The Sd.Kfz.251/17 was initially designed as an anti-aircraft vehicle fitted with the 2cm Flak 38 and built on the Ausf.C chassis with angled drop down sides allowing full traverse. The later version built on the Ausf.D chassis used a pedestal mount for the 2cm Flak 38 or 2cm KwK 38 with a small armoured shield that was fitted inside a standard Ausf.D hull without modification thereby easing manufacturer.
This latest 251 kit from Dragon is of the later 251/17 Ausf.D version with the main vehicle parts coming from various 251 kits such as #6202 and #6223 plus new parts for the 2cm cannon and mounting. The quality of the parts is excellent with crisp mouldings and details with only a minimum of pin marks to be cleaned up and there are a lot of plastic ‘nodes’ on the parts to be carefully removed especially from the smaller parts but these help reduce the amount of pin marks so are a small price to pay.
The new sprue K has extensive use of slide moulds for some excellent details on the cannon and ammo magazines which we will get too shortly as well as the armoured shield in pre-formed brass.
The lower hull tub as mentioned is the same as before and has the axles and bump
stops separate with the front axle having nicely rendered leaf spring and steering
arms although the steering linkage rod is still missing.
The road wheels and drive sprockets are those first included in kit #6202 with the embossing on the rubber sections of the road wheels and drive sprockets which are still the same without the offset drive teeth or rollers as they should.
There is the inner gearbox and fuel tank detail which still can’t be seen but you know it’s there but can easily be left out of the assembly.
There is the etched re-enforcing panels for the lower hull sides around the axles also included in previous kits.
This has separate side panels with inner panel details as well as some large pin marks but these will probably be covered by the side storage lockers and seats but check first to see if they need filling. The upper hull is in one piece with separate engine bays doors and features with very subtle weld seams and bolts head details along the lower sides as well as nicely rendered flush screws around the engine bay opening and the rear inner grab railings along the upper sill.
The outer side fender storage boxes have nicely rendered door details with recessed latch panels that also include small padlocks and two of the doors are separate to allow these to be position opened if you wish for a bit of animation. The forward fenders have subtle bolt head details and other details such as three part head light and mounting as well as the exhaust muffler on the left fender with pre-formed brass width indicators as well as the plastic indicators and rear view mirror that includes a self adhesive silver sticker to represent to mirror surface and lastly the fender mounted tools that are quite nice but could benefit with the clips replaced with etched items for more detail definition.
The separate rear doors and rear hull panel are fairly simple as per the original and the doors feature finely moulded separate inner door latches with etched handles and fire extinguishers on the inner rear panel.
The front superstructure plate with driver’s/radio operator’s vision visors is a separate part and features clear parts for the visors which are made up of three inner parts and the outer visor which can be assembled so the outer visor is movable and if care is taken during assembly would work quite well to offer more animation to the finished model.
The upper superstructure plate is also separate and is a modified bolted plate for this version with separate bullet splash guard which simply replaces the original part.
On the interior are the newer crew seats with etched rear springs plus the floor panel which has the correct sized central hump and revised floor panel details as well as the tread plate pattern being more pronounced which first appeared in the recent kit #6223.
The side troop seats have separate lower frames and you get a choice of early
leather covered or later wooden slat bench seats and the under seat storage
The front pair of seats are replaced with two 2cm magzine boxes that have excellent details on the magazines that should look good when fitted and painted to show the first round in the magazine.
The front instrument panel has nicely detailed engraved instruments and some parts separate with the correct offset on the left side as well as separate accelerator pedal and steering wheel and nicely detailed crew seats with rear spring details, gear levers and the separate bolted flanges on the side walls between the front and rear hull sections.
This kit like previous 251 kits contains two full sets of tracks, the initial
type track (skeletal with lightening holes) with rubber shoe and the “EZ
Track” which is the pressed pattern with rubber shoe.
