Header Welcome to my second review! This review will focus on one product from the Zvezda 15mm  range. This miniature is a Snap fit kit, which requires no glue at all. and comes in only a few parts. The miniature also comes individually boxed, with one sprue in each box. I first saw this boxed set at the Border Reiver show at the Metro radio arena (or whatever its called these days) In Newcastle Upon Tyne, which was held on the 3rd of September. The show is a wargames convention of sorts, with a lot of stalls and displays from wargames clubs and companies from around the UK. One of these stands had a few painted examples of some of the Zvezda miniatures on display. I was in the market for a few of these, as I wanted to turn my flames of War Panzer grenadier kompanie into a mechanised company, I was putting off the idea though due to the cost involved. The Battlefront SD.KFZ 251/1 costs around £7.50 RRP (so you can usually pick it up for about 10-15% off that price. Plus, I would usually have to pay postage on top of that for most places. The thought of having to get three of these JUST for my HQ, then four per platoon kind of put me off. Then I saw these guys, and enquired about the price. To my utter astonishment, the reply was "They are £2.50 mate, you want a couple?" my retort went as follows: "Yes please, I'll have ten." (after wandering round for a while I worked out in my head that I needed 14, so I ended up buying four more in the end) So, this review wasn't actually planned. It just came about due to a bargain! Here are the boxes!
Boxes

Boxes

So Yeah, I went a little crazy, but at the end of the day, this little lot came out at £35, and I had them immediatly, no waiting around, no postage on top of that, they went straight in the bag. and then took home! Now, Usually, I wouldnt have took a £35 punt like this, but, I saw a painted version and I instantly wanted one (or 14). Purely based on the cost, these things are a total steal. to get fourteen of the battlefront minis, that would set me back  £105 at RRP (so your probably looking at around £90 + Postage) Thats around one third of the cost! usually you would expect them to be at least one third of the quality, and while they might not be the best models ever, I think they are definatly worth the £2.5 each investment. As you can see from the boxes, these things come individually boxed, which means one mini per sprue. This in one way is pretty nice, as I needed fourteen, so, I bought fourteen boxes, usually you'd have to buy a boxed set which would comprise of whatever the company making it wanted you to have, and inevitably it'll fall one short, so you'll have to buy another box, and end up with spares (I'm lookin' at you games workshop...)
Box Content

Box Content

  as you can see from the above image, the box contains one sprue, and also contains a multi language instruction guide, as well as a card which I believe relates to a game, The game is called "Art of Tactic", and these models are meant for the game, however they are just as easily used for any 15mm wargame. Here is a close up of the sprue.
Sprue contents

Sprue contents

As you can see, there are only a very small number of parts, and with the kit only being plastic, you can put this kit together with only a craft knife! I personally prefer to cut out from a sprue with some flat sided clippers, then use a craft knife to clean up plastic, but a craft knife on its own would easily do the job. In all honesty, you can tell by the feel of the plastic that this kit is a cheap kit, the plastic just feels quite cheap, and the detail feels a little bit washed out, there is still a very high level of detail in the kit, but I feel like if a higher grade of plastic were used, it would look even better. It's also easy to tell that it's not the highest quality material when you use a craft knife on it. With a kit such as the panzer  IV kit from the Plastic soldier company, (see my review HERE), which clearly uses very high quality plastic. Cleaning up the model is very easy, and the plastic feels hard under the knife, whereas with the cheaper stuff, its a bit softer, and can be less forgiving if you slip (ending up cutting a chunk out of the mini, instead of cleaning away just the flash). That being said, this is a £2.50 kit. it was never going to be the best kit in the world, and realistically, it is very good value for the money. There is still a very high amount of detail, which can be seen in the wheels and tracks. It just could be better. and I think an easy solution to that would be to use a bit better plastic in the mould. The first one I put together went together like a dream, there were no gaps, the pieces slotted into place nicely, and it went together very easily, all bar two pieces. The two pieces that were a nightmare to put together were the two sections of the lower hull. these two pieces have to be interlocked together to fit properly, and then a peg (which is attached to one of the two pieces), goes through a hole in the other piece. This makes the model stay together really well, and when you aren't going to glue it, thats great. But, it is very fiddly get these pieces to go together especially with the peg being quite long, the plastic has to be bent to acheive this properly, however when its together, its fine after that, and the part that has to be bent is on the underside of the mini, so once its painted, it'll never be seen anyway. After I snapped together the first one, and it litterally went together in a matter of seconds, I decided that I wanted to use glue on the other ones. I think this is just the hobbist in me wanting to get out, it just felt wrong to stick a model together without glue! I want to use these in a wargame, its not a toy from a kinder egg!! So after deciding to glue the rest, I found that the back of the mini was very very thin, so thin that in all but one of them there were two very very small holes, where the glue ended up coming through from the other side when the parts were pushed together, again, this isn't a major issue, and once its sprayed even with an undercoat you would never be able to tell, but it does again prove about the cheaper material being used (or just lack of the cheap stuff!) about 8 of the 14 minis that I put together also had a slight blemish in the plastic on the bottom of the hull as you can see in the photo below.
Underside

