Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf.D
Vol.8 Upper armour-late
ABER 1:35 Set #35 210
Review by Terry Ashley

AFV Club


This eight update set in the 251 series from ABER is again designed for any of the applicable AFV Club Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf.D kits and is very similar to set #35 207 in providing the entire upper hull in thicker etched metal but with the later engine compartment with the single rear opening engine access door and the smaller side opening hatch in front of this plus the smaller hull details as before.

Much of the review below is similar to that for set #35 207 with amended comments for the later style engine compartment included.

The Set:

There are two larger frets (90mm x 80mm) and a smaller fret 95mm x 25mm in thinner metal than the larger frets in the set with the quality of the etched being the usual excellent standard from ABER with fine engraved detail, clean etching and the usual engraved bending lines which are quite substantial on the thicker parts.

You will need an etched metal bending tool for this set and soldering is really the only realistic method of assembly on the larger hull parts due to the stresses and flexing of the hull parts during assembly and handling and cyanoacrylate would simply fall apart under those conditions. This means some experience working with etched parts and soldering techniques will come in handy in assembling the set.

The hull is broken down into three parts, the front engine compartment, central superstructure and real upper hull sides joined with the rear compartment top panel and bending these to shape is really quite straightforward.

Added to the engine compartment is the single engine bay door with the inner opening lip also a separate part that is fitted from under the hull and the door has separate hinges that can be made workable with very little effort due to the design on the hinges. The smaller side opening hatch at the front has an inner frame as a separate part and the hatch hinges are also workable allowing this to be shown open if adding the radiator inside.

The smaller latch details are also provided for the doors and the fine engraved screws have very nice definition as does the detail on the hinge attachment brackets.

On the superstructure are the two standard visor covers in flat etched parts that have a series of complex bends that will need care as the metal is quite thick and there isn’t much metal to get hold of while bending but the assembled visor looks very good with an open vision slot. The small gaps remaining after assembly can be filled with solder and filed smooth and the visors can be assembled open or closed using the kit inner visor parts.


The hull sides have a simple bend at the rear and there are the numerous small fittings along the sides and the bolted flanges on the rear hull section to add the finer details. You are provided an etched template to make the inner hull side equipment attachment panel from thin plastic card which is a good idea as you can then glue the inner equipment in place like a normal kit.

The internal bolted hull flanges are also provided in two parts each sandwiched together to form the flanges which have the correct profile at the bend and each flange has the bolts included on small stalks which are designed to be bent around to the front of the flanges. But this leaves the stems exposed and doesn’t look good at all and cutting off the bolts and adding them individually after the flanges are attached to the hull is a better solution.


There are also about 100 separate small bolt heads provided to use as required about the model and also a set of spanners with nice embossed details to add life to any diorama setting.


Assembling the set is again really not that difficult really as the parts are large with fairly simple angles and as mentioned previous experience would be helpful but given there are only a few main parts involved the set can be used as a project to gain that experience for anyone wanting a different challenge.

There was one issue with the frame for the small front engine compartment hatch as this requires the side and front flanges be bent to shape but due to the quite thick metal and very thin edges it was very difficult to get a grip of the part to bend the edges without distortion even using the available etched bending tools. Bending this one part probably took as long as the bending the three hull parts but eventually got it done.


The important thing is to get the central superstructure angles correct otherwise there will be problems when you come to join the other sections together and the joins of the side and front plate must be exact and there are small ridges on each mating surface to help locate these correctly.


The internal hull flanges are designed to join the central superstructure and the rear hull sides together just like the real thing and again there are ridges on the parts to locate the flanges.

Firstly solder the flanges to the superstructure and then solder the hull sides to the flange, sound complicated but it actually worked really well and the two sections joined together with a perfect fit, but a quick run over with a fine file will smooth out any minor issues.


Joining the engine compartment to the superstructure is the most challenging aspect of the set and to help there is a small locating ridge along the rear of the engine compartment part and an indentation on the front of the visor panel that helps locate them correctly and it’s important obviously the get the angle of the superstructure and engine compartment correct.

