Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale '39-'45 Series Kit No.6292; Sd.Kfz. 251/17 Ausf. D w/2cm Schwebelafette; 955 parts (636 in grey styrene, 264 "EZ Track"; 36 etched brass, 8 clear styrene, 6 DS plastic in tan, 2 turned brass, 2 silver paper, 1 turned aluminum); price estimated at US $34-38
Advantages: first kit of this vehicle in this scale in styrene; nicely done 2 cm mounting
Disadvantages: another variant of the 251 series may dull modelers' interest in the subject
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all German fans
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.
DML is now offering this as another one of their kits using either the C or D model halftrack as a basis. It uses most of the standard 251 C or D sprues with two new plastic sprues (J/K) and three new etched brass frets to provide for the 2 cm gun and mount.
As with all DML kits, the modeler has a wealth of options. The 2 cm gun has a choice of either a solid styrene barrel or one with a turned aluminum section; as it has to be cut to install it, DML has also included a handy jig to get the barrel aligned correctly when reattaching it to the breech. The breech itself can be displayed either open for loading or closed for firing. 10 single magazines and two racks are provided for the 2 cm gun.
The model has three different shield options as well: styrene, etched brass, or preformed etched brass.
The modeler has a choice between early (sprues) or late (EZ Track) tracks for the model, and etched plates can be glued to the chassis pan with ACC for more details.
A DS plastic flexible driver figure and partial tarpaulin are also included.
Finishing options include 8 different vehicles: one in Berlin 1944, three unidentified vehicles in Germany 1944, Yugoslavia 1944, and Belgium 1944, one Fuehrer Grenadier Brigade in Luxembourg 1944, one12th SS Panzer Division, one 16th Panzer Division 1945, and one more unidentified vehicle in Hungary 1945. The model comes with two separate decal sheets, one for licenses and one for tactical markings.
Overall this is a nice kit and well executed, but there may be a saturation point in the number of 251 halftrack kits being reached that may dull the interest of modelers.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.