by: Ted Hayward [ ]
introductionYet another German half-track under the tree this year? This one is far from being a bog standard: look again. It’s quarter scale!
This tiny new addition from our friends at AFV Club promises to herald many more welcome subjects in this increasingly popular scale. I was a reluctant convert before coming to this scale, but my misgivings about loss of detail and unmanageable parts proved unfounded. The detail is as crisp and uncompromising as in most 1/35th scale kits. Doubters should look closely at the cooling jackets on those machine guns, the creases in the leather seats! There are almost exactly the same number of parts -minus the individual torsion bars and rear axle, as in AFV Club’s 1/35th scale 251 Ausf. C kit.
construction Wrapping that very fragile suspension assembly with those vinyl tracks did give me initial cause for concern –the stub axles are to scale, and tiny! My fears were unfounded -AFV Club designers had prevented any tears or nashing of teeth in two ways: Firstly, by providing the most flexible and supple vinyl tracks, cementable with CA glue. Secondly, the inner roadwheels are connected to one another by small “rings” which give strength to the assembled suspension, align the many wheels together, and remain invisible behind the outer wheels. Brilliant! The design of the suspension assembly does actually allow for one broken axle on each side –just ask me how I know! You will, as with the 1/35th scale kit, have to paint the gauges -a decal or a PE dash face would have been impractical in this scale. Also, for the visually-challenged and (or) the less youthful builder, it would help to enlarge the instructions on a Xerox machine. The diagrams seem a bit cramped, as it’s a smaller instruction sheet. Do take your time fitting the upper hull half to the lower half: One needs to attach the front and rear panels after the hull halves are together -NOT before!
conclusionNice bonuses include an assortment of weapons: extra KAR 98 rifles, MG 34 and MG 42 machineguns, and ammunition cans. Two slightly different styles of front air intake covers (early, sharp-cornered and late, round-cornered) are provided. Crisp and trouble-free decals are included for five different vehicles serving on the Eastern and African fronts.
How does it measure up to the tiny Tamiya offerings, you ask? The Tamiya 1/48th scale kits all include a die-cast lower hull. This adds weight and simplifies assembly -just giving the bare minimum of detail to the suspension. The AFV Club suspension is complete in detail, adding parts and complexity. One may argue that Tamiya kits are the perfect choice for beginner modelers, but you could almost buy two of these little AFV Club kits for the same money!
Novice and experienced builders alike will get plenty of satisfaction from these smaller projects, with a little planning and care.