Sd.Kfz.251 series

Kits # 7223, 7225, 7265, 7280, 7306, 7308, 7310, 7314, 7315, 7317, 7348, 7351, 7369, 7371

Preview by Rob Haelterman - heman_148(at)hotmail.com
and Stephen 'Tank Whisperer' Brezinski - sbrez(at)suscom-maine.net




 



Dragon's Sd.Kfz.251 series is one of the most remarkable revelations of the last few years in Braille Scale (at least in my humble opinion). While some lament the energy put into yet another declination of the same set of sprues, others just add another shelf to the wall and load it with half-tracked styrene. I am afraid that I fall in the latter category.
As of mid 2010 the series comprises the following kits.

 

Sd.Kfz.251 series:

7223 Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf. C
7371 Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf. C + towed PaK 35/36 (rivetted)
7352 Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf. C
+ towed PaK 35/36
7306 Sd.Kfz.251/"2" Ausf. C mit Wurfrahmen 40 (actually a /1, the /2 was the mortar carrier)
7308 Sd.Kfz.251/2 Ausf. C Rivetted Version mit Granatwerfer
7265 Sd.Kfz.251/7 Ausf. C
7315 Sd.Kfz.251/7 Ausf. C mit 2.8cm sPzB41
7314 Sd.Kfz.251/10 Ausf. C

7225 Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf. D
7369 Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf. D + towed Pak40
7348 Sd.Kfz.251/2 Ausf. D mit 28cm rocket and steel frame crates (actually a /1)
7310 Sd.Kfz.251/2 Ausf. D mit Wurfrahmen 40 (actually a /1)
7317 Sd.Kfz.251/7 Ausf. D mit 2.8cm sPzB41
7364 Sd.Kfz.251/7 Ausf. D + LAH Panzergrenadiere
7280 Sd.Kfz.251/10 Ausf. D
7351 Sd.Kfz.251/22 Ausf. D

 


The "stash" (08 October 2009)

 

While some of these kits were already the subject of a specific review, we will only outline the differences between the different kits in this article.
Note that Dragon apparently thinks that the /2 was both a mortar carrier and a "Stuka zu Fuss", while the latter is actually a /1. We will use the correct designation (and not the kit label) in what follows unless otherwise stated.

The main differences between these kits are (besides the boxtop and manual):
- the PE set
- the decals
- the addition of variant-specific sprues
As far as I am aware no in-production changes were made to the common parts as Dragon sometimes does with other kits.

First thing to notice is that any of the kits can be built as a regular /1, because none of the unnecessary parts have been omitted from the sprues; at least in my kits. So, if you're after a /1, and don't mind the difference in decals and manual, you might want to pick up, say, a /7 and have some pontoon bridges for another project.
Well, I'm not telling the truth for 100%. You get a metal rod in the /1 kits (and some others), for the antenna, which is not included in (most of) the other variants, but it's not really a big deal to make these from stretched sprue, piano wire, etc.

The addition of (a) PE set(s) is very thoughtful; even more so as all (or almost all) the parts you get in PE are also given in plastic (although with the limitations this entails). Those with an alergy to brass or CA glue, or are simply ham-fisted, are not left behind. At the same time you avoid having to spend an extra Buck, Quid, Euro or Looney for an aftermarket set. (Which does not mean aftermarket companies cannot enhance these kits even further.)
That said, I am somewhat puzzled by the logic of these PE sets. For instance the /1 Ausf. C gets PE for the MG shield, while the /1 Ausf. C mit Wurfrahmen has to make do with styrene for its shield. On the other hand, the latter gets PE parts for the fenders which are lacking in the former.
Also, some sets include a PE licence plate for the nose. As far as I am aware this was never fitted to the Ausf. C or D; the licence plate number being painted directly on the armor.

The tracks in all of these kits are of the well-known DS type and seem to represent the Zpw 5001/280/140 Gummipolster W302 track type which is OK for most production vehicles.

Note that the Ausf.D kits all come with a Bosch headlight, while quite a number of the earlier models of this Ausf. came with a Notek light. You should either get that part from the spares box or from an aftermarket set.

