The majority of engines for the tanks and halftracks of the Third Reich were built by two factories: the luxury auto manufacturer Maybach in Friedrichshafen (pronounced “MY-bok” and not “MAY-back”), and Norddeutsche Motorenbau in Berlin. Maybach had actually been formed to build Zeppelin engines, its original name being “Luftfahrzeug-Motorenbau GmbH.” After WW I, the company built luxury automobiles (stodgy Maybach luxury sedans are still made and sold Europe). But like most of German industry, its design and production facilities were perverted for war production. Tigers and Panthers, and the many halftracks of the German Army were powered by Maybach engines.
SKP Models, a relatively new company, has released resin kits for the Maybach HL 42 engine used in both the Sd.Kfz.251 and 250 models. The engines of both vehicles were 6 cylinders, gas-powered, displaced 4.17 liters (254 cu in.), and produced 100HP. The engines for the two base vehicles are nearly identical, but have slightly different configurations because of the differing chassis, and thus enjoy varying designations. SKP’s new kits for the Sd.Kfz.250 (which will also work in the Sd.Kfz.10, the vehicle it was derived from) is the HL42 TRKM.
SKP has provided a nicely-boxed kit with a clear illustration containing three Ziploc baggies of blue resin parts and a fret of PE brass, plus instructions.
Resin after-market engines are not all created equal. I have purchased ones for other German halftracks that were, quite frankly, wretched: poor casting (holes and gaps), incomplete parts or even whole areas left out. What good is a detailed engine, for example, without the radiator or the transmission? There’s also the question of how to mount the engines—if the base kit doesn’t have an engine, it likely won’t have mounting points, either.
SKP seems to have thought of all this through in a well-executed engine that is complete with radiator, transmission (both Early and Late production varieties) and even the driver and “passenger” seats.
Other good points include clear step-by-step instructions. While I would have liked information about WHAT the parts of the kit are, the flow of assembly is handled with detailed drawings that tell you how to put the pieces together and place them in the kit.
Kit makers and AM PE brass suppliers continue literally to open up possibilities on vehicles with engine hatches that can be fixed in the open position. But without engines to put inside the kits, these new possibilities are meaningless. This series of engines is overdue, since the Sd.Kfz.250 and 251 are the most-produced German AFVs from WW II, and the 251 has become a staple of Dragon halftrack kits in multiple configurations. While the 250 is less-popular, there are several good DML kits on the market, and numerous versions of Italeri’s Sd.Kfz. 10, along with some older DML Sd.Kfz.250s.
And for those of you who would like to see what this engine looks and sounds like running, I refer you to this YouTube video