DML DRAGON'S 1/35 Sd.Kfz. 253 Le Beob. Pz.Wg.
Kit No. 6140
The Sd.Kfz. 253 began life as the Sd.Kfz. 250. This series of vehicles had numerous variants. Many of them are the subject of previous DML kits that have been already reviewed in Internet Modeler Magazine in the past.
I can find little, or no, history on the 253 variant. I am puzzled, a bit, as to why it was not called a 250/ something or other.
There was an earlier Beobachtungswagen (obervation post vehicle): the Sd.Kfz. 250/5. However, it did not have a roof over the rear fighting compartment. The 253 version (subject of this new kit) has this feature.
I thought that DML had exhausted the 250 types in their kit releases. Apparently, I was wrong they still could do a few more. A Sd.Kfz. 252 ammo carrier version would be well received, especially if they included the two wheeled ammo trailer with it.
WHAT IS IN THE BOX?:
The box art sports a nice painting, by an unknown artist (at least I don't see our old friend Volstad's signature). It shows a 253 in a zebra-stripe cammouflage. In the background are two sturmgeschutz tanks and a Sd.Kfz. 252 ammo carrier with trailer. Four photos, of a finished model, adorn the box side.
Inside the box are nine cello bags of various sized trees, molded in DML's signature light gray styrene.
There are 16 trees of parts in these cello bags.
Large, letter "A", tree holds the vehicle's lowerside panels, bottom, floor, drive sprockets, leaf spring, suspension parts, tow hooks, notek lamp, tools etc. (41 parts on this tree) Eleven parts are shaded out, on the instruction sheet, as being not to use or excess.
There are four, identical, letter "B" trees. These hold the road wheels, front wheels & tires, idler wheels, a rifle, an MG 34 machine gun, and a pistol in a holster etc. (21 parts on this tree) Nine parts are shaded out, on the instruction sheet, as being not to use or excess.
Small, letter "C", parts tree holds the steering colume, steering wheel, transmission cover, radios, gear shift levers, driver's compartment floor, seat, storage boxes etc. (30 parts here) Twelve parts are marked as excess.
Tree lettering now jumps to four identical small letter "F" trees. These hold the individual track links, in two parts: metal links & rubber blocks. (40 parts on each tree) All are used.
There is a second, single small tree, also lettered as "F" (but in lower case letter on the instruction sheet). It holds three telescopes and some other parts that are shaded out as excess on the instructions. (10 parts total on this tree) Six are excess.
Lettering now, again, jumps to letter "K" tree. It holds the vehicle's upper side panels, fire wall/dashboard, & numerous other unidentified parts. (46 parts in all here) Twenty-three are marked as excess on the instructions, including some nice MG 34 machine guns (which I just KNOW will find their way into other armor projects).
We jump, again, in the numbering system to letter "M" tree. It holds only two parts: the vehicle's upper structure and nose piece.
Large, letter "N", tree holds the vehicle's fenders, banister aerial (not used), head lights, tools, rear panel & door, tools etc. (65 parts here) Twenty-five will be excess.
Next, we move ahead to medium sized, letter "P", tree. It holds all the parts that make this vehicle the 253 variant. Seats, commander's cupola, fighting compartment roof, radios, antennas etc. (32 parts on this tree) All are used.
We jump, again, in lettering to "X". This is a small piece of black nylon mesh to use inside the two engine air intake holes on the hood.
Small, letter "Y" parts tree holds 2 parts that make up the transmission halves.
Finally, small letter "Z" tree is the driver figure (five parts to him)
The decal sheet has a crystal clear plastic sheet over it to protect it. This is new to DML kits, far as I know. The decal gives markings for three different vehicles:
1. Stug. Abt. 191, Eastern Front 1942.
2. 1/Stug. Abt. 197, Crimea 1942 (This is the vehicle depicted on the box painting)
3. 3/Stug. Abt. 197, Balkans 1941.
The instructions are a new departure for DML from their norm. By that, I mean that they are printed on slick coated paper. Not the dull looking paper they have always used in the past.
The instructions bi-folds out into 10 pages. The first page has the box art, in full color, at the top of the page. This is also new, as DML always did the box art in black and white in the past here. As ever, there is no history of the vehicle given. (readers now know that this is a pet peeve of mine with DML). The bottom of page one has the parts tree drawings. Excess parts (not to be used on this version) are shaded in brown, rather than the blue that DML always used in the past to indicate this.
Page two begins with international assembly symbol explanations, followed by the paint number chart. Assembly steps 1 & 2 are at the bottom of the page.
Pages three through the top of page nine give us the balance of 30 assembly steps.
Again, something NEW for DML instructions is that they show actual photos of the kit parts in all the steps. In the past this was done with line drawings. I kind of like this format.
The bottom of page nine and all of page 10 gives the three marking schemes and decal instructions.
I really like the new instructions, but DML really, really, needs to put histories on their instruction sheets. You will really fill your spare parts box with all the parts that are indicated as being excess in this kit.
Now, let's have a Sd.Kfz. 252. Are you listening DML?