 

Overview

Kit Nr Decals PE Metal Rod Sprue A

Sprue I
chassis

Sprue B
Sprue C (2) Additional sprues

7223
Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf. C

Generic + specific

MG Shield 1 Ausf. C Ausf. C 1 Ausf. C  
7371
Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf. C Rivetted version & 3.7cm PaK 35/36
Generic + specific (labeled as from kit 7365, which is not yet in the Dragon catalogue)
Rivetted lower hull; licence plate and small fitting 1 Ausf. C with lower hull omitted (unlike in kit 7308) Ausf. C 1 Ausf. C "Black G": New upper hull, nose and rear plate,etc., with rivets
"Blue G" : 2 different small sprues for PaK
(similar to those in kits 7314 and 7280, but now with a wheeled carriage instead of a roof mounting)

7306
Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf. C
mit Wurfrahmen

(labeled as a /2)

Slightly modified generic sheet
Fenders and Wurfrahmen details 0 Ausf. C Ausf. C 1 Ausf. C 3 x "E": Wurfrahmen (only with 32cm rockets)
7308 Sd.Kfz.251/2 Ausf. C Rivetted Version mit Granatwerfer
Generic + specific
Rivetted lower hull and ammo bins 1 Ausf. C (slightly modified) Ausf. C 1 Ausf. C

"F": Granatwerfer
"G": New upper hull, nose and rear plate,etc., with rivets
(For more details see Simon Barnes' preview.)

7265
Sd.Kfz.251/7 Ausf. C

Generic + specific
MG, mudflaps, licence plate, ... 0 Ausf. C Ausf. C 1 Ausf. C 2 x "E": Bridges
7315
Sd.Kfz.251/7 Ausf. C with 2.8cm sPzB41

Generic + sheet from 7223 (?) Fenders (same as 7314 & 7315) + gun shield + ammo bins (same as 7314) 0 Ausf. C Ausf. C 1 Slightly modified Ausf. C 2 x "E": Bridges (same as 7265)
"G" : 3different small sprues for sPzB
7314
Sd.Kfz.251/10 Ausf. C

Generic + sheet from 7223 (?)

 

Fenders (same as 7306 & 7315), PaK shield (same as 7280), ammo bins (same as 7315) 0 Ausf. C Ausf. C 1 Slightly modified Ausf. C "G" : 4 different small sprues for PaK
(similar to those in kits 7371, but with parts for roof mounting instead of wheeled carriage)

7225
Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf. D

Generic + specific

MG Shield 1 Ausf. D Ausf. D 1 Ausf. D  

7310
Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf. D
mit Wurfrahmen

(labeled as a /2)

Generic + specific

MG shield and Wurfrahmen details (same as 7306) 0 Ausf. D Ausf. D 1 Ausf. D 3 x "E": Wurfrahmen (with 28cm and 32cm rockets)
7348
Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf. D
mit 28cm rocket and steel frame crates
(labeled as a /2)
Generic + specific

MG shield, Wurfrahmen details (same as 7306) and Wurfrahmen frames

0 Ausf. D Ausf. D 1 Ausf. D 3 x "E": Wurfrahmen (only with 28cm rockets) but no wooden crates

7369
Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf. D & 75mm PaK40

Slightly modified generic sheet

MG shield and small PaK part 1 Ausf. D Ausf. D 1 Ausf. D

H: upper part of PaK40
J: lower part of PaK40

7317
Sd.Kfz.251/7 Ausf. D with 2.8cm sPzB41

Generic + 2 specific sheets

Brackets/licence plates + gun shield (same as 7315) 0 Ausf. D Ausf. D 1 Ausf. D 2 x "E": Bridges (same as 7265)
"G" : 2 different small sprues for sPzB
(one in common with 7314 and 7280 - same as 7315 minus ammo boxes)

7280
Sd.Kfz.251/10 Ausf. D

Slightly modified generic sheet (same as 7306)

Brackets/licence plates (same as 7317), PaK shield (same as 7314) 0 Ausf. D Ausf. D 1 Ausf. D  "G" : 3 different small sprues for PaK
(as 7314 minus ammo boxes)

