Kit, DML 6316, Sd.Kfz.250/9 Neu 2cm Reconnaissance Premium Edition
April 21 2009 at 7:02 PM
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DRAGON MODELS LIMITED
6316, Sd.Kfz.250/9 Neu 2cm Reconnaissance Premium Edition. 1/35th-scale injection-molded styrene/multimedia kit. Contains: 409 styrene parts (including 8 clear), two bags of Magic Track, two photo-etched brass frets, two turned brass parts, five decal/marking schemes and 10 pages of instructions in 28 steps, plus errata sheet.
DML continues to up-grade some older kits in their Premium Edition line, including their leichter Schützenpanzerwagen Sd.Kfz.250 series. These kits feature re-worked suspension parts, and new etched brass parts as well as new weapons and accessory fits from the Gen2 figure series. In the case of this kit, the 2cm KwK38 Hängelafette (suspended mount) turret, introduced for the recent schwerer Panzerspähwagen Sd.Kfz.234/1 has been included. This will allow the modeler to construct what was called a leichter Schützenpanzerwagen (2cm) (Sd.Kfz.250/9).
The kit provides semi-workable individual links of the Magic Track type; these come in two parts (rubber pad and steel shoe); when sandwiched together they will remain flexible. Each steel shoe part of the link has two very subtle ejector pin marks on the inner face; the fastidious modeler will wish to clean them up and since they are subtle and not below the surface, this should be a relatively easy, if time-consuming operation. Assembling the parts will be a bit of work (its a small vehicle, so thankfully we are not talking too many links on either side), but will result in very well-detailed tracks that also exhibit the proper sag. The instructions specify 38 links per side; I found that 39 worked better.
The suspension system for the tracks has been given a complete make-over. The re-tooled three-part drive sprockets feature excellent small detail, including roller bearings that are subtly off-set. New torsion bar swing arms are provided as is a new final drive housing; the idler wheel axle is also separate. The road-wheels are also new and they have been given more details than the originals. Specifically, the rims are more accurate in appearance and the inner faces are completely detailed.
The conventional front wheels are completely re-designed and are composed of five disks that are laminated to form the tires; these fit over a new, separate wheel rim, which only needs an air filler valve to be added. This method of breaking down the parts will allow for an extremely accurate rendition of the tread detail; manufacturers logo (ContinantaU) and tire data are depicted on the outer side-walls. Unfortunately, the latest drawings in references 7 and 8 indicate the tires are too small in circumference; it seems that the side walls are where the discrepancy occurs. The wheels mount on a multi-part axle arrangement, which can not be configured to show the wheels steering, out-of-the-box. With some care and skill, the wheels can be re-positioned for a more distinct look.
The belly plate and lower chassis sides is a single slide-molded piece to which separate torsion bar arms and final drive housings are attached; this core part, too, is all-new and replaces a previous three-part assembly. From the sides, it seems to represent the welded version, but if so, some rivets must be removed. The belly detail does not match the drawings in reference 9, particularly where it comes to the location and number of drain and access plugs. Likewise, several lines of rivets are not present. Tow hooks and a curved armor plate are attached to the front, while a trailer hitch is attached to the rear.
The superstructure consists of the following separate parts: two side plates, the nose plate, rear plate and a one-piece upper side panel/roof/engine deck assembly. The latter includes the engine hood panel, upper side panels, drivers compartment front plate and roof panel. These are all based on the original parts but have been up-graded with subtle weld beads. Up front, the engine compartment access hatch lids are separate and there are etched brass screens to cover the two rectangular engine compartment cooling vents. Also included is a multi-part engine; this will provide the basis for further details from the modeler and is a nice addition, considering the engine deck hatch lids can be depicted in the open position.
The rear crew compartment access door is separate and can be depicted opened or closed; it sports a stowage box on its inner face and a rain guard gets positioned above it on the hull rear plate. The drivers view-port flaps are separate and feature clear parts for the vision blocks, as well as internal hinge mechanisms; naturally these can be depicted opened or closed.
The track guards with their integral stowage lockers have also been re-configured so the lids are all separate and can be depicted opened or closed; these also feature improved piano hinge detail as well as details on their inner faces. The rear convoy marker and brake light are separate and there are separate mud-flap/registration plate assemblies for the rear edge of the units. Drawings in reference 9 indicate the entire assembly is too short; this can be rectified by padding the ends with sheet styrene.
The front fender units are separate and mount tools, Notek black-out driving head-lamp, marker lamps and turned brass vehicle width-indicator stalks. The multi-part muffler/exhaust pipe assembly mounts on the port side and includes a choice of configurations; the opposite side mounts a stowage bin.
Fighting Compartment Interior.
DML has extensively re-vamped the interior of the fighting compartment by using etched brass and Gen2 German infantrymans equipment. These items include water bottles, gas mask canisters and mess tins. Spare MG barrel cases (I think!) and spare vision blocks complete the area. There is a host of extra Gen2 infantrymens gear included and marked not-for-use. These include stick grenades, egg grenades, steel helmets, bayonets and entrenching tools. Naturally, the modeler can use them as he sees fit or consign them to the spare parts bin against future needs.
Two etched brass racks for four 2cm ammunition boxes are provided for additional ammunition stowage, but this reviewer is unsure if thats the case. It should be mentioned that reference 8 states that this type was supposed to carry 230 rounds for the 2cm gun. In addition, stowage for 2,100 rounds of 7.92mm ammunition was to be provided for the MG42 and 192 9mm rounds for the (not included) MP40. The crew was three men.
