Home > Reviews > Small Scale > Dragon Sd.Kfz.251 Ausf.C (7223)


Dragon Sd.Kfz.251 Ausf.C (7223)

by Frank De Sisto

1/72-scale styrene/multimedia kit. Contains: 127 styrene plastic parts, five photo-etched brass parts, one metal rod, two DS-100 parts, seven decal marking schemes and eight pages of instructions in seven steps.

Anybody who has been paying attention knows that after a long dormant period, small-scale AFV modeling has taken off like a rocket. Likewise, anyone involved in the hobby of AFV modeling in general, knows that DML has decided that it will go to great lengths to produce extraordinarily detailed kits, both in 1/35th and the smaller 1/72nd-scales.

So, in conjunction with their large-scale brethren, DML has begun to release a series of Sd.Kfz.251 kits in 1/72nd-scale. The first is the “plain vanilla” ‘251/1, based on the Ausf.C chassis. As such, this kit has details in its interior tailored for the standard troop-carrying version. This includes a very nicely detailed driver’s cockpit, including instrument panel, separate controls and steering wheel (only the foot pedals are molded on to the deck), nicely detailed seats, two-position vision blocks with internal detail, a radio, head pads and various stowage items. Note also that the shape of the firewall, on the driver’s side is correctly angled and the spurious water tank seen in some of the large renditions of this vehicle (used only on the /8 Krankenpanzerwagen) is absent. The troop compartment features rifles and their racks, bench seats with locker details beneath them, MP40 and ammo racks, fire extinguishers, and two-position rear doors complete with nicely represented hinges. The rod mounted along the upper edge of the troop compartment is molded on to the superstructure top part, while the internal mounting plate for stowage and fittings is represented by a slightly raised area integral with the main part.

External details include the shielded forward MG34 (with choice of etched or styrene shield), rear-mounted AA MG34, tools, various light fittings, fender-mounted storage lockers, antenna base featuring a metal rod for the antenna, width indicator poles and turn signal indicators. The fenders are one-piece affairs with part of the exhaust system molded in situ on the port side. They feature fine rivet detail where appropriate. The engine access doors are separate parts. A pair of nicely-rendered jerry cans, in racks, is provided for use on the two rear doors. They are produced using slide molds, so have nicely-represented handles with full undercutting for maximum visual accuracy.

The hull belly and lower superstructure side panels are molded in one piece, including the suspension swing arms. This will allow not only for ease of assembly, but also (along with another innovation soon to be described) will ensure that the basic parts of the hull, as well as the road wheels themselves will be perfectly aligned. To further the cause, the road wheels themselves are very cleverly molded. For instance, the inner and part of the center sets of overlapping wheels are molded as one complete piece for each side. To them are then attached the outer center road wheels, which are also molded as one complete piece. Finally, individually-molded outer road wheels are attached (featuring nice spot-weld detail around the rims). Again, this considerably eases the alignment of many parts. In this scale especially, if the road wheels are only slightly misaligned they will be noticed. To this assembly is attached the DS-100 soft styrene tracks, which can be fixed using standard styrene cements. The front wheels have detail on both sides of the hub, while the steering axle is a multi-part affair that includes the link from it to the steering column.

I checked the fit of the main components and everything seemed fine. However I did not assemble the entire kit, so those who expect this to be a full-build review may be disappointed. Overall, the detail of the parts is quite fine and molding is delicate and crisp. Accuracy-wise, I cannot say if the dimensions are correct or not as I have no 1/72nd-scale plans to compare the kit to. It should be noted that the upper superstructure does not overlap the lower superstructure plates where they join and that the teeth on the drive sprockets are centered on each rim segment, rather than off-set forward. In this scale, the latter may not be an issue with most modelers; but the former may be. On the other hand, public feed-back regarding the same issues on the larger-scale versions of this kit have been extant for enough time that DML should have probably known about them.

The decal sheet contains markings for seven specific vehicles. Three are for the Grossdeutschland Division, two are for the 4.Panzer-Division, and one is for the Panzer-Lehr-Division. The seventh is described as “unknown unit eastern Front 1943”. The markings shown (“pregnant” letter “D” with a horizontal stroke across the center) are actually for the 21.Panzer-Division in North Africa. The decals are manufactured by Cartograf of Italy and are cleanly printed with excellent color saturation and registration. The sheets also include extra Tac numbers as well as license plates that feature separate numerals as well as “WH” and “SS” prefixes, enabling the modeler to mark other vehicles per references, as well as making them useful for a variety of other models.

This is only the tip of the Sd.Kfz.251 iceberg as DML have also announced Ausf.A and Ausf.D versions of this vehicle. I compared this to the decades-old ESCI kit, and there is really no comparison; this is a “new millennium” kit for certain, warts and all. So, small-scale fans of this halftrack should be quite content.


Reviewer’s note: Since May of 2005, I have been working on books for Concord Publications, a sister company to DML. The reader may wish to take this into consideration. For my part, I will attempt to maintain an objective viewpoint when writing these reviews.

DML kits are available from retail and mail order shops. For details see their web site at: www.dragonmodelsltd.com.