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135
251 mit Wurfrahmen

stage 17
This is where the construction of the rockets and all their hardware begins! I was really looking forward to this bit! What I did not expect was the degree of difficulty involved with building them! The instructions I found were really confusing, and it took some time for me to work out exactly what part goes where.

Firstly, decide which rockets you are going to use, i.e. which version....it does make a difference. Different parts are used for constructing the crates, depending on which rockets you are going to use. The crates are constructed in two halves, and when built fit together beautifully and really look the part. Be careful how you align parts U11 and U12, and follow the instructions carefully, and everything should work correctly. The moulded on wood effect on these parts is just right, and under a coat of dark yellow and some burnt umber oil rubbed in, will look amazing!

Once the crates had been constructed, I moved on to building the backing plates for the launchers, and all the scaffolding that fixed them to the vehicle. Care was also need when building these, most of the following arrived at by building the things incorrectly first and then realising how I should have built them correctly!

With regard to the backing plate, Dragon have provided you with two options. You can have the backing plate raised, as it would have been in the stowed position, or lowered, in order to take the crate containing a rocket. Parts V12 and V6 should be fixed with the small arm point up vertically if the brackets are to be depicted in the raised position. If the brackets are lowered in order to install the crate later, then the small arm of these parts should be fixed along the horizontal axis of the plate. The crates actually ‘click’ into position using these small parts, so it’s important to get them in the correct position. If you are going to paint the crates separately, and there is no real alternative to this, then also leave off parts numbered as U9. These click into position later when fixing the crates, and hold them in position.

I found it easier to assemble all the scaffolding tubes for the rocket assembly separately, so that I could paint them later, but it is vitally important to ensure that everything is correctly aligned when cementing. In particular the front pole, V4 should be aligned so that it is horizontally offset to the rear. Each rocket is made up of 4 parts and has a beautiful cast texture that really shows up under paint.

Another thing, is that the instructions tell you to install the handrails, parts D24 to the inside of the upper walls. All my references show this vehicle as being without them, so I chose to leave them off. Even though I did initially fit them!

The ranging guides on the engine cover are provided as photo-etched parts, and are the last things to be fitted before painting can begin.

painting
I masked off the inside of the vehicle with tissue and gave everything a coat off all over black. Repeating the procedure I had followed for the inside of the crew compartment, I misted everything with dark yellow before applying a heavier coat to the centre of panels and around all the fittings. Next I painted all the details such as tools, exhaust, tyres, and then gave everything a light coat of acrylic gloss in preparation for weathering and decals.

Dragon supply a very extensive sheet of decals, with individual numbers for the license plate. Although these look difficult to apply, they actually settle down very easily with a light application of Micro Sol.

I then applied a heavy wash of burnt umber oil diluted in white spirit around all details and in all panel lines, before applying tiny ‘dots’ of neat burnt umber under some of the fittings on the hull and ‘dragging’ them down using a clean brush dipped in clean white spirit. I then misted a coat of Xtracrylix flat varnish over everything, before applying Mig pigments European dust liberally to the tracks and sparingly to the wheels and lower hull. A dry brushing of Humbrol matt black to the hull finished the vehicle off, this applies a nice worn metal appearance to the vehicle.

in conclusion
This is not a kit for the beginner. By it’s very nature, the apparatus for fixing the launching plates to the vehicle is a complex assembly, and the instructions at times, are complicated also. The finished vehicle however, is visually striking, and really looks fantastic alongside other 251 variations. If you haven’t already got one, go and get one now!

My thinks to Dragon for the review sample.
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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