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Building the Dragon 251/17 w Schwebelafette

The 251 series, based on the Sd.Kfz 11 3 tonne tractor, saw action on all German fronts during WWII. There were 4 basic versions, A, B, C and D, and in addition to these there were 23 specialised versions produced, for example the 251/1 personnel carrier, the 251/2 Mortar carrier, the 251/3 Communications vehicle, and so on. This kit represents the 251/17 carrying the pedestal mounted 2 cm 38 in a small armoured turret. Prototypes of this existed on A & B chassis, and some were manufactured on a C.
This kit however, is an Ausf. D, as mainly issued to Luftwaffe units, although some did find their way to armoured units. Interestingly, there were other versions of the 251/17 with a specially extended crew compartment that had fold down sides, and the gun on a full ground mounting, allowing a full 360 degree traverse of the gun, and the engagement of ground targets, but these were dropped as they proved too costly in terms of resources, to produce in large numbers.

Follow this link for a review:Dragon 251/17 Review

Stages 1&2
Construction starts with as usual, the lower hull. Dragon provide the fuel tank, battery and transmission in all of their 251 kits. I decided not to use it though as it can’t be seen at all when complete, all of it being hidden by the fighting compartment floor.
The first step involves fitting the etched extra armour to the sides of the lower hull, these are really beautifully etched, my only complaint being the rivets on them are not in my opinion prominent enough. Over each rivet I applied a new one made from lead foil by using the ‘Nutter’, the new tool from The Small Shop EU. The armour pieces are made from very thin, light brass, and simply placing them in position and allowing some very thin styrene cement to be drawn underneath by capillary action is easily sufficient to hold them in place. It is also in these stages that you have to attach the wheel axles. Although they are cemented in place in location holes, there is a tiny bit of play in each, and this can make a difference when installing the road wheels later, so make sure you allow for this and try and set each axle to hold the wheel as high as possible. If this isn’t done, then the two front wheels will not touch the ground when the model is completed. Stage 2 is completed by attaching the armoured cover for the engine, which is an optional piece.

Stages 3&4
These stages concern the building of the road wheels themselves, and the two front wheels, and their axle assembly, plus the drive sprockets. Although the instructions show them fitted at this stage, I’ve found it much easier to make up the road wheels by joining E3 to E6 and then E4 to E2, but leaving them all off for separate painting later. It’s nice to see that Dragon have finally corrected their diagram for the blow-up from stage 3, which now shows the tie-rods correctly installed!

  • 001
    Etched Side Armour
  • 002
    Replaced Rivets
  • 003
  • 004
  • 005
  • 006
    Front Axle Assembly
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About Vinnie Branigan (Teacher)