Blitzkrieg will always be synonymous with the German Army of World War Two and conjures up images of Panzer tanks streaming across fields followed by waves of mechanised infantry, and to create that mechanised infantry the German Army developed the half-track, a vehicle that saw extensive use in WWII but then disappeared from the military design book as APCs took over. Whilst the Infantry charged about in their armoured half tracks like the Sd.Kfz. 251 their unarmoured cousins took on the role of the horse dealing with transport and towing. The Sd.Kfz. 11 is simply an unarmoured Sd.Kfz 251, and AFV Club are so far the only company to put it into 1/35 scale plastic kit form.
This particular kit from AFV Club is the value pack which combines three kits into one, the Sd.Kfz. 11 Half-track, the LeFH18 10.5cm Howitzer, and the 10.5cm Ammunition and Accessory Set. So you get a lot of kit.
- Six olive green sprues for the Sd.Kfz. 11
- One clear sprue for the Sd.Kfz. 11
- One decal sheet for the Sd.Kfz. 11
- Three small photo-etched frets for the Sd.Kfz. 11
- Two brass width indicator poles for the Sd.Kfz. 11
- Six olive green sprues for the LeFH18
- One aluminium barrel for the LeFH18
- One brass recoil cylinder for the LeFH18
- One concertina ribbed vinyl tube for the LeFH18
- Two rubber tires for the LeFH18
- One olive green sprue for the Ammunition and Accessory Set
All of these parts come very well moulded. There is no flash, the mould seams are as minimal as possible, knock-out marks are a minimum and kept to areas that won’t be seen where-ever possible and are very faint anyway. The detail is very sharp and the ammount of detail on some parts is impressive.
The chassis and suspension for the Sd.Kfz 11 is very highly detailed and includes the gas tank and transmission, though no engine is included. The suspension arms are made up from multiple pieces, some of them quite small, so can be articlulated reasonably easily with a little work, so as to show up and down movement if desired. The roadwheels are very well detailed, including the weld seams around the rims, and the sprockets have the correct offset. The front suspension is simple but accurate and well detailed with the front wheels being made up of two halves which have very good tread detail. The tracks are single piece vinyl “rubber band” style tracks which do actually have very good detail.
The engine covers include very nicely detailed louvers on the side as well as separate pieces for the securing catches. The vent openings on the top hood are moulded as part of the hood so cannot be opened and the grille is not look through, though there would be nothing to see if it was. One of the PE frets includes a selection of manufacturers badges so you can choose which one you want to apply to the grille.
The drivers compartment is very well detailed with the correct layout and having some delicately moulded parts for the levers and pedals. No decals are provided for the dash but there is a painting guide. Oddly the side doors are moulded shut. They would be simple enough to cut open but would then need scratchbuilt detailing added for the hinges and catch. They do however have some nice detail with separate door handles and map pockets.
The rear cargo bed does have separate doors on the sides of the stowage lockers which could be positioned open though there is no interior to the lockers. The rest of the rear bed is beautifully moulded with the rails on top being very fine and delicate.
Although a photo etch flag frame is provided there is no pole for it, instead there are instructions for stretching a length of sprue to make one. There are also two brass width indicator poles included with this kit as an added bonus but these are for an Sd.Kfz. 251 and are incorrect for the Sd.Kfz. 11 so they’ll need to go in the spares bin, but not to worry as the kit still does have the original plastic ones included.
The LeFH18 Howitzer is extremely well detailed with the shield in particular being a work of art and the breech assembly including an engraved production number.. There are many small parts used in making this kit so care will be needed when working with some of the more delicate ones. This comes with a metal barrel that has a hollow muzzle though it has no internal rifling. You also get a brass recoil cylinder and a length of concertina ribbed vinyl tubing to use for the air equalizer on the side of the gun. You get a few options when building this, one of which is the choice of either the early war pressed steel wheels which come moulded as two halves, or the late war wooden wheels with tyres that come as the wheels plus rubber tyres that are fitted to them. The other option is whether to display the gun in transit mode or in deployed mode. Oddly while the standalone kit of the LeFH comes with a small decal sheet of markings that is not included in this Value Pack.
The included 10.5cm Ammunition and Accessory Set is a simple affair on a single sprue. It consists of twelve shells, twelve charges, twelve shell transport frames, two charge case and two shell boxes. All are extremely well detailed and can be used with the gun if shown deployed or as the contents of the stowage lockers if you model them open and add a simple interior lining.
Decals representing five vehicles are provided for the Sd.Kfz. 11 – Panzergrenadier Division “Gross Deutchland”, Eastern Front 1941 : 5th SS. Panzer Division “Wiking”, Kharkov, August 1943 : Pz.Jg.Abt.543, France, February 1942 : 1st Panzer Division, Eastern Front, June 1941 : 1st SS Panzer Division “Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler”, Kharkov, March 1943.
The lack of an engine is a real shame as it would have truely made this kit, but being an unclothed Sd.Kfz. 251 the SKP engine will work in it and the missing engine should in no way detract from the impression of this kit because it is an impressive one, especially when you consider for the price you get three kits in one. The Sd.Kfz. 11 is a beautifully detailed model that turns out well as is the LeFH18 Howitzer and they just work so well together to make a stunner of a model.
Click thumbnails to enlarge images.