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Trumpeter 1/16 scale SdKfz 251D plastic model kit

Big, bold halftrack that needs work to reach its full potential
Kit:00942 // Scale:1/16 // Price:$144.99
Trumpeter (Sample courtesy of Model Rectifier)
Builds quickly; good parts fit
Inaccurate details; lots of ejector-pin marks; seams in visible places
Injection-molded plastic (gray, clear); 906 parts (60 photo-etched metal, 2 rubber tires); decals
The SdKfz 251 should be a familiar sight for modelers as one of the most produced German armored fighting vehicles of World War II. With the rising popularity of 1/16 scale kits, it’s good to see a second option for modelers of the famous halftrack.

The Trumpeter 1/16 scale SdKfz 251D plastic model kit contains more than 900 parts, but don't let that scare you off. Good fits and the larger parts mean most of the build goes pretty quickly, with only a few issues.

The lower hull is a huge bath-tub style piece with the ends of the axles attached to keyed sockets. The kit doesn't have a working suspension, but some unused parts suggest that there might be a kit in the future with that option. The front suspension and axle can be modeled to be movable up and down, but there is no option to build the model with the front wheels turned.

Building the running gear went quickly and smoothly, although I did find the tracks to be a challenge. Each link consists of three parts: the rubber pad, the upper part of the track, and the lower main portion. There are thin "wings" on the edges of the upper track piece that seem to pop right off when gluing the tracks together. You only get a couple of extra links, so these broken ones need to be used, and the way the instructions have you build the tracks made the issues worse.

If you have a 3D printer, one alternative is to print replacements. I test-printed HomeBrewParts tracks and scaled them up from 1/35 scale to 1/16 scale, and they fit perfectly. If this isn't an option for you, I did some experimenting. If you build each track separately, instead of the way presented in the instructions, there is less strain on the thin portions, and they don't seem to break as easily. Then sand the axle pegs down to about half their original length, which allows you to click the links together. As an added bonus, the links end up being far more workable.

The interior fits together well and assembles quickly. Unfortunately, the floor is molded entirely smooth. Try as I might, I couldn’t find a reference showing a SdKfz 251 with a smooth floor. In fact, the pebbled steel floor is one of the most distinctive details of the interior. The bench seats are also incorrect, with padded cushions and steel bars. My references show D-model halftrack bench seats with wooden slats.

The upper hull, also molded as a single piece, is marred by many visible ejector-pin marks. Unbeknownst to me, my wife timed me and revealed that it took more than three hours to sand out the ejector-pin marks on the upper hull. I had to do the same with the stowage bins, too. The way the front window glacis piece attached left a large seam in the middle of the side armor panel and on the halftrack’s roof, which also needed filling and sanding.

The halftrack exterior does not have a ton of extra details, being that it’s a fairly simple vehicle with smooth sides. There is no engine to display, so posing the hood open really isn’t an option. The rear doors are not workable and will need to be glued open or closed. No matter what I did, I could not get the photo-etched metal (PE) tool clamps to fit together. In the end, I used 3D-printed tool clamps instead of the PE parts.

In the end, I spent a fair amount of time on the Trumpeter 1/16 scale SdKfz 251D halftrack, with a few hiccups here and there. But when it comes down to it, this is a good kit for two types of people: a modeler who wants an easy-to-build, huge halftrack and isn't super concerned with the little details or someone who plans to use the kit as a base and add details or alternate parts to take it to the next level.
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