ARM: cyber-hobby.com 1/35 Scale Sd.Kfz. 251/23 Ausf. D halftrack

Kit Review: cyber-hobby.com (Dragon Models Limited) 1/35 Scale Kit No.
03 (1/35 Scale
'39-'45 Series Kit No. 6293); Sd.Kfz. 251/23 Ausf. D Reconnaissance
Vehicle; 1,031 parts (714 parts in grey styrene, 264 "EZ Track"
link sections, 31 etched brass, 8 in clear styrene, 5 in tan DS
plastic, 4 turned brass, 2 silver paper stickers); estimated price
US$45
Advantages: "boutique" kit of late war German heavy reconnaissance
vehicle; preview of DML's Sd.Kfz. 234/1 armored car kit
Disadvantages: low-distribution and limited production of
"boutique" kits; another 251 halftrack kit may glut the market
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all German armor and halftrack fans
Hard on the heels of many recent DML Sd.Kfz. 251 kits is another
"boutique" kit from their cyber-hobby.com affiliate, this one being
the very late war "Stroke 23" heavy reconnaissance version with a 2
cm turret from the light reconnaissance vehicles mounted on a plate
roof.
Due to a loss of many of their reconnaissance vehicles, the Germans
began to convert anything that was considered marginal (e.g. Pzkw.
38(t) or other light tanks) or suitably mobile chassis into
reconnaissance vehicles. The Sd.Kfz. 251/23 or Geraet 923 was a
standard D model of the halftrack with a 2 cm Haengelafette 38 from the
Sd.Kfz. 234/1 mounted on a flat plate roof and used as a heavy
reconnaissance vehicle. It was placed in production as of 28 December
1944. An Fu 12 HF radio set was provided for communications. While
there is very little information on this vehicle available (the one
photo I have is retouched and looks to be the 1944 equivalent of
Photoshop) such a vehicle would have been useful both as a
reconnaissance vehicle and as a progenitor of the modern Warrior,
Bradley or BMP-2 as an infantry support weapons system.
The new kit from cyber-hobby.com uses many of the sprues from the now
familiary DML 251 series halftracks combined with a new body sprue and
all of the turret sprues from the forthcoming Sd.Kfz. 234/1 heavy
reconnaissance car kit.
These comprise a total of about 90 parts and provide the turret,
etched brass mesh covers for the turret, and an optional turned brass 2
cm barrel; this requires cutting off the kit's barrel and drilling a
1.2mm (0.050") hole but an assembly jig for the gun is provided right
on its parts tree to simplify alignment. As provided the covers are
fixed either open or closed, but with some work and knowledge of
soldering it is possible to make the parts work. The new gun is a very
nice piece of work, with brass fold-down AA sights and a number of
optional parts in either plastic or brass for detailing. Oddly enough,
the lower body parts of what appear to be two crewmen (one standing,
one sitting) are provided in the kit but no upper body or other
components; if one has a large figures spares box, these two could be
used to fit a crew into the rather cramped confines of the turret.
A radio sprue with a "Crow's Foot" antenna is also included, but
as noted it will be hard to see inside the confines of the hull.
As with all of the late model 251s the kit comes with the early tracks
on the sprues and "EZ Track" precut late model tracks in two
separate poly bags. Most of the rest of the kit is familiar to those
who have built one or more of the kits, and provide the latest
iteration with clear vision blocks, optional position doors and
hatches, and etched brass detailing options for the inside and outside
of the hull. Considering the viewing angles, however, this is pretty
much a waste for the driver's compartment as it is in front of the
turret and the solid roof limits what can be seen. This includes the
now standard DS plastic driver.
Two finishing options are provided, both for the Eastern Front in
1945. One is sold Panzerbraun, the other has green and red-brown
striping. Generic "number jungle" license plates and Balkankreuze
are included as well.
Overall this is a nice kit of a rather handsome vehicle, and DML has
provided overkill on the detailing (something like aircraft
manufacturers who provide a full interior for scale 9 x 12 inch windows
to see it!)
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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AMPSOne
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