DRAGON MODELS LIMITED (kit no.
6217) Sd.Kfz. 251/21 Ausf. D Schutzenpanzerwagen Drilling MG 151 in 1/35th-scale
injection-molded styrene plastic
by Frank De Sisto
Contains: 745 styrene parts (including eight clear), two bags of “Magic
Track”, 14 DS100 parts, 12 metal parts, three photo-etched brass
frets, four water-slide decal sheets and 10 pages of instructions in 24
steps. Price: $33.95 USD.
Recently, I reviewed this manufacturer’s latest wonder, the Tiger
I Initial Production kit. In that review, I stated that I believed that
the Tiger I put DML kits in a class by themselves. Although overshadowed
by the Tiger I release, I feel that the subject of this review simply
confirms my initial observation. DML has indeed come of age.
The first thing to note is the extraordinary parts break-down of the
MG151/20 gun. The detail presented is truly incredible, to say the least.
For instance, 10 of the kit’s 24 assembly steps deal with the 155
styrene, 10 metal and photo-etched brass parts that make up this impressive
mechanism. This is more parts than one would find in most 1/48th-scale
single-engine fighter aircraft kits. The guns themselves consist of 11
styrene parts each, plus an aluminum tube flash-suppressor for the muzzle
ends. Note however, that the flash suppressor for the center gun should
be about twice the length given. This should be easy to replace using
appropriate plastic or aluminum tube. Slide-mold technology is used for
the gun bodies and gun barrels as well as the one-piece gun shield.
The pedestal is broken down so as to provide maximum detail, even in
cases where the detail will not be visible after assembly. The gun mount
will elevate and traverse when complete. