by: Andy Renshaw [ ]
A relatively new company from the Czech Republic, SKP Model has been releasing many nice updates and detail sets for various kits. One of the latest releases is a full Maybach HL42 engine for the AFV Club Sd.Kfz. 251 kit.
The kit, and I say kit because of the complexity and number of parts, comes in a very nice sturdy box with a cad rendered drawing on the top. Upon opening the box, my first reaction was “whoa”. There is no less than 3 bags of resin parts, a photo etch set, and a small full color illustrated booklet for instructions.
Starting with the resin parts, there are 39 parts cast in a greenish blue resin. The casting is of extremely high quality with no pinholes, seams, or even flash to contend with. The detail on the parts is amazing, and far surpasses other HL 42 sets currently on the market. With this set, you get the full engine and a portion of the frame, as well as the radiator and fan assembly. The radiator is only detailed on the side with the fans, but the front doesn’t show anyway once installed. The only downside of the parts is the very large casting plugs, however a coarse saw blade removed them easily and in most cases were placed in regions that are later hidden, or detailed over with other parts, so overall detail level is not comprised.
You get a small fret with PE parts to add some detail to the engine compartment. These are done by Hauler, so are of a high quality that you would expect. They have great relief and also represent parts that are logical to have done in PE.
The instructions are very clear and easy to follow. Steps are divided out and are illustrated with very clear drawings that show part and placement. Color is also used to help clarification. There is even a section on adding belts, and some basic color info.
As mentioned before, the resin plugs on some parts are quite large, so you may want to find a fairly coarse saw blade to remove the larger plugs, and file/ sand to final shape. I assembled most of the engine and frame up to installation. The fit is nothing short of perfect. You can see from one photo where I placed the Fan housing on the frame, and the coolant hose perfectly lined up. That is just an example of how well this goes together. I spent about 2.5 hours to assemble the kit to the point you see in the photos.
If the engineering of the engine parts is an example of how well designed this set is, fitting it to the appropriate AFV Club 251 kit should be no problem. There is a portion of the instructions dedicated to this step and they show exactly what parts of the kit are to be removed. It appears from the illustrations that the points of modification and cutting fall on easy to find locations, and the resin portions are designed to fit around tabs in the kit frame.
This is one of the best aftermarket sets I have had the pleasure of working with. The fit of the parts is outstanding, and the detail is amazing. I highly recommend this set to anybody wanting to open up the engine compartment on a 251 halftrack. Looking at the website, they are working on one for the Dragon 251 kits as well.