bookModelling the
SdKfz 251 Halftrack

Osprey Modelling 6
By Robert Oehler
Published by Osprey Publishing.

Soft cover, 80 pages
ISBN 1 84176 706 9

Review by Terry Ashley

This book while number 6 in the modelling series has only just been published and follows the layout of previous books in having sections on materials, references, kit and accessory lists and the model builds themselves.

There are just four 251 models depicted with one 1/72 Hasegawa 251/1 Ausf.D with the other three in 1/35 scale, one of the Dragon 251/1 Ausf.C and two models based on the elderly Tamiya 251/1 Ausf.D kit but conspicuous by their absence is any models based on the AFV Club 251 kits even though the first AFV Club kit (#35068 251/9 Ausf.D) was released some six months before the first Dragon kit included in the book. The models are again rated as Intermediate, Advanced and Master depending of the amount of additional detailing done.

The introduction includes half a dozen interior shots of a museum 251/1 Ausf.D and a full list of the different 251 variants and small images of available 251 kits which again doesn’t include and AFV Club kits?

The next section is on Material and Tools and has photos of all types of tools. Materials and accessories used in the4 building of the kits with text futher illustrating these images.

Building the 1/72 Hasegawa 251/1 Ausf.D (kit MT44) Pages 16 to 20
Skill level; Intermediate
The model is built basically from the box with a few images of the model during construction as well as of the finished model with text describing the building and painting processes.

Building the 1/35 Dragon 251/1 Ausf.C (kit 6187, although the number given in the book is 6030, which is actually a Hetzer kit and is just one of a few factual errors in the book); Pages 21 to 31
Skill level; Intermediate
Added Royal Models front crew seats.
There are many photos of the improvements made to the kit including adding rollers to the drive sprockets but strangely not addressing the incorrectly positioned drive teeth? Unfortunately there is also the first of a number of references to the “armour” panel on the inside of the rear fighting compartment wall when in fact these are thin spaced panels used to attach the equipment on the sidewalls.

There are many in-progress photos of the model during construction with one showing the inclusion of the water tank between the front seats with a comment in the caption explaining that this shouldn’t be there but the building didn’t have time to fill the locating holes? So be careful not to include this tank in your model simple because it’s still included here.

Numerous step by step photos show the painting and weathering process which should prove helpful and the photos are supplemented with detailed text explaining the full building and painting process.

Building the Tamiya 251/9 Ausf.D Late (kit #35195); Pages 32 to 45
Skill level; Advanced
Converted to a 251/9 Ausf.D ‘Late’ with parts from the Dragon 251/8 ‘Stummel’.
Plus Models items, Jordi Rubio barrel and Modelkasten tracks.
There are again many in-progress shots of the model during construction showing the building of the upper armour panels from Evergreen card, adding the Dragon 250/8 75mm gun plus additional detailing inside the fighting compartment and on the exterior but strangely the major ‘error’ in the Tamiya kits of the raised engine bay doors is not addressed, these should in fact be flush with the top of the engine bay.

Following the construction photos are many step by step shots of the painting and weathering process including adding mud and other effects to the model as well as detailed text to illustrate the photos and descriptive captions with each photo. It is a mute point but had the AFV Club 251/9 kit been used many of the additions and corrections wouldn’t have been needed including the correctly depicted engine bay doors but this build could prove interesting to those wanting to improve their skills and have a spare Dragon 250/8 kit lying about?

Building the Tamiya 251/7 Ausf.D Engineer Assault Vehicle (kit #35195); Pages 46 to 65
Skill level; Master
Royal Models detail sets, R&J resin engine and compartment set, Verlinden update set, Jordi Rubio details, Evergreen sheet plastic, Modelkasten tracks and AFV Club wheel set.
There are again many detailed in-progress shots on adding the etched parts and also the soldering process that will prove very useful as well as the modifications for adding the engine plus the other detailing processes.

The incorrect Tamiya engine bay doors are mainly ‘hidden’ on this kit as they are shown open to display the engine details and the addition of the assault bridges transforms the look of the kit considerably.

The painting and weathering is also done in step by step photos to clearly show the various steps and again should prove helpful when applying the techniques to your won models. As with the previous sections there is detailed text describing the whole building and painting process to full explain everything.

Note: Verlinden have just released a detail set (#2098) which includes a complete engine and compartment and while this is for the Ausf.C the engine could be used in a project such as this as it will be more accessible.

Building “A Fine Day Out” diorama; Pages 66 to 76
Skill level; Intermediate
This is a section describing the construction of a small diorama base for the 251/9 and a Tamiya Kubelwagen and three figures. While not having much to do with the 251 it has step by step photos of building the base, adding groundwork and painting the base and figures which again could provide some useful tips.

The final few pages list some books, websites and museums that can provide useful information and reference on the 251 series of vehicles as well as a full list of available kits and accessories for the 251s and yes the AFV Club kits are listed which makes their absence in the book even more notable, and finally there are some paint chips than can be used in matching the colours for the models but these should be used a guides only as there are many reasons why the shades will vary.

While the book has many useful construction and painting tips for mine it is dated and incomplete due to the absence of any AFV Club 251 models, the inclusion of at leased one of these models would have given a more balanced coverage and as mentioned the first AFV Club kit (#35068 251/9 Ausf.D) was released some six months before the first Dragon kit included in the book so this omission is puzzling?
It also overlooks some of the basic errors in the kits used such as the drive sprocket teeth on the Dragon kit and engine bay doors on the Tamiya kits which you would have thought would be addressed given the other details added to the kits?

Overall thought the book will provide a good reference and guide to building the models if you want some juicy projects to get into.


Page created 4 November 2004

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