As I have already done a comparison of the base Sd.kfz.251 Ausf.C kits and the base 251 Ausf.C kits are the same with these kits I will refer you to that review and concentrate here on the Stuka Zu Fuss components.
The “mit Wurfrahmen 40” consisted of 6 adjustable mounting frames (Wurfrahmen) that could mount either the 28cm Wurfkoerper Spr. (HE) or 32cm Wurfkoerper F1 (napalm) Wurfkoerper (Rocket). The Wurfrahmen were made from either wood or metal with both kits providing the wooden framed boxes which appear to be more common from period photos.
For the comparison I armed myself with a couple of sets of 1:35th plans, one from the Ground Power Sd.kfz.251 Special and the other from the Wydawnictwo “Miltaria” #224 Sd.kfz.251 Vol.II. I also obtained the exact dimensions of the 28cm and 32cm rockets (thanks to Jon Bailey for the research) and was then able to cross check this data with the plans dimensions before comparing the kit parts.
What became evident was that the “1:35 Plans” in the Wydawnictwo “Miltaria” book showed the rockets and wooden boxes grossly oversized being 7.5mm too long, this highlights the fact that just because you have a set of “plans” you shouldn’t bet your house on them and the only reliable data comes from blueprints or actual measurements used in association with the plans. The plans in the Ground Power book matched the official dimensions to acceptable tolerances and both sets of plans had the mounting frames about the same size, the minor differences were again within acceptable tolerances given the printing process and other factors that can effect plan dimensions.
The actual dimensions of the rockets are as below with 1:35th sizes shown inside [ ].
28cm Wurfkoerper Spr. (HE)
Length: 1260mm [36mm] (From rear of rocket motor to tip of fuse)
Warhead Width: 280mm [8mm] (at widest point of warhead, i.e. ribs)
Rocket motor width: 158mm [4.514mm] (rearmost rocket outlets)
32cm Wurfkoerper F1 (napalm)
Length: 1300mm [37.143mm] (From rear of rocket motor to tip of fuse)
Warhead Width: 337mm [37.143mm] (at widest point of warhead, i.e. ribs)
Rocket motor width: 158mm [4.514mm] (rearmost rocket outlets)
Turning to the kit rockets we see both 28cm rockets matching the sizes perfectly with the only real difference being the better defined collar between the warhead and rocket motor of the DR rockets while both rockets have very well defined detail on the rocket motor outlets. The AFV kit also provides etched rocket motor bases but these don’t have as well defined detail as the plastic parts so would seem superfluous.
With the 32cm rockets there were some minor discrepancies which when seen together compounded the problem. The AFV rockets are slightly too big in diameter and the DR rockets slightly too small in diameter which results in the visual difference between the two being more noticeable. These differences are only very small at about 0.5mm each way and as mentioned the fact the discrepancies are the opposite way with each compounds the difference when viewing the rockets together. The AFV rockets were about .05mm longer which again is negligible and the AFV kit also have the etched rocket motor bases that don’t have as well defined detail as the plastic parts so would seem superfluous.
The main differences are the details on the rockets with the DR rockets having better defined collar detail between the warhead and rocket motor and also include the filler plug on the nose used to fill the rockets with napalm before firing with this plug not present on the AFV rockets. The AFV kit does provide stencil data for the rocket noses which the DR doesn’t but there should also be additional stencilling on the warhead body and rocket motor body. Again both kit rockets have very well defined detail on the rocket motor outlets and have the correct proportions for the warhead and rocket motor segments.
The breakdown of the rockets differed slightly between both kits but the end result was the same so isn’t really an issue but one problem is the location of the sprue gate attachment points on the two part rockets in both kits. These are situated right on the raised rib detail around the head and base of the rockets and the longer base section of the AFV kit was already twisted on all three sprues resulting in some damage to the raised rib.
If you are not careful removing the parts from the sprues further damage can occur to the raised ribs which are very difficult to deal with but didn’t seem to be as critical on the DR parts as with the AFV parts with the different design of the DR motors lessening the problem here.
As mentioned both kits provide the wooden boxes broken down differently with the AFV boxes having the top and bottom sections separate with the side connecting slats moulded with a connecting strip to keep the slats lined up during fitting and then you cut the connecting strip away once the glue is dry. This may be a little tricky and you may want to cut the connecting strip away before fitting the slats with the box assembly being quite straightforward with a very good fit of parts.
This results in the wood grain effect only being on one side with the outer edge being smooth.
The DR boxes have the top and one side moulded together in an L shape with
the two parts joined to form the box and this makes for easier assembly and
also sees the wood grain effect on both sides.
Internally both boxes have inner brackets for the rocket motors that fit easily with no discernable difference between the two in this regard but there is quite a size difference between the two boxes once assembled.
