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135
251 mit Wurfrahmen

construction
As is becoming the ‘norm’ with these 251 3 in 1 kits from Dragon, stage 1 of the instructions introduces us to the choices to be made by giving us a colour coded ‘key’ to each of the three versions. These are; 1 – 251/2 C with the 32cm jellied gasoline rockets. 2 – 251/2 C with the 28cm TNT rockets. 3 – 251/2 C with the PAK 36. I decided to build the 2 version using the 28cm TNT loaded rockets.

Again, as is usual now with these 251 kits, construction actually begins with the construction of the chassis and running gear. The fuel tank, a rudimentary engine, and battery are included, although it’s impossible to see these on the finished model and so possible to leave these out and proceed with the construction. The armoured cover for the transmission is installed at this stage, and according to the references I have, it’s a matter of choice whether or not it’s used, although if you decide to construct a specific vehicle, then obviously, it depends on your references.

I chose to use it since I just feel it looks better with it installed. Construction of the axle and suspension for the front wheels is easily confused at this stage, make sure you have everything the correct way around, especially parts C30 and C35, as these are not installed between C20 and C25 as shown on the instructions! The diagram showing the completed assembly shows them correctly installed however. This is a fault with every set of 251 instructions that Dragon have issued. Construction continues with the wheels, and if you are going to paint the wheels and tracks separately, then you can join E3 to E5 at this stage; they can be easily installed later. Please note that when joining part E3 to E5, the ‘sit’ of the parts is much better if you first shave a tiny bit off the top of the locating lug on part E3. The detail on the tyres is amazing; Dragon offering the new improved tooling with the manufacturers name moulded on each individual tyre.

Dragon only include the early pattern track in this kit, clean up being a bit tedious, but leaves you with an amazing set of workable tracks that makes any aftermarket replacements totally superfluous. I always use a jig for assembling these, it does make a difference! It’s possible to construct them without one, but they’re never as straight as they should be if a jig is not used.

stage 5
This is where the construction stages actually diverge for the different versions, the two rocket versions having a common interior, the PAK 36 version being different. Dragon provide a choice of seats here, the choice being between a simple styrene version, a styrene with moulded on straps, and a photo-etched sprung version. All you have to do is choose the version you are most happy working with. Dragon also provide decals for the dashboard, which I didn’t use since I was worried about them settling down over the moulded on detail of the plastic part, so for mine I chose to paint the details once the dashboard was assembled. Again, as is common to all the 251 kits, there are no brackets provided for the MP40 machine guns stowed by the driver’s and radio operator’s positions. In stage 7 when assembling the MG 34 for the front position, Dragon do provide a lovely photo-etched sight for the MG though, so I’ll forgive them for the missing MP40 brackets!

Stage 6 is the installation of the floor to the chassis. Firstly, make absolutely sure that the floor is sitting centrally to the chassis before cementing into position. This will pay dividends later when installing the sides.

stage 9
Construction continues in a straightforward manner, much the same as all the earlier 251 kits from Dragon, with only minor variations such as the clear sprue for the vision slots and associated hardware. These are useful additions, but extremely fiddly to install, and I’m not entirely convinced of their usefulness. I usually end up cementing these assembly’s either open or closed anyway, and in truth, they are very difficult to see on the finished model. I think photo-etched brackets would have been more useful.

When fixing the sidewalls into position, offer them up the gap between the floor and the chassis, and when located properly they ‘click’ into position. Again, make sure that the front of each wall is located into position exactly relatively to the pointed ‘V’ shape in the engine compartment floor. When you are happy they are in place, cement can be run along the join.

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About the Author

About Vinnie Branigan (Teacher)
FROM: ENGLAND - NORTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM


Comments

Another well written article Vinnie can't wait to get this kit as I've recently finished the Tamiya kit. It will be a nice comparison.
OCT 03, 2005 - 06:47 PM
Excellent work as usual Vinnie! Gary, the kit has already been released in HK, two of our site advertisers, HobbyEasy and LuckyModel are carrying it on their lists...Jim
OCT 03, 2005 - 08:10 PM
nice one vinnie, outstanding work. obviously teachers are useful for something (just kidding ) if i won't have so many kids on the bench i would go for one, after your appetizer article.
OCT 04, 2005 - 07:06 AM
Hi Vinnie, Beautiful build! However, the vehicle is surely a Sd.Kfz. 251/1 with rocket launchers. Keep in mind that the order you mention is dated 1944, two years after the 11PD vehicle offered as a markings option. Also note, that these vehicles still have rear bench seats and forward MG shield. I believe it was an honest mistake by Dragon, the order cited would do better if they release the armament sprues later with an Ausf. D kit. To convert the mortar carrier to the rocket launcher, a field conversion, it would entail removing the mortar base (mount still bolted) and the ammunition holders from the mounts that normally held the rear benches. It is unlikely that any rocket launcher field conversion kits would include the rear bench seats plus front MG shield and hardware. I do not dispute that there were mortar carriers converted to ammunition carriers. So, to make the /2 variant, leave off the front MG and hardware (the hole can have a PE detail grommet), add the mounting lugs from where the mortar base would have been, and do not use the rear bench seats. I do not know what was placed in the area where the rear bench seats are shown, perhaps two crates with rockets? Again, it is a great kit and a nice build. Regards, Saúl García Still the oldest member posting in these forums!
NOV 11, 2005 - 07:04 AM
'Tank Power Volume VI - sd.Kfz.251 (215)' shows a pic of the 251/2 with the mortar in situ, and the rear seats are still there along with the front ones. As are both MG's. Admittedly it's a A or B chassis....but to be honest, I think it would be foolhardy for anybody to say catagorically this is not a 251/2 converted to a rocket launcher.............based on the fact that they can't see a few bolts on the floor and it has an extra MG? And anyway, it wasn't the order I quoted.....it was the order Dragon quoted...............We all know that when somebody says "it can't have been...." somebody will find evidence that it 'has been'..... Regards Vinnie Branigan (Not the oldest poster here, but apparently, a damn sight more useful than some)
NOV 11, 2005 - 07:15 AM
Hi Vinnie, Of course, there will be exceptions. I am writing about what is in the box and how easily the modeler can make a 'true to primary documents' Sd.Kfz. 251 /2 variant converted to rocket launcher. I wrote my previous response from work and did not have the benefit of my library. Looking at interior photos (references listed later) only the right rear bench seat was removed and used for ammunition boxes for the mortar. These photos also show the lack of a forward MG and a standard mortar base for off vehicle use. Provisions were made for only one MG34, the other side had stowage for the mortar tube. However, the scale plans by John L. Rue in Ryton's Schützenpanzer (page 189) show both front seats missing. I have not seen this configuration in any photos. Page 110 of this book does show the spare rockets stowed in the fighting compartment. Page 24 of Squadron's Sd.Kfz. 251 in Action illustrates a vehicle which is lacking the forward MG and could possibly be a /2 conversion. Note I wrote, “the order you mention”, since it is what you did with the information Dragon provided to you regarding Kstn No. 1126. I have asked Tom Jentz for clarification on the rocket launcher conversions since he, and Hilary L. Doyle, are working on the third part of their Panzer Tracts title. 15-3 which will continue the coverage of the Sd.Kfz. 251 series. Since they are away measuring real vehicles for the book, they have yet to respond. Their Panzer Tracts 15-2 has some excellent plans on the early Sd.Kfz. 251 which clarify a lot of questions. It seems that I continue to be the oldest poster. Any prizes come with that honor? Regards, Saúl García :-)
NOV 11, 2005 - 03:51 PM