SdKfz. 253 Le Beob Pz.Wg

Kit #: PS720163 Preview by - Rob Haelterman


Picture from Henk of Holland website, used with permission.


History and version

The Sd.Kfz.250 or leichter Schützenpanzerwagen (roughly translatable as light rifleman armoured vehicle) first appeared in prototype form in the summer of 1940 and was based on a shortened Sd.Kfz.10 chassis (by removing one road wheel). Two variants of the vehicle existed: the Sd.Kfz.252 le.gep.Mun.Trsp.kw. (ammo carrier) and Sd.Kfz.253 le.gep.Beob.Kw. (observation vehicle). Around a 100 of the former were produced, while 250 Sd.Kfz.253 were accepted between October 1940 and June 1941 [1]. Mass production of the Sd.Kfz.250 only started after the production run of the Sd.Kfz.252 and 253 had finished.
A little known fact is that between June 1941 and November 1941 two different versions of the Ausf.A were in production: one based on the design of the Sd.Kfz.253 (minus the roof), known as Sd.Kfz.250/Z, and one with a design that was specific for the Sd.Kfz.250, known as Sd.Kfz.250E. After November 1941 only the Sd.Kfz.250E was kept in production until the arrival of the Ausf.B.

While not directly applicable to the Sd.Kfz.253 reviewed here, the differences between the Sd.Kfz.250 Ausf.A with 250/Z Aufbau and that with 250E Aufbau are listed below.

  253 and 250/Z (first version) 250E (second version)

Flat, double slit. Those on the side are at the same height as those at the front.
Visor in rear door.

Domed, single slit. Those on the side are lower than those at the front.
No visor in rear door.
Headlights On the side of the nose armor In front of the fenders
Lift hooks on superstructure Yes No
Driver's front plate More vertical More sloped
Rear plate Shorter Larger
Plug on right rear superstructure Yes for Sd.Kfz.250. The Sd.Kfz.253 had an antenna here. No
Fenders Plain Beaded
Ventilation for engine exhaust Holes or slits. Slits
Engine deck Three parts Two parts
Licence plate Plate below nose Painted on nose
Tool box Smaller box between fenders and extra box on fender One, bigger box
Turn indicators Slightly more to the rear Slightly more to the front
Width indicators on fenders More to the rear On the edges
Notek on left fender On the edge In the middle


The kit

The kit comes with two identical sprues, a small decal sheet and a small fret of PE.

Pictures of instructions, box, decals and PE parts from Henk of Holland website, used with permission


Casting quality is very nice with crisp detail, no flash, but rather thick sprue gates. The tracks are better than some we have had in the past from S-Model, but some modelers might still want to create some open areas between each track pad. Some modelers have already done exactly that. While the running gear is a simple affair (and with age, I've come to appreciate that), S-Model didn't need to have put all their roadwheels at exactly the same angle, as they did with their Kettenkrad, and as a lot of other manufacturers giving "easy assembly" roadwheels have done for that matter.

I started building the kit, using just enough parts and work to be able to give an assessment of the accuracy of the kit, and while far from done, it seems that fit is very good. Interior detail is not included. As the circular hatch can be built in an open position, you might want to add some scraps of plastic in there, unless you fill up the hole with a crew figure. All the other doors and hatches in the kit would need a fair amount of work to open up.

The single marking option is probably meant to represent the vehicle from 2 Pz.Div. seen on page 29 in [10]. In which case it would need a cross and tactical sign on the rear plate as well. As S-Model gives enough decals to do that, this is not a problem.
Plenty of spare decals are given without instructions on how to use them. The DAK palm trees can be used, as a small number of Sd.Kfz.253 made it to North Africa, including this example fitted with a frame antenna.


Judging from the activity on different fora, people are interested in learning about the accuracy of this kit, so I did a quick staff check and built the kit in a rather rudimentary fashion (i.e. not adding all the details and not yet gluing or cleaning up all the parts). More points will be addressed when I actually build the kit in earnest and the article will be updated accordingly.

Measurements were made against plans in [1], noting that the 250/Z and 250E bodies do not have the exact same dimensions. (The /Z was somewhat longer, for instance.)
As there are no plans of the Sd.Kfz.253 in [1], I used those of the Sd.Kfz.250/Z as a proxy, as apart from the roof and interior lay-out both were identical.

  Kit dimension (mm) Real vehicle dimension (mm) based on [1] Scale Correct dimension in 1/72 (mm)
Overall length (excluding tow hooks)
60.4 4599 1/76.1 63.87
Overall width 26.15 1959 1/74.9 27.21
Overall body height 21.71 1590 1/73.2 22.08
Height of rear hull plate (section containing door - measured parallel to plate at the right side) 12.7 853 1/67.2 11.85
Width of rear door 7.4 527 1/71.3 7.33
Height of rear door 11.76 868 1/73.8 12.06
Length engine deck (measured in the horizontal plane) 25.6 1931 1/75.4 26.82
Width engine deck (at the nose) 11.17 775 1/69.4 10.76
Width noseplate at widest point 13.91 1027 1/73.8 14.27
Length fighting compartment 28.14 2022 1/71.8 28.08
Maximum width roof fighting compartment 22.4 1641 1/73.3 22.79

Diameter front wheel

11.25 888 1/78.9 12.33
Diameter roadwheel 7.75 560 1/72.3 7.78
Length track 38.4 2828 1/73.6 39.28
Width track 3.3 240 1/72.7 3.33