The AFV boxes have thicker slats all around with the DR slats being much thinner and results in the outside dimensions of the DR boxes being 2mm smaller in scale (width and height) than the AFV boxes which is quite a difference with the AFV boxes better matching the Ground Power plans and also when applied to the Mk.1 eyeball test against actual photos. The DR boxes are about 1mm longer than the AFV boxes but as it’s quite possible the dimensions of the actual boxes differed this isn’t worth bothering with.
The rear box motor supports were in plastic on both kits with the DR kit providing etched alternatives which gave a better scale appearance.
Fitting the rockets into the boxes showed some issues, firstly both the 28cm and 32cm DR rockets fitting perfectly inside the boxes with additional inner brackets attached for the smaller 28cm rockets and no trimming was needed for these.
The AFV rockets on the other hand required the ribs of the 32cm rockets be sanded slightly to fit inside the boxes, we are taking a very small amount which still left the rib detail intact while there was no internal bracket for the 28cm rockets and these flopped about inside the boxes requiring you to add inner brackets from plastic card for a better fit. Also the AFV 32cm rocket fuses protruded slightly outside the boxes but these should be within the boxes and this may be as a result of the rockets being slightly longer than the DR rockets and the AFV boxes being slightly shorter but by thinning the rear motor support brackets they will fit inside the box dimensions.
The three large mounting plates on each side are slightly different in size with the DR plates being 1mm wider but the same height as the AFV plates and as both differ slightly against the plans this is not really an issue. The movable outer mounting plate is in thicker etched metal on the AFV kit and in plastic in the DR kit with this being moulded thicker with bevelled edges for a thinner appearance but does result in the DR plates sitting off the main mounting plates while the AFV fit is flusher.
The curved elevation notches have engraved “notch” detail on the AFV part while they are smooth on the DR part and this gives a little more definition on the AFV part as well as the AFV fitting being more accurately sized with the DR detail being a little short.
Both kits offer folding box supports with the AFV kit having movable supports that attach to fine brackets while the DR kit has two sets of brackets, one in the up and the other in the down position to use as required. This results in simpler assembly with the DR brackets and there are additional smaller detail fittings with the AFV brackets that while take a bit more assembly result in better detail definition of the AFV supports.
These frames are markedly thinner in the DR kit with the thicker AFV frames better matching the plans and the Mk.1 eyeball test against photos and also result in more robust assemblies with the DR frames being very delicate.
There are minor mould seam lines to be removed from both kit frames and as mentioned the larger sized AFV frames make for easier assembly with both kits having small pins and locating holes to make aligning the frame segments easier. There is an inner support frame behind the mounting plates that are not included on the DR kit while it is on the AFV kit but this may not be seen on the final assembly?
Both assembled frames fit their respective kit hulls nicely allowing these to be added or removed at any time as per the real things.
At the front both kits give you fine etched sighting vanes with the AFV also having these in plastic if you prefer but these lacks the fine definition of the etched parts. Care is needed with the etched vanes as they are very fragile and it may be an idea to leave these off until all assembly and fainting in finished.
There are a number of errors with the AFV instructions that could confuse matters with the incorrect number sequence showing when assembling the mounting brackets so for sequence Q in step 22 read O and for sequence R in step 23 read P. Sequence Q and R are for the seat backrests in step 16. Also in step 22 part N10 should read N16 and for the middle frame parts N3 are not shown but should be attached as per the two end brackets.
The DR instructions are a little confusing when assembling the frames as all you get is one view of the fully assembled frames with a lot of numbers and fine lines going everywhere and careful study will be needed. In particular watch the support brackets (V7, V8) on the front and rear brackets as they are different lengths and if transposed will mean the brackets won’t fit the hull properly.
Markings are included in each kit for three vehicles;
Of course the other difference between the kits is the additional option
in the DR kit for the Sd.Kfz.251/10 3.7cm Pak with its nice metal barrel
and gun shield
Again we have a mixed bag with both kits having some details more accurate then the other and visa versa such as the AFV frames and boxes better matching plans and photos while the DR rockets have better defined details. The inclusion of the etched mounting brackets in the AFV kit adds definition as does the etched base frames in the DR kit. But overall the AFV kit would come out slightly ahead on points when looking at the Stuka zu Fuss on its own given the better proportioned frames and boxes with the missing detail on the rockets quite easily added.
The final decision is really up to the individual and if your were thinking
going the cross kitting route to take advantage of the best of both then
the DR 32cm rockets will fit the AFV boxes
with only minor lateral movement but the AFV 32cm rockets
won’t fit the DR boxes.
The AFV support frames would need minor trimming to fit the DR hull as the top opening is slightly less than on the AFV kit and as mentioned there is the 3.7cm Pak option in the DR kit.
Ground Power Special
GALILEO Publishing Co.,Ltd
Sd Kfz 251
Tank Power Vol.X
Wydawnictwo Militaria No.224
Schutzenpanzer (Armored Personnel Carrier)
Sd.Kfz.251 1939 to 1942
Panzer Tracts No.15-2
Covers /1 to /10
Osprey New Vanguard 25
SdKfz251 in action
Squadron Signal #2021
Page created December 4, 2005