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1/35 Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf.A

James H

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1/35 Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf.A

Catalogue # 35101



The Sd.Kfz. 251 (Sonderkraftfahrzeug 251) half-track was a WW2 German armoured fighting vehicle designed by the Hanomag company, based on its earlier, unarmoured Sd.Kfz. 11 vehicle. The Sd.Kfz. 251 was designed to transport the Panzergrenadiers (German mechanized infantry) 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 simply as "Hanomags" by both German and Allied soldiers. There were four main model modifications (Ausführung 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 10 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 suppressive fire for the rifle squad both while they dismounted and in combat.

The armour plates were designed to provide protection against standard rifle/ machine gun bullets (like the 7.92×57mm Mauser bullet). The front-facing plates were 14.5mm thick; the sides were steeply angled, V-shape 8mm thick plates. This level of armour provided protection against normal (non-tungsten) rifle AP round, which could pierce about 8mm of vertical armour. Positive aspects of the open top included greater situational awareness and faster egress by the infantry, as well as the ability to throw grenades and fire over the top of the fighting compartment as necessary while remaining under good horizontal cover. The downside was a major vulnerability to all types of plunging fire; this included indirect fire from mortars and field artillery, as well as small arms fire from higher elevated positions, lobbed hand grenades, even Molotov cocktails, and strafing by enemy aircraft. There were 23 official variants, and sundry unofficial variants. Each variant is identified by a suffix to the model number, however, there was some overlap in the variant numbers. The Sd.Kfz. 251/1 Schützenpanzerwagen was a standard personnel carrier, and the Ausf.A Ungepanzerte. This was made with plain steel 5mm plates instead of armour, to make up numbers due to slow initial 251 production. Around 350 made up to mid 1940.
Extract from Wikipedia


The kit
ICM’s presentation is both attractive and robust, with the lid of this box simply being a product identifier, as there is a complete, lidded corrugated box beneath it. Artwork is up to ICM’s usual high standard with an image of the Hanomag on operations in France. Small clear tape tabs hold the lid in position and when these are cut through and removed, the box below is a single-piece affair with a tabbed lid. Inside, there are FIVE light grey styrene sprues packed into a single clear sleeve, one clear sprue individually packed, and a sleeve containing black vinyl parts for the tracks and wheels. A small decal sheet is enclosed, as is the instruction manual, of course.




Construction begins with the lower hull plate and its port and bolt details. With the side panels and forward engine bulkhead attached, this assembly is then fitted to a part that comprises the fenders and crew compartment/interior. It does become clear at this stage that this particular model also has the complete interior, including engine. With the fenders loaded out with their stowage boxes, the interior assembly continues with the application of the fighting compartment sidewalls that sit up against the stowage bins, rear bulkhead into which the door will later fit, and armoured engine sump panel etc. 





Underneath the Hanomag, a lot of detail has been incorporated into the forward wheels assembly with the leaf-spring suspension bar and axle, plus the drive pinions. A really nice touch here is that the front of the Hanomag has a lower armoured plate with a maintenance panel that can be displayed in an open position, so you can create a detail diorama and show off all the effort within.





The Maybach HL 42 6-cylinder petrol engine is next to be constructed, comprising of around 20 parts, and this will build up into a more than reasonable reproduction of the real thing, complete with fan belts, authentic crank case and block, magnetos and carburettors, etc. 





The drivers compartment has a forward bulkhead with blank gauge faces into which the decal instrumentation will affix. The fighting compartment is festooned with equipment such as blankets, ammunition canisters and boxes, weapons, jerrycans etc.







ICM has moulded the upper hull with the various vision ports as separate parts, for both the driver and soldiers in the fighting compartment. Whilst the instructions show these as being closed, it looks easy enough to pose them in a lifted position. The two-piece engine access doors are also separate, as are the engine side panel access positions. Again, a dream for those who wish to finish their model in a diorama, or simply as a study of a vehicle with detailed interior. Internally, the upper hull is also very detailed, with the vision port mechanisms, rifles, battery and radio set etc. The rear doors are provided as separate parts, and although shown closed, I’m pretty sure you could model these in an open position without too much effort.






Two identical sprues are supplied for the drive and road wheels, with other parts included for the fighting compartment benches, ammunition, weapons and those vision port mechanisms, but to name a few.


Black vinyl tracks are included, as are the front drive wheels. Like vinyl, or loathe it, these are very nicely moulded and should look very good when fitted. If you hate making up track links, like me, then I’m more than happy with this for a vehicle such as the 251.






A small sheet contains the various licence plates, national markings and instruments for the driver’s compartment. I think these are printed by ICM too, with everything being suitable thin, with opaque colour, minimal carrier film and perfect registration. The four schemes supplied are:

  • Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf.A, 1.Pz.D., France, May 1940
  • Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf.A, 2.Pz.D., Greece, May 1941
  • Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf.A, 1.Pz.D., Russia, July 1941
  • Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf.A, 1.Pz.D., Russia, November 1941

These are provided by means of a 28-page A4-size manual, with some colour artwork and history printed on the cover. A paint guide is also supplied here for Revell and Tamiya colours. Inside the manual, a parts map is supplied with unused parts shaded out. Construction itself takes place over 103 stages, using clear and uncomplicated line drawings, sans shading. The last two pages contain the four schemes, albeit almost identical except for the licence plates. One machine also has a radio mast fitted. 









A superbly detailed model with a very respectful parts count, despite the tracks being vinyl. All areas of the 251 have been faithfully recreated and provide the modeller with many options that a kit from this particular price range would not normally cater to.  Whilst I have a Dragon kit in stash, it certainly cost far more than this release, and most definitely a whole lot more. Despite the detail therein, this shouldn’t be tool challenging a project and will prove to be an ideal candidate for armour modellers ranging from newcomer to those who require that little extra. A superb kit!

My sincere thanks to ICM for providing this kit for review on Large Scale Modeller. 








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Thank you Jim...

An important release of the early Medium SPW. Thanks to a multitude of kits already on the market from mostly Dragon and AFV, there's a whole suite of aftermarket available for the basic '251, from wheels (to replace those tyres) and running gear to stowage equipment and a variety of small arms to add that extra finesse. 

A definite must-have for the Heer Halftrack fan.

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