I have to admit that I like the Sd.Kfz 251 armored halftrack series. They look somewhat futuristic with the angled armor sheets, and the countless conversions make them an ideal subject to model. Since I’ve long realized that I don’t have the time or the financial background to build them all in my favorite scale (1/35), I looked into the small-scale offerings.
This conversion kit is offered by ModellTrans
of a very rare version of this halftrack. Not much is known about this modification. It looks as if someone slapped the turret of a Renault R-35 tank on the top of the halftrack - though personally I can’t think of a reason to do so. There are countless variants with different guns mounted on the 251, but there is little sense in mounting a heavily armored turret on a lightly armored vehicle. As the pietvanhees website
notes there’s only one known photo of this vehicle, and it’s not even certain if it’s a German or a French field modification. (It could have been done as a prank by some cadets as far as we know.) The website also assumes –correctly, I think- that due to the weight of the turret, and the complexity to mount it on a proper turret ring, it’s unlikely that it was able to revolve.
Nevertheless it makes for an interesting (or odd-looking –depending on your point of view) vehicle, which would surely raise a few eyebrows on a model competition.
A bag with four resin pieces, and no instructions. The kit indicates that it’s designed for the Hasegawa 251/D, but it should work with the DML and Revell kits as well. (The DML kit has better interior detail and nicer tracks.)
ModellTrans has the unfortunate habit of not including instructions for its products; in this case it is not a major issue, as the conversion is pretty straightforward.
The packaging is as simple as it gets: a plastic bag with a paper stapled to it with the description and a colored profile drawing of the vehicle.
The conversion consists only four parts: the R-35 turret, a base-plate, two “I” beams and a door for the turret. The turret itself is beautifully cast, and very finely detailed. I have not found any casting problems or bubbles in my sample. The casting block is relatively thick, but it should be easy to clean it up due to its location on the edge of the turret. The cleanup for the base plate and the “I” beams is also a snap (quite literally if you are not faint hearted), and the door comes detached already. Since there are no instructions, it’s hard to know exactly where to place the “I” beams, but I think it’s a safe bet to put them at the very edge of the turret base connecting it to the floor. (After all it is unlikely that the side of the vehicle could have supported a heavy object like a tank turret, especially during firing.) My suspicion is that there should be two other “I” beams for the front, but these would not really be visible anyway.
Since the turret lacks interior (which is not a real complaint in this scale) the separate door possibly means that you can place a figure sitting in there; otherwise glue it shut. It’s hard to know what the interior of this variant looked like, but I suspect the commander’s/gunner’s seat for the turret was kept, which means if you plan to open up the back doors, you’d have to scratch build them.
A very affordable conversion to add a non-conventional look to the well-known 251. This is the only set for this version (which is not surprising) in all scales as far as I know -though it would not be very difficult to scratch build it in 1/35 admittedly. Recommended for all skill levels.