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AFV Club 1/35 scale SdKfz 251 Ausf D halftrack with PaK 40

Kit: No. AF 35F26
Scale: 1/35
Manufacturer: AFV Club, imported by Merit International, 626-912-2212,
Price: $48
Comments: Injection-molded, 712 parts (1 turned metal, 6 photoetched metal, 4 vinyl), decals
Pros: Nicely detailed, turned-metal gun barrel
Cons: Some fit problems, gun shield difficult to assemble

AVF Club has just released this limited- edition kit, which includes its SdKfz 251 Ausf D with a set of individual- link tracks, as well as AFV's PaK 40 antitank gun with an extra ammunition set. Purchased individually, these components would cost more than $100, but this is only about half that.

The parts are finely molded in dark olive-green plastic, but there was a little flash. The individual-link tracks are molded in two colors, and standard vinyl tracks are included, too. The PaK 40 features a turned-metal barrel, a photoetched- brass shield, and vinyl tires. The well-printed decal sheet has markings for five vehicles. No figures are included.

I started with the lower hull and left off the wheels to make painting easier. The main side panels key into the chassis, leaving little chance for misalignment. I painted the interior Tamiya desert yellow, then added the upper hull. It's a good idea to have the side stowage bins handy to align the upper hull.

After painting the exterior, I added the decals over a coat of Future floor polish. The decals are thin and require careful handling. They snuggled down with only a touch of Micro Sol.

I installed the nicely molded vinyl tracks, but I did assemble a few of the individual-link tracks to see how they fit. They require careful assembly to make sure the separate pads rare set correctly on the links.

I added the drive sprockets, road wheels, and tracks to the chassis and ran into a problem. The gluing area where the vinyl track ends join is small and weak, and both my tracks came apart after only a few minutes. I re-glued the tracks and tied the joints together with black thread. If I were to build another kit I would try the individual- link tracks.

The PaK 40 is a jewel of a kit, but with its numerous small parts, it's not for the faint of heart. The gun can be assembled in the firing or towed configuration, so pay close attention to the instructions for the version you choose. I built the gun in three subassemblies: the gun carriage, the shield, and the gun.

Building the main shield will test your patience. It has two pieces of brass separated by tiny bolts. A good set of tweezers and a magnifier are a must. Fortunately, AFV Club gives you several extra bolts in the kit. The instructions would have you build the shield in place, but I found it was possible to build the shield off the gun and add it later. Take extra care in mounting the wheels to the chassis, as the attachment points are weak.

Both the halftrack and the gun match the dimensions in my references, and I spent about 26 hours building everything. The detail in the kits is excellent, but the small parts and complex hull assembly require experience. Despite these difficulties they make magnificent replicas right out of the box. I recommend this kit to those up to a challenge.

- John Plzak


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