Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Armourfast: 20mm SDKFZ 251/1

Hi, I just finished the review of the 20mm plastic boxed set of Armourfast and was really surprised about the good quality of these as they are often discussed as model vehicles with poor details. For those unaware of who Armourfast is here's a small sunmary: 

We have been established for over 20 years and our aim is to create a range of military 1/72 models that is affordable, accurate and varied enough to engage the seasoned modeller and wargamer as well as encourage the novices. Our range includes miltary models from the US, British, German and Russian military.

History of the SDKFZ 251/1

The Sdkfz 251 Half track was the primary armoured personnel carrier of the German army during World War II. It served on all fronts from the pre-war years of 1938 all the way until 1945. Its light armour offered protection from light fire arms and from artillery shell fragments and its speed allowed the infantry to keep pace with the panzers during attacks.

While the original goal was for infantry to dismount during an attack either from the rear door or over the sides of the half track, many Panzer grenadiers used the 251 as a mobile firing platform and shot over the side walls of the passenger compartment. While the driver’s compartment featured top cover and armoured vision slits, the passenger compartment was open topped and generally a miserable place to be during inclement weather. Tarps were often times draped over the passenger compartment to offer some protection from rain and snow. 

During the course of the 251's operational life, the model saw many modifications and improvements. The sharply angled nose plate over the engine was simplified, the front machine gun mounting was given an armoured shield to protect the gunner, extra machine guns were added and the model variants were fitted with all types of weapons including rockets, flame throwers and even 75mm tank guns. All in all, over 23 variants of the 251 were introduced during the course of its over 15,000 unit production run. Even with the large production run of the 251, there were never enough to go around and many infantry units had to make due with trucks for transport.

The box

Enough talking about the history of both the model and company, let's take a look at the actual plastic boxed set! The plastic boxed sets comes in a nice and sturdy cartonboard box. The boxed set contains two hard plastic sprues which each contain enough parts to make one SDKFZ 251/1 as you can see in the picture. Each of these sprue contains around 25 parts mostly details such as added weapons and headlights as the bulk of the vehicle can be assembled using the straightforward large pieces. To my surpris the boxed set did not include any manual on how to construct the model kit but after some internet searches and using my common sense I managed to assemble this excellent world war two model kit enabling my panzergrenadiers to get to the action quick.

The assembly

Due to the amount of fragile parts and the lack of a manual, it took me a lot more then actually necessary for a fast build model kit. The vehicles come with very minor amounts of flash but can be easily trimmed with your trusty stanley knife. I must admit I like the one casted tracks and suspension as these are often a pain to put together when buying the more advanced class model kits such as Hasegawa and Fuijmi!

As you can see I forgot to clear some of the flash on the vehicle but as said it can be easily trimmed down as I now have done after taking the picture.

The conclusion

As said before this plastic boxed set is nice way to represent the armoured transport vehicles of the fierce Panzergrenadiers as they rolled through Europe causing horror among their often outflanked and outgunned enemies. The retail price of this boxed set is €12 which is around €6.00 a vehicle which is a very reasonable price considering they are very useful for your army and you don't want to spend more money on them as you prefer to buy some more armed vehicles! So where are you waiting for? 

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