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A publicação de qualquer imagem ou informação referentes ao nazismo, fascismo ou quaisquer outros regimes totalitários deve ser entendida como reprodução do rigor histórico e não como apologia a estes regimes, líderes ou símbolos.

SdKfz 251 Ausf D with APX french turret - case report

       As you guys have noticed, I love rare and real things. One of my greatest joys is to find a photo of a vehicle with unique characteristics to try to reproduce in scale.
        And this new project fits well within this profile ...
        This original photo shows a Sdkfz 251 Ausf D with a french turret APX, from the Renault R-35 light tank, in Free French hands. Notice the typical German 3 shades camouflage, with the Balkan cross semi-erased on the sides.
SdKfz 251 with french turret - Font: Book Century Tracks n°2
        The pic not show the type of gun, but the commander cupola is in German standard, ie, with "cut" on its top. The turret seems to be in panzer-gray. This detail, plus the cut in the top of the commander´s cupola, suggest that was part of an R-35 captured or was part of one of the bunkers that used obsolete tanks turrets as "strong points".

        So, come on ...
        Let's try to build this odd-ball!  First of all, a 3 view draw:

A color profile:
SdKfz 251 with french turret profile- Font: Book Century Tracks n°2
        I´ll use this models: The SdKfz Ausf D Falke (without IR device, of course...), from AFV
AFV kit 35S38
         And the APX turret from this kit:
Heller Renault R-35 light tank.
         I will not "sacrifice" the Renault´s kit . I'll use the turret's left of this project: Renault R-35 with T-26 turret:
Based on a George Bradford drawing
Renault R-35 captured with conical T-26 turret
        But, returning to the project, begining the building ...
SdKfz 251 booklet
SdKfz 251 hull
SdKfz 251 wheels...
 I continued the project in this weekend. Building the interior...

         Dry-run with upper hull:
       To do the turret´s deck, I print the blueprint in scale. I copied the image to Corel-draw and extended the pic to fit in scale.
The upper-hull in comparison of scale drawing
          I used an 1mm thick plasticard to do the turret deck. The ring of turret was cutted from an old Heller´s scrap hull.
        The Renault turret, with commander's cupola cutted as a German standard.
APX turret
Another dry-run

Turret deck: interior view

Assef, a great friend and excellent military modeler, asked me if the turret would move or not. Good question, Assef...
Assef´s avatar
      I have been searching on the subject and found that APX turrets had manual movement via a simple crank mechanism.

APX turret - rotation device
        And I think anyone who has done this conversion (German or French), must have been based on the technology of construction of these turrets on bunkers, for the simplicity of the thing... Leveraging, I researched about APX turrets mounted bunkers and found numerous examples used in Coastal Defense of France (Atlantic Wall). The installation of these turrets was something very simple ...
Apx turret on top of concrete bunker
notice the metal collar around the turret and the cutted cupola

APX turret in Marseille

R35 turret at Atlantic Wall
coastal defense duties

another APX turret in french bunker
Bunker - blueprint

        It was enough to manufacture a simple circular steel ring for the turret stand on this circumference and keep moving.
Turret ring in a bunker under construction
the concrete was placed into the steel ring
Turret ring done - metal collar and concrete
View inside the bunker
notice the rotation ratchet
pic font in the image...
        There is much speculation whether this Sdkfz 251 turret has movement or not. After what I've researched, I think maintaining the movement in this type of turret was something simple. And I think having all this work to install the turret on the vehicle and leave it fixed would be an anachronism ...
        My two cents, Assef !  Big hug and take care !!!

After our "technical" chat about the ability to spin the turret of this beauty, let us return to building of this vehicle.
        I did the structural reinforcements of the upper-deck with Plastruct type train rail, like those found in the beach obstacles. Here, it is time for some creative freedom ... I'm putting in place the people who built this little beauty .....
 Reinforcements: one horizontal rail and two vertical
The vertical rails distribute the
weight directly to the chassis
Internal view: the front vertical rails are
welded directly in the upper deck
        While the weld dried in the reinforcement rails, I made some improvements in the APX turret: Notice the axis of gun´s rotation and a sort of micro-hatch in the roof of the turret:
Micro-hatch and the gun´s axis
I substitute the plastic axis by metal
        Does anyone know what is the micro-hatch??
Notice de cupola hinges...
Turret done!!!
The turret in the deck. 
APX turret view - right side
         At this stage of building something happened extremely embarrassing...I like to go a few steps ahead, while others are drying. As the turret was finished, I decided to glue the engine doors on the nose of the vehicle.  I took the two engine covers parts and that's when I realized that I had used the upper hull of the late model of Sdkfz 251 (the Ausf 251/22) to make all adjustments to the upper-deck.  I took the upper deck of the Sdkfz 251/22 and not the Sdkfz 251/1.
        The engine cover of the 251/22 is single, with two hinges at the top of the engine aperture and the 251/1 are two, with the hinges (4) in the sides...

        Oh, Gods .... What childish mistake!!!

        Well .. no use crying ... The option is fix that mess!! . I opted to exchange the snouts by surgery. Here's how was the thing after the cuts...
Upper deck cutted. Notice the four hinges (early model)
and the two hinges (late version)
        The early snout in the adapted hull:
The new nose, glued and aligned...
  ...and correcting the error: The "virgin" hull (for future projects...) with his late nose corrected!
Sdkfz 251/22 and Sdkfz 251/1
The modified hull with engine doors in place...Uff!!!
        After that little scare, nothing like continue the building for relax a bit. Painting the inside so we could close the hull of the girl:
Painting th guns and the interior...

Almost there...
Interior done...
        Closing the upper deck.

Upper deck closed!
         Primer time:
The vehicle primed...
...and the turret.
         Yellow base color applied:
base color in dark yellow
        ...and the cammo. Sorry about color distortion: I finished this painting at night. The gray shades are really, in green....
Sdkfz 251/1 in cammo
         Future to prevent silvering:
Future (airbrush) in the vehicle...
...and in the turret.
Yesterday, I built the front wheels and the rear suspension. Thereafter, I applied the decals and sealed everything with Future:

The french flags and the Allied star.
The Balkan cross will be blurred
      For the link-by-link tracks, I used two pieces of balsa wood, for the perfect alignment of the links:

The tracks growing...
       The SdKfz 251/1 Ausf D with APX turret is done. This project was very pleasant to built and the AFV kit is a candy.

SdKfz 251/1 Ausf D with APX turret - left side

Black and white...

SdKfz 251/1 Ausf D with APX turret - right side
SdKfz 251/1 Ausf D with APX turret movable - Eyes right !!
SdKfz 251/1 Ausf D with APX turret movable - Eyes left !!

SdKfz 251/1 Ausf D with APX turret - Kojak as a size comparison

SdKfz 251/1 Ausf D with APX turret
Another rarity in my collection ....
Thanks for follow this building, Gentlemen.
See you, soon !!!!