I'm currently doing a mini-series of reviews on the various 15mm vehicles I've recently put together. A few days ago it was Old Glory's Panther Auf G, today its the turn of my Plastic Soldier Company (PSC) SdKfz 251/D half-tracks.
In the box you get 5 half-track sprues, each with 7 crew figures (2 drivers, 1 gunner and 4 sitting panzergrenadiers) and a fantastic selection of stowage. Unfortunately there are no decals or components for making a 251/10 (37mm gun) or other variants in the set but the PSC is planning to bring out conversion sprues for this purpose in a few months time, which is great news. I didn't take a picture of the sprues but here are all of the components cut out:
|Everything in the set.|
|The main vehicle components. Note how great the track pieces look.|
|The stowage and passenger MG|
|The crew and main MG|
As you can see, all of the components are of a high standard with nice sharp edges and fine details. The crew are slightly worse sculpts and lack variety - I think PSC could have been a lot more creative here and had guys leaping off the half-track or gesticulating etc. But perhaps thats just me.
The half-tracks go together quite well but assembly, including cutting out and cleaning, up can take around 15-25 mins depending on how fast you are (I'm pretty slow as I often watch TV and put stuff together). These kits are just that, a kit. They go together more like a scale model kit than a wargames model so be prepared to invest some time in them. However, I think the result is definitely worth it. Pictured below are 6 of my 251/Ds (at the time of photographing I had yet to finish the last 4). In addition to the stowage supplied on the sprues I'd also added a few items from Old Glory's stowage set but this isn't really necessary given the good range of stowage you get in the box.
|The wonkyness of the rear rank is because they're on a slope, the models are fine.|
|I did a quick headswap (more will follow on the other crew) on this gunner.|
|A few green-stuff sandbags, just for variety.|
|Some of the side panels, like the one above, didn't sit flush with the rest of the side armour. I think this might well have been my fault in assembly rather than an error with the kit.|
I decided not to stick the gun-shields in place on these vehicles so that I could remove them and make them interchangeable with the /10 version. I also didn't stick the rear MG in place as they look prone to breakage (they sit fine without the glue) and will make the gunners removable (by putting a pin in their foot and a hole in the floor of the half-track) so that the fragile MGs can be removed and won't break off or bend in transport. I couldn't find a suitable place to stach any coins in these to add weight but with some effort you could probably fit something in the empty engine compartment. The crews are not present either as they'll be easier to paint separately and I plan to do quite a few conversions/use a mix of figures I have left over.
- Cheap! As you may have guessed I like cheap. They're £16.50 from the PSC or available for £14.75 on Ebay from various sellers - an absolute Bargain compared to Battlefront's, Skytrex's or FIB's offerings at around twice the price. I wouldn't trust the equally cheap Old Glory versions.
- Crisp details, sharp lines. Really good track pieces.
- Good scale - matches BF's half-tracks.
- Great selection of stowage - comes in useful for lots of other projects.
- Assembly time - 15-25 mins is a lot for one vehicle (after all you're going to need loads).
- Fragile MGs.
- No decals.
- No option for 251/10 in the set itself.
Two kinds of people will want these. Firstly, those with time rather than money and secondly those who want the crispest, sharpest details available. If you're not too bothered about getting the 'best' looking half-tracks and you have money, rather than time, then get one of the competitors versions, probably FIB's or BF's.