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Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf.A 1:35


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Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf.A

1:35 ICM

 

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The Hanomag Sd.Kfz.251/1 was the mainstay of the German armoured Personnel Carrier fleet, but was flexible enough to also take up many other tasks within the Nazi War Machine, from Anti-Aircraft duties to Howitzer carriage and back again to armoured reconnaissance, which led to a lot of variants.  With two steering wheels at the front, the rear was carried on tracks, giving it good clearance and rough ground capabilities that a truck simply could not manage once the going got tough.  It was armoured sufficiently to deflect non-armour piercing rounds from small arms fire, but with an open top it was susceptible to both grenades and aerial bombardment, where the armour would concentrate the blast and reduce the interior to a tangled mess. 

 

The Ausf.A was used at the beginning of WWII alongside the Ausf.B, and was generally fitted with an MG.34 on the front cab wall, operated from inside.  There were more than 20 official variants and more unofficial field modifications, but despite their seemingly ubiquitous nature in German service, not many were preserved after the war, and they are highly sought after now, with many examples being based upon post-war builds from Czech factories that have been made to look as convincing as possible by their restorers.  While the purist may notice the differences in films, they're still a huge improvement on repainted American half-tracks from an authenticity point of view.

 

 

The Kit

A brand new tooling from the ICM powerhouse, this is a welcome addition to their roster, and will certainly make broaden our choice of models from which to choose from.  The kit arrives in a medium sized box, with a further flap under the lid to keep the parts under control until you are ready to get in there.  Under the flap are five sprues of light grey styrene, a clear sprue, and two spruelets of flexible "rubbery" parts.  A small decal sheet is found slipped inside the glossy colour printed instruction booklet, completing the package.

 

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This is a full interior kit, and has the engine, crew compartment and a substantial number of interior parts, including weapons, stowage and personal belongings, so the build should result in a highly detailed model.  First impressions are good, and after the initial pages detailing with sprue diagrams, the instructions jump straight into the build with the underfloor pan, which has its ladder chassis added and is then added to the interior floor, and has stowage bins added on the sponsons.  The angular hull sides are held in the correct angle by butting up against the sides of the bins, and the rear bulkhead with door cut-out completes alignment.  The engine compartment is fabricated from various panels including an armoured sump-guard, and work commences on the engine and compartment fittings.  Suspension, steering gear and the block are assembled and fitted in turn, with colour call-outs to help you get the painting right.  The firewall is fitted out with the driver's controls and inserted into a ledge within the hull, after which some engine ancillaries fit to the other side of the bulkhead.  The driver's seat, bench seats and a range of tools, weapons and spare ammunition are installed with the upper hull plates off, while a hollow former marks the space between the cab and crew compartment, which will be hidden under the upper hull part when it is installed.  A number of vision hatches and their hinges are supplied as separate parts, as are the engine compartment doors, plus some small flush forward stowage bins.  Spare rifles and machine gun barrels are fitted to the underside of the upper hull on racks, with radio gear, drum mags for the machine guns, after which it is glued to the lower hull, trapping the two hinge frames between its halves.  The angled doors are then fitted to those hinges, allowing them to operate if you have been careful with the glue.

 

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It's unusual to get this far into an AFV model without building up the wheels, but it's at this stage that it's done here.  The sing-arms and stub axles slot into holes in the sides of the ladder rail, with bump-stops fitted where applicable, and the interleaved wheels are then slid onto the axles with the drive sprocket at the front.  The two steering wheels are made up from two-part hubs, and have rubberised tyres fitted to them before slotting them onto the front axles, and with the three layers of road wheels installed, the tracks can be wound round the lengths, and glued with normal glue.  The build is finished off with a shielded machine gun mount at the front, a tripod mount, pioneer tools, fire extinguisher, number plate, rear machine gun mount, rear view mirrors, headlamps, width indicators and aerial.

 

 

Markings

With this being an early mark, it's any colour as long as it's Panzer Grey, with only the number plates and the style of Balkenkreuz to differentiate between vehicles.  From the box you can build one of the following:

 

  • WH 726465 1.Pz.D., France, May 1940
  • WH 179074 1.Pz.D., Russia, July 1941

 

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Decals are printed on a bright blue paper, have good register, colour density and sharpness, with decals for the driver's binnacle included on the sheet.

 

Conclusion

A welcome release of a Wehrmacht staple that will surely find its way into many collections, and is well detailed enough to be built out of the box for diorama purposes.

 

Very highly recommended.

 

Review sample courtesy of

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