Building Dragon's Sd.Kfz. 250/8 NEU 7.5cm KwK37(L/24) "STUMMEL" Part I
By Ray Mehlberger
This vehicle has been neglected by model manufacturers for a long time. Now we have 2 different kits of it: the earlier Sd.Kfz. 250/1 "NEU" (or NEW) and the latest kit of the 250/8 "STUMMEL" (means STUMP or STUB because of it's short-barreled weapon. I am elated that these 2 new kits are out now.
The 250 series of half-tracks was based on the earlier Demag D7, 5 ton half-track and it used the same suspension and almost the same front end.
The earlier design was simplified in 1943 by replacing the original 19 armored plates with a lesser 9. These were then shipped to Panzer Grenadier Divisions and Panzer recon units. They were seen on all fronts from 1944 until the war's end.
The "Neu" was manufactured in a large number of variants. In wartime pictures of crews standing next to it, it looks rather small. With more than three crew members it would definitely be crowded inside.
The kit composed of 388 parts. Two of the parts are nylon screen for the engine air intakes. Five of the parts are for the driver figure. A further 160 parts make up the individual track links. Parts are molded in a medium gray color plastic. Some parts are blued out on the instruction sheet's parts diagrams so as not to be used. They are mostly M.G. mounts that are used in the earlier DML release of the Sd.Kfz. 250/1. Actually all the parts for the earlier kit are in the 250/8 kit - only the box art, decals and parts tree "G" (which is all the short barrelled 7.5cm gun parts ) is different.
I started with step one naturally. This is where you put the bottom of the vehicle together to the two sides. Be very careful cleaning up these parts, as they are a bevelled butt joint to put together and when you take them off the trees you are left with some of the stub material from where they were attached to the sprue, sand the surfaces flat overall. Make sure everything is lined up straight and true at this stage. There are no locator pins for this assembly. If you get it cock-eyed, at this stage, later the upper-body parts will assemble askew on you. Do assembly 2 as shown - be careful with part numbers A-16 and A-15 as they are very fragile and easily broken off by careless manhandling once glued to the model. I glued the drive sprockets onto the vehicle, but left the inter-levered road wheels off until they get painted separately later. Make sure that you remove the 4 raised posts on the back of part no's. A13 & A14 (front drive sprocket pieces) as they are not a part of the piece but mold ejector pins of some sort.
The individual links are in two parts - the metal links and the rubber pads. This is a good way to do it as it is easier to paint each part the appropriate color later. I did not assemble the links at this time and think that I may just airbrush them on the trees to speed things up. I did glue part no. A8 to the model though in step no. 5.
All parts in step no. 7 were next assembled, except parts no. B10 & B1. These are the front tire rims and tires and have to be painted separately later too.
Proceed with steps 8 & 9, but leave part no. C21 (steering wheel) off until later so you can get the driver figure underneath it, into his seat, after painting him later.
Assemble all parts in steps 10 & 11 next. I left the arms off the driver figure for now, because I figured that I will have to position his hands to the steering wheel later correctly.
Steps 13, 14 & 15 were now accomplished. But, I again left off part no B-17 (the M.G.) for later painting separately. By the way, you get extra ones of these M.G.'s in the kit to use on other projects later - a bonus. There are other extra parts left over from building this kit also a seen here.
In steps 17 & 18 I glued together all but the tools (again to be painted separately later) and also left the curb indicator, part no. A23 off as I thought it would be too fragile and broken off for now. Parts E15 & E16 were glued together into the exhaust muffler, but the muffler was then not glued onto the model. It will be painted separately later along with part no. E17 which glues to the top of it. There are alternate muffler pipe shields, parts no. E18 or E19 for you to chose. I don't know what the difference is, other than shape, so it is a coin toss as to which one I will use.
I found the rear door, part no. E5 to be a lousy fit to the rear wall of the vehicle, part no. E4. There were gaps around the door once it was glued in place. But a modeler can opt to position this door open also. Things now looked like the illustration on the left.
I cut the nylon screen for placement into the bottom of the air intakes in part no. C30 and glued them in with superglue for step no. 19. Step no. 20 was next done, leaving parts no. B-16 (rifles in the rifle rack) and part no. B18 off for now so they could be painted separately later. In step no. 21 I deviated from the instructions by using 2 of part no. B-9 for the vision shutters. I chose to glue these in the open position. Photos of the real vehicle show that these shutters when open were at slope angle downwards. Step no. 22 was assembled next. Be sure to have the 4 lights on part no. E32 (tail light) positioned at the top, so as not to glue it on upside-down. I did not glue the upper body assembly to the bottom at this time, as I want to paint it as a separate sub-assembly and you would never be able to get under it with an airbrush or paint brush if you glued it on now. Also, in spite of the fact that I was very careful in step no. 1 - putting the sides and the bottom together - I must have gotten something a little off, because this top superstructure assembly wanted to sit slightly askew when I dry-fitted it, and will take some adjustments to make it fit after it is painted.
Steps 23 through 27 (the 7.5cm gun) were now followed. Be very careful here and follow the instructions carefully. This is a very tricky build sequence!! You have to remove the 2 pins underneath part no. G-15 in step no. 25 to get this part to fit good. I left this completed assembly off the vehicle for painting as a sub-assembly also. See the illustration to the right.
I now intend to get the airbrush out next and spray paint things. Only one color scheme is shown on the painting instructions: a base of RLM sandy brown 79 oversprayed with wood brown & dark green. I assume they mean earth yellow, red-brown, and dunklegrun?? Only the German national crosses, as white outlines only for 3 positions are given on the decal sheet. I am trying to determine if this vehicle did not carry more markings than that actually. Also, I am trying to find out if it ever sported the late war AMBUSH pattern paint scheme ever.
Except for some very MINOR quirks, mentioned above, this has been a very pleasant kit to build so far. I don't ever look forward to the tedious job of individual links, but I do like the looks of them once they are assembled.
Here's a little PREVIEW. This is roughly how the kit will look once assembled completely. Notice the gap at the nose from the askew fitting problem mentioned earlier.
Part no. 2 of this build article will show the final results and the finished model.
I wish, at this time, to thank Marco Polo for this review sample of the kit. I highly recommend it to modelers that have had some experience building armor kits already.