7351
Sd.Kfz.251/22 Ausf. D

Generic + specific

Gun mount and engine hatch 1 Ausf. D Ausf. D 1 Ausf. D H: upper part of PaK40

 

 

Decals and Markings

Most kits get, what I called, a generic sheet. This is a sheet containing licence plates and licence plate numbers. As the numbers and prefixes are separate, the nice thing about this system is that you can compose any specific licence plate number you would like from Heer or Waffen-SS inits (WL prefixes for the Luftwaffe are not included). The not-so-nice thing about this sytem is that you HAVE to compose any licence plate number from individual numbers, if it does not happen to be included on another sheet. Worse, the SS runen are split in half, so you need 4 decals to form "SS".

I haven't tried these decals yet, but as they are done by Cartograf, I have no doubt they are of high quality.

 

7223 Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf. C

You get an admirable seven marking options.
- Panzer Grenadier Division Grossdeutschland, Kursk 1943. Dark yellow, green and brown.
- Infantry Division Grossdeutschland, Eastern Front 1942. Dark gray.
- 4 Pz.Div., Eastern Front, 1943. Dark yellow, with a little bit of green on the side bins. Number 321
- Panzer Grenadier Division Grossdeutschland, Eastern Front 1943. Dark yellow and dark grey.
- Unknown unit, Eastern Front, 1943. Dark yellow with a little bit of light (?) gray. (The latter color is not identified in the color map.)
- 4 Pz.Div., Eastern Front, 1944. Dark yellow with white splotches.
- Pz. Lehr Div., Hungary, 1944. Dark yellow, green and brown.

Only three of these actually have a licence plate, so if you're lazy, choose one of the others.
Also worthy of mention is that Dragon lets you choose some marking options (e.g. style of numbers).

On the decal sheet specific for this kit you get all the markings necessary for the options on the manual and a large selection of numbers. Only a few are needed for one of the marking options, so all the others will spice up your spares box.

 

7271 Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf. C Rivetted version & 3.7cm PaK 35/36

You get a miserable choice of markings, consisting of one option, and it's a vehicle of the ubiquitous "unknown unit", Eastern Front 1942, in dark grey with dark yellow stripes, without any markings at all. The Pak is uniform dark grey. The vehicle does not even carry a Balkenkreuz, a licence plate, .... nothing !
Again, Dragon is either running out of inspiration or rushing it.
While this means you would actually not even need a decal sheet, you get two sheets which give you some Balkenkreuze and licence plates.

 

7306 Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf. C mit Wurfrahmen 40 (labeled as /2)

You only get three marking options in this kit. By "only" I mean that I got used to Dragon offering more choices in other kits, although a decade or so we would have been delighted to have been given more than a single marking option.
The marking options are:
- 500th Sturm Panzer Pioniere Abteilung, Warsaw 1944. Dark yellow.
- 11 Pz.Div., Eastern Front, 1942. Dark gray.
- Unknown Unit, eastern Front, 1945. Whitewashed.

Only the last of these three actually carry a licence plate, which has to be composed.

The markings themselves are minimal compared to other kits: no unit insignia, only licence plates and Balkenkreuze (in three styles).

Most of the "Stuka zu Fuss" had aiming rods on the engine deck to help the driver align the vehicle with the target. These are missing in the kit. Apart from that, I guess most of the remarks made for kit 7310 will also be valid for this one.

 

7308 Sd.Kfz.251/2 Ausf. C Rivetted Version mit Granatwerfer

For this kit you get three marking options, all for unidentified units:
- Unidentified unit, Eastern Front 1942. No color name is given, and while it looks dark yellow, it will more likely be a desert color, given the time frame. (Some vehicles destined for Afrika ended up in Russia, and desert colors blended in well with southern sectors of the Eastern Front.) A large Balkenkreuz is painted on the engine hatches for aerial recognition.
- Unidentified unit, Eastern Front 1942. Overall dark grey.
- Unidentified unit, Russia 1942. Dark grey with light brown "criss-cross" stripes. The latter areprobably a desert color, or foreign, if the date is correct.

Only the first vehicle carries a WH-licence plate, and this has to be manually composed.

