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A Tale of 250's

It was the Best of times, it was the worst of times......

(with all due acknowledgement and apology to Charles dickens )

Welcome, today I want to take a look at the new Warlord Games SDKFZ 250 Alte (old) and run a swift comparison with the Rubicon Models offering of the same vehicle which has been available for about 3 years now. This follows on from the unboxing video on You Tube by Modelling for Advantage on the warlord kit ( and a swift conversation with the Restless Kaiser on his experience of building it when we met at the UK Games expo recently) (119) Bolt Action SdKfz 250 Alte, German WW2 recon Half-track unboxing and review - YouTube

So I have purchased 3 of the Warlord kit and had ( until this morning) the Rubicon kit in the pile of shame. The plan is for another swift army based on 21 Panzer's Recce Battalion, which did have a couple of odd vehicles/variants and using the army list for Recce units to be found in the Budapest campaign book.

What do we get in the boxes? in both cases the build centres around 2 sprues for the basic SDKFZ 250. Variants by both companies are handled in a different way. The Warlord kit offers an additional 2 small Sprues for SDKFZ 250 9&11 variants. Rubicon include an option for a SDKFZ 253 (armoured Artillery observation) in the box. Other variants which include the 250 9&11 as well as Rommel's famous command variant 'Grief', come in a number of add on kits (each of which if used wisely, provide variants for at least 2 to 3 vehicles).

Rubicon Sprues

the Warlord main sprues

Warlord Variant Sprue

The Rubicon Decal Sheet is larger and arguably more generous- especially if doing multiple vehicles, but the Warlord sheet does come with a useful content that should satisfy most.

The overall design of how the kits go together does have some differences but is fundamentally the same and with that in mind, for both kits, following the instructions to the letter does have the potential for sweary outbursts by the thick fingered and tweezer deficient among us. The instructions for both are largely straightforward, I must admit to not liking Warlords method of numbering parts via pictures of the sprues in the instructions, rather than numbers directly on the sprues themselves. To be fair I didn't really need to refer to it too much so its not a big deal. Please note, there's a slight mis-numbering on a couple of the track parts, but again no big deal. The size of the instructions is quite significantly different. the Warlord one is a small booklet!

To the build itself. I chose to largely follow a straight 250 build but then looking at the 21 PZ order of battle (Orbat) discovered that the battalion HQ may have had 253's so... With the exception of the armoured roof and a different door the builds are the same. Decent enough for comparison purposes.

For both Kits and in unison with the Restless K's comments, fitting some of the detail parts and in hull components ahead of the instruction sheets is advisable (fat fingers or not). For those seeking detail I would probably suggest painting inside the hull before completion of the build.

the Rubicon running gear is probably the easier of the two but on the other hand, hull construction is probably easier on Warlord since the mudguards are all one piece on both sides rather than separate.

The Rubicon Kit does include a driver but no figures manning the machine guns which is actually unusual for them. The Warlord kit has several weapon manning options with spares ( dependent on options followed) ripe for conversions, but no driver. I sometimes wonder at the thought processes with the development of kits in observing these 'omissions'. Ultimately nothing is insurmountable but, its chuffing annoying at times.

What about scale? Frankly there isn't much in it. The Rubicon vehicle is slightly large which given that it is 1.56 scale and the Rubicon figures being truescale is perhaps a little surprising. However, the differences are not so great as to make having one of each side by side is going to be an issue.

The lines on the Rubicon Kit are a little finer and yet for models designed for game play as well as for the 'serious' rivet counting modeller opportunity has been missed and its the Warlord kit that has the option of open rear door (including showing the inner door mechanism) for displaying in a diorama. The Detail on the 'rifle rack' is also greater on the Warlord kit. Strangely the Warlord kit includes as standard details which on the Rubicon Kit are optional for game play. One other feature on the Warlord kit is the stowage locker on the right hand side which is not included with the Rubicon kit. Without checking, I don't believe there is a historical 'faux pas' here and if anything a mix of each manufacturer's offering only adds to the 'using what you're issued with' feel to a force.

To conclude. The Warlord Kit is a welcome addition to the range of plastic kits available. its more complicated than some of their other kits, Bren Carrier, Opel Blitz, Sherman V. It is on a par with the Marder 3 and 38T and certainly easier than some of the Italeri downscaled kits. The range of options in the kit is a bonus and should satisfy many. I wont suggest that I would use one over the other. The pros and cons of each are not so great that there is an outright 'winner'. The Warlord kit is perhaps a little easier to build and the crew options perhaps make it more appropriate for the wargamer.

I haven't put weapons on the pictures below ( there is a very nice MG34 in the Warlord kit that will see a range of uses beyond the kit) In my case the straight 250 is going to get a pintle mounted forward facing 2cm Flak gun, which was one of those oddball 21 PZ vehicles ( will probably field it as a 250/9 ) and of course the Artillery spotter/command vehicle is unarmed, although again for game play I may do something about that.

There you have it. I hope that gives a bit of insight into the options available. Look out for more progress on the Recce Battalion, hopefully soon.

.....It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known. ;)



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