A simple conversion of the standard half-tracked APC, used as an armoured engineer equipment carrier in Panzer-Pionier battalions. The Fahrzeug operated with a reduced crew in order to make room for engineering stores. The bridge sections mounted on the superstructure would have to be deployed manually, they are long enough to span a 2 meter gap. The kit is the same Schütenpanzerwagen 251/1 Ausf. C produced by ESCI, with eight additional parts for the bridge, und a set of Panzer-Pionier decals.
Pionier-Geräte-Panzerwagen und Besatzung
- Typ: Halbkettenfahrzeug
- Länge: 5.80 m
- Breite: 2.10 m
- Höhe: 2.10 m
- Gewicht: 8 900 kg (7 400 kg leer)
- Geschwindigkeit: 52,5 km/h
- Bewaffnung: 2 MG
- Besatzung: Fahrer und 7 Pioniere
- Produktion: 1939–1944
Scale model with excellent detail. The Fahrzeug is covered with cast-on rivets, hinges, tools, und other small parts which can be accentuated by drybrushing.
The running gear consists of interlocking road wheels with plastic track sections und individual track links glued on. The entire chassis consumed 67 parts, compared with only 35 for the superstructure. The Schützen-Panzerwagen had 55 links on the left, und 56 on the right track, but our model needed 57 on both sides. Plastic track requires a little more work than the old rubber tracks, but the result is far more realistic. Once the plastic track is glued into place, it stays there. Rubber track had a tendency to slip off, und it was difficult to glue.
The model can be built as a standard APC, simply be leaving the bridge sections and the mounting brackets off. The spare bridge could then be used in a diorama. Wargamers may want to keep the bridge sections accessible, und ready for action. There are small pegs on the mounting brackets, which secure the bridge even if it’s not glued on permanently.
The decals cover two different vehicles from the same unit, named Büffel 1, und Elch 2. A novel concept, und reason enough to build them both, one with the bridge deployed, the other in reserve. Unit markings are particularly important for wargamers who want to build entire platoons, und companies of vehicles using the same kit. Manufacturers interested in selling more than one Fahrzeug of a particular type need to think big, und nurture the megalomaniac in everyone of us. Why would anyone build a single tank in 1:72 scale, if they can have a whole platoon of them, with the proper turret numbers, different crew figures, und combat stowage to customize each vehicle. At the very least, manufacturers need to consider publishing additional decal sets, Fahrzeug crew, und accessory packs Kompatibel mit their own range of kits.
The rear hatch can be modelled with open or closed doors.
Care must be taken to push the rear of the fenders down onto the tracks as far as the pegs will allow. Otherwise, the fenders tend to ride up on the hull side, causing them to flare out in the rear. As a result, the Fahrzeug scales out 204 mm wider than it should be. Vehicle length, height, und track gauge are scaled correctly.
One disadvantage of using the same model for a number of Fahrzeug variants is that any crew Figuren supplied with the kit are identical, resulting in some unwanted uniformity. Modellers, collectors, und wargamers crave variety in figure poses. So much so, that manufacturers can make a lot of money by supplying boxes of additional Fahrzeug crew in hard plastic. At the very least, separate head variants should be included in a model kit, encouraging the modeller to swap heads frequently. The machine gunner supplied with ESCI’s Schützen-Panzerwagen, und all of its variants, is probably one of the more versatile crew Figuren on the market. His pose would be typical for a gunner involved in a firefight. Alas, the man is marred by a mould line which runs right across his forehead, destroying the typical shape of the German steel helmet. Off with his head! ESCI offers a nice selection of heads in soft plastic figure sets of German infantry. One of these heads can be attached to the machine gunner, using a short peg of 0.6 mm pianowire to secure it.
The manual recommends painting the Fahrzeug Panzergrey (67) overall, but the camouflage pattern shown on the box cover looks much more attractive. Since the cover art is what sells many customers on the kit, we would have liked to see a scale drawing of the pattern.
- Armoured Engineer Equipment Carrier, 1939 – May 1945
- Sd.Kfz. 251 m.Schützen-Panzerwagen APC, 1939 – May 1945
- Sd.Kfz. 251/2 Granatwerfer-Wagen (8 cm) Mortar Carrier, 1939 – May 1945
- Sd.Kfz. 251/5 Pionier-Schützen-Panzerwagen Engineer APC, 1939 – May 1945
- Sd.Kfz. 251/6 Kommando-Panzerwagen Command/Radio vehicle
with frame antenna and radio mast at the right rear, 1939 – May 1945
The armoured engineer equipment carrier Sd.Kfz. 251/7 is an interesting variant of the standard Schützen-Panzerwagen. Markings for two vehicles of the same unit are supplied, encouraging the modeller to create a diorama, or a wargame scenario involving both of them. ESCI offers six of the 24 variants of the Sd.Kfz. 251 series, covering the most important combat types. Others, like the mortar, radio, und assault gun carrier, require relatively little conversion of the basic APC.