by: Andras [ ]
The Sd.Kfz. 251 halftrack was a ubiquitous armored troop carrier during WWII. It was used in all fronts, and as need arose, it saw countless modifications over the course of the war. From armored personnel carrier to AT, AA gun platform, engineering vehicle, scout, telephone cable layer, mortar carrier, and so on –the vehicle was an ideal base for almost anything. These halftracks were very popular basis for several gun-platforms: they were pressed into anti-tank and anti-aircraft roles when the situation became desperate for the German Armed Forces. (Needless to say, their weak armor did not make them very successful in these roles.)
The first dedicated AA version, the Sd.Kfz.251/17 mit 2 cm Flak 38 Luftwaffe Ausführung was heavily modified with drop-down sides. The design was quite costly, and ensued that it wasn’t produced in high numbers. Most other AA versions were conversions of troop carriers, rather than purpose-built vehicles.
The model is packaged into a sturdy cardboard box. It comes with a sheet of paper containing instructions on how to build the gun, and a black and white photo of the vehicle. Since the rest of the assembly is relatively straightforward, the lack of instructions for the vehicle will not be an issue for an average modeler.
There are about 60 cream colored resin parts and a turned metal barrel for the gun. The quality of resin is quite good; it’s not brittle, and the detail is crisp. There is a lot of flash, which is not unusual with resin kits. The basic dimensions measure up relatively well to the scale drawings I have, although the bottom of the lower chassis is narrower than it should be. This is not noticeable I have to add once the kit is built.
The hull comes as one piece, and the top of the driver’s area and engine compartment comes as a separate piece that fits on the top of it. This makes the painting/detailing of the interior easier –although to be fair, most of it will be invisible after assembly. The main issue is the thickness of the driver’s compartment’ roof though; it is way thicker than should be. The pouring block is quite difficult to remove without damaging the edge of the part; take extra care when sawing. (And use a wetted saw and respirator to minimalize resin dust.)
The fit of the main parts is not perfect, so you will need to do some trimming and filling. The running gear comes as a single part: the road wheels, tracks, everything is already molded together. Only the three topmost road wheels will need to be glued in place. (As you can see, one of those wheels was not cast perfectly.) The folding sides are very thin (so extra care must be taken when handling them), and they did not fit very accurately in place in a folded-up position; the easiest option is to depict the vehicle with dropped-down sides. Another option is to do some real careful trimming. There are no folding arms included with the kit; it’s something you will have to build yourself using photos.
The gun assembly is very delicate and detailed; it’s probably the best part of the kit.
There were some missing parts. There are no width indicator poles included. The small bench in the back of the fighting compartment is missing, as are the ammo racks bolted to the inside of the side panels, and the radio from the front of the driver’s compartment. The prominent rifle rack on the side of the halftrack was not included, either. Most of these items are easy to scratch build, but they should have been included nevertheless.
This is a nice kit, but will require a lot of work to make it accurate. War gamers can build it relatively quickly, but if you want to make it stand out, there’s a lot of surgery and scratch building to look forward to.