Even though all three marking options are for unidentified units, Dragon has been very thoughtful in providing a plethora of (spare) unit markings (all in yellow):
- 1 Pz.Div: three different unit insignia (2 each)
- 2 Pz.Div: two different unit insignia (2 each)
- 3 Pz.Div: two different unit insignia (2 each)
- 4 Pz.Div: four different unit insignia (2 each)
- 5 Pz.Div: two different unit insignia (2 each)
- 6 Pz.Div: two different unit insignia (2 each)
- 7 Pz.Div: four different unit insignia (2 each)
- 8 Pz.Div: four different unit insignia (2 each)

- 9 Pz.Div: three different unit insignia (2 each)

- 10 Pz.Div: three different unit insignia (2 each)

- 11 Pz.Div: two different unit insignia (2 or 4 each) plus the "Gespenster" (ghost) marking
- 12 Pz.Div: one style of unit insignia (2 each)

- 13 Pz.Div: one style of unit insignia (2 each)

- 14 Pz.Div: one style of unit insignia (2 each)


The decals above are not numbered. You also get "numbered" decals, of which only a small part is needed for the proposed vehicles:
1-5,13,14: white tactical markings; only "5" is actually referred to
6: White "D a". I haven't got a clue what it refers to
7: White "Kursk Marking" for 3 Pz.Div.
8: Yellow 24 Pz.Div. insignia
9: Unknown insignia (black and white)
10: Yellow 22 Pz.Div. insignia
11: Unknown insignia (white)
12: White "38", used on the first marking option
15: White Grossdeutschland "Stahlhelm" insignia
16-19: Balkenkreuze

Given the fact that this kit can be built as a welded or a rivetted version, as a /2 or a /1 and the vast amount of spare decals, this is one of my favorite kits in the series (together with the /7). If you build it as a welded /2, you can use the spare parts to convert any other Ausf.C to a rivetted hull.

Most of the mortarcarriers had aiming rods on the engine deck to help the driver align the vehicle with the target. These are missing in the kit.

 

7265 Sd.Kfz.251/7 Ausf. C

You again only get three marking options. They are:
- Dark gray vehicle "Barbarossa 1941"
- Whitewashed vehicle "Eastern Front 1942"
- Dark Yellow and green vehicle "Kursk 1943"

Only the first of these three actually carries a licence plate. What is actually more disappointing is that Dragon does not give the unit these vehicles belong to. Also worthy of mention is that Dragon lets you choose within a marking option between styles of crosses, colors of markings etc.

The decal sheet which is specific for this kit has a lower part containing the decals to be used for the three marking options in the manual (see above) and an upper part with a collection of unit markings that are spares. This is very thoughtful of Dragon, as you can use them on any vehicle you would like if you are not using them on this one. On offer are
- "Grossdeutschland ("steel helmets")
- 3.Pz.Gren.Div.
- 10.Pz.Gren.Div.
- 16.Pz.Gren.Div.
- 18.Pz.Gren.Div.
- 19.Pz.Gren.Div.
- 20.Pz.Gren.Div.
- 22.Pz.Gren.Div.
- 25.Pz.Gren.Div.
-
29 Pz.Gren.Div.
- 60.Pz.Gren.Div.
-
90.Pz.Gren.Div.
(Actually, the lower part of the sheet also contains some spares.)
Note that the licence plate for the first marking option is pre-assembled.

Decal-wise this is clearly one of the best kits (together with 7308). Not only do you get lots of spares, but if you keep to the proposed markings you do not need to fiddle with composing licence plates, although you can if you'd want.

 

7315 Sd.Kfz.251/7 Ausf. C with 2.8cm sPzB 41

This is a very disappointing kit when it comes to markings. You only get one option, and it's a vehicle of an unknown unit, in dark yellow with green stripes, without any markings at all !!!
Not even Balkenkreuze, a licence plate, .... nothing !
Dragon must have run out of inspiration, when you compare this with their Sd.Kfz. 251/2 Ausf. C, Sd.Kfz. 251/7 Ausf. C or Sd.Kfz. 251/1 Ausf. D !

