by: Darren Baker [ ]
The German military in World War 2 were big users of the half track so much so that I bet when a half track is mentioned most think ‘Hanomag’, I know this is not accurate as regards a vehicle. During the build up to World War 2 it would appear that only Germany was looking at half tracks as Armoured Personnel Carriers with the 251 proving to be a successful family of vehicles. There are a great number of 251 models on the market in many scales, but it is my understanding that this offering from ICM is the first Sd.Kfz.251 as an Ausf A and is in the popular scale of 1/35th. The 251 Ausf A was the half track that Germany entered the war with and it proved a successful design with many alterations being made during the war to better protect the vehicle, make it more user friendly and to make production easier, you also need to consider how many variants were produced to fit specific roles. This offering is the command version of the Sd.Kfz. 251/6 A.
This offering is supplied in the now usual flip top cardboard box favoured by ICM with a second separate card lid with the artwork on it, as a modeller I do appreciate a well packaged offering and I feel ICM is one of the best in this respect. The artwork on the lid is very nicely done and will draw your eye to the box I believe. Inside the box is an instruction booklet with the decals protected between the pages. The sprues and other model elements are packed inside a re-sealable plastic bag with further bags holding the clear and vinyl rubber parts. In my offering one of the wheels had broken loose from the sprue.
Starting with an examination of the model contents reveals little in the way of concerns. I found a lot of ejector pin marks throughout the model parts, but very few of these should be an issue with the finished model. A look at the larger mouldings reveals a number of flow marks that do not look good, but on the positive examination reveals no issues with it that has affected the surface finish of the plastic.
Looking at the detail on the mouldings reveals crisply replicated raised detail that should please most and keeps the model easy to construct while providing a good level of detail. I have done a lot of reference checking for this review and the exterior does appear to be accurate for an Ausf A version of the 251. The view ports or shooting slots depending on how you look at it along each side are correct and while designed to be closed a little effort will enable them to be open. The tools are correctly mounted along the hull sides rather than on the mudguards used in later models. The engine vents are exposed rather than covered which is again correct for version. An engine is included with this offering and that can be exposed if wished due to the access doors being separate parts.
This offering contains all of the sprues from the previous ICM releases of the Sd.Kfz. 251 Ausf A and an additional sprue covering the aerials and radio equipment. The aerial mast has been well moulded but will require care when removing it from the sprue. The thickness of it is acceptable and should look the part well enough. ICM has added some mounting plates for the support arms and these need to be drilled in two places, however ICM has not supplied the drill size that is needed for this task. The radio stacks are very well done and the addition of some wires will finish the area off a treat. My only complaint here is that I would have liked to see some headsets included here. The changes here has resulted in the need to remove a seat some personal weapons storage and the external radio parts from the earlier releases.
Moving to the rear of the model again reveals nice and accurate details provided by ICM in this release. The machine guns are nicely presented and a guard has been supplied and shown used in some of the finishing options; it needs to be remembered that in early versions no guard was used on the machine guns and sand bag protection was commonly used by troops. While talking about the machine guns I would have liked to see some ammunition boxes or drum magazines as the breech of the MG’s are separate parts. The rear of the model and rear doors are correctly angled and so alls good right? Well no there are some issues I found.
The body work on the 251 Ausf A is made of a front and rear portion that was bolted together just behind the drivers compartment and that has been very nicely replicated by ICM in this release. The clear parts supplied with this model are from a previous ICM release and that is the Type 320 Saloon staff car. The vinyl rubber tracks and tyres are very good from a detail aspect, but I am looking for alternate tracks in plastic or similar.
ICM has provided two finishing options for this model, one of which I know will prove a very popular option. These finishes are:
Sd.Kfz. 251/6 Ausf A. Command vehicleof Lieutenant-General Heinz Guderian, Poland, September 1939
Sd.Kfz. 251/6 Ausf A. 1941
This model in my opinion is a very nice offering from ICM and represents an updated 251 A rather than an early vehicle, but that is not so easy to pick out in this release due to the external aerial and machine gun shield not being used on this release. The build should not present to many issues to the modeller beyond the usual issues present in all models. The interior of the model is very nicely done with a dedicated crew being the only thing missing here.