DML No. 6248: 1/35-scale ‘39-‘45
Series; Sd.Kfz. 251/22 Ausf. D
by Cookie Sewell
Contains: 986 parts (952 in grey styrene, 12 etched brass,
8 clear styrene, 7 grey vinyl, 4 turned brass rounds, 2 silver paper stickers,
turned aluminum barrel).
Price: estimated at US $34–38.
Advantages: state-of-the-air, modern kit of this popular
halftrack conversion; tailored changes included in kit; many options for
Disadvantages: up against established and competing products,
teensy track parts not popular with some modelers.
Rating: Highly recommended for all German and halftrack
A first look
The Germans were the first major military power to see the
direct value of specialized self-propelled weapons to support mechanized
infantry, and as such had a large number of conversion weapons dedicated
to provide that type of support. One of the first was the simple mounting
of the PaK 36 3.7 cm antitank gun on a strengthen forward roof section
of the basic Sd.Kfz. 251 halftrack infantry carrier. Later, close support
versions of the 250 and 250 fitted with the 7.5 cm L/24 infantry howitzer
became available. But later on in the war, when the Germans found themselves
being subjected to mass Soviet tank attacks, the solution needed was effective
mobile antitank gun firepower. As such, once again the 251 halftrack was
called upon to answer, and the solution was to mount a standard 7.5 cm
L/46 PaK 40 cannon on a special mount in the dismount section compartment
of a Sd.Kfz. 251/1 carrier. While the gun did not have much traverse,
it did provide instant firepower for troops that were spending more and
more of their time on defense.
DML has now adapted their recent Sd.Kfz. 251/1 Ausf. D carrier
(Kit No. 6233) by providing it with the upper end of their brand-new PaK
40 kit (No. 6249) and the figures from set No. 6064 (as well as three
new figures) to create a kit of the popular Sd.Kfz. 251/22 conversion.
Thanks to "mix and match" this is a simple task, with the kit
using the C, D, E and H common 251 series sprues, the A, B and W sprues
from the standard 251 Ausf. D kit, sprues B, C, and D plus the MA brass
fret from the PaK 40 kit, two brand new sprues (L and T) with the dedicated
"Stroke 22" parts, the #6064 figure sprue, and the EZ Track
set introduced in Kit 6233.
Two of the new figures come on the L sprue but one other
is a vinyl figure, which as DML has suggested makes it easier to get him
into the driver's compartment seat due to his ability to "flex."
(So far I have not heard from anyone about how well this works; I haven't
done figures in some time for a number of reasons and have not had a chance
to try them out.)
The lower section (the 251 parts) are excellent and the
new parts provide for the sturdy platform used for mounting the gun in
the dismount compartment. Two hoods are now included (A9/A10 or L16) so
you have a choice of early or late model 251 D model hulls, as are two
different upper hulls (A1 or L24). While the hull parts are interchangeable,
the hood parts are not, so you have to ensure that you use the right set.
You also have a choice between the early style tracks (on
the sprues) or the EZ Track which is provided as separate parts. (Nearly
half the parts in this kit – 480 – are track links from the
two sets. Note that there are injector pin marks on the EZ Track but not
the regular track, so it's up to the modeler which one he chooses. The
former looks better but the latter is much easier to assemble.)
Note that if you want to use the driver figure you have
to install him early in the building process; the directions recommend
Step 7 when the cowl panel (Step 6) is installed. If you do not, at Step
15 you have to mount the gun carriage turntable and that effectively prevents
any options on installation.
As noted in the review I did on the PaK 40, you have several
options with the gun including three choices of muzzle brake, servicing
panels and breech block.
(NB: Terry Ashley from PMMS indicates that mensuration of
the PaK 40 kit shows the ground mount trails are 13 mm too long, a major
goof if true, and one which seems odd for DML to make. I checked my references
and found nothing to disagree with his observations, but considering that
the PaK 40 was notoriously heavy and hard to manipulate in combat, it
is possible that DML researchers found some odd variant to use or a "restored"
version made easier to move by fixing that problem. I can't say for sure.
At least with this kit it is not a problem, as none of the carriage components
DML provides four different finish options, none of which
are identified: one Panzer brown vehicle and three in Panzer brown/green/red
brown schemes, including one in the ever-popular "Ambush" scheme.
Three decal sheets are included: the one from the PaK 40 kit, a license
and unit markings sheet, and a separate special insignia sheet.
While I personally think this is a great kit with a large
number of options and is certainly state of the art, I do get concerned
when there are now three kits on the market competing with each other
(AFV Club, Tamiya and DML) for a narrower section of the market than with
some other subjects. I for one do appreciate competition, but with only
a set number of kits coming out each year I always hope to see someone
do different subjects no one else has done, rather than everyone doing
the same kits. I am sure there is a limited market for LCM(3) kits, for
example, and while there seems to be no limit on the number of Tiger and
Panther kits that can be released and sell well, a narrow market kit such
as this may not either get the recognition it deserves or good enough
sales to promote continuation. (For example, still missing are some of
the specialized versions, such as the MG 151 FlaK Drilling, the flamethrower
variant, the engineer variant with footbridges, etc.)
Overall this is a very nicely done kit and representative
of the current DML standard. Thanks to Freddie Leung of DML for the review