by: Vinnie Branigan [ ]
introductionLast year saw the release by Dragon and AFV Club of a series of Sd.Kfz.251 variants, both Ausf.C and Ausf.D. This release from Aber consists of a fairly extensive update set for the AFV 251/1 Ausf. D, the personnel carrier version.
the setAs with nearly all Aber sets, if you manage to use everything provided in the set then you will certainly get your money's worth, as the frets provided are chock full of parts with little unused space. This set contains four photo etched frets and one small acetate film.
The instructions for this set run to six sides, which should give a fair indication of the complexity of this set, given that Aber do pack an awful lot in on even one side of their instructions! They begin with the installation of parts to the steering assembly for the front wheels, and just this takes up the entire first page of the instructions! Some of these parts are extremely fine, and as with most Aber sets, this one is not for the beginner. if all the parts are used however, it will result in an extremely faithful reproduction of the steering assembly of the Sd.Kfz.251, an area which was heavily simplified by both Dragon's and AFV Club.
Construction then continues with the installation of parts to upgrade the driver's compartment. Again, Aber include a myriad of tiny parts for this area, which is difficult to see on the completed model. none the less, use of all the parts will result in an extremely realistic finish, including as it does parts such as a completely hew dashboard (for use with the acetate film), parts to upgrade the steering column, pedals, gas mask cylinder bracket, gearstick receiver, handbrake levers, MP40 brackets etc. There are even tiny parts to upgrade the magazine holders for the MP40's,as well as new parts for the driver's visors, and springs for the back of both front seats.
Moving into the crew compartment, the spare vision block holders are replaced, along with the rifle brackets in the storage lockers behind the seats. Aber even provide slings for the rifles supplied in the kit. The 'V' shaped brackets that separate the driver's and crew compartments on each hull sidewall are provided, as well as new (non-working) hinges for the underseat stowage lockers. The radio in the co-driver's position is replaced by a very comprehensive Aber assembly of parts, which includes a new face, although this does look a little 'flat' and will need to be 'dressed-up' with some stretched sprue to look it's best.
There are new handrail brackets for the crew compartment, along with new parts to improve the look of the spare MG34 barrel cases, as well as new brackets for these. There are new MG34 ammunition drum holders, which look really nice, along with new furniture for the rear doors. A new fire extinguisher bracket finishes up the inside.
On the outside of the vehicle, we are given new bonnet (hood) hinges, along with a new electrical towing socket at the rear of the vehicle. There are parts provided to improve the Bosch headlight on the left front fender, along with new catches for the six storage lockers above the fenders. These look 100% better than the heavily simplified parts that AFV Club have moulded on, but you will need a micro-chisel or something similar to remove these before fitting the new Aber parts. These even come with photo etched retaining chains and tiny padlocks. There is a new travel lock for the MG34 on the rear hull mounted position, along with of course, replacements for all the tool clamps (early type). The rear Notek convoy light is improved with a new fascia nd hinged plate, plus bracket to hold it, and all the tie downs points are provided with a new baseplate, although the tie down itself looks a little 'flat' and is probably best replaced with wire for a more three dimensional look. Baseplate's for the width indicators, and a new rear view mirror for the left one are also provided.
Lastly, some small parts for the exhaust are provided, along with hoops for the crew area, and a new shield for the front MG34 if fitted.
in conclusionA beautiful, if very complicated photo etched set from Aber. Use of the entire set will require a lot of skill but the results would be spectacular. Highly recommended!
My thanks to Aber for the review sample.