Zvezda 1/35 SdKfz 251/3 ausf B
|KIT:||Zvezda 1/35 SdKfz 251/3 ausf B|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
I've covered the Sd. Kfz 251 in some detail with earlier previews, but just to recap, the 251 was pretty much designed to allow panzergrenadier troops to accompany the tanks into the battle zone. As with much of what was produced for Germany during this time, there was never enough of them to fully equip all units that wanted them. As was also true, there were a bewildering number of variations from the base model, all of them incorporating updates based on combat use.
Having these vehicles armored helped against small arms fire but the open top was a bit of a detriment to descending fire. It was also a bit of an error to have unpowered front wheels as this limited their off road usefulness. Still, they were built in large numbers and found nearly everywhere.
This particular kit is the radio communications vehicle and most of the variations were different fits of radio equipment. As matter of note, it was the Germans' ability to maintain contact with their troops and tanks during a battle that was partially a reason for their huge success in the early years of the war. Rather than wait on couriers, flags or other slow methods, the Germans relied heavily on radio communication to provide not only instant orders to the troops afield, but to get information on the changing battle situation. While we take things like this for granted nowadays, it was rather unique in the armed forces of the late 1930s and early 1940s.
I've mentioned how nice Zvezda kits are with other previews. This one is no exception. The parts are superbly molded and though I found a touch of flash and a sink area or two, it is nothing major. Like Dragon kits, this one has a lot of parts, 360 according to the box. This means that there is a lot of modeling fun ahead for those who want to get the most modeling time for their money. Now a goodly portion of those parts are in building up the separate link and pad tracks. Fortunately for us, Zvezda provides an easy guide to assembling the links.
I should also point out that this is not a curbside. Zvezda provides a full engine and since it is open, you get a complete interior section. If you have ever built any SdKfz 251, you will see many familiar bits and pieces. There are only so many ways to design a kit like this, so even 1/72 builders will be at home. The big difference between this and other versions is the comprehensive radio equipment set-up.There are banks of radio racks as well as the various antennas that are used. Some of these rather fragile parts could be damaged during shipment. Zvezda does not bag its sprues, so they are free to rattle around inside the box, prompting several to depart the sprues.
Instructions are very nicely drawn with Model Master paint references and a goodly number of detail drawings of various subassemblies that I found refreshing. There are markings for three vehicles, mostly license plate differences. Two options are in Panzer Grey one just listed as Eastern Front 1942 and the other 10 Panzer Grenadier division. The third options is in Panzer Yellow as with the Afrika Korps in 1942. The small decal sheet is well printed, but I'd recommend floating it in Future during application as my past experience with Zvezda markings is that they need it.
I am sure that if you are an armor fan, you will find this one to your liking. Zvezda has gained a rather positive reputation amongst builders, especially their newer kit and I'm sure this one will be one to give hours of building pleasure.
My thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local shop or have them order it in for you.
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