Introduction - some historical background
The Sd.kfz 251Ausf.D
was the last incarnation of the highly succesful German half-track which was based on the Hanomag Sd.kfz 11, 3 - ton prime mover. This version, the 251/1 was the troop carrier version. The letter 'D' as in 'Ausf.D' signifies the fourth production variant with, amongst other features, a more simplified (and therefore easier to manufacture) hull structure with the external storage lockers built into the hull..
The photographs in the book are based on two preserved examples in the Polish National Army Museum in Warsaw, Poland. Both vehicles are in a reasonable state of preservation with few significant items missing apart from some details of the crew compartment.
The book 's format takes the reader on a 'virtual' tour of the vehicle covering the hull exterior, the interior, the engine, running gear etc.
As this will be a book primarily used by modellers who wish to super-detail models from either AFV Club
or Dragon Models
it is worth considering the strengths of this book and the areas where most modellers will be working on.
The most apparent aspect of any 251 model, is the internal arrangement design - the driver's compartment, the main 'storage' area is covered in great detail with much attention paid to the 'obvious' parts such as the parallel benches, the storage lockers for personal gear and (particularly important) the hinge and handle detail on the rear doors.
Moving to the outside of the vehicle, much attention is paid to the engine compartment covering both internal and external detail of the main engine panel along with the engine itself. All wiring and hydraulic cables are also well presented, giving yet another 'plus' for this monograph.
Continuing with the outside, one of the most complex parts of the design, is the running gear.This is also comprehensively covered with good detail on the track components (taken from a workshop manual it appears) the drive sprockets and idlers are well photographed, almost looking like kit parts themselves... The underframe is also well covered - although rarely seen on a model, it does help when you know that you've done the work on it...
The front axle is given excellent coverage as well - shots have been taken from the sides and from below which gives he reader a good idea of the complexity of the original design.
All the images are interspersed with photos from original sources which are of an extremely high quality. In conclusion, no aspect of the structure of the 251/1 is left uncovered. Obviously the vast majority of components are common to all of the 23 (mission-oriented) variants so it is as useful for a 251/1 as for a 251/17 in many fundamental aspects...
This is a book which no serious modeler of the 251 (Ausf. D) can afford to do without. Considering the plethora of 'Ds' which are coming onto the market, this should get a ready sale amongst those who are determined to push the basic kit to the'limit'. Combine this with a good source of contemporary 'in-service' photographs along with Osprey's MODELLING the 251 Halftrack
, then you will have the beginnings of a highly adaptable library on this interesting vehicle. Once again, with this series from Rossagraph
the keynote is an extraordinary balance between price and quality. Many books costing 2-3 times this one contain less than half the detail. It is certainly short on text although the little there is is bi-lingual (Polish/English) so no need to invest in a Polish dictionary. In a word, superb!
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Availability and Acknowledgements
In the first instance, I would like to thank Rossagraph
for providing the review sample. Secondly, this series is widely available from specialist military book-sellers sogetting hold of them should not be a problem whatsoever. Finally, can we have a similar book on the Ausf 'C' please?