by: Karl Flavell [ ]
The Sdkfz 250 & 251 series of vehicles were arguably two of the most versatile vehicles to be manufactured by the Third Reich. Used as troop carriers, mobile artillery, ambulances, artillery liaison, you name it, they did it. The Sdkfz 250 was the smaller of the two half tracks but was used for pretty much every role on the battlefield that you can think of. When I saw this variant I was quite surprised as I'd not heard of it before. I was under the impression that the 250/4 was an artillery liaison vehicle. It was but after this version, they just reused the number.
Trying to find anything out about this half track is very difficult as it doesn't appear that there were very many produced. Some sources say it was just a prototype that never entered production yet there are a few photos of it in the field in Russia so it obviously went past the prototype stage. 12th SS Hitlerjugend had 8x250/4's on strength in Normandy in their recce battalion but which sort? All about as clear as mud.
On opening the box you are greeted by a literal box full of sprues (not like some kits where you get a big box and it's nearly empty) moulded in Dragons usual light grey plastic. Checking them off against the instructions there is a fair amount of parts not for use which is great for the spares box as these can be used for other 250/251 builds as a lot of stuff is interchangeable between the types. Parts are cleanly moulded and at first look there doesn't appear to be any visible flash. There are the usual blobs (I'm not sure what they're called) to cut off on a lot of parts but it's a simple job with minimal clean up. There are individual track links contained in two poly bags so gone is the tedious task of cutting them off the sprue and cleaning them up. Having built several of these sets of tracks for DML half tracks, while it's not a fun job, they look so much better than rubber band tracks so it's definitely worth the effort.
There are two hull bottoms. The one it tells you to use has the lower hull walls moulded in place whereas the other on a sprue has them separately. There are two hull floors and I can't see any difference between them although sprue D (the one it says to use) is from the Sdkfz 252 kit (marked on the sprue) so it looks like older sprues have been used to put the kit together. On the hull floors there is a very conspicuous raised square which I think was a locating point for the 250/1's cupboard in the corner so I'm not sure if that should be there at all. Due to limited resources on the 250/4 I have no idea but it makes me mindful of having to remove a seat on the 3 in 1 251/9 to get it right.
The PE sheet looks to be very useful. There are parts for the MG assembly and grilles to go on the front over what I presume are air intakes. The large part which hangs in front of the gunners legs I can only assume is metal as it has rivets on it. There is no indication as to whether it's metal or canvas or what colour to paint it so it's at your discretion.
There is a full engine should you choose to use it and leave the bonnet hatches open. With a bit of extra work adding wiring etc you could have a very effective looking engine to add a bit of extra interest in a diorama setting. Having said that it mysteriously appears in place in the instructions in typical Dragon fashion without being told how to fit it.
There are two sets of wheels. One set which is made up of slices and a separate hub and another set in two halves which it tells you to use. I may use the sliced ones when I come to build it as having used those before they give a more realistic tread pattern but it's up to the individual which you use
The MG mount and MG34's look to be a challenging build as they're a mixture of PE and plastic but when built up should look very impressive. It's good to see that DML have gone to town on this section as this is what makes the vehicle. Some parts are very thin though so a fresh blade will be in order before attempting to remove these from the sprue. The MG's appear to be Gen2 with hollowed out muzzles and separate top covers. Bipods are included but not fitted. What does seem to be a nice touch is that there is a PE shield hanging down in front of the gunners’ legs which is held in place by 4 PE straps. Probably very fiddly but should look good. There are plenty of spare magazines attached to the hull walls as one piece mouldings. One thing that is slightly perplexing is that there is no personal kit supplied or any indication of where it is stowed. I suppose with the vehicle being a bit of a mystery, kit stowage is an even bigger mystery so it will be a case of consulting the web for ideas as to where stuff like water bottles, mess kits, rifles are kept on the other versions and work from that. When it says full interior on the box it is a bit misleading in that respect.
Something I'd not seen before is a separate locking pin on the towing hook as an option which although a tiny feature which most won't notice it could be a diorama feature if towing. Just a thought.
Transparent parts are provided for the inside of the driver and radio operators visors to replicate the armoured glass used and the option is there to have them open or closed.
The decals are fairly generic. Blank number plates with either the WH or SS prefix. I wish they'd join the SS runes up though as they're a pain to get lined up. I realise that in some Euro countries SS runes are illegal to display but I don't think German or French modellers will have a hissy fit if they see joined up SS runes inside a box containing a German half track. Decals are supplied for the dashboards dials. Looking at the painting options there are 5 choices, all from unidentified units from 1942-1944 which contradicts DML's blurb on their website which says "While this halftrack variant never saw battle, it was field-tested". Three years field testing and never saw any combat? Hmmm
I'm looking forward to building this kit not only because I have a thing about 250's and 251's but because it looks to be a an interesting little kit where the PE will majorly improve the MG fittings rather than just being there for the sake of it. From experience these fit together well and are an enjoyable build. Don't let the very vague history of the vehicle put you off it. It fills a gap in peoples Sdkfz 250 collections and is an interesting little vehicle for non-German halftrack obsessive’s.