If you assembled the superstructure correctly the engine compartment seems to just “sit” at the correct angle and joining initially with a small spot solder to check the alignment and when okay solder the remaining joins. Do all the soldering on the inside and you won’t have any mess to clean up on the outside joins and using the kit hull as a guide will help in getting the angles correct.

Use a fine file to clean up any minor join issues but the fit was good on my parts requiring little cleanup but again this will depend on the initial assembly of the superstructure so again take care with this.

With the upper hull assembled comes the mating of the metal hull to the plastic lower kit hull and due to the thinner hull sides you have to add a shim of plastic card (about .8mm) along the top of the hull sides to compensate for the thicker plastic parts no longer used and some trial and error may be needed to get the correct fit here.

The fit at the front of the hull was actually very good given the potential for problems with just a small gap initially between the front of the metal hull and the front hull plate (kit part D7) but this will be reduced when pulling the parts together for final gluing using thicker cyanoacrylate for a stronger bond.

Obviously the fit to the lower hull depends on your work along the way and some trimming or filling may be needed depending on how well this assembly went but taking care along way, checking the angles often should keep any problems to a minimum.

As an alternative you can just use the later engine compartment without the metal superstructure or rear hull sides to convert any of the AFV Club kits by cutting off the kit engine compartment and joining the metal compartment to the plastic superstructure, this will also negate the need to add the rear hull spacers as you add the plastic rear hull sides as normal.

To fit the metal engine compartment to the plastic superstructure I added small sections of plastic strip to the insides of the metal part and this allows you to glue this to the superstructure using normal plastic cement with the top of the engine compartment fitting neatly under the driver’s visor plate.

The fit of the metal engine compartment to the lower hull was very good and I didn’t need any trimming which makes this option an easy conversion but again this depends on the care taken fitting the metal engine compartment to the plastic superstructure.

The AFV Club 251/22 (kit #AF35083) with just the metal engine compartment used after cutting off the
front of the plastic hull showing the good fit but some minor trimming may be needed.


Again the first question probably asked is why is the full upper hull in metal actually needed when the kit hull looks okay to begin with, which is not a bad question.

The same answer applies as it’s probably up to the individual really as it will take a bit of work to assemble the hull but the metal parts do have a more scale look and the working hinges on the engine bay doors will come in handy if you are including an engine with your model.

One small point with the metal engine compartment is there are no weld seams on the side joins as there are with the plastic parts and adding these will give a better look overall.

The assembled metal hull certainly has a more robust feel about it and the fit to the plastic hull was very good overall given the problems that can arise using these two mediums.

Just using the later engine compartment to convert the kit is an easier option for those wanting to build the later hull type and this adds more appeal to this set than the standard hull as it offers an actual alternative to the kit parts.

But as mentioned it’s really up to you if this set is for you but I found it a worthwhile exercise to hone the soldering and etched metal skills and is something different from the usual plastic or resin kits.

Recommended for conversion to the later hull type. 8/10.

The Sd.Kfz.251 Subject Page lists reviews of other kits, update sets and accessories for the 251 series.

Etched Frets and Intructions:

Rear hull section bent to shape
Click on thumbnails for larger view
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ABER will be releasing 8 sets altogether for the AFV Club Sd.Kfz.251 Ausf.D and additional reviews will be posted as these sets become available.

They are:
Set #35 203 Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf.D Vol.1 Basic Set
Set #35 204 Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf.D Vol.2 Fenders
Set #35 205 Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf.D Vol.3 Side Stowage boxes
Set #35 206 Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf.D Vol.4 Front armour with vision ports & back doors
Set #35 207 Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf.D Vol.5 Upper armour standard
Set #35 208 Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf.D Vol.6 Floor
Set #35 209 Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf.D Vol.7 Back seats& boxes
Set #35 210 Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf.D Vol.8 Upper armour late (this set)

Thanks to ABER for the sample set.
AirconnectionAir Connection carry the full range of ABER update and barrels sets.

Page created April 14, 2007