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Monday, January 2, 2017

Bolt Action - Review: Rubicon Model's Sdkfz 250/1 Alte kit

Sometime ago I got my hands on one of Rubicon Models new Sdkfz 250/1 kit but due to starting a new job and other commitments, I'd been too bogged down to get the time to throw it together. Well no more excuses! Over the weekend I finally managed to put together this great little kit and decided to share with you my experience and boy, what an experience it was!

As per usual with Rubicon, they achieve the awesome feat of shoe-horning 2 variants into the one box, and like so many of their other kits, you can actually switch between the 2 variants between games with a little fore-thought. You can make this kit into a sweet little Sdkfz 250/1 Alte, or for a more refined taste, the rarer Sdkfz 253.

The Germans made 4200 Sdkfz 250 Alte of different variants, from 1941 to 1943. After that, they begun production of the Neu version, which had a flattened crew compartment and was easier to produce in the worsening climate for the German warmachine.

The Sdkfz 253 was an enclosed variant of the Sdkfz 250 used by artillery observers usually attached to armour formations. Only about 285 of these variants were produced, and in Bolt Action it can be found in the Tank Wars supplement. It's an enclosed 7+ armour transport that can carry 5 men and has the Command Vehicle special rule. While not cheap, I have been very interested in trying one out as an armoured bus for a hit squad of 5 German veterans with assault weapons. Not exactly the intended use of the vehicle, but hey, we can all bend historical accuracy for a bit of fun every now and then right?

These two variants are all contained on 2 plastic sprues, along with a sheet of transfers and an assembly guide in the box as well. This kit has a lot of small details and this means the level of detail is amazing, with heaps of intricate stowage and equipment that can go inside the interior of the Sdkfz 250. This also means that it might be a bit overwhelming for a first-time modeller or a younger gamer, but with patience, perseverance and reading the assembly guide, you'll end up with an amazing game piece. And as I mentioned earlier, if you do not glue on the top plate of the Sdkfz 253 or the MG mount for the Sdkfz 250, you can actually place whichever one you want on top to make it either vehicle for your upcoming battle.

As usual with Rubicon, the tracks are one-piece which I find helps prevent uneven track assembly or similar problems. There is a driver model included, and like other Rubicon kits, this is a realistic scale 28mm miniature. It will look very small and weedy next to a heroic scale 28mm like most manufacturers produce, but in a vehicle, especially crammed into a driver's seat, this is not really an issue. Strangely compared to the rest of the kit, this crewman doesn't have a lot of detail too him, but as he is nearly completely hidden in the driver's compartment it's not a big issue. There is also no gunner model, so if you want someone manning your MG34, you may have to source a gunner from somewhere else. There is also a second MG if you want the option of a rear-facing one, but I prefer to not bother with the rear gun on my half-tracks. You can also have the Sdkfz 253's hatch open with the observer's periscope sticking out the top.

I've painted mine up in plain dunkelgelb. While dunkelgrau maybe more appropriate, as these were made in '41-'43, the majority of my Germans are late-war, so I decided to paint this up as a veteran who has survived well into '44-'45 on the Eastern Front.

It's really hard to find fault in this kit outside of the crew. You get the use of 2 different vehicles for the price of 1 and there is a lot of detail. If I was to really nit-pick it would be the lack of a gunner and the lack of extra stowage for the outside of the vehicle, like rolls of canvas, jerrycans or spare roadwheels, but I guess that is the point of the Rubicon German Stowage set! I'd give it 9 out of 10 Hanoswags. Another stunning kit from Rubicon if you're a fan of plastic kits like me!

"Anf" is a long-time gamer from Down Under, who currently focuses his hobby time on Bolt Action.
With an equal love of  rockets and Ice Hockey, he constantly explores weird and wonderful army lists
in his never-ending quest to collect them all.

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