This latest Sd.Kfz.251 version from AFV Club reverts back to the Ausf.C to give us the initial configuration 251/17 Ausf.C with the FlaK38 mounted in the rear hull with distinctive drop down hull side panels to give the crew working room which differed from the 251/17 Ausf.D as provided by Dragon in their Sd.Kfz. 251/17 Ausf. D w/2cm Schwebelafette (kit #6292).
This kit marks the first full kit released in co-operation with Tristar Models with the 20mm FlaK38 gun included being from their FlaK38 (kit #35010) and FlakPanzer I (kit #35019) but with a number of updated details that gives a sneak look at what to expect from the forthcoming Tristar kit of the FlaK38 Late Version (kit #35029) due soon.The kit:
The kit consists of approximately 430 parts in olive drab plastic, a small etched fret with a set of soft vinyl tracks and the decal and instruction sheets. Many of the parts such as the road wheels, suspension, seats and tracks are from the previous AFV Club 251 kits with new sprues K and Z plus of course the Tristar FlaK38 parts.
The standard of moulding is again excellent with virtually no pin marks to be seen, this is especially noticeable on the hull sides, real hull panel and doors which have details on both sides but minor pin marks where they can’t be avoided. The details included on the parts is also very good with nice bolt head details on the hull and fenders as well as nicely rendered weld seams on the forward hull/engine compartment and the excellent tread plate pattern on the interior floor panels.
The newer plastic parts do have a little more flash than the previous parts but nothing excessive or difficult to remove and the new hull side panels are moulded commendably thin without any pin marks to be seen.
The lower chassis part has the engine oil pan included on the undersides and the central hump with the tread plate pattern on the top with separate rear floor section to allow good definition.
The hull sides have the cut-outs for the drop down sides with separate flanges along the hull edges plus the underside rear hull panel as another separate part to allow the inclusion of all the bolt and panel line details.
The road wheels being from the previous kits have the same excellent details including the spot welds around the rims and on the drive sprocket the correct offset of the drive teeth while the front tyres have excellent tread pattern as well as good hub details on the wheels with the front axle having basic but adequate details that include the steering arm linkage on the left side.
On the outside of the side hull panels are the fender attachment flanges and the lower hull sides have excellent details on the axle mountings as well as recessed location of the bump stops with all the axles as separate parts which will allow you to animate the suspension if you wish?
At the back the towing hitch has been redesigned for a more refined appearance with separate retaining pin to add a little more detail back here.
This is nicely detailed with the front engine compartment bulkhead in the correct position having a separate instrument panel with engraved dials as well as separate driver’s foot pedals and gear levers with the distinctive slanted steering wheel and separate radio and rack.
The two crew seats with two part lower sections and the back rests with good cushion detail on one side and the distinctive spring pattern on the back and as mentioned no pin marks to spoil the detail.
The front driver’s panel has separate vision port covers with each internal visor having three parts each for excellent detail definition; the two side vision slits also have two part internal armoured glass housings as well as hull cut-outs for the side vision ports.
The new hull top section (part K5) is a separate part redesigned for the /17 with separate straight bullet splash guard while on the underside are the two padded head guards but the fit to the hull will require some trimming as the fit is not the best at the side joins. You are also given two nice MG34s and MG42s in the kit these are not fitted in any photos of the /17 and can be consigned to the spares box.
Moving back there are the revised crew seats and raised fighting compartment floor for mounting the FlaK38 plus the MP38 mountings on the front hull walls.
The rear doors are both separate with the large Ausf.C type hinges in three parts each and are the correct size with nice details that can be positioned in the open or closed position as you wish, while there is the fire extinguisher and ammo racks on the inner rear walls.
Added to the interior is the raised floor plate for the gun mounting and this has fine tread plate with small attachment brackets and this fits neatly inside the lower hull without any trimming required. The gun stand is a simply assembly with two part base plate and four separate stand legs that fit into locating brackets on the raised floor. But you shouldn’t fit the gun stand until after adding the gun as a round retaining ring is added from underneath to trap the gun in place on the stand before adding to the rear hull.
The upper hull is the same full length moulding as with the previous Ausf.C kits and you have to cut the side panels off at the join line behind the side vision ports which is not that difficult but it would have been nice if AFV Club did this for you?
There is a new rear hull/sidewall section to fit to the hull between the drop sides and rear hull which is easy enough to fit but there are two locating lugs on the inside join which are quite exposed due to the cut-down sides and you may want to trim these after the glue has dried for a better look. The drop down sides are in three parts each and moulded quite thin with the upper overhand lip also included and there are additional small etched tie down brackets for the hull sides.
The two small angled end sections of the drop sides fit perfectly but just watch as they are different with part 21 going at the front on the left side but at the back on the right side with the fit of the assembled drop sides into the lower hull cut-out requiring some minor trimming and test fitting will determine what is needed?
The drop sides are designed to be glued raised or lowered so you have to make a choice here with the two part support arms at each corner being fitted extended or folded accordingly. It would take a bit of work if you wanted to make the side hinges and support arms workable but maybe the inevitable etched update sets will provide parts to do this?
At the front are separate engine bay doors as well a choice of separate welded or cast armoured intake covers which gives a subtle but nice choice and a separate one piece nose plate.
