SdKfz. 251/9 Ausf. C “Stummel”
Kit Number: 35251
Manufacturer: AFV Club
Kit provided by AFV Club
The Sd.Kfz. 251 half-track was a German AFV designed and first built by the Hanomag Company during World War II, and based on their earlier, unarmored Sd.Kfz. 11. This fully armored half-track was designed to transport the panzergrenadiers of the mechanized infantry corps into battle. Sd.Kfz. 251s were the most widely produced German half-tracks of the war, with at least 15,252 vehicles and variants produced by various manufacturers, and were commonly referred to as "Hanomags" by both German and Allied soldiers.
There were four main model modifications, A through D, which formed the basis for at least 22 variants. The initial idea was for a vehicle that could be used to transport a single squad of panzergrenadiers to the battlefield protected from enemy small arms fire, and with some protection from artillery fire. In addition, the standard mounting of at least one MG 34 or MG 42 machine gun allowed the vehicle to provide support by fire for the infantry squad once they had disembarked in battle. The open top nature of the 251 series provided both advantages and disadvantages in combat. The vehicles versatility, coupled with its durability made it an important part of the German arsenal. The 251/9 variant mounted the short barrel 75mm low velocity gun that had been found on early Panzer IV tanks and Stug III SPG’s. While it made for cramped conditions in the fighting compartment, the version was popular but, like the 251 in general, there were never enough vehicles to meet the needs of the Wehrmacht and SS.
AFV Club generated a great deal of buzz in the early and mid 2000's by producing exceptional kits on the SdKfz. 251 in a wide array of variants and combo offerings. At the time of release the kits were seen as the best examples of the 251 available to modelers. Recently AFV club decided to release a variant that has not been seen to this point with the SdKfz 251/9 C. The more widely known D variants of the “Stummel” have been around but this kit fills in one of the last gaps in the 251 catalog.
Upon examination of the box contents you will find an instruction booklet presented on high gloss paper with black / white and color renderings,
13 sprues in tan plastic,
the upper hull and fenders,
a small photo etch fret, a decal sheet covering 4 vehicles, rubber band track,
an aluminum barrel for the gun,
and an 8x10 color print of the box art.
The sprues are showing their age a bit. The detail of the tools/tool clasps, stowage box latches and grab handles on the hull are the most obvious examples. All but two come from several of the previously released versions of the 251. 2 Sprues are new. The two small sprues added for this kit cover the gun and gun mount. You will find large ejector pins and minor ejection holes throughout but nothing that has any negative impact on the kit or the build. There is a small bit of flash on several of the sprues, but again this is not an issue. A bit of sanding and/or filling is all that is needed.
Before starting I reviewed the instructions and made notes. Open top vehicles in general and the 251’s in particular offer challenges not found with many AFV models. The open top fighting compartment and interleave road wheels are the two major areas that will require thought and planning regarding construction and painting. With my notes and sequence written and laid out I went to work.
The build begins with focus on the lower front end of the vehicle. The armor plates surrounding the engine go in along with items for the front bumper.
The lower side hull parts are added along with the mount for the idler wheels and the rear tow hook.
you are directed to drill holes in the floor of the fighting compartment. These are to mount the driver seat in a later step. Hold off on this. First, the driver seat is too far back if using these holes. Second, AFV Club provides a new seat for this model. Throw it away and use one of the seats provided on sprue TA. The new seat does not depict the seat used in the 251. I am not sure why AFV Club used a new seat as the older ones look great and fit properly.
Moving to step 2, I built up the front tires, drive sprockets and 8 sets of road wheels. Once done I set everything aside to be painted.
Steps 3 through 6
The main focus of the next few steps is the suspension of the vehicle. The front axle is built up and added to the hull along with linkage and control bars. The bottom armor plate and small rear plate are attached at this time as well. You are directed to add the front tires. I hold them off until after painting.
With the front end suspension completed you move to the tracked portion of the suspension. Drive sprocket housings, idler mounts and blocks for the torsion bars go on to the hull.
Then add the arms that hold the road wheels.
The instructions direct you to add road wheels and drive sprockets. I hold them off. The interleaved nature of the 251’s suspension makes painting difficult. I know folks that will build up the road wheels and paint everything at the end. I prefer to leave them off.
Steps 7 & 8
These steps feature the build up and detailing of the drivers and fighting compartments. Hand and foot controls go in as well as the aforementioned driver seat, the front fire wall/dashboard, stowage boxes and small arms get attached around the vehicle. The radio is mounted on the left side of the fighting compartment. I added wiring and headphones to the radio. I generally do not add much additional stowage or upgrades’ when doing reviews but the 251 just begs for added items. I had a very nice Verlinden set and went about painting these items at this point. I will discuss the added stowage later in the build.
