While there often seems to be a jumble of Wehrmacht half-tracks, they actually break down into families of vehicles sharing common features, especially the chassis. The Sd.Kfz. 250 light reconnaissance half-track is underneath the same as the Sd.Kfz.10, which is often mistakenly labeled the DEMAG from the company that spearheaded the design and production, Deutsche Maschinenfabrik AG. BitsKrieg, QuickWheel’s resin upgrade division, has already released civilian tread pattern road wheel replacements for the Sd.Kfz. 250 and Sd.Kfz. 10 (reviewed by me here
). Now there are two new variants: the “uncommon” off-road tread pattern and the “common” off-road tread pattern (reviewed by me here
). This review covers the “uncommon” pattern.
what you get
The set includes:
2 resin wheels
1 resin spare with lug holes
1 three-wheel mask
2 sets of resin “caps” for use on either vehicles or trailers/light guns like the FlaK 3.7cm
A two-sided insert with photos
BitsKrieg is a labor of love by Greg Rossa (publisher of the Rossagraph series of books), and Greg has based his castings on actual vehicles, such as the Sd.Kfz. 250 pulled from the muck of a Polish river where it had hibernated since the end of World War 2. He meticulously researches the tread patterns and maker’s marks that go on the tires to avoid including post-war or restored varieties. For this set, he has returned once again to the Continental brand for the tires, as Continental is probably the most-common manufacturer for vehicles of the Third Reich.
The casting is the amazing level of detail and clean lines we’ve come to expect from BitsKrieg. For example, you don't just get the "Continental" brand on the side; BitsKrieg has included other marks, including the "C" logo, technical markings, and the phrase Extra Gelände
("off road") for the kind of detailing you just don't find that often in this scale.This upgrade will transform older kits, and enhance even newer ones: Dragon has announced the release of an Sd.Kfz. 10, but presumably it will rely on Dragon Styrene road wheels. While they’re a big improvement over vinyl tires (which won’t take paint well), or two-piece styrene ones you’ll find on older DML and all Italeri Sd.Kfz.10s, they can’t come close to the exquisite detail of these resin castings.
It might seem extravagant paying over $14 for this set and its mask for a kit that retails for about $30 or less. But proper tires on all except muddy dioramas will do as much for a softskin as an AM metal barrel for a tank. These tires/wheel rims were also used on light artillery like the PAK 36 3.7cm, or the Nebelwerfer
rocket trailer, so BitsKrieg has included end caps for use on limbers and trailers.
Hardcore modelers and old-timers scoff at us wimps who’ll pay $12-$13 for wheel masks, but I can’t paint wheels by hand with the precision these masks afford. Nor do I feel like cutting out my own masks through trial and error. Slap the wheels into the mask, and you end up with amazingly-crisp paint lines. Even if you feel “maskers” are pussies, the resin wheels in this set are worth the price.