Joined: 17 Sep 2006
|Posted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:56 pm Post subject: DML #6427 Sdkfz 250/1 Neu Premium Edition
The Sdkfz 250/1 “Neu” represented an attempt to simplify the vehicle construction process for the smaller cousin to the Sdkfz 251 in the halftrack family by removing the angled sides and replacing it with square panels wherever possible. The concept aimed at standardizing the 250 and 251 production as much as possible in order to speed up delivery to the various units. The end result is referred to as the “Neu” design and DML’s (Dragon) kit #6427 represents a “Premium Edition” upgrade of their previous kit #6100 release dealing with this vehicle. As a “Premium Edition”, many of the original sprues and parts are carried over from the earlier release while others have been replaced or upgraded with the latest available technology from DML.
The kit contents are sealed in individual plastic bags within the box and some of the smaller and more delicate parts come attached to the now-familiar Dragon cardboard insert in their own plastic bags contained within the larger bag for the card itself. The kit contents consist of over 440 parts and other standard items as follows:
• 14 sprues of gray styrene
• 1 sprue of clear styrene
• 2 bags of Magic Track components
• 1 slide-molded hull tub in gray styrene
• 1 DragonStyrene (DS) canvas top
• 2 pre-formed (non-bent) brass width indicators
• 1 photo-etched brass fret
• 2 sheets of Cartograf printed decals
• Assembly Instruction and Finishing Guide
• Color “Inside Story” Pamphlet
As luck would have it, I have the original kit #6100 in my un-built kit inventory and pulled it out along with its instructions to see what’s different in this “Premium Edition” upgrade. There’s quite a bit that’s been changed and many of the sprues that DML has added as part of the upgrade package come from other recent releases while others are newly tooled specifically for this kit. The “Inside Story” pamphlet indicates that this is the first of the series to receive an upgrade so it’s likely that other vehicles in the 250 family may receive similar treatment in the future. The review will focus primarily on the upgraded parts while also pointing out what’s been retained from the previous release. The instructions consist of 22 exploded-diagram style steps, many of which are an exact match to the instruction diagrams in the previous kit with just the parts numbers adjusted in some cases to reflect the newer or changed parts numbers.
One of the main areas receiving an upgrade is the lower hull and suspension. In the older kit, the lower hull was constructed from separate panels and this has been replaced in the Premium kit with a slide molded one-piece tub with the side panels already in place for the lower hull. The sprocket drive housings have also been replaced as have all of the road wheels and the sprockets themselves are now a multi-part assembly to increase the level of detail on the rubber blocks and sprocket teeth. The level of detail on the road wheels has also been improved with crisper detail present on the hubs and ribs as well as sharper definition between the rims and rubber tires, a distinct improvement over the older kit. The tracks have been upgraded to Magic tracks that also have crisper detail and less clean-up required for their assembly and can, with a little care, be constructed as workable tracks. While all of the front wheel suspension parts remain the same from the older kit, the front wheel hubs have been replaced with better detail and the tires themselves are now provided as 5 “slices” that are sandwiched together to build the full tire and provide better detail in the replicated tread pattern.
Moving on to the interior, the driver’s compartment remains unchanged with the exception of the deletion of a storage box, C18, that was attached to the radio operator’s seat back in the older kit. Whereas the older kit included a 5-part driver figure, the Premium Edition does not. The bench seat, storage locker, and jump seat for the fighting compartment area also remain unchanged. What has changed, and changed dramatically, is the layout and equipment provided for the hull sides in the fighting compartment area. The older kit included the “Alte” layout in the form of Kar98 rifle racks and gear and in this new kit the layout is totally different. Checking the photos and text I have archived from the old AFV Interiors website, which are based on the German field manuals for the 250, the interior layout provided seems to be based on that commonly found on a 250/5 Leichter Beobacthungpanzerwagen (light armored observation vehicle) but with the bench seat included and the extra radios excluded. The interior incorporates various crew equipment items in the form of stick grenades and their holder racks, MP40s and ammunition pouches, gas masks and holders, and mess kits and brackets in different arrangements along the respective hull sides. Two storage boxes are also provided entirely in PE and are highly detailed with separate PE mounting frames and straps however the boxes are not appropriate for the 250/1 as they are designed to hold a scissors spotting scope and a Richtkreis 31 aiming circle mechanism on the right and left sides respectively as found on the 250/5. In addition, the kit includes 3 PE holders for installation on the left side that were designed to hold signal flags on the 250/5 as well and wouldn’t have been present on the 250/1. Much of the kit supplied PE is for use here in the interior and styrene alternatives are not provided, so a certain level of comfort with PE will be needed to take full advantage of the interior details.
Other upgrades to the older kit include the inclusion of clear styrene assemblies for both of the forward visors which can be positioned in either the open or closed position, however the side vision slit blocks are in regular gray styrene and represents an inconsistency in normal vs. clear parts for the interior. Additional to this is the replacement of the old vinyl screening with PE screens for the engine intakes and the upgrading of the MG42 with a Gen2 molding with hollowed out muzzle. The kit also now includes a DS fighting compartment tarp cover as an added detail and is nicely molded to recreate the hanging canvas look if you want to go this route. Last but not least, the kit also includes a multi-part engine for inclusion in the previously empty engine compartment and the hatches can be posed either open or closed to take advantage of this detail, however the opportunity is certainly there to wire and plumb it with additional details that the kit does not include for those inclined to super-detail this area.
The exterior also received an upgrade in the form of the side storage boxes having separate access doors, allowing them to be positioned either open or closed, and there’s plenty of extra crew gear provided on the sprues to help fill them up if desired. A newly tooled sprue of pioneer tools is provided however the only items for use are the axe and wire cutters, leaving plenty of spares for another project in the form of 3 shovels, an extra axe depending on which one you use, and a pickaxe. Only the axe is provided with or without molded on tool clamps and the sledgehammer is the original kit supplied item. The PE fret does not include any clamps for the tools, leaving the molded on clamps as the only option unless using an AM set.
The kit Marking and Painting Guide includes schemes and decals for 7 different vehicles for the following units/timeframes:
3/Pz.Aufkl.Btl 2 Pz. Div France 1944
5.PzDiv “Wiking” Hungary Eastern Front 1945 (2 different schemes)
1.PzDiv “LAH” Kamenets Podolsk 1944
Obergruppenfuhrer von Puckler-Berghaus Orlik-Cimelice Bohemia 1945
PzAufkl.Btl. 1.PzDiv “LAH” 1944
Unidentified Unit Eastern Front 1944
The previous kit release included markings for only 1 vehicle serving in the 2.PzAufkl.Btl. 2.PzDiv France 1944. The decals are provided on 2 sheets, one of which contains vehicle specific markings and the other which is a “number jungle” sheet allowing for creation of specific vehicle license plates.
Continuing in the tradition of previous “Premium” Edition kits, an older release gets a “face lift” with many of the details enhanced to the level we’ve come to expect from DML releases. The inclusion of PE, Gen2 equipment items, upgraded details on the road wheels/sprockets/tires, inclusion of an engine, and additional markings options are welcome upgrades however the provided interior details are not 100% accurate for a 250/1 variant, so careful checking of references will be necessary in order to build an accurate representation of the vehicle of your choice. The inaccurate elements can be simply left off the build or used as a foundation for the adventurous to convert this 250/1 into a 250/5 if desired.
A Build Log is available to evaluate fit and assembly.