This means you would actually not even need a decal sheet. Still, you get two sheets: the generic sheet and the exact same sheet as that included in the Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf.C. (The kit number wasn't even changed on it.)

The good thing is that this kit can be built as a regular /1 or /7, which would leave you with a nice Panzerbüchse for which you would only need a donor Lafette.

Note that the PE parts allow you to create the "double armor" shields so familiar on German guns.


Picture taken by myself at the office

 

7314 Sd.Kfz.251/10 Ausf. C

This is a very disappointing kit when it comes to markings. You only get one option, and it's a plain dark yellow vehicle of an unknown unit without any markings at all !!!
Not even Balkenkreuze, a licence plate, .... nothing !
Dragon must have run out of inspiration, when you compare this with their Sd.Kfz. 251/2 Ausf. C, Sd.Kfz. 251/7 Ausf. C or Sd.Kfz. 251/1 Ausf. D !

This means you would actually not even need a decal sheet. Still, you get two sheets: the generic sheet and the exact same sheet as that included in the Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf.C. (The kit number wasn't even changed on it.)

If these lines sound familiar, they sadly are.

So, if you are not really after the /10, this is one to pass by. If you do want a /10 keep in mind that the PaK-shield is a very nice PE part, but you do not get a styrene equivalent. If you want a low cut shield, you are in for some scratchbuilding.

 

7225 Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf. D

You get a whopping 11 marking options !

- Unknown Unit, Western Europe, 1944. "Ambush" (Licht und Schatten) scheme.
- Polish Forces "Starowka", Warsaw, 1944. Dark yellow and green.
- Pz.Gren.Div. "LSSAH" (Dragon calls it "LAH" for "technical" reasons), Kharkow, 1943. Whitewashed.
- 5. SS Pz.Div. "Wiking" (Dragon calls it 5.Pz.Div. for "technical" reasons), East Prussia, 1945. Dark yellow and green. Number "132".
- 5. SS Pz.Div. "Wiking" (idem), Eastern Front, 1944. Dark yellow. Number "2533".
- 5. SS Pz.Div. "Wiking" (idem), Warsaw, 1944. Dark yellow, green and brown. Number "222".
- 12. SS Pz.Div. "HJ" (Dragon calls it 12.Pz.Div. for "technical" reasons), Belgium, 1944. Dark yellow, brown and green. Number "213".
- 12. SS Pz.Div. "HJ" (idem), France, 1944, Dark yellow, brown and green. Number "234".
- Pz.Gren.Rgt. 25, Normandy, 1944. Dark yellow, brown and green. Number "214" I am not 100% sure about this one, but it will more likely be the SS Pz.Gren.Rgt. 25 (part of 12 SS.Pz.Div. "HJ"), which was present in that theatre of operations, while Pz.Gren.Rgt. 25 (part of 12 Pz.Div.) was on the Eastern front in 1944.
- Unknown Unit, Bohemia, 1945. Dark yellow, brown and green. Number "115" .
- 97 Inf.Div., Bohemia, 1945. Dark yellow, brown and green. Number "211 over 322".

Only two of these actually have a licence plate (which needs to be assembled), but
- "Starowka"'s licence plate doesn't have a number in the manual.
- The other vehile with a licence plate is number 132 from 5 SS Pz.Div. Again, for "technical" reasons, the licence plate is a "WH" one. While it is quite obvious these need to be "SS", I have no idea about the number though.

It is very strange that Dragon only chooses one non-SS unit (apart from the "unidentified" ones), while it is so sensitive about political correctness. Plenty of Heer units used this vehicle, so why not use those ? It is even stranger that 6 vehicles come from only 2 divisions.
It follows that at least one licence plate cannot be correct while the standard "sunwheel" marking of 5 SS Pz.Div is not depicted in a sinlge one of them. It could be that variations existed, but the alternative explanation might be that Dragon modified them to avoid representing something looking like a swastika.
Also worthy of mention is that Dragon lets you choose within some of the marking options between styles of crosses, colors of markings etc.


On the decal sheet which is specific for this kit you get all the markings necessary for the options on the manual and a large selection of numbers in 3 color/style combinations. Only a few are needed, so all the others will spice up your spares box.


