The 251/17 Ausf. D existed in 3 different configurations, Dragon modelling the most common version, although there were actually very few of these made. They released this kit (kit # 6292) back around December of last year (2005), and it's taken until now to see an Eduard update set for it.
The normal Eduard instruction sheet, printed in colour, this time running to 5 sides, and 3 fair-sized frets of photo-etch, plus two small inserts for the dashboard dials.
There is actually very little indeed specific for this 251/17. Indeed most of it could be fitted to any 251 Ausf.D, which begs the question why did it take so long to get this set to a release date? The reason might be that Eduard have changed some of the 'standard' way they have of doing things with this set. Some things are subtley different, and they've included some things they've missed on other 251 kits.
First up is the driver's compartment. Here we're offered parts to upgrade the dashboard, however, this will require some very careful removal of moulded detail to make the most of the Eduard set, as some detail needs to be left in place. Eduard do provide a printed sheet to sandwich between the moulded Dragon dashboard and the new Eduard one which looks quite effective. As you would expect, the gas mask cylinder bracket is there, along with other small fittings and brackets, and the foot pedals, which are done in a way I've not seen Eduard do them before. They look to me as if they'll be much easier to use. For the first time in Eduard sets we also have a small upgrade to the rear idler mechanism too, although this will be hardly visible on a completed model. New fronts for the under bench tool boxes are supplied, as is usual, but what is new is that thanks to Eduard we now have the option of showing the benches raised to access the toolboxes, since under-bench hinge detail is provided. Floor panels for the driver's compartment, new gear levers, brakes etc. are provided, along with a new radio housing.
Moving back to the crew compartment, the strengthening ribs are provided, but if you decide to use these then really you need to add rivets, as the ones etched on the metal are a bit under scale. MP40 brackets, ammunition cases, which can be bent to better represent the leather or canvas they were made of, spare vision block holders, and new hardware for the vision slots are all provided too.
New hardware for the rear crew compartment doors are provided, but if you decide to use these, it would also be a big improvement to replace the bars that make up the bulk of the locking mechanism and the springs at the top with some fine copper wire. A fire extinguisher bracket is there, along with some retaining chains for the doors, which I've never actually seen on a photograph, so check your references. Interestingly, the electrical socket on the rear wall is replaced with this set, and it looks quite good, with even a hinged cover, meaning you can display it open. There are new lifting lugs for the engine hood, and a rear-view mirror for the width indicator, plus two bases for each of them.
The side pieces of each of the two above-bench stowage boxes are replaced, although again, I think this is one are where you are going to have to check your references, as I've seen several different configurations. For the above-fender stowage boxes we are given new doors, which open up the possibilty of having them open, plus small inserts for inside them. New padlocks and chain for their locks also help to improve this area of the Dragon kit.
All the tool brackets are replaced, meaning you'll have to remove the moulded on ones or source some new tools, and this includes the rear Notek convoy light too. The rear mudflaps are replaced, along with all the small tie-on brackets along the external hull sides. New brackets are provided for the crew compartment handrail, as I've used these before I can say that these are a big improvement over the kit parts.
Now we come to those parts that are specific to the 251/17. A couple of them, used on the breech of the 20mm, actually replace photo etched parts supplied in the kit, and there doesn't seem to be any difference, but there is a nice flash supressor for the barrel, which will look good IF it is formed with care, and it's not easy to form the cylindrical shape on the lower part, and then even more so on the cone-shaped supressor itself. The clip retaining bracket on the gun is replaced, which looks much better, along with the sight which is a 100% improvement. The two spare magazine holders are replaced, but again these are already supplied as photo etch in the original jkit, so I'm not sure of their value.
This is a nice set. I like the new way of doing some small things that Eduard have always done another way. Having said that, I can recommend this set to anybody buiding a Dragon 251 Ausf.D, as nearly all of it can be used on one. However, be aware that there is very little contained in this set specific to the 251/17.
My Thanks to Dragon for the review sample.
Another useful set from Eduard that will allow you to raise the bar a notch on your latest 251 from Dragon