DML 1/35 Sd.Kfz.251/23 Ausf.D Reconnaissance Vehicle Kit First Look
Images by Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||June 2006||Manufacturer||cyber-hobby.com (DML)|
|Subject||Sd.Kfz. 251/23 Ausf. D||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||6293||Primary Media||1,031 parts (714 parts in grey styrene, 264 "EZ Track" link sections, 31 etched brass, 8 in clear styrene, 5 in tan DS plastic, 4 turned brass, 2 silver paper stickers)|
|Pros||'Boutique' kit of late war German heavy reconnaissance vehicle; preview of DML's Sd.Kfz. 234/1 armored car kit||Cons||Low-distribution and limited production of "boutique" kits; another 251 halftrack kit may glut the market|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$45.00|
Hard on the heels of many recent DML Sd.Kfz.251 kits is another "boutique" kit from their cyber-hobby.com affiliate, this one being the very late war "Stroke 23" heavy reconnaissance version with a 2 cm turret from the light reconnaissance vehicles mounted on a plate roof.
Due to a loss of many of their reconnaissance vehicles, the Germans began to convert anything that was considered marginal (e.g. Pzkw.38(t) or other light tanks) or suitably mobile chassis into reconnaissance vehicles. The Sd.Kfz.251/23 or Geraet 923 was a standard D model of the halftrack with a 2 cm Haengelafette 38 from the Sd.Kfz.234/1 mounted on a flat plate roof and used as a heavy reconnaissance vehicle. It was placed in production as of 28 December 1944. An Fu 12 HF radio set was provided for communications. While there is very little information on this vehicle available (the one photo I have is retouched and looks to be the 1944 equivalent of Photoshop) such a vehicle would have been useful both as a reconnaissance vehicle and as a progenitor of the modern Warrior, Bradley or BMP-2 as an infantry support weapons system.
The new kit from cyber-hobby.com uses many of the sprues from the now familiarly DML 251 series halftracks combined with a new body sprue and all of the turret sprues from the forthcoming Sd.Kfz.234/1 heavy reconnaissance car kit.
These comprise a total of about 90 parts and provide the turret, etched brass mesh covers for the turret, and an optional turned brass 2 cm barrel; this requires cutting off the kit's barrel and drilling a 1.2mm (0.050") hole but an assembly jig for the gun is provided right on its parts tree to simplify alignment. As provided the covers are fixed either open or closed, but with some work and knowledge of soldering it is possible to make the parts work. The new gun is a very nice piece of work, with brass fold-down AA sights and a number of optional parts in either plastic or brass for detailing. Oddly enough, the lower body parts of what appear to be two crewmen (one standing, one sitting) are provided in the kit but no upper body or other components; if one has a large figures spares box, these two could be used to fit a crew into the rather cramped confines of the turret.
A radio sprue with a "Crow's Foot" antenna is also included, but as noted it will be hard to see inside the confines of the hull.
As with all of the late model 251s the kit comes with the early tracks on the sprues and "EZ Track" precut late model tracks in two separate poly bags. Most of the rest of the kit is familiar to those who have built one or more of the kits, and provide the latest iteration with clear vision blocks, optional position doors and hatches, and etched brass detailing options for the inside and outside of the hull. Considering the viewing angles, however, this is pretty much a waste for the driver's compartment as it is in front of the turret and the solid roof limits what can be seen. This includes the now standard DS plastic driver.
Two finishing options are provided, both for the Eastern Front in 1945. One is sold Panzerbraun, the other has green and red-brown striping. Generic "number jungle" license plates and Balkankreuze are included as well.
Overall this is a nice kit of a rather handsome vehicle, and DML has provided overkill on the detailing (something like aircraft manufacturers who provide a full interior for scale 9 x 12 inch windows to see it!)
Thanks to Freddie Leung of Dragon Models USA for the review sample.