7310 Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf. D mit Wurfrahmen 40 (labeled as /2)

You only get three marking options:
- 16. Pz.Div., Eastern Front, 1945. Whitewashed
- Unidentified unit, Eastern Front, 1945. Dark yellow.
- Unidentified unit, Eastern Front, 1944. Dark yellow with green and brown.

The markings on the decal sheets are minimal compared to other kits: mainly Balkenkreuze plus some tactical markings, but no unit insignia. All vehicles carry licence plates which need to be composed.

Most of the "Stuka zu Fuss" had aiming rods on the engine deck to help the driver align the vehicle with the target. These are missing in the kit.

The missile bodies are nicely done, but cleaning up the casting seem is going to prove a real pain. Also, to be 100% correct, you need to drill out the tiny jet nozzles on the base of the rocket. See references [1-4] for pictures. Good luck ! (Perhaps we will get a PE part for that one day.)
When assembling the wooden launcher crates, take good care to distinguish both parts as they look very similar, but aren't. Note that the "cross-beams" on top and bottom (purpose unknown) are all parallel, while pictures show them in an oblique configuration. Apparently these were loosened by the launching process, so it might be they are meant to secure the rockets in the crates, but that's only a guess. Beware that the rockets cannot be slid into the crates after assembly of the latter !
The way the kit is engineered you can only choose a single elevation for the rocket launchers, while in reality these varied from 16° to 45°. To that effect, part MB2 is the locking handle to fix the elevation and the quadrant (part MB3) lets you read the elevation. This is the reason why both parts are fixed with respect to the vehicle, while part MB1 rotates. Something to keep in mind if you decide to modify the elevation angle.


7348 Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf. D mit 28cm rocket and steel frame crates (labeled as /2)

You get four marking options:
- Pz.Gren.Rgt. 'LAH', Pz.Gren.Div. 'LAH', Kharkov, 1943 (Actually an SS unit, but not mentioned as such)
- 12 Pz.Div. 'HJ', France, 1944. Vehicle '440'. Dark yellow and green. (Actually 12 SS Pz.Div.)
- 5 Pz.Div. 'Wiking', Warsaw, 1944. Vehicle '222'. Dark yellow, green and brown. (Actually 5 SS Pz.Div.)
- Pz.Gren.Rgt. 13, 5 Pz.Div., East Prussia, 1945. vehicle '132'. Dark yellow and green.

For the first marking option Dragon lets you choose between three styles of Balkenkreuze: solid black, solid black with white overspray, or solid black with "see through patches". The latter will give the same effect, but probably in a more realistic way than the second.
You get no unit insignia on the sheet.
According to the marking instructions, none of these vehicles carries licence plates, so the generic sheet is redundant.

Strangely enough, the marking options clearly show the fourth vehicle with a blue and white '132', but my decals for these markings only have white.


7369 Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf. D & 75mm PaK40

You only get two marking options:
- Unidentified unit, Eastern Front, 1944. Dark yellow.
- Unidentified unit, Western Front, 1944. Licht und Schatten scheme (aka 'Ambush scheme').

The markings on the decal sheets are minimal compared to other kits: no insignia, only 3 Balkenkreuze and the licence plates on a slightly modified generic sheet, which now includes a vehicle data stencil.
Note that the regular towing variant for the Pak40 was the Sd.Kfz.251/4, although the /1 was also used sometimes.

 

7317 Sd.Kfz.251/7 Ausf. D with 2.8cm sPzB 41

You only get two marking options:
- Pz. Lehr. Div, Southern Normandy 1944. Plain dark yellow.
- Unidentified Unit, Italy 1944. Dark yellow with green and brown stripes.

In my humble opinion Dragon messed things up here. If the first vehicle is really from Pz. Lehr, than why would it need SS licence plates? Secondly why would the second vehicle have a big caligraphic "L" on the front and rear? Apart from that, not too many Waffen SS units were active on the Italian front, so the other option might at first glance be a bit iffy as well.

