DML 1/35 Sd.Kfz.251/22 Ausf.D Kit First Look
|Date of Review||November 2004||Manufacturer||DML|
|Subject||Sd.Kfz. 251/22 Ausf. D||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||6248||Primary Media||986 parts (952 in grey styrene, 12 etched brass, 8 clear styrene, 7 grey vinyl, 4 turned brass rounds, 2 silver paper stickers, turned aluminum barrel)|
|Pros||State-of-the-air, modern kit of this popular halftrack conversion; tailored changes included in kit; many options for the modeler||Cons||Up against established and competing products, teensy track parts not popular with some modelers|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$34-38|
The Germans were the first major military power to see the direct value of specialized self-propelled weapons to support mechanized infantry, and as such had a large number of conversion weapons dedicated to provide that type of support. One of the first was the simple mounting of the PaK 36 3.7 cm antitank gun on a strengthen forward roof section of the basic Sd.Kfz. 251 halftrack infantry carrier. Later, close support versions of the 250 and 250 fitted with the 7.5 cm L/24 infantry howitzer became available. But later on in the war, when the Germans found themselves being subjected to mass Soviet tank attacks, the solution needed was effective mobile antitank gun firepower. As such, once again the 251 halftrack was called upon to answer, and the solution was to mount a standard 7.5 cm L/46 PaK 40 cannon on a special mount in the dismount section compartment of a Sd.Kfz. 251/1 carrier. While the gun did not have much traverse, it did provide instant firepower for troops that were spending more and more of their time on defense.
DML has now adapted their recent Sd.Kfz. 251/1 Ausf. D carrier (Kit No. 6233) by providing it with the upper end of their brand-new PaK 40 kit (No. 6249) and the figures from set No. 6064 (as well as three new figures) to create a kit of the popular Sd.Kfz. 251/22 conversion. Thanks to "mix and match" this is a simple task, with the kit using the C, D, E and H common 251 series sprues, the A, B and W sprues from the standard 251 Ausf. D kit, sprues B, C, and D plus the MA brass fret from the PaK 40 kit, two brand new sprues (L and T) with the dedicated "Stroke 22" parts, the #6064 figure sprue, and the EZ Track set introduced in Kit 6233.
Two of the new figures come on the L sprue but one other is a vinyl figure, which as DML has suggested makes it easier to get him into the driver's compartment seat due to his ability to "flex." (So far I have not heard from anyone about how well this works; I haven't done figures in some time for a number of reasons and have not had a chance to try them out.)
The lower section (the 251 parts) are excellent and the new parts provide for the sturdy platform used for mounting the gun in the dismount compartment. Two hoods are now included (A9/A10 or L16) so you have a choice of early or late model 251 D model hulls, as are two different upper hulls (A1 or L24). While the hull parts are interchangeable, the hood parts are not, so you have to ensure that you use the right set.
You also have a choice between the early style tracks (on the sprues) or the EZ Track which is provided as separate parts. (Nearly half the parts in this kit - 480 - are track links from the two sets. Note that there are injector pin marks on the EZ Track but not the regular track, so it's up to the modeler which one he chooses. The former looks better but the latter is much easier to assemble.)
Note that if you want to use the driver figure you have to install him early in the building process; the directions recommend Step 7 when the cowl panel (Step 6) is installed. If you do not, at Step 15 you have to mount the gun carriage turntable and that effectively prevents any options on installation.
As noted in the review I did on the PaK 40, you have several options with the gun including three choices of muzzle brake, servicing panels and breech block.
(NB: Terry Ashley from PMMS indicates that mensuration of the PaK 40 kit shows the ground mount trails are 13 mm too long, a major goof if true, and one which seems odd for DML to make. I checked my references and found nothing to disagree with his observations, but considering that the PaK 40 was notoriously heavy and hard to manipulate in combat, it is possible that DML researchers found some odd variant to use or a "restored" version made easier to move by fixing that problem. I can't say for sure. At least with this kit it is not a problem, as none of the carriage components are used.)
DML provides four different finish options, none of which are identified: one Panzer brown vehicle and three in Panzer brown/green/red brown schemes, including one in the ever-popular "Ambush" scheme. Three decal sheets are included: the one from the PaK 40 kit, a license and unit markings sheet, and a separate special insignia sheet.
While I personally think this is a great kit with a large number of options and is certainly state of the art, I do get concerned when there are now three kits on the market competing with each other (AFV Club, Tamiya and DML) for a narrower section of the market than with some other subjects. I for one do appreciate competition, but with only a set number of kits coming out each year I always hope to see someone do different subjects no one else has done, rather than everyone doing the same kits. I am sure there is a limited market for LCM(3) kits, for example, and while there seems to be no limit on the number of Tiger and Panther kits that can be released and sell well, a narrow market kit such as this may not either get the recognition it deserves or good enough sales to promote continuation. (For example, still missing are some of the specialized versions, such as the MG 151 FlaK Drilling, the flamethrower variant, the engineer variant with footbridges, etc.)
Overall this is a very nicely done kit and representative of the current DML standard.
Thanks to Freddie Leung of Dragon Models USA for the review sample.