ARM: Review - 1/35 scale Sd.Kfz. 251/17 Ausf. C command version

Kit Review: cyber-hobby. com 1/35 scale Kit No. 18 (Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale '39-'45 Series Kit No. 6413); Sd.Kfz. 251/17 Ausf. C Command Version; 732 parts (671 in grey styrene, 36 etched brass, 16 clear styrene, 5 DS plastic, 2 turned brass, 2 silver paper); price about US $45

Advantages: first kit of this vehicle in this scale in styrene; provides a nice set of radio equipment

Disadvantages: another variant of the 251 series may dull modelers' interest in the subject; no cabling or wiring instructions for radio sets

Rating: Highly Recommended

Recommendation: for all German fans

As this is a command variant, much of what has to be said for it follows the previous review I did on the Sd.Kfz. 251/17 Ausf. D; note that from the kit's parts DML kit No. 6395 will be an Sd.Kfz. 251/17 Ausf C. model, with which this kit shares most of its parts.

While they had always had a problem with the Soviet Il-2 in the East, the Germans began to run into a problem with "Jabos" - Allied fighter- bombers - when they lost air supremacy over Europe in the summer of

1944. As a result, they began to make more and more modifications to standard vehicles to carry light or medium caliber antiaircraft guns.

One of the most radical conversions was the Sd.Kfz. 251/17 Ausf. C, as it required cutting away the side armor and adding new panels that folded down in order to provide suitable traverse and operating room for the crew. Prototypes came out in October 1943, using obsolete Ausf. A and B chassis. But these were expensive and time consuming conversions, and so a simpler method was sought.

The result was the /17 D model, which used a very compact mounting that "drop fit" into a standard Sd.Kfz. 251/1 hull by removing the forward pair of dismount seats and adding ammo racks. While cramped, it did provide for a more rapid conversion. This mounting, the so- called "Schwebelafette" or "Suspended Mount," boosted the 2 cm gun up over the top of the armor so it could be used from under armor protection, and also engage ground targets in a 360 degree circle.

As a command vehicle for its D model 251/17 is offering a "boutique" version of the command variant. As such it comes with all of the conversion parts to the "stroke 17" less the 2 cm gun, and instead offers five sprues of now generic German radio sets from DML.

As it is the C model no "Magic Tracks" are provided and the kit's regular two-piece clip-'em-and-clean'em tracks are used.

Once again, the kit comes with a nice set of radios for use in commanding a unit - this requires sets to talk to the guns, headquarters, and a radar unit if one was available or in reach of tactical communications, but as with the VW command car cyber-hobby. com once again provides lovely kit but no diagrams for cabling nor cabling material. As the radio sets are quite visible, this is an error and lets the kit down. True, the radios are in the rear corner of the hull and therefore their backs are harder to see, but the fronts also have a lot of cabling and really owes a diagram to the modelers.

A DS plastic flexible driver figure and partial tarpaulin are also included.

Finishing options are for one vehicle: Flak Regiment, Herman-Goering Division, 1942 in grey. The model comes with two separate Cartograf decal sheets, one for licenses and one for tactical markings.

Overall this is a nice kit and well executed, but again the lack of a wiring diagram provides a nice effort with "magic radios" to go with the "magic tools" of earlier day.

Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.

Cookie Sewel

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