Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/72 Scale Armor Pro Series Kit No.7223; Sd.Kfz. 251 Ausf. C; 135 parts (127 in grey styrene, 5 etched brass, 2 in tan DS plastic, 1 section of metal wire); retail price $11.98
Advantages: very nice, clean model of this popular vehicle in "small scale"; unique but effective method of assembling running gear
Disadvantages: RP parts (as in right puny!)
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all German WWII "Small Scale" fans
F I R S T L O O K
DML has been doing a really bang-up job on many different versions of the popular German 251 series halftracks in 1/35 scale, and has now started releasing a line of 1/72 scale kits of these armored personnel carriers. The first one out is a welded hull Sd.Kfz. 251/1 Ausf. C with a really comprehensive decal sheet providing at least seven different painting and marking options.
The kit is not an actual pantograph of the larger kits, which would make it a nightmare to try and assemble, but still appears based on the same research and drawings used for the 1/35 scale kits. I remember years ago getting an Edori one which was both simplified and apparently made in ABS plastic and trying to turn it into a decent 251 model in1/76 scale, and now this kit solves the entire problem in one go.
The lower hull is a single piece pan, less the rear area, and the axles are molded on the lower hull. The running gear for each side consists of a rear (inside) wheel section, a center wheel section, three outer road wheels, and drivers. Once installed the connectors between the individual wheels on the inside and the center are not visible, so it helps speed up assembly while making it easier to get things aligned. Tracks are the gluable DS plastic, so you can also get them to settle down on top of the road wheels with some care.
The model comes with simplified (well, compared to the 1/35 version) interior fittings but they are quite tiny as noted and will require a good deal of care. Interior bits include the various control levers, rifles, MP submachine guns, and other items. The hinge mechanisms for the doors are single pieces, but are non-operating types. They cement to the lower rear section, as the upper hull has the rear angular parts of the hull attached to it. The four front viewers are separate parts and can be cemented either open or closed as well, as is the hood assembly with two flaps. No engine or interior is provided for the engine bay.
The fenders are one-piece units, but the stowage bins are only offered as closed parts. The front MG 34 shield is offered as either a single piece of styrene or a three-piece etched brass option. Other RP parts include the "Notek" headlight and mount and the drum magazines for the two MG 34 machine guns. The weapons appear to be very close to scale, something I don't recall from other manufacturers in the past!
Painting and marking options are provided for: "Grossdeutschland", Kursk 1943 (sand with green and brown stripes); "Grossdeutschland" Eastern Front 1942 (grey); 4th Panzer Division, Eastern Front 1943 (sand); "Grossdeutschland", Eastern Front 1943 (sand with grey bands); unknown unit, Eastern Front 1943 (sand); 4th Panzer Division, Eastern Front 1944 (sand with mottled camouflage); Panzer Lehr, Hungary1944 (sand with green and red-brown bands). A number jungle is provided for the license plates.
Overall this is a nice effort and only needs figures to really set it off.
Thanks to Freddie Leung of DML for the review sample.