DML 1/35 Sd.Kfz.251/7 Ausf.D Kit First Look
|Date of Review||April 2005||Manufacturer||DML|
|Kit Number||6223||Primary Media||1,117 parts (805 in grey styrene, 224 EZ Track links, 33 in grey DS plastic, 22 etched brass, 9 in tan DS plastic, 8 brass grab irons, 8 clear styrene, 5 turned brass, 2 chrome stickers, 1 length of nylon string)|
|Pros||Very full box offers a bewildering variety of options for completing the vehicle; many, many accessories and finishing options||Cons||Sd.Kfz.251 family beginning to overwhelm modelers with variety and options, may be self-limiting in the long run due to confusion or too many "niche" variants|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$34.00|
The Germans were among the first modern armies to realize that combined arms meant just that – all of the branches of the army working in unison for a common goal were more effective than each branch performing its separate mission. (For comparison, the Soviets considered "combined arms" to be tank and motorized rifle units, period.) As they either mechanized or motorized their forces, they created specialized vehicles for the combat support arms to ensure direct support to their combat arms troops in the field.
The specialized engineer version of the Sd.Kfz. 251 halftrack, the Stroke 7 variant, provided their combat engineers (sappers) with a way to move forward in support and carry all of the necessary kit for a given mission with them. This vehicle carried two small footbridges for crossing ditches and trenches, various mines and explosives, hand-held flamethrowers, mine detectors, pioneer tools and other essential items needed to carry out combat missions. Most units quickly added planks to the bridge carrying frames to provide extra stowage for more items outside of the body of the vehicle. Most of the conversions, also called Geraet 907, were made to Ausf. C and D production vehicles.
DML released a C model of this vehicle a few months back, and now the more popular D body style has also been produced as a kit. Here DML has outdone itself, for the new version of this vehicle comes with a total of 132 new parts as well as the complete figure set #6024 of combat engineers, as well as the 10th Anniversary DML upgrade sprue for German figure sets. Many of the parts are in the new DS plastic cross between vinyl and styrene, and cover the mines, fuses, detonators, carry packs, wire and detonating machines, etc. carried by combat engineers. (One could wonder how all of that will fit into the finished model!)
This kit comes with most of the "goodies" that DML has been including with their kits over the past year, such as etched brass, EZ Track (track links off the sprue ready to assembly). DS driver figure, and turned brass details. It also comes with the complete upper carriage of the schwere Panzerbusche 41 – "Gerlich" gun – as an option.
This line of kits has proven to be popular and for the current price tag it is very hard to beat. Modelers need not be intimidated by the huge number of parts, for about half of them are optional or replace other parts as necessary.
The kit comes with four decal sheets (!) consisting of instrument panel dials, a number jungle, a standard sheet with numbers and license plates, and a divisional markings sheet. Finishing instructions are provided for no less than nine Stroke 7 machines in France, Italy and the Russian front. One is in white, two are in Panzerbraun, and the rest sport two and three color camouflage patterns. Care will have to be taken during construction to ensure the right options are used for these variants; note that DML has sorted them into three groups (ergo the "3 in 1" kit moniker on the box top) and provides instructions for general assembly of each group. Six are Group 1(Pioneerpanzerwagen), one is Group 2 (Pioneerpanzerkommandowagen), and three are in Group 3 (Pioneerpanzewagen mit 2.8u cm sPzB 41).
Overall this is another stunner from DML and an amazing kit value for what the model offers. I only hope all of the variants – after 30 years of a very poor C variant and 15 years of either a Stroke 1 with rockets or a Stroke 22 with 7.5 cm Pak 40 – are not confusing the modelers in the shops to the detriment of DML's sales.
Thanks to Freddie Leung of Dragon Models USA for the review sample.