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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 canít 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 ĎNutterí, 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 isnít 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, Iíve 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. Itís 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

About the Author

About Vinnie Branigan (Teacher)


Vinnie: Another great build and an excellent article. You are a modelling machine. :-) Cant wait to build a 251
JAN 20, 2006 - 09:46 PM
As always Vinnie, your reviews are written excellent, informative and filled with great detail. You are most definitely a building machine! Thanks!
JAN 20, 2006 - 10:06 PM
Hi Vinnie, absolutely superb, but I am already itching to buy yet another 251 now once they get into the shops here. I forsee another chastising from the wife. John
JAN 20, 2006 - 11:41 PM
Very nice article, and model Vinnie.
JAN 21, 2006 - 04:27 AM
Thanks guys. Dan, thanks for working with Dragon to produce another brilliant 251! As for the etched shield, I thought I was going to have problems too, during the early stages, but if the instructions are followed carefully, then it lierally falls into place.....beautifully designed. Thanks again! Vinnie
JAN 22, 2006 - 11:41 AM
Beautifull, and I like that opened up toolbox. Cheers Henk
JAN 22, 2006 - 03:11 PM
Yet another great model build from you Vinnie. I read the article about the 250/16 flammpanzerwagen and bought one your myself and build it, will post it soon. But did not turn out as good as your master piece. :-) :-)
JAN 22, 2006 - 03:20 PM
Hi Vinnie, very nice model and very interesting article! Really. Only a question. Can you tell me your technique to make rivets... they're so realistic. In the article you spoke of Nutter and Small Shop, have you some pics or link?? Thanks Tom
JAN 22, 2006 - 04:30 PM
Fantastic build review, Vinnie. Excellent work, and a super step-by-step view of the assembly stages. Truly amazing, my friend. I got these 2cm Schwebelafette halftrack kits in a few weeks ago, and I have considered getting one, but I think I will stick with the Dragon Sd Kfz 251/21 Ausf D Drilling I already have. Then again, seeing yours may change my mind ! You should have your own homepage, or website gallerie of all your work and reviews, if you dont already have one ! Thanks for posting Cheers !! Alpen
JAN 23, 2006 - 06:57 AM
Great review and build Vinnie. I always enjoy reading your articles. ~Martin
JAN 23, 2006 - 08:31 PM