Kit, DML/Cyberhobby 6326, Sd.Kfz.251/2 Ausf.C Riveted Version “2-in1”
June 8 2006 at 10:25 PM
(Login zappa93) Missing-Lynx members from IP address 220.127.116.11
DRAGON MODELS LIMITED/ CYBERHOBBY
6326, Sd.Kfz.251/2 Ausf.C Riveted Version “2-in1”. 1/35th-scale styrene/multimedia kit containing 798 styrene parts (including 16 clear and 284 for track links), two etched brass frets, five DS-100 parts, self-adhesive mirror disks, two turned brass parts, five decal marking schemes and ten pages of instructions in as many as 13 steps depending on variation built.
When DML initially released their so-called “Stuka zu Fuß” kit based on their Ausf.C hull and chassis, many modelers (myself included) lamented the lack of what originally gave this vehicle its designation as mittlerer Schützenpanzerwagen Grenatwerfer (8cm GrW34) Sd.Kfz.251/2: the 8cm GrW34 mortar. Now, Cyberhobby has offered this variation with the mortar included (plus parts to mount it on the crew compartment floor) as well as parts to create both the welded or riveted versions of the Ausf.C. One can choose to mount the mortar in either hull, or mount the rockets on either hull, OR mount the mortar AND rockets on either hull. That’s much more than a “2-in-1” kit! And, as if that’s not enough to sweeten the offer, a third set of rockets is included, the 30cm Wurfkörper 42 Sprengranate, a first in this scale from any manufacturer. So, as has been suggested elsewhere, this kit is not simply a conglomeration of existing items; there are enough new or unique items, as well as options, to give this offering an appeal “all its own”.
Although these kits have evolved in some areas to add details or to correct some errors, some items of note remain as they were originally issued. Of primary concern is the overall width of the superstructure, as well as the width of the opening of the crew compartment. Both are slightly narrower than published drawings, specifically those of H.L. Doyle in Panzer Tracts #15-2. The upper superstructure plates should also slightly overlap the lower plates where they meet, but the kit does not have that feature. Other minor issues are the details of certain suspension components. For example, the teeth on the drive sprocket are centered in the rim facets; they should be offset forward and therefore “handed” for each side. The configuration of the lighting holes on the road-wheels lacks the extremely subtle swelling; there are four weld beads at the 12, 3, 6 and 9 O’clock positions between the wheel rims and tires, but they are far too subtle and need some texture added. The driver’s compartment bulkhead should have a slanted segment on the port side; DML did a partial fix on this part, so it’s really not so bad. Again, nothing really horrible except for the width and overhang issues.
From the ground up, the kit provides semi-workable individual track links that come in two parts (rubber pad and metal shoe); when sandwiched together they will remain flexible. The belly plate and lower chassis sides is a single piece to which separate torsion bar arms, idler adjustment arms and final drives are attached (see comments above regarding the remainder of the suspension components). Separate bump-stops are provided, as well as a number of internal details such as the fuel tank, transmission and other items that will not be visible on the finished model. The front end receives a separate plate below the engine, while the rear-end mounts several separate items including a slide-molded tow pintle. The conventional front wheels are nicely detailed and are mounted on axles that are designed to allow them to steer.
The lower side panels are separate parts, and here is where the options begin. Either the advertised riveted body parts or the welded body parts can be used. The latter are marked as “not for use”, but if the vehicle you wish to model was constructed in that manner, why not use them? Separate fenders with very restrained rivet detail are then attached, complimented by etched brass mounting flanges. Multi-part stowage lockers are provided with separate lids, which can be depicted opened or closed; there is internal detail on them. Various separate head-lamps (with separate mounting brackets), tail-lamps and tools, the exhaust muffler and turned brass width indicator poles (a bending jig is molded onto one of the sprues) with mirrors created from adhesive foil disks, finish up the assembly. The separate Notek black-out driving head-lamp has its own mount and features an etched brass lens element, for extra finesse.
Internally, beginning with the driver’s cockpit, there are choices of seats, some featuring etched brass back-spring details, separate steering column and wheel, various hand controls, separate foot pedals, and decals for the instrument panel dial faces. Various stowage items are provided including gas mask container, MP38/40 and ammo magazines. A radio is fitted in front of the starboard-side seat, while the vision blocks have separate clear styrene inserts for the glass blocks; these can all be posed opened or closed. A single DS-100 soft styrene driver figure is provided; he’s nicely detailed and being flexible, he should be easier to fit into his position. Further back there are the bolted flanges that connected the front and rear segments of the vehicle, as well as other stowage items.
The standard floor panel (still with undersized hump over the transmission) has a hole on the inner face that must be opened to mount the new base plate for the mortar; there are also new supports for the bipod. The mortar itself is from an earlier figure set and although the bore is already opened, the walls of the tube are too thick; widening the opening with a drill bit will take seconds. Etched brass ammo racks replace one of the bench seats into which four ammo boxes (two wood, two metal) can be fitted. There are several loose mortar bombs, which the instructions mark as “not for use”, along with the normal ground-mount base plate. Of course, they can be used as the modeler sees fit. The remainder of the compartment has rifle racks (with separate rifles), bench seats and under-seat stowage lockers, all nicely broken-down for maximum detail. At the rear end, all of the mechanisms for the doors are separate and can be posed opened or closed. There are some other stowage items for that area, including fire-extinguishers and, externally, a pair of jerry cans and racks for the doors.