Some conclusions and observations:

  • Regarding the overall dimensions, the kit is closer to 1/75-76, and there is probably little we can do about that. The engine deck, doesn't taper enough, resulting in a wide nose at the top, but as the maximum width of the nose plate is actually underscale, this gives a head on view of the nose that is off. (The differences between the narrowest point and the widest point being too small.)
  • While the tracks are roughly the correct width and length, they suffer from the same problem as the MK72 offering of the Sd.Kfz.250 Ausf.A, although to a lesser extent: the tracks extend too far to the rear of the body. In the MK72 kit this was due to the tracks being too long, in this kit it is because the body is too short. The first roadwheel might also be a bit too close to the drive sprocket, which is also a problem in the MK72 kit.
    On a positive note, the kit has the correct number of track pads per side (38) and lacks the beaded edges on the fenders, as it should.
  • The scale difference in the rear plate can be solved more easily, by just cutting the bottom of the plate to the right of the rear door.
  • More annoyingly, the wheels are vastly underscale, and it shows.
    For the record, Ace kit wheels are 12.0mm, Esci wheels 10.8mm, while the wheels in the Modell Trans update set for the Esci kit are 11.5mm.
    To add insult to injury, the hub detail of the front wheels is not correct for the Sd.Kfz.250/252/253, being closer to that seen on the Sd.Kfz.222. To solve the hub problem, wheels can be taken from S-Model's Pak36, which comes with one of the Kettenkrad kits and the Chenillette UE with Pak 36 kit. Using the latter would be the preferred option, as it doesn't need the wheels that come with the kit. Unfortunately, this will not solve the diameter problem, as they are exactly the same.
    Note that S-Model reacted to this mistake and has given correct visors in later releases of this kit.

    Pictures of the new release. I completely forgot where I got those.
  • Another avoidable mistake is found in the front visors. These are domed in the kit, which is correct for the 250E, but not for the 250/Z. Those in the 250/Z (and thus the Sd.Kfz.253 were flat with a double slit.) If you are wondering, those in the sides should be domed, and they are.
    Note that S-Model reacted to this mistake and has given correct wheels in later releases of this kit.

    Pictures of the new release. I completely forgot where I got those.
  • The Sd.Kfz.253 had a licence plate on a plate below the nose. Neither the plate or decals for the licence plates are provided.
  • A small detail that needs to be added is a tube for the exhaust on the left side, and a domed cylinder for the muffler underneath.
  • A panel line is missing in front of the engine hatches. (This panel line is not present on the 250E body.)

Front wheel as supplied in the kit. Upper hull not glued in place.

Front wheel from Chenillette UE. Upper hull not glued in place.

Nose plate damage due to glue working its way between the lower and upper hull. Entirely my fault.

Upper hull not glued in place.

Comparison with the MK72 Sd.Kfz.250 Ausf.A.

We previously reviewed the MK72 offering of the Sd.Kfz.250 Ausf.A, which represents the 250E body. That kit is nicely detailed, but has some scale issues. We already mentioned one of them above. Comparison with this kit teaches us that cross-kitting might be an option to arrive at a more correct Sd.Kfz.250 or 253:

  • The tracks of the S-Model kit are better, and might fit on the MK72 kit.
  • The front wheels of the MK72 kits are better, and might fit on the S-Model kit.
  • Other exchanges might be possible, and we would be interested to hear from our readers if someone attempts to cross-breed both kits.



This could have been a show stopper, but there are some errors that could easily have be avoided. On the other hand, apart from the front wheels, rear end of the tracks and look of the nose plate, most scale issues are not really noticeable to the naked eye.
It would also be a good start to build a Sd.Kfz.250 with the earlier body. One would "only" need to remove the roof and add interior.


For those that like to stray from the beaten track, we gladly share the following pictures. Inspiration might also be found here.

Sd.Kfz.250 Ausf. A (and 250Z Aufbau) with Panzer I turret. Picture from EBay auction-used for discussion purposes.

Sd.Kfz.250 Ausf. A (and 250Z Aufbau) with a very peculiar position for a frame antenna. Picture from EBay auction - used for discussion purposes.




[1] Panzer Tracts 15-1, leichter Schuetzenpanzerwagen (Sd.Kfz.250) Ausf. A & B, T.L. Jentz & H.L. Doyle.

[2] Sd.Kfz.250 Alt-Neu Archive Part 1 & 2, Total Detail, Martin Kögel.

[3] Sd.Kfz.250 Vol I & II, Wydawnictwo Militaria 173 & 231.

[4] Sd.Kfz.250-251 at War, Trojca, W. Trojca, K Münch.

[5] http://vincesgallery.smugmug.com/History/SdKfz-250-Alt

[6] Sd.Kfz. 250, Miltar's kits Hors série N°1, MK Editions

[7] Die Halbketten-Fahrzeuge des deutschen Heeres 1909-1945, W.J. Spielberger, Band 6 der Reihe Militährfahrzeuge, Motorbuch Verlag

[8] SdKfz250, Ground power special issue, Delta Publishing

[9] Schützenpanzer , B. Culver & U. Feist, Ryton Publications

[10] Panzer Colors II, Bruce Culver, Squadron/Signal Publications


Preview sample purchased by the author.

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Article Last Updated:
11 January 2015
24 December 2016

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