Dragon Sd.Kfz.251/2 Ausf.C mit
Wurfrahmen 40 “3-in-1” (6284)
by Frank De Sisto
1/35-scale styrene/multimedia kit. Contains: 790 styrene plastic parts
(including 16 clear), two photo-etched brass frets, six DS-100 parts,
one turned aluminum and two turned brass parts, one stamped brass part,
two peel-and-stick mirror faces, four decal marking schemes and ten pages
of instructions in up to 23 steps, depending on version chosen.
These days (someone on one of the DGs said we are not in a “Golden
Age”, but a “Platinum Age”) DML keeps cranking out kits
almost literally on a weekly basis. They have gone through the Sd.Kfz.251
series as if they intend on offering every version ever produced. For
instance, the Ausf.C has seen separate kits released of a /1, /1 riveted
hull, /6, /7 (with optional parts for a /10) and /16. This latest Ausf.C
entry will allow the modeler to fit Wurfrahmen 40 rockets and launch racks
to what is billed as a /2 hull. And, no, the kit does NOT contain parts
to mount the 8cm mortar (more on that in a bit) but does contain parts
to model a /10 with full shields for the 3.7cm PaK36.
Many will be familiar with the base kit so I will only touch on some
points related to certain areas of concern. The main issue is the width
of the superstructure as well as the width of the opening of the troop
compartment. New drawings by Hilary Doyle show that the superstructure
is too narrow as is the opening. The drawings also show that the fenders
are too long, but the bolt detail missing from earlier kits is now included.
The hump on the floor plate behind the driver’s cockpit is too small
and the shape of the bulkhead that holds the instrument panel is incorrect.
The interleaved road-wheels, although of the improved variety, still lack
the subtle swelling around the holes, and the drive sprockets still have
the guide rollers situated improperly. Except for the superstructure and
fender issues, the rest can probably be ignored.
The new parts for the Wurfkoerper 40 rockets and launch racks are very
well done and fairly intricate. The wooden rocket frames are produced
using slide-molds and have a subtle texture that will reward careful painting.
There are many delicate parts that get attached to the frames, while the
pipes that mounted the entire assembly to the superstructure are quite
delicate. There are some small photo-etched details that finish things
off, including two vane sights used by the driver to align the vehicle’s
axis with the target. The large plates that allowed each rack to elevate
have nicely beveled edges for a delicate appearance. There are options
in the angles of these plates (and therefore the launch frames) as well
as an option to have the frames removed and their mounts folded-up for
travel. The main option is the choice of 28cm Wurfkoerper Spreng (HE/Frag)
or 32cm Wurfkoerper Flamm (Flame) with a total of six of each (note that
the instructions mislabel them in steps 17/1 and 18/2). These are in four
parts each and include separate fuses (not fitted until just before the
rockets were fired). These account for two of the kit’s three options.
The third option is to construct a ‘251/10 Platoon Commander’s
vehicle mounting the 3.7cm PaK36 with full shields. DML’s ‘251/7
Ausf.C also has this option, but the gun is fitted with the smaller spaced
armor shields. The PaK36 has been upgraded with a nice turned aluminum
gun tube and an outstanding stamped brass shield. This last item is very
well done on the front-side as it features the tiny rivets already in
place. An etched brass fret contains the various hinges and rests for
the folded-down shield, as well as the sliding shutter for the back-side,
which protected the gun sight. However, the remainder of the back-side
will also need hinge and rivet detail, which is not given. There are two
etched brass ammo racks for the interior as well as ammo boxes to fill
them. There is also a separate ammo box with opened lid and a pair of
Other refinements included in the box are a nice pair of vehicle width
indicator rods in turned brass. These are designed to be shaped using
a special channel molded into one of the plastic sprues. The etched brass
fret also includes springs for the seat backs, mounting flanges for under
the fenders, a ring sight for the rear AA MG34 and a nifty little lens
part for under the hood of the Notek head-lamp. Another nice touch is
a pair of peel-and-stick faces for the rear-view mirrors. The usual driver
figure in DS-100 soft styrene (NOT vinyl!) is included as is a very nice
partially opened tarp to cover the troop compartment roof opening. Some
other items of note are front axles that can be steered, operating doors
for the troop compartment and workable individual link tracks, new seats
for the driver and commander and a new tow hitch created using slide molds.
The decals are from Cartograf and are presented on four sheets. The first
has divisional insignia for the 1. through 14. Panzer-Divisions, four
styles of balkenkreuz national insignia, plus tire pressure and shipping
data stencils in both black and white. The second sheet contains a variety
of license plate styles with separate letters and numbers allowing the
modeler to depict Heeres or Waffen-SS vehicles. The third contains full-color
dial faces for the instrument panel, while the fourth contains four different
styles of Tac n
umbers, four styles of balkenkreuz national insignia and
more shipping stencils, data plates and instrument panel dial faces. The
listed color schemes are for the following vehicles:
• 500 Sturm-Panzer-Pioneer Abtielung in Warsaw, Poland, August
• 11. Panzer-Division, Eastern Front, 1942.
• Unknown unit, Eastern Front, 1945.
• Sd.Kfz.251/10 also of an unknown unit, Eastern Front, 1942.
The rub here is that on my instructions, the vehicle profiles are there.
The colors and the units are called out. BUT, there is absolutely no information
showing the modeler which markings shpuld be used for any of the vehicles.
Again, a decent kit is let down by inadequate instructions.
Finally, as promised, a word about the kit’s designation. According
to DML, their consultant has told them that vehicles based on the Ausf.C
hulls were converted from Sd.Kfz.251/2, thus the kit’s designation.
I have conversed with the consultant, Dan Graves on other ‘251-related
matters, and am convinced that if he has made such a statement, that he
knows what he is talking about. Also, note that DML is not setting out
to deceive the unwary, since nowhere in their on-line information, or
on the box top and sides, do they say the 8cm mortar is included. On the
other hand, they do have a mortar in their figure line and it used the
same ammo racks as the 3.7cm PaK36, so it would not have been impossible
for them to include this option. Perhaps they are saving the option for
their up-coming Ausf.A or Ausf.B kits, who knows?
In conclusion, this kit is certainly a mixed blessing. The options are
quite well-done, while the un-used parts can find a home on another kit,
making this offering excellent value for money spent. Overall quality
of molding is very high, while there are several very nice detail touches.
On the other hand, certain real and perceived short-comings will also
effect this model’s appeal, especially the dimensional issues (for
another viewpoint, go to DML’s web site and check their FAQ section).
Recommended with reservations.
Reviewer’s note: Since May of 2005, I have been working on books
for Concord Publications, a sister company to DML. The reader may wish
to take this into consideration. For my part, I will attempt to maintain
an objective viewpoint when writing these reviews.
DML kits are available from retail and mail order shops. For details
see their web site at: www.dragonmodelsltd.com.