Sunday, April 1, 2012

SdKfz 251 (D): BF and PSC detailed comparison

Today, I would like to present you a comparative review of german half-tracks SdKfz 251 in late variant D. I will compare models provided by Battlefront (BF) and the Plastic Soldier Company (PSC).

Half-tracks are the basis of any mechanized company, including panzerpioniers that I personally collect. Unfortunately, you will require many of them in order to field even a basic company - the minimum number is around ten. If you think about BF products it means that you will have to spent around 100 Euro. Taking into account that half-tracks are going to spend most of the time off the table it sounds quite annoying... (fortunately, since the FOW version 3 half-tracks seem to play a more important role). This forces many of players to look for cheaper options to build their mechanized companies.

If you think about cheaper models, one of the providers that you should take into account is the Plastic Soldier Company. They provide plastic models in both 15mm and 1/72 scales. They have released couple of best sellers so far. One of them is their SdKfz 251 - offered in two variants C and later D.

In this review I'm going to focus on variant D, and try to check if the half-tracks provided by PSC can be used together with BF products.

Battlefront's blisters contents

Battlefront's blisters with additional stowage and crew blisters
Battlefront offers plenty of different 251s variants. I have in my collection one basic 251Ds (GE241 - SdKfz 251/1D) and couple of 251/7Ds (GE249 - SdKfz 251/7D) used by panzerpioniers.

In each blister you will find a resin body, plastic sprue (containing tracks, assault bridges, 3 MGs, and front wheels), a gunner, and 20mm cannon. As usual, the quality of BF's model is really high. There is not much you have to do to clean the parts.

Unfortunately, you will not get additional crew members and stowage in a blister. However, you can buy a separate special-order blisters to customize your half-tracks a little bit.  If you consider the price of a model and necessity of buying additional packages this is clearly a disadvantage of the BF models.

PSC's box contents

The PSC box containing 5 half-tracks and extra crew and stowage
The Plastic Soldier Company offers their half-tracks in boxes of 5 models (recently they introduced an option to buy separate sprues). You will find 5 sprues in each box. Each, gives you a possibility of assembling a standard 251D. I have to add that each sprue contains lots of additional stowage and crew members. Some of them might be extremely useful when building other dioramas, e.g., panzershrecks, mauser rifles, etc. I will not enumerate all the elements, if you are interested in the topic, visit this link to see the content of a single spure.

The quality of models is very high. All elements are casted nicely. Still, you will have to clear some of the parts a little bit.

Assembling models

Assembling BF models is pretty easy. You will have to glue tracks, front wheels, and machine guns. I had a problems with front wheels in some of the blisters. They were not fitting the holes in the body well. Nevertheless, it was a minor problem.

Assembling PSC models is a little bit more difficult. If you have ever assembled plastic 1/72 models you will find it enjoyable, as I did. The only problem is that if you have to assemble many of them at once (what is rather typical in wargaming) it starts to be a little bit annoying.

Models size

OK, and now the part for which most of you came here ;) - comparison between both models. I will not elaborate too much on it. You will find all the measures in the photos below. What I can add from myself is that the models look really good together. The models you see below have different paint jobs, so the difference is quite visible, however, when you look at the photo at the beginning of the post you will see that PSC's 251Ds looks quite compatible with BF's 251/7Ds if they share the same camouflage pattern.

PSC (left) and BF (right) models left view
PSC (left) and BF (right) models front view 
PSC (left) and BF (right) models rear view
PSC (left) and BF (right) models top view

Differences between models and their historical accuracy

Finally, I would like to talk a little bit about the main difference between the models and their historical accuracy. The silhouette of both models seems similar, however, the main difference is in frontal part of both vehicles - the slope of armor and frontal plate.

Also the crew members seem to be little smaller in PSC models than figures produced by Battlefront. They will not look good if placed together in a single vehicle.

You can find the most important differences between models at the photo below:

The most important difference between PSC (left) and BF (right) SdKfz 251Ds


  1. An excellent review. The diagrams and photos are a really good idea.

    Martin Stephenson

    1. Thanks Martin, I'm glad you liked them :)

  2. Yes, thanks for the comparison. Nice paint jobs too! You'll be pleased to know that PSC will be releasing their Sd Kfz 251 Pioneer upgrade set in April, fingers crossed.

    -- George Krashos

    1. True, I'm looking forward it :) I've heard that there will be even more options :)

  3. Thanks for that, interesting comparison, being a modeler I'm leaning towards PSC anyway, and the price per model just seals the deal.

    1. Yeap Dan, I agree. I tried to be as objective as I could, but I also think that PSC half-tracks are just better for the price they offer :)

  4. Excellent article. Cost has been an issue but BF is lowering the prices of one of their plastic models. PSC needs to work on crew figures to make them a bit more robust and more animated.