by: Jesse [ ]
Much has been written about the Sd.Kfz 251 so I won't go into too much detail. The 251 was one of Germany's primary infantry movers and served on all fronts in 21 different versions. It could carry 10 men plus equipment and was powered by a Maybach HL 42 6 cylinder motor with a top speed of 33 mph.
The kit comes in a standard Dragon box with open lid top. Lately, Dragon has taken to combining the contents of different kits to make a new version, and this is exactly what we have here. They have taken elements of the previous 251D 3-n-1 kit and thrown in the rocket launchers from their 251C. The kit consists of 17 sprues, small sheet of photo etch and two silver stickers for the side mirrors. It also has two choices of tracks, the more commonly used skeleton track and a bag of EZ tracks. Total part count is 840 but you won't use about 300, depending on which tracks you use. The painting and marking guide has options for three different vehicles, 5th Pz Div Wiking in Poland, 16th Pz Division Eastern front and Unidentified unit in Warsaw, Poland.
Step 1, 2 and 3 is the lower body and suspension and includes the fuel tank, transmission and battery. This is a strange inclusion because once you put the floor down, it won’t be seen. The instructions are confusing and omit placement and details. The first problem I came across was the lower steering arm part C8. On the instructions it shows to place the part but doesn’t show what to do with the bar at the end. I had to look at a Tamiya kit to see that it actually goes into the slot in part D30. The front wheels are moveable and the suspension is articulated.
Step 4 covers the tires and drive sprockets. Dragon still hasn’t corrected the problems with their drive sprockets (i.e. the rollers on the “teeth”). This is something that Tamiya got right back in 1990 with their 251/9 kit. This is easily corrected with some styrene rod though.
Step 5 is the interior and Dragon has fixed the problem of the floor. Before, the transmission hump was too small and there were tabs for putting a water tank in (only used in the ambulance version of the 251). Now the transmission hump is the correct size and shape. Dragon gives you a few choices in different areas of the kit so take a look thru the instructions first and identify which ones you want to use. In the passenger area, you have a choice of padded seats or the wooden bench seats. I chose to use the wooden bench seats as I like the look of them and they have pretty good detail. There are no mounting holes for the seat frames. You have to turn the floor over and find the correct holes and drill them thru. Again, the instructions don’t show this, you are supposed to figure it out. You also have a choice of driver and radio operator seats. One type has the spring backing molded on, while the other is plain and you cut out the springs from the photo etch sheet. I chose to use the photo etch as it gives a better impression.
Step 6 is the instrument panel and it is very nice. Lots of good detail and Dragon also includes decals for all the gauges which is a nice touch. The driver’s gas mask container is about 30% over scale and just doesn’t look right. The gas pedal, heater and heater tubes are all separate and help round out the driver’s area.
Steps 7 and 8 are the interior of the fighting compartment. This goes together very well, but there are placement marks on the inside bulk heads for items that are from other versions. These will have to be sanded down as they do show up in the final build. The MP40’s in the drivers’ area do not have any straps or attachment brackets on them and need to be added. The extra barrel cases for the MG42’s are shown being glued to the inside of the back of the seat backs. If you do this first, then the rifle racks won’t fit in the correct position. Make sure you install the MG42 storage cases AFTER installing the rifle racks.
Step 9 is the driver’s front plate and vision ports. All of the parts for the vision ports are clear styrene and are VERY brittle. Care must be taken when removing them from the sprue. They can be positioned either open or closed and while the novelty of being clear is nice, it really isn’t necessary since on the real vehicle the frame is painted and the glass is tinted.
Step 10 finishes off the hull top and again, there are several “attachment point” areas on the outside that must be sanded off. The engine access hatches have good detail but it’s a shame that no parts for the engine bay are included. On the sides of the front engine area are two tie down pads that look more like blobs than tie downs. With all the fine detail that is provided in the kit it’s a shame that Dragon skimped on this. The vision blocks for the driver/radio operator’s sides are in grey plastic, while the front ones are clear. The back plate/exit doors have very good detail including separate opening handles and mechanisms. You also attach the rear tow bar, tail lights and exterior door handle.
Step 11 is the construction of the outside storage lockers. One locker on each side can be positioned open or closed and the doors have good detail on both sides. The front fenders have the correct shape for a mid/late version of the “D”. Various tools, the muffler and the side position indicators are attached.
Step 12 puts the final attachment of the fenders/storage lockers, the front and back MG42’s the top plate of the driver’s compartment. Here again, you have to make a choice of which tracks to use. The kit contains two full sets of tracks, the more common skeletal with lightening holes and rubber shoes, and the EZ track which is the pressed pattern with rubber shoe. The EZ track links come separated with no clean up other than two pin marks on each link. These have to either be sanded down or filled and sanded. The skeletal links were the more common type and I chose to use these. It took a little more time but I liked the look of these better. If you are very careful, these are articulated and look really good. The only bad part is Dragon doesn’t tell you how many links per side so you have to keep track of where you are at.
Step 13 is the construction of the rockets and frames. You have a choice of either 28cm high explosive rocket or the 32cm napalm filled. Both rockets come in three pieces and have nice detail with separate fuses that were only installed when the crew was ready to fire the rockets. The exhaust ports on the rockets have excellent detail. Depending on which rocket type you choose, make sure you build the right wooden firing box. Each box is made up of 8 individual pieces and these have a nice wood pattern engraved on them. Next you must build the frame that the rocket boxes attach to. Each frame has 4 pieces and then these all attach to the side hull. Once these are attached, the interior crew grab rails are attached.
Because this is a combination of several kits, you get a few “extras”. Along with the MG42’s, you also get 2 MG34’s and a couple of fuel cans. While the weapons are not Gen2 quality, they are still pretty good, but the fuel cans are about under scale by about 10%.
Overall the kit builds into a nice model. As mentioned earlier, the kit is made up from some of Dragons older kits. The model was pretty much a straight forward build with several nice choices as to what amount of detail you want. My local Hobby Town USA is selling the kit for $80. A bit steep for my taste, but it is a nice kit with lots of extra details. I want to thank Armorama for providing the kit and giving me a chance to review it.