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Book Review
Modelling The SdKfz251 Halftrack

by: Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]

Originally published on:

In the years between 1939 and 1945, no less than 15,200 examples of the Sdkfz 251 were built. The vehicle (in 4 basic versions, Ausfs A, B, C & D), spawned no less than 23 different configurations and saw service on every front. The vehicle as we know as the Sdkfz251, had as its progenitor, the Sdkfz 11, a light/medium (half-tracked) prime-mover. Due to its ubiquitious nature, the 251 has always been a popular subject for the modeller, the recent 'explosion' of 251s onto the modelling market has ensured it will remain a popular subject for a long while to come.
Introduction: Osprey's new book
A few months ago, when I saw this book listed on Osprey's website, I must admit to a feeling of trepidation. My fear was that with the velocity in which both AFV Club and Dragon were releasing variants, the book would be rapidly superceded.. Happily this has not been the case. Books of this type have a tendency to get overtaken by events - with this book there is no danger of the superbly presented techniques going 'out of style'.

The book, Modelling The Sdkfz251 Halftrack by Robert Oehler which is listed as number 6 in Osprey's 13 volume modelling series follows a similar format to other books I possess in this series. The chapter headings are, by and large, self-explanatory, however later on I will expand some of the themes covered.
The chapter headings are:


Materials and Tools

Four Chapters Of Projects

A Diorama Project

Further reading, media, websites and museums

Available kits

Index and color chart

The book , which has 82 pages, is profusely illustrated with high-quality color photographs throughout and is written in a clear concise style.
Content and Practicality
Let me say from the outset, this is not one of those large expensive 'coffee-table' books. This is a practical book that the hobbyist will refer to time and time again. The detail covered in its 82 pages is truly phenomenal. Every possible aspect of the 251 series is covered from running gear to the engine compartment. Color schemes are given prominence also and many useful techniques are presented including weathering, highlighting and drybrushing. Both the experienced and the novice modeller will gain something from the book.

The Chapter Titles in more detail

The book begins with a brief technical and historical overview of the vehicle and includes some useful notes on the full (23 variant) series and the essential differences between the 4 'Ausfs'.

The next section deals with tools and paints. Airbrushes and compressors are covered in some detail as is the use of different paints, weathering powders and weathering techniques.Once again,modellers of different skill levels will gain a great deal from a careful consideration of this chapter.

The next four chapters get down to the practical projects. Four vehicles are covered in detail, one in 1/72nd and three in 1/35th scale.These models are

SdKfz251/1 (Ausf. D) in 1:72nd Scale - Intermediate Skill Level

SdKfz251/1 (Ausf. C) in 1:35th Scale - Intermediate Skill Level

SdKfz 251/9 "Stummel" (Late version) - Advanced Skill Level

SdKfz 251/7 Engineer Vehicle - Master Level

The next chapter covers in some detail the construction of a diorama entitled A Gracious Gift. Once again, a multitude of different techniques are dealt with in this chapter - Composition, Conversion of figures, Painting of the diorama base, 'blending' of the elements into the diorama base and even use of water...

The last four sections are effectively appendices. These are:


Kit Availability List (probably out of date as DML have doubtless released another 27 251s since last week....) - this also includes AM parts, photo-etch and conversion sets along with 251s in 1:72nd and 1:48th scales.


Color Chart which helpfully includes some details on how to mix those elusive German AFV colors

If you are looking for the definitive book on the SdKfz251 and all its variants, then look elsewhere. This however is one of the most practical modelling manuals I have ever seen. Not just builders of German vehicles will find practical advice within its pages, ALL armor modellers, regardless of experience or skill level will find some practical application. There is absolutely no shortage of good technical manuals or photographic records of the 251 in its many manifestations. What there has been, up until now, has been a book which puts the technical details into a practical application for the modeller. Robert Oehler has done a masterly job with this book not simply in his technical abilities which are superb, but in his ability to communicate and (more importantly) to enthuse the modeller into trying something just that little different. On a personal note, I consider myself first and foremost an allied vehicle modeller, this book however, will doubtless get me reaching for the credit card to acquire one or more of the recent Dragon 251 kits out there.

VERY Highly Recommended

Contact details
Osprey Direct
PO Box 140
Northants, NN8 2FA
United Kingdom

(01933) 443 863

Thank you to Osprey Publishing for kindly supplying the review sample.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on Armorama.

This however is one of the most practical modelling manuals I have ever seen. Not just builders of German vehicles will find practical advice within its pages.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:1
  Mfg. ID: 1841767069
  Suggested Retail: $17.95/£12
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Dec 15, 2004

About Jim Rae (jimbrae)

Self-employed English teacher living in NW Spain. Been modelling off and on since the sixties. Came back into the hobby around ten years ago. First love is Soviet Armor with German subjects running a close second. Currently exploring ways of getting cloned to allow time for modelling, working and wr...

Copyright ©2021 text by Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


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