The drivers compartment features an instrument panel (with decals for the dial faces) and a radio set in its rack, mounted side-by-side. Since this vehicle has a radio in the turret, this one under the dash-board should probably be deleted. The separate floor panel features re-tooled two-part seats that now come with spring details on their rear faces. The firewall is dressed up with some stowage items, a multi-part steering wheel and transmission housing, with the latter including a shift lever; no foot pedals are provided. Behind that is a fairing that covered some drive-train items. The original kits in this series lacked a visible assembly under this part. It was included in some later kits and has been included here, along with an addendum to the instructions. In addition, some easily-visible details around the inner hull walls, near the final drives are still not included.
The Hängelafette (suspended mount) turret is the later six-sided type and is a multi-media affair based on styrene parts. This is mounted to a newly-provided roof plate. It is far more complete and detailed than any previously seen in styrene from any manufacturer. The 2cm KwK38 is represented by an all-styrene part that includes tiny perforations and larger slits on the muzzle flash suppressor, with variations in receiver group covers; there are optional etched brass or styrene parts to depict the small shield through which the 2cm cannon protrudes.
The interior of the turret has a complete mount that will elevate, styrene telescopic and etched brass ring-and-bead sights, balance springs, 2cm ammo magazine (of the proper ten-round capacity type), radio and transformer, hand-wheel (it had a dual function as a traverse and elevation device), two seats and co-axial machine-gun. For the latter there is a Gen2 MG42 with complete cooling jacket detail and pre-opened muzzle. Externally there are two stowage lockers with separate lids (in styrene or etched brass) and etched brass anti-grenade screen, with styrene detail parts. This can be fixed in the opened or closed position and includes support rods that can be mounted in two different positions. The turret has its own radio and flexible antenna base, but no rod antenna.
Molding, Fit and Engineering.
There was no shrinkage of any parts; there was no flash, while mold part lines are minimal and easily-cleaned. I have already mentioned the slight ejector pin marks on the inner surfaces of the track shoes. It should also be noted that the rear wall of the superstructure and the exit door have had their original molds cleaned up to minimize the work of removing ejector pin marks; the marks are still there but are very subtle and easily removed.
Drawings in reference 7 and 8 show the following:
The tires are not large enough in circumference (the wheel hubs are fine).
The side stowage locker/track guard assemblies are about 1mm too short and the stowage locker lids are not deep enough.
Improperly and incompletely-detailed belly plate.
There is a slight discrepancy, in plan view, regarding the contours of the superstructure around the engine compartment.
In all probability, the port-side fender should mount a Bosch, instead of the provided Notek black-out driving head-lamp.
Missing rod antenna.
None of the cited references show what the precise configuration of the vehicles interior should be, specifically the ammunition stowage arrangements. So, this reviewer cannot comment on the accuracy of the configuration as presented by the manufacturer, one way or the other.
These consist of traditional line drawings; they are less busy than most from DML, but there are enough new bits to keep things interesting. As usual, colors are keyed to Gunze and Model Master paints.
Decals and Markings Information.
Water-slide decals for five vehicles are provided by Cartograf of Italy. They are in perfect register, have crisp, sharp edges and excellent color saturation. There are two sheets provided; one has the vehicle markings, while the other has several styles of generic registration plates, with separate numbers and letter prefixes. The modeler must not only assemble the numbers, but for legal reasons, the SS runes (not used in the provided schemes) are also broken down into two parts. The markings depict the following vehicles:
Pz.Aufkl.Abt.2, 2.Panzer-Division, France 1944.
Pz.Aufkl.Abt.2, 2.Panzer-Division, France 1944.
116.Panzer-Division, France 1944.
Pz.Aufkl.Abt.6, 6.Panzer-Division, 1944.
Pz.Aufkl.Abt.26, 26.Panzer-Division, Italy 1944.
Within the cited references, I cannot confirm or contest these schemes.
This kit is a mixed bag; certainly it looks very good when completed and is a fine external visual representation of the Sd.Kfz.250/9 Ausf.B. There appear to be several accuracy and detail issues, as well as questionable interior stowage arrangements, but overall this is a decent kit that ought to satisfy all but the most nit-picky modelers.
Frank V. Curly Stooge De Sisto
References consulted for this review included, but were not limited to the following books:
1. Sd.Kfz.250 & 251; Sturm & Drang 3, author unknown.
2. German Armored Personnel Carrier; Tank Magazine Special 2, author unknown.
3. Schützenpanzerwagen Sd.Kfz.251 and Sd.Kfz.250; AFV Weapons Profile 57, by W. Spielberger, P. Chamberlain & H. Doyle.
4. Halbkettenfahrzeuge, German Half-Track Vehicles 1939-1945; Almark Wehrmacht Illustrated 4, by J. Williamson & K. Jones.
5. German Armoured Cars and Reconnaissance Half-Tracks 1939-45; Osprey Vanguard 25, by B. Perrett & B. Culver.
6. German Half-Tracks of World War Two; Concord 7054, by F. De Sisto & L. Lecocq.
7. Leichter Schützenpanzer (Sd.Kfz.250) Ausf.A & B; Panzer Tracts 15-1, by T. Jentz & H. Doyle.
8. Aufklärungspanzerwagen; Panzer Tracts 11-2, by T. Jentz & H. Doyle.
Reviewers note: Since May of 2005, I have been working on books for Concord Publications, a sister company to DML. The reader may wish to take this into consideration. For my part, I will attempt to maintain an objective viewpoint when writing these reviews.
DML kits are available from retail and mail order shops. For details see their web site at: www.dragonmodelsltd.com.