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Building a 251/7 Pioneer

steps 5 & 6
This stage deals with the construction of the Crew compartment floor, seating, and the driver’s compartment. The Dragon instructions split at step 5 into the 3 different options possible with this kit. The first steps 5 to 13 is for the Pioneer version, the second steps 5 to 15 are for the 251/10, and the final steps 5 to 13 for the 251/1 version. Since I was building a mixture of the 1st and 2nd versions, I started from the second set of steps, as I wanted to include the ammunition racks for the PAK36 instead of the rear benches.

The first step is the construction of the two seats for the driver’s compartment. The only option provided in the kit is for the two seats with moulded spring detail. Later Dragon 251 kits would come with the photo-etched springs, which I wanted to include here, and with the leather strap, and push button fasteners… also missing from this kit. The Eduard set was no help here, including only the map holders for the back of the seats. The Voyager set did include the springs, but also meant a very complicate assembly designed to replace the whole of the seat. This option didn’t appeal to me, not least because very little of it would be visible once the model was complete. I decided on a third option, which was to use the springs from the Voyager set but place them on two seat backs from the spares box. The strap detail was then added from lead foil and push fasteners made with the ‘Nutter’ from the ‘Small Shop’.

The moulded on detail of the dashboard was removed and replaced with the photo-etched one from the Eduard set, however I didn’t remove the cooling and constant speed switches on the left, as Eduard have you leave the housing but replace the levers with flat etchings, and Voyager replace the whole thing with a small resin piece. Neither of these actually look as good as the kit offering though, so I left it alone. I did however, add the small reinforcing plate above where the driving wheel shaft enters the bulkhead, from the Voyager set. The dials were provided by a small paper insert in the Eduard set, and rivets made with the ‘Nutter’ were placed around the bulkhead as they are missing from the Dragon kit. The map case and radio housing were replaced with photo-etched parts from the Voyager set, and I also added a pair of headphones which came from the spares box, with lead wire as the cable. A small floor hatch and handle are also provided in the Eduard set for in front of the driver’s seat, and a gear stick housing. Eduard also provide brackets for the drivers compartment heating duct.

Moving back into the crew compartment, the front benches are fitted as per the Dragon instruction sheet with only the addition of Eduard hinges to the stowage drawers underneath them. The rear seats are omitted for this version and instead replaced with racks for the 3.7 cm ammunition cases. Dragon provide photo-etched ones which are fine as long as you want to display them full of cases, which are provided by Dragon as inserts, one for each side. If you leave them out however, it means that the bottom of the rack is missing. The Voyager set however, provide full racks, and also 3 resin cases, which are quite nicely moulded, so I used these instead. As with all the 251 Dragon kits, it’s essential that the floor is located properly so that everything on the upper hull lines up properly later. It has to be exactly central on the locating pins, with the same size gap down either side for the lower hull walls to click into place later.

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About the Author

About Vinnie Branigan (Teacher)


Vinnie, do you ever get tired of building things?? Looks fantastic
MAR 15, 2006 - 08:09 PM
I have got to get one of these. Going to the LHS in like 10 minutes to get one ordered. Z.
MAR 15, 2006 - 08:16 PM
If Dragon doesn't put all of your work together to showcase their halftrack line, they are crazy. Unbelievable work Vinnie. I'm sure the upcoming diorama will be a show stopper. Patrick
MAR 15, 2006 - 08:44 PM
Dear Vinnie Outstanding great as usual One comment please, next time can you tell us how long does it takes each step? Because you are very productive, I wish i had a science teacher like you Cheers Seb
MAR 15, 2006 - 09:10 PM
Vinnie, Superb, must be your best 251 yet. Is this a case of practice makes perfect? I cant wait for the UHU that is in the catalogue. Regards, John
MAR 15, 2006 - 11:49 PM
wow, that is seriously impressive - that's the best 251 I've ever seen, it's a really inspirational model and the feature is in your usual great style, hats off to you Vinnie .
MAR 15, 2006 - 11:59 PM
As usual, and excellent article of an excellent model.
MAR 15, 2006 - 11:59 PM
Another amazing half track, Vinnie (for next Dragon gatalogue?) !! Tell me your secret to build a new armour so fast?? It's incredible.... :-) Tom
MAR 16, 2006 - 02:56 AM
We,ll done your highness. Excellent job. Greetz 043
MAR 16, 2006 - 09:13 PM
Smashing, Top Drawer!!!! (with best possible English accent). Looks great and I enjoyed the write up. Very informative. Pete
MAR 24, 2006 - 10:12 AM