Steps 9, 10 & 13
The upper hull is up next. Side and front facing vision ports, the opening for the main gun and structural braces get attached in steps 9 and 10. Part DD 3 represents the modified horizontal plate for the gun. The fit on either side needs a bit of help in the form of some putty to fill the gaps on ether side where the plate meets the left and right sides of the upper hull.
The instructions tell you to attach the upper and lower hull at this point. I have found that to do this would make painting and detailing the interior extremely difficult. I move over to step 13 to finish up work on the upper hull. This involves attaching the stowage bins, engine access doors, radiator cap and front plate.
The photo above depict the incorrect placement of the radio and stowage bin. I had to move the radio to get the left stowage bin into its correct position. Test fitting the radio and stowage bin and finding the correct positions before hand will save some time and frustration. I taped the upper and lower hull segments together to ascertain the correct placement of these two items.
Steps 11 & 12
The rear access doors are built up in steps 10 and 11. The doors are designed to open. The construction is straight forward. When completed I set this sub assembly aside for painting.
Steps 14 through 22
The short barrel 75 mm gun and its platform go together in the following steps. The gun is built up by adding more detail to it through step 18.
The platform is assembled and the seat and ammo stowage cabinet are attached.
I test fit the gun mount platform on the lower hull.
The gun is then placed on the mount. You do not need to glue the gun down. Also you can attach the gun even after the upper and lower hull sections are connected.
I then attached the platform to the lower hull.
At this point it was time to paint and detail the interior of the 251. I shot everything I had built up to his point in Vallejo Dark panzer grey as a primer. Next I used Vallejo panzer gray as my base coat.
When dry I set about painting all the detail items in the compartment and on the gun.
I added some archer transfers for the gauges, wired up the radio and began to add the stowage from the verlinden set.
The radio antenna mast was glued to the upper hull and wired during this time.
A application of clear flat was used and I then went about weathering the interior with some pigments to give a bit of a dirty, lived in look.
With the interior done it was time to button everything up. I attached the rear plate with the doors to the hull and then glued the upper and lower hull pieces. The fit was a bit off with a significant overhang between the upper and lower hull being apparent. I filled the seam with Tamiya putty and sanded everything smooth once the putty was dry.
I was now ready to move on to the last 3 steps of the build.
Steps 23 through 26
I first built up the fenders. I added the stowage boxes and tools as indicated.The fenders were then attached to the hull. AFV Club does a great job with the mounting points all around the kit but as you can see the detail on the tools and stowage boxes is a bit dated.
Louvers were attached over the air intakes. Before you add the louvers attach parts C43 and C44. The louvers go over these items and while you can attach them after the louvers are installed I do not recommend it. The last few details, such as rear mounted mg34 and head lights are attached. The antenna was taken from my spares box. The Germans used a rigid antenna that telescoped from bottom to top. The instructions call for stretching sprue to to make the antenna. This
technique is better suitedto creating the whip antennas found on allied vehicles. The width indicators were a bit thick and lacked detail so I replaced them with items I had picked up somewhere in my travels. With these details sorted out the build was complete.
The vehicle I am doing represents a 251/9 C on the eastern front during the winter of 1942/43. I applied the same primer as the interior, Vallejo dark panzer grey. I then took German Panzer grey and added a light coat over the primer. Flat white was added to lay down the white wash base coat.
With the white wash in place I began the weathering process. I used different shades of German Grey and dry brushed areas of wear. I worked around the vehicle several times creating streak and chip as well as wear. I broke out some AK weathering products and added streaks to the upper hull/hood areas. The lower hull/ undercarriage and wheels were painted in a dark earth color. I mixed up a batch of mud, applying over the lower areas of the vehicle. Different earth tone shades of pigment and weathering wash were added for depth. The tools and other exterior stowage was given a once and twice over.
The tracks provided by the kit are the old school rubber band vinyl type and I found that what ever I tried I could not keep paint from flaking off. I tried a number of different techniques suggested by friends and/or researched on the web but to no avail. I chose to use a set of Fruil tracks I had set aside for another project. They were already assembled so I worked them up and added them to the vehicle with no issue.
With the tracks in place I went about applying final touch ups and then I was done.
This was a good build and I enjoyed the challenge that open top vehicles present. The kit builds into a very nice example of a 251C/9 and the subject is a needed addition to the 251 stable. The kit does show its age. There is a level of detail that is found in newer kits that was not able to be produced when the majority of the sprues in this kit were created. The modeler can choose to build this kit OOB and the outcome will be pretty nice. Those wishing to add detail can certainly find what you need in your spares box. Either way this kit is a good addition to any 251 collection.
Pros: Needed addition to the 251 line.
Fit is very good.
Cons: Detail. The kit shows its age.
Recommendation: Recommended to German armor fans
Thanks go out to the AFV Club for this review sample.
Review by: Henry Milton