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Building a 251/7 Pioneer

steps 7 & 8
These two steps are concerned with building the lower hull side walls, plus all their attendant fittings. Even though the place where the rear benches were supposed to be is taken up by the ammunition racks, the stowage racks above them on the walls were still there, and these were still faced with the cushioned ‘backs’. Both Eduard and Voyager sets provide the stowage bins, and from the references I have, both appeared to be incorrect. I chose to use the Eduard sets but had to remove the side flanges that bend in at 90 degrees to form a ‘lip’ to the bins. I then had to fabricate riveted strips for the inside where they were supposed to be attached to the side walls. I also removed the bar hinge from along the lower edge of each bin and replaced it with styrene rod and brackets supplied in the Voyager set.

At the forward end, Eduard provided brackets for the Mp 38 or 40, one each side, and also magazine bags under each one. Although the actual magazine bags were canvas, if you ‘rough’ them up a bit, they can be made to look like canvas once painted. On either wall just behind the bags there were brackets to hold spare vision blocks, and these were to become a problem since I wanted them to contain the vision blocks, and yet masking them would be a problem because of the retaining strip across the front of each one. After a bit of thought, I came up with the following idea. I constructed the brackets, with the strip across the front and then cut many small squares of acetate sheet. These were so thin I could place them in the brackets even though the strip is across the front of each one. I filled each bracket with squares, and then when painted later I just removed the top one, leaving the appearance of a glass block inside. Worked for me!

As the lower hull walls are generic mouldings for all the Dragon 251 kits, don’t forget to remove the moulded location marks on the inside for parts you wouldn’t use. I find it best now to just remove everything and then sand it smooth.

I now fitted the side walls, but made sure to locate them correctly in order that the upper hull would fit later. At an angle the walls were ‘clicked’ into place, making sure that the small rectangular cut out above each of the front walls was lined up correctly. Don’t go by the ‘V’shape at the front end, as this will not ensure proper alignment.

step 9
This step is the installation of the upper hull, which I prepared but did not install until painting of the interior was complete for obvious reasons. Firstly, all locating marks were removed, as for the lower walls, and then the depressions for locating the handrail brackets were filled with super glue and sanded smooth. I had a choice here, as both photo-etched sets provide brackets, the Eduard ones mad by simply folding one part, whilst the Voyager ones were made up of two parts and were better detailed so I used these. The handrail itself was a piece of styrene rod slid into place through the brackets once they had been attached with super glue.

At this point I attached the front armour that contains the driver and co-driver’s vision slots, and also cemented the front engine armour to the upper hull. The doors were also constructed, but as I wanted these to be displayed open, I added a small piece of rod to each hinge which is missing from the kit parts, as this would be fairly visible on the finished model.

painting and weathering the inside
At this stage the crew compartment was complete, along with the upper hull, but was still in two halves for easier access. I gave everything a coat of matt black, after masking the dials on the dashboard with art masking fluid, and then light misting of dark yellow. I then applied a slightly heavier coat of dark yellow to the centre of panels and around all the details.

I then attended to all the detail painting by brush, such as the seats and benches etc. I also placed a small piece of cigarette paper in the map case, which, when folded is fine enough to represent maps etc. When all the details had been painted I dry brushed with matt black with gives a good representation of worn metal, and then an all over airbrushed coat of gloss. This gloss gives a good base for applying a thin pinwash of burnt umber oil paint in white spirit, and being acrylic it doesn’t react to the white spirit either. This pinwash was applied all around details and in corners etc. The final step was an application of black pigment powder along the seams of the bench seats, and a little light brown pigment powder in crevices etc.

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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