Here we get a look at the BEOBACHTUNGSPANZERWAGEN Sd. Kfz.251/18 Ausf. A World War II observation vehicle with crew from ICM in 1/35th scale.


The following introduction is as supplied by ICM:

The Sd.Kfz.251 medium half-tracked armoured personnel carrier was developed by Hanomag in 1938 on the basis of the Sd.Kfz.11 artillery tractor. The vehicle was fully armoured, with an open combat compartment on top and double doors in the rear. The main armament was MG 34 machine guns. Production of the armoured personnel carrier began before the outbreak of World War II, with the first model being the Ausf A version, and production of later modifications continued until the spring of 1945.

During the Second World War, the Sd.Kfz.251 was the main armoured personnel carrier of Germany, and it also became the base vehicle for combat vehicles for various purposes. The Sd.Kfz.251/18 variant (mittlerer Beobachtungspanzerwagen) was an armoured personnel carrier for observation and communications, distinguished by a map table mounted on the roof of the control room. Some of these combat vehicles remained armed with an MG 34 machine gun with a shield. Some of these armoured personnel carriers were also equipped with S.F.14Z rangefinders for observation, targeting and distance determination.


ICM have another variant of the German half track 251 on the market in the form of an observation vehicle. A large proportion of the model is identical to previous model releases of the vehicle, but despite having been utilised several times I do not see any obvious errors starting to creep into the moulds. Having built one of these half tracks I can say that the parts fit together well and result in a pain free build. The engine and cooling system is also provided in the model, but if you expose it you will need to add further detail in the area. Moving to the crew area the details I would expect to find are well replicated, but the seat backs are solid, where as the real vehicles I have seen have a spring detail on the rear, with a padded leather face. A well detailed radio set up is included with headphones also present. The rear exit doors can be depicted open or closed, depending on how you wish to display the model. I also like the inclusion of personal weapons for the crew being stowed within the vehicle. Vinyl rubber tyres and tracks are an aspect that will not please everyone, but the detail provided is of a very acceptable standard. Moulded aerials have been provided, but I feel that these are a little on the thick side and will be better replicated by the modeller using their preferred medium. An officer figure with the early war style balloon trousers in included, along with a very finely cut jacket as was the case during the early years of WWII. Awards and insignia are well covered on this figure, and he is shown looking through binoculars observing the area around the vehicle. Also included in this release are the 4 figures previously released both alone and with the half track radio vehicle. The detail on these is good, again insignia and some awards are detailed on the figures and will help in giving the model a busy and functional appearance. 


This release from ICM is another nice addition to the series of half tracks previously released. The combination of figures and vehicle will in my opinion provide a pleasing visual appearance. The 3 finishing options that cover 2 on the Eastern Front and 1 in France provides a decent level of detail in what you are replicating, and I believe the modeller will be pleased with their purchase.



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