The vehicle that was to become the Sd.Kfz. 250 leicher Schutzenpanzerwagen
series had its beginning in the same operational requirement produced
during the mid-30's that led to the Sd.Kfz. 251 series. It was intended
that there would be both a 1-ton and 3-ton half-tracks to provide mobility
for the infantry and other units operating with the Panzer divisions,
and the 1-ton vehicle became the Sd.Kfz. 250.
The Sd.Kfz. 250 was first produced by Demag AG of Wetter, in the Ruhr,
although later other companies were also involved in its manufacture.
The vehicle was based on the chassis of the Sd.Kfz. 10 Leichter Zugkraftwagen
1-ton vehile, but featured an armored hull with an open top to accommodate
the crew of five men...plus the driver. The first examples were produced
during 1939, and the Sd.Kfz. 250 first went into action during the May
1940 invasion of France. Compared to its larger counterpart, the Sd.Kfz.
251, the Sd.Kfz. 250 was built and used in a much smaller scale. The type's
total production run was impressive enough (5,900 were built between 1942
and 1944) and by the time the war ended it was made into no less than
14 official variants (plus the usual crop of unofficial variants). From
1943 onwards production modifications were introduced to the hull shape
to assist manufacturing, while at the same time cutting down on the amount
of precious raw materials required. The armor thickness ranged from 6
to 14.5mm (0.24 to 0.57in).
The subject of this kit is the Sd.Kfz. 250/11 variant. It is an early
body style and mounts the special "taper-bore" weapon, 2.8cm (1.1in) heavy
anti-tank rifle sPzB 41.
The German taper-bore weapons were an odd off-shoot from the main stream
of anti-tank gun development. Although they were successful, they floundered
for the simple reason that German war economy could not afford the raw
materials required to produce great numbers of them. Three different taper-bore
weapons were produced for service. All relied on what is commonly known
as the Gerlich principle. In simple terms this involved the use of a small
projectile core made from tungsten, a hard and very dense metal...ideal
for punching its way through armor plate. In order to provide the tungsten
core with the maximum punch the Gerlich system involved the use of guns
with calibers that tapered downwards in size from the breech to the muzzle.
The special projectiles involved the using flanged or "skirted" ammunition
that allowed the flanges to fold back as the bore narrowed. This had the
advantage of increasing the emergent velocity of the projectile, enabling
it to travel farther and to hit the target harder. The principal was attractive
to the German ordinance designers who adapted it for the anti-tank gun,
but the principal had some disadvantages: to ensure the maximum power
of the gun expensive and relatively rare tungsten had to be used for the
projectile core, and the guns themselves were costly to produce.
The first of the taper-bore guns to enter service was the 2.8cm schwere
Panzerbuchse 41. It was really little more than a heavy anti-tank rifle,
with a bore that tapered from 28mm (1.1 in) at the breech to 20mm (0.787
in) at the muzzle. It used a light carraige, normally, but a second version...with
even a lighter carraige and smaller wheels was produced for use by German
airborne (falschirmjager) formations. Both types were used right up till
DML has already, in the recent past, released 3 versions of the later
"Neu" chassis versions of the Sd.Kfz. 250. These kits differ from the
the latest /11 version in body shape. The fighting compartment has verticle
sides on them...whereas this first kit of the earlier "Alt" version has
angled sides. In the future DML will release two more kits on this early
chassis. One will be Rommel's famous vehicle, with "Grief" painted down
the side: the Sd.Kfz. 250/3 and the other will be a 250/1 with just machine
guns for armament.
The sPzB 41 2.8cm taper-bore weapon has been out once before in DML's
kit no. 6079 with a JF8 limber that is horse drawn and with a crew. A
crew could have been included in the new kit. The box art shows a crew...but
...alas...you only get the driver figure.
There are 387 parts in this new kit. 30 of these parts are blued out
on the instruction sheet as not to be used. All the parts are molded in
a light gray plastic...which seems to be the trademark of DML kits. Most
of the parts trees are in their own, individual cello bags. The exception
is the trees of road wheels and individual links which are all commonly
shoved into one cello bag. A postage stamp sized decal sheet is included...more
on this decal sheet later in the review.
The first, large tree of parts (letter K) holds parts for the fighting
compartment sides, the firewall, a couple of MG 34 machine guns and their
mounts, some tools the rear wall of the fighting compartment and it's
door, and other smaller fittings. 49 parts total here.
The next, slightly smaller tree (letter A) holds parts for the vehicle's
floor, drive sprockets, steering shaft, fire extinguisher, suspension
parts, lower chassis sides, tow hooks, cable cutter etc. 41 parts on this
The next tree in decending order of size (letter M) holds the vehicles
top, nose plate, fenders, axe, hatchet, pick, pry bar, and the head lights
with their seperate black out covers. 14 parts here.
The next tree (letter C) is all the parts for the taper-bore gun and
its carraige, and some ammo cans. Unfortunately, it looks like only one,
tiny round of ammo is included. The carriage is supposed to mount on the
rear wall of the vehicle after it is built for storage. Parts on this
tree total 25
A second (letter C) tree, of roughly the same size as the first letter
C tree, holds the driver's compartment floor, the driver and passenger
seats, some storage boxes, gear shift lever, steering wheel, radios, etc.
30 total parts.
A small (letter B) tree appears to hold the vehicle base plate for
mounting the taper-bore gun and some locking and storage mechanisms for
it. 8 small parts here.
A similar sized (unlettered) tree holds the parts for the driver figure:
his body, separate arms, head, and field cap. 5 pieces here.
A very small (letter A) tree holds 2 parts for the transmission. These
last three mentioned trees are all in one cello bag along with a piece
of nylon mesh screen to do the air intakes.
There are four copies of (letter F) tree...that holds the individual
track links. There are 30 links per tree, for a grand total of 120 links.
The final four, identical (letter B) trees hold the road wheels, front
tire rims, tires,suspension arms, a rifle, a MG 42 machine gun, vision
flap, and other small fittings. 20 parts per tree, for a grand total of
80 parts. A lot of these parts are duplication and will wind up in your
The very small decal sheet is printed mostly in white...so I did not
bother to scan it as it would not show up well here. It has only one lonely
marking on it for the Grossdeutschland Pz. Div. There is a tactical sign,
license plates for front and rear, and what looks to be a windmill insignia
that goes on the side of the vehicle? I was very disappointed that there
were not more alternate markings in the kit...but lots of aftermarket
markings are around and extras in other armor kits that I own.
A very good side view picture of this vehicle is shown in a AFV Weapons
Profile book that I have, No. 57, on page 179...showing one with a canvas
weather top installed. The taper-bore weapons carraige...slung on the
rear in this picture...appears to have white walled tires!! Strange indeed!
I actually found the exact markings used on this kit's decal sheet,
except for the license numbers, in a book by Aero Publishers Inc., Fallbrook,
California. Armor Series no. 7 "Halbkettenfahrzeuge...German Halftrack
Vehicles" on page 13. The license number in this picture appears to be
WH 679094 vs the one the kit gives you of WH 1032475. Otherwise all the
markings are the same...including the windmill on the side. Anybody know
anything about this windmill marking??
The parts are flash free and this looks like it will make up into a
great addition to my armor show case. My only gripes are the lack of any
kind of history on the instruction sheet. The 'one only' decal marking,
and the lack of a gun crew to man the taper-bore gun.
Instructions are a 10 page, gate fold affair, with 29 assembly steps
and a half page of painting/decaling instructions.
I look forward to the upcoming other two early versions of the Sd.Kfz.
250 to be released later.