etched (PE) detail set. Voyager Model has released a PE and resin detail set for this kit.
This PE set doesn’t go overboard, and replaces or enhances only the kit parts that are missing, are molded out of scale or lack correct details. With more than 200 PE parts this set is very comprehensive with many multi-part assemblies and some very tiny parts. This set is not intended for the faint of heart or modelers without photo etched experience.
Voyager PE/Resin sets are packaged in a cardboard sheath with a cardboard drawer that slides out. The PE is packaged in a small cellophane bag (with smaller zip-lock bags inside) taped to another piece of cardboard. This helps ensure the contents stay undamaged.
For the FAMO Detail Set, you get:
• 1x Large 3.5” x 3.5” Brass PE Fret
• 1x Medium 2.75” x 2.75” Brass PE Fret
• 1x Medium 3” x 1.5” Brass PE Fret
• 1x Small 2” x 1.75” Brass PE Fret
• 1x 3” x 0.3mm Ø Copper wire
• 1x 3” x 1mm Ø styrene rod
• 1x 2” x 0.5mm Ø styrene rod
• 1x Resin German Notek light
• 1x clear acetate sheet with the printed dashboard gauges
• 1x 3” x 2” x 0.3mm clear acetate sheet to cut the windscreens from
• 3x double-sided A4 size instruction sheets
Starting at the front of the Sd.Kfz. 9 a resin German Notek hooded blackout light is provided that is missing from the Tamiya kit. The Notek light was added to the FAMO in 1941, so for an earlier vehicle this part can be left off. A PE chain is given for the front towing clevis and for the radiator grill, the FAMO company emblem/logo (also missing from the Tamiya kit) is provided. Moving to the driver’s side fender a pennant mounting frame is provided, but doesn’t appear in very many photos of the FAMO, so check your references. For each side of the exterior engine bay, PE mounting brackets and straps are provided for the fire extinguishers. The Tamiya kit totally missed these, so the Voyager set provides the necessary parts to scratch build them, or you could source them from another kit or aftermarket set. To correct the kit’s sprockets, several bolt plates are provided for the inner rim.
Moving to the rear, a replacement distance indicator light is provided as well as the reflector and driving tail-light for the starboard rear mud flap. Also for the mud flaps are the corrected hinge strips with embossed bolt head detail. A cargo bed frame brace is also provided. There are also several other parts such as the tailgate locking hasps and cargo bed braces.
The interior detail is really where the Voyager set shines. Inside the cargo bed there are several braces, tool brackets and tool locking hasps. At the front of the cargo bay is also a mounting bracket for an un-ditching beam that will need to be scratched or sourced elsewhere. Tailgate steps and chains and mounting brackets are provided. Buckles and straps are also given to attach a scratched tarpaulin. For the side storage lockers there are multi-part PE dividers for the interior tool drawers, storage locker interior door details with hinges and other interior doodads. The Voyager set also has several parts that I’m unable to identify as to their purpose.
Moving to the crew compartment, seven rifle racks replace the over scaled kit parts. Hinges are also given for the small storage lockers on the back side of the front/rear seats divider. In the driver’s cabin area a multi-part dashboard with mounting frame replaces the kit’s parts. The acetate gauges fit behind the dashboard and with careful painting will really standout. To replace the over scaled less detailed windscreen in the Tamiya kit, a very complex multi-part windscreen is provided. Thin acetate sheeting is provided for the glass, and the windscreen can be assembled as workable. Very cool! Mounting hinges for the canvas doors, foot pedals and several other small details round out the crew compartment interior.
Finally, if you want to show off the engine and compartment, Voyager has it covered. For the underside of the hood (bonnet?) hinges and brackets are provided for the vent doors. Other details include brackets and shroud for the radiator, braces for the firewall to frame mounting, details for the side cowls, engine mounts, and many other engine and compartment details. All you will need to add are the various wires, such as spark plug wires and battery cables (and a little fuel) and this FAMO can be driven off the assembly line!
The instructions are printed on three double sided A4 size pages and are fairly easy to follow. There are 40 separate steps (not numbered) of the exploded isometric drawing type. Parts are shown in their final shape after bending and it appears easy enough to determine the correct bends needed. The subassemblies are shown on a grey background and are lettered (A-B-C etc.) for ease of placement in later steps.
I really like the idea of Voyager revisiting older kits with new up-to-date upgrade sets. This set for the Tamiya Sd.Kfz. 9 FAMO kit can make a very nice out-of-the-box kit a show stopper. But keep in mind this is a very complex set with some very tiny parts. I cannot recommend this set for a beginner. The windscreen assembly might even give an expert modeler a little frustration but other than that, everything else is pretty much standard for contemporary PE detail sets. A real plus is that Voyager provides the parts missing or out of scale in the Tamiya kit with no fodder parts just to fill up PE frets.
1.) Die Halbkettenfahrzeuge des Deutschen Heeres 1909-1945; by Walter Spielberger; Motorbuch Verlag; 1993
2.) Schwerer Zugkraftwagen 18-Ton & Variants (Sd.Kfz. 9) FAMO – Nuts & Bolts Vol. 12 by: Dr. Nicolous Hetter
3.) Sd.Kfz. 9 Schwerer Zugkraftwagen 18t FAMO; History File № 2, by Thomas Anderson; Auriga Publishing International, 2009
4.) Der schwere Zugkraftwagen 18t Sd.Kfz.9 FAMO in Vorderansicht; Waffen Arsenal Special № 36, by Walter E. Seifert, 2003
5.) German Half-Tracked Vehicles of WW2, by John Milson; Arms & Armour Press, 1975