Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/72 Armor Pro Series Kit No. 7308; Sd.Kfz. 251/2 Ausf. C Rivetted Version mit Grandatwerfer; 160 parts (142 in grey styrene, 15 etched brass, 2 DS plastic track runs, 1 section of stiff wire); price about US$13.98
Advantages: very nice, clean model of this popular vehicle in "small scale"; unique but effective method of assembling running gear; nicely done and VERY petite 8 cm mortar (CAN be built as a "Stroke2")
Disadvantages: RP parts (as in right puny!)
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all German WWII "Small Scale" fans
DML continues to roll along with their small scale halftrack series, and while nominally the same as their kit No. 7306 (Sd.Kfz. 251/2 Ausf. C mit Wurfrahmen 40) it has a totally new upper hull, brass detail set, and most importantly for a "Stroke 2" (8 cm Mortar Carrier) the 8cm mortar and ammo bins.
The new upper hull, like the previous Cs and Ds, is not a pantograph of the larger kits but is based on the same research and drawings. 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.
Most of the kit is the previous #7306 less the rockets but with some tweaks. The model comes with both the C (welded) and new C (rivetted) upper hulls. To match the upper hull, it provides five sections of etched brass (tinted a French brass reddish color) for the lower hull applique to provide scale rivets. This is an odd way to do it but the panels look close to scale for the rivets and some openings have been left to mount the fenders through the brass to the hull.
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!
The 8cm mortar and base are comprised of six parts, using a convention of sorts with mortars of having the muzzle and leg/sight connector molded as one section and the lower barrel as another. Four styrene ammo carriers and a brass rack are provided to replace the right rear seat in the interior.
Directions are standard DML fare, but due to the fewer parts in their1/72 series kits they are not as busy and much easier to read.
Painting and marking options are provided for three units: Unidentified unit, Eastern Front 1942 (Sand); Unidentified unit, Eastern Front, 1942 (Grey); and Unidentified unit, Russia 1942 (mud stripe camouflage over grey.) Two Cartograf sheets (targeted and license plates) are provided.
Overall another nice effort, and for once (or twice, as there was a cyber-hobby.com "Stroke 2" in 1/35 scale) this model will build up as a "Stroke 2" variant.
Thanks to Freddie Leung of DML for the review sample.