Thursday, 18 July 2013

Hanomag variants - a spotters guide

When I first looked at the Flames of War books I was occasionally concerned by the way some of the lists specified the exacly ausf or model/variant of halftrack the troops should be transported in. After picking up some of PSC's 251/1 ausf D's I realised that for the mid war period I was aiming for the vehicles were rather late. So I have picked up a bunch of earlier versions of the well know hanomag and resolved to produce a spotters guide for the uninitiated.

 From left to right; ausf A, ausf B, ausf C, ausf D.

The ausf A and ausf B are both converted from Zvezda's ausf A model (the box inaccurately calls it an ausf B), the hideous Zvezda machine guns being replaced with spares from the PSC sets. The ausf C and D are both straight out of the box PSC models. All are depicted in post 1942 style camouflage to make it easier to discern the differences between the models. The two earliest models had been out of production for some time before this camouflage was adopted.

Sd.kfz 251/1 ausf. A


The first variant of the 251. Prototyping for an 3 ton unarmoured halftrack had started in 1934, with the concept of using the same chassis as an armoured carrier added to the requirements a year later. It wasn't until June 1939, only two months before the Invasion of Poland, that they were first issued to units. This variant was only produced in small numbers and was discontinued in 1940.

Sd.kfz 251/1 ausf. B


The second variant of the 251. Little has changed from the first version, only minor evolutionary upgrades resulting from early feedback. The variant began production in 1939, only shortly after the ausf A, and was likewise discontinued in 1940.

 Changes from ausf. a to ausf. b

1: The ausf B introduced a shield for the machine gunner, replacing the more flexible mounting. Many ausf A vehicles were upgraded to the ausf B's new mounting system.

2: The more important change was the removal of vision slots from the passenger compartments and the repositioning of vehicle tool sets to the mudguards.

Sd.kfz 251/1 ausf. C

The third variant shows the first structural modifications aimed at reducing production costs, and was also the first to see large scale production. It came into service in mid 1940 after the conquest of France, and continued in production until September 1943.

 Changes from ausf. b to ausf. c

1: The first major noticed is the simplification of the front armour from two plate to a single plate

2: The cooling flaps were replaced with vent covers which allowed for better engine cooling

3: Another minor change was the repositioning of the storage lockers further to the rear.

Sd.kfz 251/1 ausf. D

The final variant began leaving factories in 1943 and was the simplest to build and most produced. The total production of all earlier ausf.s combined was a bare 4,650 vehicles, compared to 10,602 ausf D's. While production technically ended with the fall of Germany, the Praga and Tatra factories of Czechoslovakia continued production of the vehicle until 1963. These were designated as the OT-810 and may have be retrofitted by WWII re-enactment groups .

 Changes from ausf. c to ausf. d

1: A follow from the simplification of the front plate seen in the change between the ausf B and ausf C. The rear armour drops from 6 armour planes and a complex hinging system to a single flat plate.

2: The stowage boxes and mudguards merge into a single piece integral to the hull.

Please let me know of any inaccuracies in my guide, I am not an expert and am always hunting for more information. Much of my data has come from websites such as WWII


Thursday, 4 July 2013

Perry Miniatures - Desert Rats (Part 1)

The Perry Brothers first foray into WWII plastics, it has been a long time since the metal WWII models they sculpted for Wargames Foundry, and several years since their first plastic kits.

This set provides a "Platoon in a box", the instruction leaflet even shows the platoon organisation of the period that this box can achieve:

Three 10 man sections with one Bren gun and one Thompson SMG each,
One 2" light mortar team
One Boys anti-tank rifle team
And a command section with lieutenant, radio operator and platoon sergeant

 There is even one spare man to add where you like.

Infantry sprue (Front) 


There are three identical infantry sprues each with 12 men; 7 standing, 3 kneeling, and 2 prone as a weapons team. Helmets are seperate from the heads to reduce undercuts, but there are no alternative hats accept the LRDG/SAS heads which require you to remove the head  from the body.

The Afrika Korps box (hopefully out later this year) will have a variety of hats, but in the British case the separate heads mainly allow better moulding techniques.

Infantry sprue (Back) 


Each of the three infantry sprues come with a 2" mortar, a boys anti tank rifle and 2 bren guns with the minor issue that nearly all are designed to fit on one of the prone bodies with the other prone man serving as loader.

There are also 2 SMGs and lots of rifles on each sprue, plus a bucket load of picks, shovels and bayonets to add to the models.

Command Sprue


The command sprue has the radio operator and officer, with an option of SMG, pistol or rifle. The officer has a choice of helmet or cap, finally making use of the separate head system.



The bases were a bit of an odd choice for the Perry brothers.

20mm round bases for the infantry (left), which are rather small compared with the bolt action standard 25mm (right). Being thinner than warlord's semi heroic faire the Perry models look better on the small bases, but the difference still niggles me.   

 The weapon team bases annoy me even more.

40mm square bases!?! I hate mixing square and round bases in a game, it feels wrong. So I made my own 50mm round bases with a 20mm cut out so the loader can come off for casualty purposes.

Armour Support


I even Picked up a Tamiya Matilda to go with the army, though looking at warlords rules for it I'm rather sceptical as to it's utility.

But at least the scale doesn't seem too far off.

I will do a proper review with scale comparisons once I have finished painting them.