1⁄35Building the Dragon 251/17 w Schwebelafette
Stages 11 & 12Now we come to assembling the upper hull and installing the rear wall. I first filled the small recesses along the top of the upper hull, since I would be fixing the Eduard replacement handrail and brackets. For this I used a small drop of super glue, fixed with accelerator, and then sanded smooth. The brackets that Eduard supply for this are really nice, and just require the addition of some styrene rod, although they can be a bit fiddly to install. I replaced the two springs, one on each doors’ locking bars, with a small piece of copper wire wound around a drill bit, and also added a retaining chain to the towing pin. Part B11 should be joined to A1 the upper hull, as this also helps with proper alignment later. I replaced the screw heads around the engine cover with Elefant photo etch screw heads (number 2), by removing the moulded ones with a few twists of a drill bit, and then using styrene cement again to hold the replacements in place. I now decided to build the tracks, as these tracks can be monotonous to build and I didn’t want to leave them until the end. I always use a jig to construct the 251 tracks from Dragon, as although they are easy to construct without one, they will look noticeably more straight if a jig is used. The jig is simply made from a piece of styrene card, and two pieces of ‘H’ beam stock placed so the track teeth fits snugly between them. The links can be all be aligned, and then with a pair of tweezers, and a really tiny dab of super glue gel, the track pad can be placed, so locking the tracks together and leaving them fully workable. I made up two runs using all the links available, as they can be easily shortened to the correct length when installing them later.
Internal paintingBefore joining the upper to lower hull, I had to fully paint and weather inside, as most would be impossible to reach when the two hull halves were joined. I began by giving everything an all over coat of black to act as a pre-shade. Then I misted a very thin coat of dark yellow over this, allowing thicker coverage in the center of panels and around details etc. Next came the brush painted details such as the benches and seats. At this time I also detail painted the dials on the dash, after which, everything was given an a coat of acrylic gloss, in preparation for weathering. To begin the weathering I made up a mixture of white spirit and burnt umber oil paint. This can then be applied around all the detail without fear of ruining any of the previous work, which was all done using acrylics. When I was happy with the results of this step I then dry brushed using an enamel matt black. Paying particular attention to areas I considered to be subject to high wear. The final step was to apply dry pigments very sparingly to give the appearance of a dirty well used compartment.
Stages 13&14These stages deal with assembling the side fenders and all the tools etc. that are fixed to them. The holes for locating the tools were filled with stretched sprue, and the molded on ones removed from the Dragon supplied tools. Eduard clamps were then used. Dragon allow for the possibility of leaving one of the fender storage boxes open on each side. I had decided to close the right one but leave the rear left bin open. The rear Notek convoy light was replaced with Eduard, and the front Notek light had a cable added to the engine compartment. Rear mudflaps were added from the Eduard set, and the Dragon supplied brass width indicators fitted. I had decided from the outset that I wanted to display minor damage to each of the front fenders, as photographs of well-used 251’s without this damage are difficult to find. Firstly I cut a straight edge along one side of a piece of thin foil. This was laid against the join in the panel lines on a fender were I would later cut. The foil was then burnished down on to the styrene one until the correct shape had been achieved. The styrene one was then carefully removed with a razor saw and the edge cleaned up. Small styrene squares were cut to support the foil fender from beneath, and when fixed in place, small bolts were added as detail. When both fenders had been left to set for a short while, damage was inflicted with a pair of tweezers!
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