The Sd. Kfz 250 NEU was a redesigned vehicle to save material and assembly time. As the 250 series was to be discontinued in favor of the 251 series, I really wonder why they produced a NEU version instead of just switching over. This offering by Dragon, kit # 6316, represents a new premium edition of the Sd. Kfz 250/9 recon vehicle. This kit is based on Dragon's original 250 #6100, and the 250/9 #6106, which were manufactured in the mid 1990's. The NEU version Premium kit has carried over some sprues from the old kit, and added new sprue's with upgraded or newly tooled parts.
This is the first Dragon kit I've encountered that each sprue is not individually bagged, with some bags containing two or more sprues. There are also several small sprues included in the kit. The kit is packaged in a sturdy slip top box with a nice color box top showing the 250/9 NEU in action. The bottom of the box also offers views of the new and improved parts.
Included in the kit are the following:
14 sprues molded in light grey styrene
2 Frets of PE
Bag containing metal parts
Bag of Magic Tracks
Two sheets of decals printed by Cartograf of Italy
Instruction and finishing guide
-The 2 cm gun on sprue J arrived damaged on my sample, Ill be contacting Dragon Care to see how they will handle this.
There are a lot of changes made in this kit from the original offerings from Dragon, all for the better. The kit has a new one piece lower hull molded with the slide mold technology. The engine bay now has an included motor and radiator for those who want to depict an open engine bay. New drive sprockets and road wheels are better molded than the older ones. The tires are now five separate pieces each, the sliced pieces constructed sandwich style, a nice improvement over the two piece wheels. Dragon has also included Magic Tracks, rather than the indy links that needed to be cut from the sprue (with many a track pad never to be found again!) These Magic Tracks seem to be easier to build, with the added benefit of being built workable with a little care. The tracks still have some knock out marks, but should clean up easily.
Generation 2 crew accessories are included for inside the fighting compartment. Along with the equipment there is some PE for mounting the equipment inside the vehicle. Other PE includes equipment racks, ammo racks, ammo bin covers and a full mesh grenade screen for the turret. Brass width indicators are also included to replace the plastic ones in the box. Clear parts include vision blocks that can be built opened or closed. The vision block visors on the outside hull have had problems in the past, and I have not taken a test fitting as of yet, and there are clear visors from the 251 kit included.
The inclusion of a transmission for this kit was a great upgrade. There is also a small additional instruction sheet for the placement of the part. The outside body now has the option of open or closed storage bin doors. There is an adequate supply of tools, so there will be some extra for the spares box. The supplied tools for this kit are doubled, half having molded on tool clamps, with the other half having none. There are no tool clamps on the PE fret, so unless you have some extra PE tool clamps left over from another project the molded on tool clamp tools are the way to go.
Painting schemes include 5 options, all in the 1944 west front area. Unit markings include the following:
116 Pz Div France 1944
Pz Aufkl. Abt 2, 2 Pz Div France 1944
Pz Aufkl. Abt 2, 2 Pz Div France 1944
Pz Aufkl. Abt 6 , 2 Pz Div France 1944
Pz. Aufkl. Abt 26, 26 Pz, Div 1944
The Cartograf decals unit markings are on one sheet, and multiple numbers on the other. The Unit markings are well executed.
This kit is definitely an improvement on the old 250 series kits produced by Dragon. The newly tooled parts are a great improvement over the older versions. The original 250 kits had the workable tracks, but I was unable to keep from losing the track pads, the magic tracks are a plus over the older version. The tracks have knockout marks on the bottom, but the offending marks can be removed easily with a hobby knife. The kit also has some other knockout marks, although they are on the unseen side of parts.
The 28 steps of the exploded view style instructions are good, but care must be taken to keep from putting in parts that are just for the Sd. Kfz 250/1 kit. As usual, checking references is recommended. There is an extra step thrown in for the inclusion of the transmission (marked step 11) that is not on the main instruction sheet, so be sure to remember to add that at the proper time. There was no excess flash, and the molding lines are small and easily done away with. Part 10 on sprue J in my kit has a bent barrel that will have to be replaced. The lack of a driver figure was a bit of a disappointment, but with the other upgrades it's a fair swap. The improvements in this kit are many and should be welcomed by the modeling community.
A Build Log
has been started on the Forums to evaluate the kit construction.