[Dragon] Sdkfz 250/5 NEU le Beob PzWg

Dragon's kit no 6141 was released in 2000 as part of a series of SdKfz250, which was seen as main contenders to Tamiya's release of both the 250/3 and 250/9 in 1/35 scale.

Dragon's kit no 6141 was released in 2000 as part of a series of SdKfz250, which was seen as main contenders to Tamiya's release of both the 250/3 and 250/9 in 1/35 scale.

Packed in their usual sized box, the SdKfz 250/5 Neu le Beob PzWg represents the new bodied 250 half track of the German army in WW2 which was a smaller variant compared to the 251 series halftracks. The German army first envisioned this series as support armoured carriers for half platoons. Without going to much into the details of the develeopment of the vehicle which is quite well covered in Terry Gander's MILITARY VEHICLES IN DETAIL vol 1, the 250/5 is essentially an artillery observation vehicle carrying the SF14Z scissor type telescope and the FuSprGer8 star array antennae radio. The artwork of the box which is not the usual von Ronstaldt work, sufficiently shows the kit features along with the figures which was released as part of Dragon's figure box set.

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There is a total of 398 pieces in 14 sprue trees where 18 parts are not used.  Bundled together is a small plastic grille mesh along with a decal sheet for 2 variants, ie an eastern front 43 scheme and a Wiking Division vehicle.

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The decals were a little on the thick side and needed a lot of mark setter to coax it to bind 

The instruction sheets is in the usual Dragon style, offering you paint selection using both Gunze or Italeri paint codes.

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The construction of the kit is covered in 25 steps, starting from the usual lower hull ( step 1 to 7), compartment ( steps 8-17) and upper hull ( steps 18-24), competing in step 25 for the star antennae array.

The overall detail of the kit is a step up compared to Tamiya's release, though some were rather put off by the individual tracks making up close to 160 pieces to be put together. It should be noted too that while Tamiya gave the option to make the front tyres movable and steerable, Dragon opted for the more detailed, static option. A bit of re-engineering is required if you want to model the wheels in a turned alignment.

A brief description of the build and some highlights are as follows:

1) The tracks came together rather quickly. You can expect some cleanup for the wheels and also you may want to consider prepainting the rubberised wheels if you are aiming for accuracy. Do note that some guestimate is required as there is no groove indication to show you where the rubber ends and metal works starts in the inner wheel rings. I decided to leave mine unpainted as I reckon it will be quite obscure after the weathering and the tracks are in. You will also need to test fit the wheels into the arms as mine was a little too tight for comfort.

The tracks are a work of art and totally workable ( I believe this is a first for injection molded kits back then) but care is needed as the teeth to hold the individual tracks are rather smaller and a few snapped in the process of washing the tracks with turpentine/oil paint. By then a little bit of CA saved the day.

2)The compartment construction is straighforward except where you fit part W6 on the side wall needs some prefitting of the upper hull to avoid a misfit. You may also wish to fill in the 2 redundant holes in part W13, which was meant for fitting the chairs in other variants. Part C4 does not have the pins to fit the instructed hole in step 13 so you can choose to ignore this. You may also wish to fix the rotating arm for the scissor telescope instead of leaving it unfitted as instructed as it tends to be loose.

3) A bit of care is needed for the side hull as the fit can be a bit tricky for the front and back. I had a little bit of work coaxing the front end to fit properly especially at the front engine armore plate joint. There is also a minor gap at the firewall joint area which is not too noticable once the upper hull in connected. Part E12 is the most problematic part in my build as the fit was poor and some major filing was needed to properly align the connection. Except for some minor cleanup on the mG42, the other parts came together well. Some minor putty work in the major hull pieces will be necessary to close any incidental gaps. You will also need to refer the schematics to see the actual location of the back fenders.

The completed kit can be viewed in the article section. (http://malaysiascalemodelling.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=30&Itemid=21)