The good thing is that this kit can be built as a regular /1 or /7, which would leave you with a nice Panzerbüchse for which you would only need a donor Lafette.

Note that the PE parts allow you to create the "double armor" shields so familiar on German guns.

For some reason the interior is left unaltered, so you get no ammo bins, as for kit 7315. I don't know whether this is accurate, but I guess the crew had to store the same ammo as used on the Ausf. C somewhere, so I have my doubts.

 

7280 Sd.Kfz.251/10 Ausf. D

Decal-wise, this is again a very disappointing kit, only offering a single marking option for the ubiquitous "unidentified unit on the Eastern Front" in 1944; camouflage is Dark Yellow + Green.
The decals are basically the generic sheet with 9 Balkenkreuze (3 styles) added and are identical to those in kit 7306. On Dragon's website I found a review mentioning two decal sheets, but in my specimen this was not the case; only one sheet is mentioned in the manual as well.

Apart from that, you could have expected this kit to be a cross-over between the Sd.Kfz.251/10 Ausf. C and Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf. D kits. It basically is, but for some reason the interior is left unaltered, so you get no ammo bins, as for the Sd.Kfz.251/10 Ausf. C kit (contrary to what the review on Dragon's website tells us). I don't know whether this is accurate, but I guess the crew had to store the ammo somewhere, so I have my doubts.
Personally, if I wanted to model this variant, I would play it safe and go for a kit-bash between the Sd.Kfz.251/10 Ausf. C and Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf. D, which would also leave you with a perfectly acceptable Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf. C.

As Jolyon Ralph pointed out to us, it is questionable if the Sd.Kfz. 251/10 Ausf.D was ever fitted with the full height gun shield. Modifying the PE part will be very hard to pull off though.

 

7351 Sd.Kfz.251/22 Ausf. D

This time you get to choose between two vehicles:
- black 248 in three color camo with black and white Balkenkreuze and no licence plates
- a plain dark yellow vehicle with larger, white Balkenkreuze and licence plates. It carries, what seems to be, a unit insignia.

Sadly enough, Dragon does not indicate which units these vehicles belonged to, what front they operated on, or at what time, even though the second vehicle seems to carry a unit insignia, which I have been unable to identify. You get that decal four times, while you only need it twice (according to the instructions).

Dragon knows that late war vehicles had a different, rear-hinged engine hatch, but clearly doesn't know what it looked like. Either that, or they were unwilling to alter the upper hull part. Wat they did is give you a new PE part for the hatch, but they kept the original dimensions of the engine compartment hatch. In reality that hatch extended more to the front and there was a secondary laterally hinged hatch in front of it. So, you couldn't just get away scribing that secondary hatch as you would need to enlarge the main hatch as well. At that point you are ready to throw away the PE part, so what was Draon's point to start with ?
I should check my reference thoroughly, but it also seems that most of these late war vehicles had the left (driver's) visor replaced with a simpler, flatter type and the right frontal visor either blanked off or replaced with the same flat type. (That would be fairly easy to scratchbuild, though.)
According to my references, some /22s were built on the older Ausf.D chassis (e.g. one that was field modified and shown in Panzerwrecks 2 & 6). BY "older" I mean, with the split hatch, so you might get away by simply getting rid of the PE engine hatch and using the older, split doors which come in styrene as in all other Ausf. D kits.
(By comparison, Hasegawa provides flat visors in their /22 kit, but leaves the engine deck unaltered.)
My references also tell me that the radio set was moved away from the right front side (where the R/O used to be, but which space was now inaccessible - hence the blanked off plate). Dragon doesn't. However, specialists in the field are still arguing where exactly the set was moved to...
A nice thing is that you get the choice of three types of gun barrel for the Pak40.

Below is a rough sketch to illustrate the issue with the engine deck.

 

References

[1] http://www.germanmilitaria.co.uk/ammu.htm#mm320artil

[2] http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5b/Bundesarchiv_Bild_101I-216-0417-05,_Russland,_schwerer_Wurfrahmen_an_Sch%C3%BCtzenpanzer.jpg

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wurfrahmen_40

[4] http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Wurfrahmen_40

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Article Last Updated: 21 May 2010