Sd. Kfz. 251/1 Ausf. D
Manufacturer: BattleFront Miniatures
Product Code: GE????
Date of Article: 29 April 2008
The Sd. Kfz. 251/1 in this particular case is the Ausf. D version, and is the newer version with plastic tracks. The body is nothing functionally new (will provide some images later), So let’s take a look at the plastic components:
Hmm. Pet peeve number one; if Battlefront is going to include assault bridges, why don’t they also include the support struts so that I can build my Sd. Kfz. 251/7 pioneer halftracks? Would have been much more useful.
Do note that the connecting points are a bit weak — intentional, this makes separation easier — so you might have parts dropping off the sprue accidentally.
Battlefront has always been rather good at keying parts such that there’s only one way to assemble things. That’s good, because us users are stupid. 🙂 In this case, the right track has an extra knob that goes into an appropriate hole that’s only present on the right side.
You’ll also notice that there’s a substantial amount of plastic tab sticking out of each front and back knob. I suppose these are there to prevent shipping damage, and you do need to cut them off. And here’s how you should do it:
Why, some of you might ask, was the back knob cut off? Well..
Out of 5 (of 6) Sd. Kfz. 251/1 Ausf. Ds I’ve put together so far, they’ve all been consistently off in their placement. Of course, I could have cut off the front knob instead, but because I want to make sure the tracks align from the front, I took the rear knobs off instead.
By alignment, I meant:
Since the front fenders are a bit different, the main way I wanted to align the tracks was from the back. Using the front knobs as alignment point made more sense to me, so I used that. YMMV, of course.
That pretty much takes care of the tracks. Wheels aren’t a serious problem, they are fairly simple.
All the gun shields I have to date have the same flash in the exact same spot. Not terrible, and at least it’s consistent. 🙂 Best to clean it off while on sprue, as this is a small part that can go missing easily.
From the top, MG42, MG34, MG34 on AA mount The main problem I have is that the parts are too close to the support; my Tamiya side cutters couldn’t get in between, and often I have to rely on the weak connectors to break before the parts did. So far no problems, but still…
As for the AA MG, I’m resigned to the fact that they would break at some point, but I wasn’t going to let them break so easily, so I’ve placed them such that the butt of the MG is always supported (and glued) to the side of the halftrack, like so:
(Since this article was originally written, I have since gotten sufficiently annoyed with the AA MGs that I am actively removing them from service. My 251/1 Ausf. Cs are gradually being stripped, while my Ausf. Ds are being retired — entirely — for other reasons. The main reason for the AA MG retirement is damage due to storage. Too much of a hassle.)
The Sd. Kfz. 251/10 Ausf. D is essentially the same model, just with a different gun (a 37mm). However, the box that these halftracks came in did not have that part (as it was not an option for the unit), so it is not possible to review that here.
For the Sd. Kfz. 251/7 Ausf. D, one thing to note for people thinking of using the plastic assault bridges for use to conversions is that you can’t easily use these particular halftrack bodies for the conversion. Not only is the support struts for the bridge absent, but some of these halftracks have molded baggage/ tarp on the exterior of the vehicle, making it hard to place any scratch-built structure.
However, it would be possible to reuse these bridges for plain Ausf. Ds, or Ausf. Cs. Since BattleFront do not produce Sd. Kfz. 251/7 Ausf. Cs, this is a possible way to get a unique looking force.