by Jeff Tucker
MSRP 28.99 US
About the Manufacturer: The Plastic Soldier Company, based in the UK, is geared towards the Wargamer, giving the player and modeler a hard plastic alternative to the often difficult to paint soft plastic offerings. Offering many choices in 15mm, 28 mm, 1/72nd and some 1/144th including Buildings, Figures, Aircraft, and Armor. Most of the kits give you the opportunity to expand your Wargaming inventory in a very short time. Almost all of the kits are “easy assembly” The kit I am about to review for example gives you 4 Halftracks and 37 crew figures in one box. They also carry a fairly good selection of Vallejo Paints. Plastic Soldier products are available in the US, and a quick search pulled up a number of dealers. For more information and to see the full line of products, visit their website. Here’s the link. www.theplasticsoldiercompany.co.uk/
The Subject: The German SdKfz 251 Halftrack began production in 1939 starting with the A model, continuing with the B, C and finishing up with the D which began production in 1943. Their original assignment was to carry small numbers of troops to and from the Battlefield and to provide cover fire with either a MG 34 or MG 42. Approximately 15,000 where manufactured with at least 22 variants, making them the most produced German Halftrack of the war, including everything from infrared detection, flame throwers, Anti-Aircraft guns, mortars and even a telephone line layer. If you need to know more, you can click this link en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sd.Kfz._251
This kit comes packaged in a very full, lightweight, cardboard box with end flap openings showing 2 of the Halftracks and some of figures, telling you what is included. There is also a paint guide featuring Vallejo paints on the outside of the box showing you what colors to us and on which parts. In very fine print on the backside of the box it says decals available separately. More on that later. There are enough parts (approximately 200) enabling you to build 4 different 251/D Halftrack variants, complete with crew.
What you get inside:
- 1 instruction supplement
- 5 light grey styrene sprues
All and all this is a pretty nice kit. The price is fair; after all, you’re getting four Halftracks and 37 figures for your money. You can’t buy two regular 1/72nd kits with figures for that price normally, so in my opinion it is a good deal. There a few things I was not happy with at the start, one of which was the one piece track and roadwheel set up. But after thinking it over and remembering it’s geared towards the Gamer, the one piece assemblies make sense. They aid in the build and speed things along immensely. It took me only 30 minutes to blu- tack one together.
As you can see in the photos the fit was good and there was almost no trimming needed. The parts just fell in place. They are not complicated to assemble, again, adding to the speed factor. The longest part of this build is obviously going to be painting the figures. If you build as slowly as I do, you could probably make a career out of them. I imagine some folks would be able to breeze through them with no problem.
Next up are the instructions. When first looking at them I could not make heads or tails out of them, and being on the inside of the box was different. After spending some time looking them over they were not that confusing. I really hated to have to cut up the box though. The biggest thing I found out about this kit that I didn’t like was that there are no decals included. But again after thinking about it some it makes sense. Depending on what Area or Division you want to depict on your Game Board would make a difference in what decals you used. However, It would be nice if the Manufacturer stated more clearly that they are not include and needed to be purchased separately.
Four of the sprues are identical, and are a complete kit in themselves. Coming with 1 Halftrack and eight Crewmen, six sitting in different poses , one walking with a machine gun, the other holding a shell in the loaders position. These sprues cover the D/1 and Pak 37mm models. In addition each sprue comes with four jerry cans, four different pieces of stowage, Panzerfaust launcher, rifle and an extra MG.
The fifth sprue contains the parts for the other four variants. The 81mm mortar, Stummel, Engineer and Flame thrower with 5 crew members to be split between the four.. Also included are two Panzerfaust rounds and another machine gun.
As you can see there are a lot of parts and you should be able to mix and match to come up with almost anything you’d like. The instructions are a little different from what I am used to. They are color coded and printed on the inside of the box . There is a separate instruction sheet, also color coded, covering the D/1 and Pak 37 versions. The only text supplied on this sheet and the inside of the box are the variant names. At first glance they appeared to be confusing, but after studying them awhile they became clear. The parts are laid out nicely on the sprues with very little flash and the attachment points seem to be well thought out, which is a big deal when you are working with parts this small. Very little trimming or sanding should be required. The detail is good considering the scale, with the figures being a slightly weak point as they are a little soft.
So, bottom line? If you are looking for the best detail and intricate build you can get in a kit, then this one’s not for you. On the other hand, if you are looking for a fun and easy build to add to your War Chest or just like Halftracks and figures then this one’s for you. If nothing else, you’ll have a lot of stowage left over in the end to use on other builds. A man can never have too much 1/72nd stowage.