Vehicles such as the Sd.Kfz. 234/1 and Sd.Kfz. 251/17 Ausf D (among others) filled an essential role on the battlefield. As the German air supremacy dwindled, and the enemy ground attack planes started to dominate the skies, the German Armed Forces needed vehicles that were suitable platforms for anti-aircraft guns to accompany infantry and armor. Both of the above mentioned vehicles used the same “Schwebelafette” gun-mount, which was compact and easy to install. The gun used on this mount was the widely used and successful 2 cm KwK 30 L/55, making logistics simpler. The modification of existing vehicles was easy to perform even in field vehicle repair depots, as it did not require extensive modification of the hull itself. The front benches were removed, two ammo racks installed on the sides, and the pedestal mount was bolted on the floor of the fighting compartment behind the driver. The gun was enclosed in a small armored turret could traverse 360 degrees, and could engage ground targets as well as enemy aircraft.
What you get: this is a simple conversion set for two types of vehicle using the “Schwebelafette” gun-mount: the Sd.Kfz. 234/1 and Sd.Kfz. 251/17 Ausf D.
The parts are in a ziplock bag stapled to the instruction sheet.
Number: 9. The casting is generally very fine; the detail on the mount and the gun are very well defined. The gun shield is made of resin and has the two grab handles already molded on it; however it has some casting imperfections. In my sample there was a bubble inside the resin (not sure if it will be visible once painted; might be just under the surface), and the shield’s surface is not completely flat. This can be easily remedied with some careful sanding and filling. It would be probably be better if it was made out of PE instead in terms of scale thickness as well. The supplied brass barrel is very good quality. There is also a Sd.Kfz. 234/1 specific part included, the armored shield around the open top of the vehicle.
The instruction sheet has three color photos of the assembled and primed gun-mount. Since there are only nine parts, seven of which make up the gun with the mount, it’s not very difficult to figure out what goes where. You will need to build the simple metal frame which supports the gun and the seats for the gunners from plastic rods and wires as indicated by the photos. The instructions show a very simplified frame, so if you want to build something more realistic, some detailed references will come handy. You won’t find details on how to modify the interior of the vehicle itself, either. Photos and drawings are available online, which are very helpful during the build.
The biggest problem of the kit is the ammo rack: there’s only one included, and you would need two for the 251/17 version. You can either scratchbuild one, or make a copy. Since I lack these capabilities, I just left it alone. One corner of the ammunition cartridges are supposed to be sticking out of the rack, but the whole face of the rack was molded as a flat surface. (In this scale it probably makes little difference.) The rack is also very thick, but this can be fixed with a generous amount of sanding. (Keeping in mind that resin powder is toxic, and using wet sanding methods, of course.) Another small item missing is the gun-sight.
I have built a number of 1/72 251’s available from different companies (Hasegawa, Revell, DML and Italeri), and I have to say the DML offering beats any and all. This conversion is marketed for the Hasegawa kit, but as you can see from the photos, I modified the interior of a DML 251/D. Beside the amazing level of detail the DML kit has the advantage of not having the space for the benches already marked on the floor, so they can be omitted without leaving any mark. The modification is quite simple (cutting the benches in half), and the gun literally just drops into place. The assembly of the gun itself is fairly simple. The gunshield and the base are joined by the gunmount itself (small part on the first photo). The gun fits into the hole on the shield, and after it’s attached, the metal frame can be constructed using plastic rods or metal wires. The seats are the last things to be attached as they are fixed to the frame, and it’s done. You’ll have to remove the molded-on details from the side of the chassis, and glue the ammo rack in place. Painting and weathering is probably better done before the gun is glued in place.
Highs: Details, unique version.Lows: Only one ammo rack, missing gun sight, some casting imperfections and no clear instructions about the interior of the vehicles.Verdict: Very nice and easy set for a quick conversion of two different vehicles.
I am a biologist by trade, and as a hobby I've been building scale models for the last twenty years. Recently I started to write reviews of the models I bought. These reviews are written from the point of view of an average model builder; hence the focus is on quality of the model, how easy it is to...