Underside

I'm not really sure what this is, it doesnt effect the model, but a few of them have it in the same place. I'm going to make an assumption, and say that this is either a fault in the mould at this point, or, its the point that the plastic is injected to the mould. OR its a freaky coincidence. Again, no real issue with this, its not going to effect the model, and once its painted you won't see it. It also doesn't effect the texture of the surface, its just a colouring issue. As you can see, there is still a heck of a lot of detail in these models for being so cheap. I'm really pleased with the way they go together too, I think I probably would have paid up to £3.50 for them if they were a little better plastic.
Front

Front view

the great thing about these minis is the fact that the wheels fit really well, on all of the ones I glued together, ALL of the wheelshave glued on straight, which is more than I can say about most companies who use a variety of materials to make their minis, resin hulls with metal wheels usually result in a poor bond between the surfaces (even when scoring) and the wheels never seem to line up correctly. But with these minis, the wheels all went on brilliantly.
Side view

Side View

As you can see, there is a great deal of detail still seen on the mini, and in the top section of the hull its very clean and defined. The tracks feel a little washed out, again, I put that down to the type of plastic used, but overall these minis will look fantastic painted up. The machine gun on the top is very flimsy, and I forsee these all being broken in the first couple of times they get used on the battlefield. But, again, these were very cheap, and I have a million spare MG's lying round from various boxed sets, so this will be a minor annoyance rather than a major issue. Also, "you get what you pay for" should definatly be taken into account when thinking about the MG's on these little guys!
Side view

Side view

Overall, I am really really happy with this spur of the moment purchase. My Flames of war german force started out as being a SS Panzer Grenadier boxed set for £30, then with the addition of 14 of these half tracks for £35 I have a pretty solid Mechanised force. The RRP of the Panzer grenadier platoon boxed sets that come with the half tracks is £38. That means for less than the price of two platoons, I have two platoons, a Fully kitted out HQ (with transports), HMG's platoon, ( complete with half tracks, and a platoon of Pak 40's. That's saved me a HELL of a lot of money, and for the price, I am more than willing to take a bit of a hit in quality, and hopefully, I've established that the quality is still pretty high, it just has a few little issues, that can be ignored. I hope the photos do the mini justice too, it really is a cracking little thing, especially for the money. My recommendation to anyone looking for some cheap half tracks would defiantly be to give these guys a shot. I wouldn't suggest getting 14 though. I'd maybe get 5-6, and wait for the plastic soldier company box to be released later this month, although I haven't seen it yet, judging by the quality of the panzer IV kit, its going to blow this one out of the water. (I'll be picking one of them up to review as soon as they are released!) but still a great buy for the money, the Zvezda German SD.KFZ 251/1 personnel carrier is most certainly worth the £2.50 I paid for it! (they are available at the moment in packs of 4-5 on ebay, and average £2.75 at time of writing, which is still a bargain, but, do give the plastic soldier company ones a shot at £16.50 a box when they are released if you are looking to buy in multiples of 5!) Thanks for reading. Chris.

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