SD.Kfz 251 Bonanza part 3 – the weirdos

This is the final installment of the posts dedicated to the 1/72 Sd.Kfz.251 versions, and I collected the weirder, stranger looking ones here.

Sd.Kfz.251/23 Mitteler Schützenpanzerwagen mit 2cm KwK

This was a reconnaissance version; they transformed the crew compartment into an enclosed one, and stuck a Haengelafette 38 turret on top of it. This was the same turret as used on the Sd.Kfz.250/9, which this model was supposed to replace.  To be fair, the vehicle did not progress further than prototype phase, and we don’t actually have evidence about most of its features -the outline of the interior, or the enclosed roof, among other things. (This bothers me a bit, as it makes no sense at all. The side-armor might be able to withstand small-arms fire, but nothing more, and by closing over the crew compartment you essentially took away most of the escape routes of the crew. Even outside battle, it must have been pretty awkward for the driver and the radio operator to stop and get out to take a leak, too. The halftrack is also larger than the 250/9, which makes it even less suitable for reconnaissance. It does look nice, though.

As usual, Modelltrans offers a conversion, which fits the DML kits quite nicely. (It’s made for the Hasegawa kit, but as I said before: there is no reason to choose any other 251 models than the DML offering. The only frustrating thing about the DML model is the license plate: you have to put the numbers and letters individually on. Not sure why this was important, but it does make things a bit slow. I usually chose birthdays of family members by the way.)

The PE is very delicate. It is so delicate, in fact, that you’ll snap it, if you bend it more than once. Be very careful.

The parts are nicely cast; even the resin 2cm gun barrel is perfect. (Not sure why Modelltrans does not provide a metal one). If you want to know more about the conversion, here’s the review.

Everything is in place.

The roof fits like a dream; only a little surgery was needed.

The final product. I have to say the assembly of the PE screens was very, very difficult. After detaching them by handling the kit, I attached them after I glued the model in place.

The model was relocated later into a different display case.

Sd.Kfz 251D/R-35

Now, this one is a weird contraption. It’s really difficult what went on in the minds of its creators, but it probably involved a lot of alcohol, and perhaps quite a bit of hallucinogenic substrates as well. There is only one photo available which depicts this strange conversion, and there’s no information who or why it was created. It might have been a couple of mechanics pulling pranks using derelict equipment. Why didn’t they just took the gun, and put it on a mount escapes me. I doubt the heavy turret on top of this vehicle helped with balance issues, and it was most likely not possible to turn it, either.

Again, ModellTrans comes to the rescue with a conversion. (Review here.)

The original

The conversion is simple; if it is the first time you try your hands on one of these sets, this should be the one you choose. (It was my first choice, in fact.)

I weathered the vehicle a lot, making sure the original camo is really, really worn, faded and battered. The back story is that the French mechanics, who made this conversion (the photo shows French soldiers, no Germans), used a really worn-out 251 as a base, and put a relatively undamaged turret from a captured-then-recaptured Hotskiss tank. The base is a somewhat corroded armor plate. The faded, damaged camo was done with drybrushing – several layers of the base and the camo colors on top of each other made the paint look like it was worn off. The corroded plate was painted red-brown (tamiya), and I used oil paints (umber, burned umber, red, black) to make the rust more realistic.


These guys know how to make an entry

Flamethrowers are horrible weapons. (Not that other weapons are not horrible, but these are especially horrifying.)

Over the war different versions were used: a guy with a napalm tank on his back, converted tanks, and converted half-tracks as well. I’ve bought a white metal kit on Ebay because I wanted to see how good (or bad) they are, instead of getting the CMK conversion. Bad idea. Very bad idea. The model was horrible, heavy, and bent.

I took the flame-thrower part, and placed it into a DML model. Tried to add some details here and there (tubes, valves, etc.), but overall, I did not feel confident enough to completely rebuild the thing. I should have. Or I should have just thrown the whole thing out, and get the CMK conversion.

Well, here’s the result. Once painted, it does not look half bad; but it IS heavy. I managed to do the fading with several application of yellow and sand colored filters.

Sd. Kfz. 251/20

The last one is one of my favorite conversions: the UHU. The Germans were experimenting with night-fighting, and this one was one of the first ever night-vision equipment. (Well, one half. The other half was the detectors.) It was supposed to illuminate the battlefield with IR light, which was detected by the IR detectors attached to other vehicles. It did not work very well, of course, but it was a first step. (The first, practical night vision equipment was developed in the late 70s,.. so it did take some time.) Both Kora models and CMK produces conversion for this version, and I went with the CMK one -seeing that it was cheaper. The Kora is probably a bit more detailed, however, both conversion suffer from a very acute problem: they do not include the generator for the searchlight.

The CMK conversion is typical CMK: easy to build, clean, well made, but lacking some details. A full review is here.

I wanted to build the base vehicle as a reasonably clean, but used vehicle, and the searchlight received minimal weathering, as this system was not used extensively (and only for a short time). They were essentially fresh out of the factory when they were taken out of service, and the 251s converted back into troop carriers. (To this day I could not find out if the fire extinguishers were red in the inside of the vehicle. The ones mounted outside were usually painted in the camo colors; but I can’t find any information about the ones kept in the inside. I painted them red to give some contrast to the vehicle.)

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