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Sd.Kfz.251/21 Ausf.D 'Drilling'

DML 1/35 Sd.Kfz.251/21 Ausf.D 'Drilling' Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review February 2005 Manufacturer DML
Subject Sd.Kfz.251/21 Ausf.D 'Drilling' Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6217 Primary Media 1,124 parts (797 parts in grey styrene, 264 "EZ Trak" links, 28 etched brass, 11 "DS" vinyl, 10 aluminum, 8 clear styrene, 2 turned brass, 2 silver paper, 2 grey vinyl)
Pros First kit of this version of this vehicle in this scale; lots of leftover parts; complete crew of six provided, two in "DS" cementable vinyl Cons Huge number of parts and tiny details mind-numbing to some modelers
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $33.95

First Look

The Germans, for all their failings, were nothing else if not thorough in their conceptual thinking, and they were among the first to see the value of having all necessary vehicles for an armored formation use the same chassis. They made good use of their ubiquitous 3-ton medium halftrack chassis, using it for not only mechanized infantry units with embedded command and control, but also for engineers, medics, antitank and close support artillery, special purpose vehicles, and antiaircraft guns.

The more compact of the two was the Sd.Kfz. 251/21 which mounted triple MG151/15 15mm revolver cannon on a pedestal in the dismount section of a slightly modified Ausf. D variant of the vehicle. This installation got it the nickname "Drilling" (triple), which was a term generally applied to a very expensive sporting gun with two shotgun barrels and one rifle barrel in one assembly. While the 15mm Mauser cannon was later found to be inefficient (and bumped back up to 20mm, as the two guns used the same action with different barrels and chambers) the concept was very sound. The mount put out up to 2,250 rounds per minute, which was more than capable of downing an Allied aircraft. Even at the end of the war, German tactical AA weaponry was considered very dangerous, and P-47 pilots assigned to low level battlefield air interdiction missions at one point were given a life expectancy of four hours or two missions.

DML has now added this variant to their growing stable of halftrack variants, and as such their now-standard 251 D model components get 166 more parts on four sprues to provide the pedestal mount and triple gun assembly. More than enough parts are provided (you actually get four guns) as well as a three-sided shield which DML proudly notes is the result of their slide molding technique. These are apparently the 20mm version of the MG151, as the turned aluminum rounds (3) and casings (3) are full caliber; the 15mm was a necked cartridge. (Yes, there are INDIVIDUAL rounds and casings included!) The muzzle ends of the guns are also from turned aluminum and are very tiny bits.

The majority of the kit parts follow the tried and true DML "Mix and Match" system: C, D, E, and X sprues from the generic 251 parts; A and B from the specific D model set; F, G and T sprues unique to this kit; and L sprue from the 251/22 SP 7.5 cm antitank gun variant. Note that you are supposed to use the upper hull from the L sprue (251/22) and not the A sprue (251 D model generic.)

A new fret of etched brass is provided to add detail to the lower chassis pan (X ) which has been somewhat spartan in previous kits.

The kit again comes with two sets of tracks - early ones on the sprues and "EZ Trak" with links and pads in two separate bags. The latter are ready to assemble, as well as more accurate for the late-war variants like this one (the "Stroke 21" only came out in 1944.)

Figures include two "Dragon Styrene" cementable vinyl figures and the four figures from kit #6191 ("Achtung, Jabo!" ) as the crew. The "Stroke 22" kit L sprue also provides extra legs and lower torsos for the parts box, but no upper sections.

The kit also includes clear styrene blocks for the viewports, vinyl uniform parts, and optional position tool boxes (I think this is the first 251 kit that option has been provided on, showing DML is still responding to requests by modelers.) Molds have also been cleaned up and improved with more details now on the road wheel sets.

The kit comes with four (!) decal sheets – one set of instruments with black faces, generic white and black tactical number jungles, generic license plate sheet, and a set of divisional or regimental markings.

Finish options are given for two generic vehicles: one with a three-color red-brown/green/"Panzerbraun" mottled scheme and one in overall "Panzerbraun." Neither one has a known unit listed, and only minimal marking information and one set of license plates.

Overall this is a popular conversion of the 251 series, and having a kit of this quality should be well received. Modelers should not be put off by the huge number of parts, for nearly half of them are either optional or excess, and will fill up a parts box nicely.

Thanks to DML for the review sample.