The Sd.Kfz. 250/1 “Neu” represented an attempt to simplify the vehicle construction process for the smaller cousin of the Sd.Kfz. 251 halftrack by removing the angled sides of the “Alt” model and replacing them with square panels wherever possible. The concept aimed at standardizing the 250 and 251 production as much as possible in order to speed up delivery times, and this new body style was applied to all 250 variants. The end result is referred to as the “Neu” design, and CyberHobby’s kit #6595 applies the Neu body style to the /10 variant armed with a 3.7cm PaK anti-tank gun.
Three of these vehicles were authorized per leichte Shützenpanzer Kompanie
(“light armored personnel carrier companies”), and they served alongside both the Alt
(“old”) and Neu
(“new”) types. Production of /10s weren’t reported separately from standard 250 production until after April 1, 1943 making it difficult to say exactly how many total /10s were produced. After that date, 50 Type 10s were produced from April-September. While there wasn’t a clean cutover between Alt
types, the earliest known 250/1 “Neu” was produced in June 1943. It’s therefore possible that approximately 32 out of the 50 could have been manufactured as Neu 250/10s before production halted permanently in favor of the /8 variant. Photos do exist of them, but the “Alt” variant is much more common, making this an ideal subject for a CyberHobby white box treatment.
The kit contents are sealed in plastic bags with multiple sprues per bag within the box, and some of the smaller and more delicate parts come attached to the now-familiar Dragon cardboard insert in their own plastic bags contained within the larger bag for the card itself. The kit contents consist of over 440 parts and other standard items as follows:
• 13 sprues of gray styrene
• 1 sprue of clear styrene
• 2 bags of Magic Track components
• 1 slide-molded hull tub in gray styrene
• 2 pre-formed (non-bent) brass width indicators
• 1 photo-etched brass fret
• 2 sheets of Cartograf printed decals
• Assembly Instruction and Finishing Guide
• Addendum to Step 20 insert sheet
Billed as a “Smart Kit”, those buying based on that label will surely be disappointed. In reality this kit is virtually the same as DML’s “Premium” kit #6427 with some additional parts from the much older kit # 6139 supplying the components of the 3.7cm PaK gun. Other than the “Premium” type upgrades mentioned in my Review of kit # 6427
, there aren’t any newly tooled or upgraded parts included in this release.
The focus of this review will be on the parts that are added by CyberHobby to create the Neu 250/10 and what has changed vs. the “Premium” kit # 6427. In terms of some of the issues pointed out in the earlier 250/1 kit, DML has corrected the missing transmission issue by including the small sprue Y. Unfortunately they didn’t correct the issue of the armored visors. Still included unchanged is the clear sprue from the 251 family of kits and the dimensional error is still there: the width of the armored covers vs. the openings in the superstructure. Correcting it will require the use of either styrene shims or older kit parts.
The hull sides still have all the molded-on locator marks from the 250/1 Neu release, but the instructions now call for many of them to be removed, since they are not required for the /10. The crew gear layout is also slightly modified, but the space issue on the left hand side is still present if you use the kit-supplied PE mounting brackets since the Gen2 mess kits aren’t designed for the space, and are a little too wide to allow for 3 to be fitted side-by-side as called for. The builder will need to be careful here.
The instructions include a small separate sheet insert that modifies Step 20 from the 250/1 assembly and accounts for the changes needed to create the base mount for the 3.7cm PaK gun. Steps 23-25 deal with the construction and installation of the gun, and represent the major change/addition to this kit. Rather than create these parts using newly-tooled molds, CyberHobby instead chose to reach back in time to the parts provided in kit # 6139, a release that is definitely not up to the modern standard expected with new kits these days. This is where I have issue with the label of “Smart Kit” being applied to this particular release, as the “normal” CyberHobby approach is to add newly-tooled parts to existing OEM kits by DML to create their unique subject offerings. They don’t do that at all in this case, as every part and sprue provided in this release are regular DML parts cobbled together from various Sd.Kfz. 250 and 251 kits without the enhancement you would expect. The age of the #6139 parts is evident in that the gun barrel is in two halves, there are prominent mold seams, and the detail level of the moldings just isn’t as clean and refined as we are accustomed to from a release by DML/CyberHobby.
On the upside, the parts provided do have the proper cut-down shield design commonly seen on this type, and also include some loose 3.7cm rounds if you want to have a few handy. The ammo cans provided for the floor are cut down from a larger sprue originally provided in the Sd.Kfz. 251 3-in-1 kits, and are bagged separately on the Dragon Card insert. So even though they are labeled as parts E13-E15, there isn’t a true “E” sprue, so bear that in mind when you go hunting for them. The PE fret has also been modified and is substantially reduced, consisting mostly of PE straps for the crew gear and mesh inserts for the air intakes on the hood.
The Marking and Painting Guide is limited to a single “Unidentified Unit” on the Western Front 1944, and the decals provided are in the form of 2 sheets. One sheet contains the usual “number jungle” that allows the builder to create their own license plates. The second sheet includes an improvement over the 250/1 Neu kit in that it now provides decals for the instrument panel, and also includes either red-with-white outline or black-with-white outline 222 vehicle numbers and assorted stencils and Balkenkreuz
While the merits of the “white box” approach by CyberHobby can be hotly debated by some, in general I take the view that they provide subjects that might otherwise not be available in styrene and serve a niche market. But as a halftrack fan, this particular release is a disappointment. The fact that it’s cobbled together from older releases vs. presenting a truly modern Smart Kit, and is marketed as a limited-release, one-run-only white box represents a double whammy. Had CyberHobby chosen to build on the available modern parts from the #6427 kit with a newly-tooled 3.7cm PaK sprue, this would be a home-run. Instead it’s a Frankenstein’s monster that any modeler could create themselves simply by acquiring kit #6139 (released in 2001 and still available if you look for it), and combining it with #6427 on their own, including the ammo cans if you don’t build the 251/10 version. All CyberHobby has done is cut out that step, repackaged this under the dubious Smart Kit label, and slapped on the premium of a limited edition white box to the retail price. I would recommend picking up this kit only if you are truly fanatical about the 250/10 Neu and aren’t able to get the older kits or kit parts you would need to bash this one together yourself.
Panzer Tracts No. 15-1 Leichter Schuetzenpanzerwagen (Sd.Kfz. 250) Ausf. A & B
, by Thomas Jentz and Hillary Doyle (2008).