The “pressed pattern” track which was also fitted with steel shoes for a short time in 1944 is often referred to as “late” track when in fact both types were used throughout WWII and while less common the pressed pattern was used at about a 3 to 1 ratio to the skeletal type. In the recent Concord book “German Half-Tracks of World War Two” (Armor at War Series #7054) on page 64 (top) is a photo an Ausf.C fitted with the “pressed pattern with rubber shoe” tracks and from the uniforms is early/mid war but the caption unfortunately overlooks this interesting feature instead comments there are only two fender storage boxes when in fact there are three with one just missing the door, but that is another story.
The EZ Track links and separate shoes come already separated with no cleanup required apart from two largish pin marks on the inside of each track link which will require filling but as there is no sprues or other cleanup they would probably take about the same time as “normal” plastic individual links to assemble but the rubber shoes do look a little undersized.
Assembly is the usual method for this type track where you fit one link into the other and hold in place with the track shoe, but due to the small size there isn’t a lot of contact area to glue and care should be taken if you want them to fully articulate after assembly with the assembled tracks fitting snugly around the drive sprockets and provide a nice alternative to the skeletal track, not to mention a full set of track left over for other projects no matter which you choose.
Skeletal type track links
The pedestal mount is nicely detailed with recessed securing bolts on the lower “feet” and four parts for the upper turntable which is movable if careful with the glue.
The gun mounting is very detailed with many small separate parts for the gun supports, crew seats and ammo magazine racks as well as fine parts for the sight for an assembly that matches available photos well.
The 2cm cannon is moulded with the Flak 38 barrel in place with hollowed out flash suppressor and indentations added using slid moulds and a separate upper chamber cover that can be shown open or closed. There is a separate shorter metal KwK 38 barrel if you wish to use this version that requires you to cut off the Flak 38 barrel and save the flash suppressor to add to the KwK 38 barrel.
There are three shields provided to cater for all tastes with one in plastic, one in pre-formed brass and one in flat etched brass requiring you to bend to shape and solder together for the more robust finish. Given the pre-formed brass shield I’m not sure who would want to go to the trouble of assembling the flat etched shield but the option is there.
Added to the shield are small grab handles and alternate shield bracing, one for the plastic and one for the etched shield as they are different widths due to the thicker plastic and this shows Dragon are thinking of the modeller.
There is no indication in the instructions for the exact location of the pedestal mount but this should be fairly obvious once the hull is assembled as the gun mounting can be fitted in place at any time like the real thing.un mounting can be fitted in place at any time like the real thing.
There are a couple of nicely detailed MG42s to use on the rear hull mounting (one for the spares box) as well as a couple of MG34s from the Ausf.C suspension sprue to use as an alternative and further fill the spares box.Bonus items include a DS100 vinyl driver figure from previous kits and the DS100 vinyl rolled up canvas cover to add to the rear hull if you don’t use the A/A MGs supplied.
Two decal sheets are included, one with generic number plates and numbers from kit #6206 and new sheet for this kit with both being well printed with good colour register and thin carrier film.
The new sheet has vehicle numbers, number plates, unit insignia specific to the /17 plus data blocks in a choice of black or white and two styles of balkenkreuz.
There are markings for eight vehicles on the instruction sheet;
- 1. Unidentified Unit, Berlin 1944
- 2. Unidentified Unit, Germany 1944
- 3. Unidentified Unit, Yugoslavia 1944
- 4. Unidentified Unit, Belgium 1944
- 5. Fuhrer Grenadier Brigade, Luxembourg 1944
- 6. 12.Pz.Div., “HJ Division” 1944
- 7. 16.Pz.Div, Czechoslovakia 1945
- 8. Unidentified Unit, Hungary 1945
Another nice addition to the 251 ranks with a very nicely detailed 2cm Flak gun and mounting for this unusual version that is sure to be welcomed.
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 my credit card and the guys at Rainbow Ten for the review kit.