The side fenders are separate parts and also have very nice bolt head and panel details with the two Ausf.C style head lights, the Notek light as well as three part upper exhaust system and separate closed fender storage boxes reduced in size for this version due to the drop sides. On the fenders you have to remove the locating ridges for the normal side storage boxes which are replaced with additional pioneer tools and the rear tail light assembly are separate parts as are the Kar98 rifle racks carried on the hull sides as there is no room inside for these.
These are the same soft vinyl tracks from the earlier kits and have quite good details for the medium, although you may want to update to one of the separate individual track sets available.
The 20mm gun is moulded separate to the gun mount with a separate shell ejection shut cover while the flash suppressor is partially hollowed out but the six muzzle brake openings are only represented by small indentations.
The actual measurements of the 20mm FlaK gun are; full length of the gun (receiver/housing and visible barrel including flash suppressor) 2252.5mm which equals 64.357mm in 1:35 scale and the visible length of the barrel with flash suppressor is 995mm being 28.429mm (rounded to 28.5mm) in 1:35 scale.
With the kit gun the overall length is correct but the barrel is about 2mm too long and the receiver correspondingly 2mm short and the easiest way of correcting this is to use one of the available correctly sized metal barrels which will also improve the flash suppressor as well.
The big improvements are the new gun mountings with the upper round bearings now separate parts with excellent details that include the round attachment points at either end of the bearing. These are fitted to the corresponding attachment brackets on the gun mountings by the use of four very small ring pins which will need extreme care when removing from the sprue and in fitting. Added to the pins are very fine etched chains provided for a nice finishing touch although the chains are a little thicker than some in after market etched sets but should look okay.
Added to this are the separate upper shield mountings that are also attached to the rear bearing join with the same ring pins for very detailed sub assemblies.
On the right mounting the inner wall half is a separate part with a small etched bracket and the sight connecting rod that fit together with very small locating pins and corresponding holes in the etched part that are trapped between the two mounting halves and allow the sight arm to move allowing the sight to move with any elevation of the gun as well as giving the correct open slit along the top of the gun mounting for excellent detail.
Also the separate perforated reinforcing bracket has been further refined with the mounting brackets now included on the mounting wall, this bracket is barely seen after assembly but does add that extra level of detail.
There are also no pin marks at all on the new gun mountings and there is a subtle ‘orange peel’ surface effect with just fine moulding seams to be removed.
The left side ammo rack is now provided as an etched part with the X stamping included and this is an improvement over the thicker plastic parts which are still included if you prefer to use these.
The round base plate has been revised with more refined tread plate and outer rim details as well as other very small bracket pins added to the mountings that again will require extreme care in handling.
The nicely represented gunner’s seat made up of four parts attached to the right side and this can be shown in the raised (transport) position or in the lowered position when the gun is in use.
The main gun sight is made up of five separate pieces and has excellent detail definition as a result but is designed to be fixed into place in accordance with the gun elevation which sort of negates the movable support arm with the revised gun mounting.
On the elevation and traverse controls the small hand wheels are separate parts as well as very small plastic star hand wheels added to the assemblies for added detail.
Again the gun shields are moulded superbly thin for plastic shields and have very subtle bolt head detail as well as absolutely no pin marks to be seen and really do look very much to scale with the upper shield provided in etched metal with the correct smaller opening seen on the /17 guns as well as the rear triangular cover and separate etched shield hinges.
The only thing really missing is the shell ejection netting basket seen on most photos of the /17 and this may be provided in aftermarket sets or you can make yourself from thin wire and mesh.
Added to the top driver’s plate is the spare 20mm barrel box taken from the Flakpanzer I kit.
The decal sheet is well printed with thin carrier film and provides markings for five vehicles from the Hermann Goering Division which was the only unit to use the Ausf.C /17 with the vehicles finished in both overall Panzer Grey and later in overall Dark Yellow with Olive Green cam scheme;
- A. Hermann Goering Division Sicily 1943 in overall Dark Yellow with wavy Olive Green cam scheme.
- B. Hermann Goering Division Sicily 1943 in overall Dark Yellow with blotchy Olive Green cam scheme.
- C. Hermann Goering Division Warsaw 1944 in overall Dark Yellow.
- D. Hermann Goering Division Autumn 1942 in overall Panzer Grey.
- E. Hermann Goering Division Autumn 1942 in overall Panzer Grey
Yes, there is white markings on the sheet
Spare barrel case
This is another excellent Sd.Kfz.251 Ausf.C kit from AFV Club with the distinctive drop sides of the /17 adding a completely different look to the vehicle. Overall the level of detail is excellent with just a few fit issues along the way and the inclusion of the excellent Tristar FlaK38 gun adds additional details to the kit.
The revised FlaK38 adds considerable detail to the gun with just the barrel length to worry about and gives a good indication what we can expect from the Tristar FlaK38 Late version to be released soon.
The Ausf.C 251/17 was also used as a command vehicle with the gun removed and a large frame antenna added while retaining the drop sides and this offers an alternate finish for the kit if you wanted an excuse to get more than one kit. And then of course there is the re-supply vehicle which again retained the drop sides with just the gun removed for yet another version.
This co-operation between AFV Club and Tristar has resulted in a nicely detailed and unusual version of the 251 family we may not have seen if not for this co-operation which at the end of the day can only be a good thing for modellers.
Highly recommended. 7.5/10The Sprues:
See the Sd.Kfz.251 Subjects page for additional reviews of 251 related kits/update sets.
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
Sd Kfz 251
Tank Power Vol.VI
Wydawnictwo Militaria No.215
is distributed in Australia by J.B.Wholesalers