Dragon’s latest release in their Sd.Kfz.251 series is this kit of the Sd.Kfz.251/21 Ausf.D “Drilling” which was basically a standard Ausf.D vehicle fitted with a triple mount for the MG151/15 or MG151/20 guns which became surplus from the Luftwaffe as they switched to the larger 30mm MK103 and MK108 cannons and came at the right time as more anti-aircraft weapons were needed as the Allied pushed towards Germany.
With the lower hull tub (part X) there are new etched reinforcing panels for around the suspension bump stops and front and rear sections as appeared on late hulled 251s but the etched metal appears slightly too thin for this but probably won’t be a big issue as it’s mostly hidden by the suspension/road wheels but does go to representing this later modification. With the upper hull, this has been found to be slightly too narrow in that the actual hull in 1:35th is 60mm wide while the hulls in this kit (and previous Ausf.D kits) measure out to 57mm, being short by 1.5mm each side but again this may not be an issue with many and would require major surgery to correct if you wanted too?
The early (or initial D hull) has been slightly modified by removing the locating ridges for the “falke” parts in front of the driver’s panel and the suspension is straight from kit #6248 but unfortunately there is still no drive rollers and the teeth are not offset as they should be on the drive sprocket but we should be used to that by now and included are the two sets of individual link track, the initial type and the later cast type (EZ Track) for a nice choice with the left over set added to the growing spares box if you have bought a few of these 251 kits.
Original early type track links
Other minor issues from the earlier kits are the undersized central floor hump and steering wheel with no driver’s foot pedals but the seats have been updated with the new two part items with much better details than on the previous one piece offerings with optional etched rear springs and do look more like to the original while the driver’s bulkhead has the correct outward slant on the left side. The front suspension parts are still the original parts which appear slightly undersized when compared to photos and plans but again may not be that noticeable on the finished kit.
The main alterations are on the inside with the bench seats removed to make
room for the pedestal mounting and the large ammo boxes at the rear which are
provided as multi-part assemblies with alternate etched brackets for good detail
definition and there is also the small folding crew seat on the right hull
wall. One thing to watch is that you have to open up the central pedestal locating
in the instructions so remember to do this before gluing the floor to the chassis.
There is a new bolted upper hull panel above the driver to represent that of
the original /21 and you also get the clear parts for the front and side vision
ports and the side storage lockers with one open on each side as with the previous
kits as well as formed brass width indicators.
The version provided in the kit appears to be an early or mid production “Drilling” mount as it has the reflector type sight with etched sight on the front armour shield. The new parts for the guns and gun mounting are nicely moulded with many small and delicate parts and a complete absence of pin ejector marks that can be seen, this is due again to the use of small knock out ‘nodes’ on the parts and while they take a little time to remove is certainly better then filling pin marks.
The many fine parts should be treated carefully especially when removing the ‘nodes’ and cutting from the sprues and I found it easier to remove the ‘nodes’ while the parts are still on the sprue for some extra support.
The main pedestal is in two parts, the lower base that attaches to the floor and the upper pedestal and this allows bolt head details to be included on both sides of the lower pedestal ring, you may not see this on the finished kit but shows the attention to detail.
The main gun mounting is a very intricate assembly with the main gun mounting plate (part F29) having details on the upper and lower sides and many angles well represented while the remainder of the mounting is made up of many smaller parts and is designed for the pedestal to rotate and the guns to elevate if assembled as per instructions.
The three large ammo boxes are in two parts each with separate securing straps for good definition and there are nicely detailed 15mm ammo belts for fitting between the boxes and feed chutes under the guns but you will need to carefully bend these to form the belt contours.
The three MG151/15 guns are again nicely detailed with each gun made up of 11 parts plus the metal flash suppressor for the plastic barrels. The two outside suppressors have the correct angled cut-off although you may want to thin the inner edges a little and the central suppressor is cut off square but is only about half the length it should be when referring to photos but should be easy to replace with metal tubing.
The two gun shields are provided in plastic with the smaller upper sight shield
having a nice shape and no pin marks while the edges are bevelled for a thin
appearance although the middle of the shield is slightly thicker but if you
smoothed out the inner bevel this will not be as noticeable.