The upper hull is also provided as either a riveted or welded configuration, as is the bow plate and engine air intake cowls. There are separate hatch lids for the engine compartment, while the front and top plates over the driver’s cockpit are also separate parts. Again, welded or riveted versions are supplied, and the inner surfaces have representations of the internal mounting/adapter plates (NOT spaced armor) that were used to bolt on the various fittings. Remember, that mortar carriers did not have the shielded MG at the front (as correctly shown in the instructions). The rear AA mount is also provided and the supplied MG34s include separate ammo drums as well as an etched brass ring sight and all small locking fittings.
The next major option is to build the kit as the rocket carrier with Wurframen 40 (projector frames). The racks themselves are of the wood style and are broken down very nicely to include almost every conceivable detail. The main frames are molded in two parts using slide-molds and have a nice, restrained wood grain effect. The frames can be left off and the mounting arms folded up, or when they are fitted, they can be placed in any elevation, within the limits of the part’s design. Three different types of rockets are provided, including:
Each rocket is composed of four parts and includes separate fuses. This last is a nice touch, since when transported in their frames or mounted on the vehicle, the fuses were not fitted until just prior to a fire mission. The detail on them is nice and they are engineered so there are no seams to bother with, but unfortunately there are no markings for them on the decal sheet. There are special etched brass and styrene rough-sighting vanes for the vehicle’s bow; these were used to orient the rockets in azimuth, towards a potential target. There are no devices (or cable) provided to fire the rockets, which I assume was done remotely with the crew a safe distance from the vehicle.
Having reviewed a number of these DML ‘251-based kits, I can safely say that there are no major fit issues. The belly part provides a “square” starting point to which the side panels are attached; get these right and the rest of the major parts will fit easily. The modeler should also check to ensure that internal stowage items are properly positioned so that they will not interfere when fitting the upper superstructure in place. There are no excessive ejector pin marks and no sink marks to be seen. Detail is crisp and there is certainly quite a lot of it, with the interior being very “busy”.
The water-slide decals are produced by Cartograf of Italy, so they are of excellent quality. They consist of three sheets; one has blank registration plates of several types, along with separate numbers and WH- or SS- prefixes. This will allow any number combination seen in references to be depicted. The second sheet contains five styles of Balkenkreuz national insignia. The third sheet consists of the dial faces for the driver’s instrument panel. They are supplemented by an etched brass mask for the name “Tilsit”, seen on one of the vehicles. The markings depict the following /2s:
• Mortar carrier, “WH-1514005”, unknown unit, Ostfront 1944.
• Mortar carrier, “WH-1551400”, unknown unit, Ostfront 1944.
• Wurframen carrier, “Tilsit, WH-1453100”, 3.Panzer-Division, Poland 1942.
• Wurframen carrier, “WH-1552401”, unknown unit, Ostfront 1944.
• Wurframen carrier, “WH-1351004”, unknown unit, Ostfront 1944.
I have found no references for any of these half-tracks except for “Tilsit”, which has a riveted body. The markings are correct (with the warning that the reference photo does not show the registration numbers), but the vehicle is not in overall Dunkelgelb as the instructions suggest; it has a camouflage pattern, probably using both secondary colors of Rotbraun and Olivgrün. I also doubt the time and place denoted in the instructions, since the Dunkelgelb base was not in use until early 1943, and there was no combat in Poland until well into 1944. “Tilsit” also mounted MG42s, which are not included in the kit; the modeler must source these from his spares collection.
In the final analysis, this kit still has relatively major accuracy issues, which one competitor’s kit does not exhibit. On the other hand, there is a wealth of options in the box, including items not available anywhere else at the time of this review. Therein resides the modeler’s dilemma.
Frank V. De Sisto
References consulted for this review included, but were not limited to, the following books:
• “Mittlere Schützenpanzerwagen (Sd.Kfz.251)”, Panzer Tracts #15-2, by T. Jentz & H.L. Doyle.
• Squadron Armor #2, “Schützenpanzerwagen in Action”, by U. Feist & K. Rieger.
• Squadron Armor #21 “Sd.Kfz.251 in Action”, by C. Kliment.
• Osprey Vanguard 32, “The Sd.Kfz.251 Half-Track”, by B. Culver.
• Tank Magazine Special Issue, July ’91, Sturm & Drang 3, “Sd.Kfz.250 & 251”, author unknown.
• Tank Magazine Special No.2, “German Armored Personnel Carrier”, author unknown.
• AFV Weapons Profile 57, “Schützenpanzerwagen Sd.Kfz.251 and Sd.Kfz.250”, by W. Spielberger, P. Chamberlain & H.L. Doyle.
Reviewer’s 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/Cyberhobby kits are available exclusively from their web site at: www.dragonmodelsltd.com, or at www.cyber-hobby.com.