The main three sided gun shield is moulded in one piece and again has no pin marks thanks to the plastic ‘nodes’ with the edges bevelled for a thinner appearance and as with the upper shield smoothing out the inner bevel will make the slightly thicker centre parts of the shield less noticeable, you could of course shave down the inside of the shields for an overall thinner appearance but in any case the shields are very well represented for a plastic shields with the upper support bracket (part F14) holding the shields at the correct angle.
The rear gunner’s seat and hand grip railings are also provided as is the forward mounted and under gun travel locks for a very complete and well detailed mounting assembly.
There are additional armour panels added to the upper hull to protect the
gun and these are provided as thin plastic panels with again no pin marks and
on the real vehicle these shields overlap and extend slightly below the upper
side hull walls and this is represented correctly on the Dragon parts although
you will need to trim the bottom of the angled brackets on part F25 for the
panels to ‘sit’ correctly.
The real armour panel is shown not fitted in most photos and Dragon have provided separate rear side brackets and rear panel with the instructions indicating a choice of fitting the panel or not which again shows good research.
Overall the gun and pedestal mounting is very well detailed with many small parts as well as some etched parts and will build into a very busy assembly that will form the centre piece of the model.
As a bonus there are also brass 15mm rounds with three full rounds and three spent shell cases which have excellent details and it’s a pity there are only three included but will still add some nice extra detail.
As a final note, as the gun represents the mid production mounting it would be more appropriate to use the initial hull as the later hull would have most likely been fitted with the later gun mounting so you can consign the late hull to other projects.
You again have a bonus set of figures this time from set #6191 "Achtung-Jabo" Panzer Crew France 1944 and these are one of the better sets released by Dragon with excellent uniform and facial details as well as the etched head phone details and these will really add to the well represented “drilling” kit and also two additional figures and a small selection of clothing moulded in the DS100 vinyl material to use as desired.
There are again four sheets in the kit, a new large sheet with a selection
of vehicle numbers and balkenkreuz plus stencil data panels, the licence
plate sheet with many variations possible from previous kits and another
small sheet with divisional markings for 18 different Panzer divisions
and this sheet is marked being from kit #6233 and as this wasn’t
in the kit I reviewed I can only guess it has been added to later production
runs? The final sheet has instrument panel dials to use if desired and
this sheet is marked from kit #6187 and again this wasn’t in the
kit I reviewed and I can only guess again it has been added to later production
The instruction sheet gives no specific unit markings with only two vehicles illustrated, one with three colour cam scheme and one in overall Dark Yellow for your choice of markings and references will come in handy to identify specific vehicles.
The instructions are in the form of traditional exploded view line drawings and as with any instructions you should carefully study these before assembly.
Another nicely moulded and detailed kit but still with some niggling little detail issues in the basic 251 as mentioned previously and again I have merely pointed out the issues here for your information.
The “Drilling” mounting is a very busy and well detailed assembly with many small details that makes for an overall good appearance and the metal parts adding the finishing touches but of course there is room as with any kit to add that bit extra for a standout model.
The kit does represent good value for money in including the two full hulls and two sets of track along with the bonus figures and will build into an attractive model of this interesting vehicle.
As a footnote, the “Drilling” is one of my favourite 251 variants and I have bought over the years the Calibre35 and Lead Warriors “Drilling” update sets and on comparing the Dragon parts to those sets the resin parts obviously have some details more finely cast than is possible with injected plastic but overall the Dragon gun and mounting scrubs up a lot better than some other plastic kits against resin update sets and also provides additional items such as rear hull ammo boxes and travel locks that the resin sets don’t, not to mention the other extra bits in the kit.
Ground Power Special
GALILEO Publishing Co.,Ltd
Sd.Kfz.251/1 in detail
Special Museum Line No.37
Wings & Wheels Publications
Sdkfz251 Ausf.C & D
Panzer Tracts N0.15-3
Model Detail Photo
ISBN : 83-89717-60-3
Sd Kfz 251
Tank Power Vol.VI
Wydawnictwo Militaria No.215
Sd Kfz 251
Tank Power Vol.X
Wydawnictwo Militaria No.224
Schutzenpanzer (Armored Personnel Carrier)
Osprey New Vanguard 25
SdKfz251 in action
Squadron Signal #2021
Thanks to Dragon Model Ltd for the review kit.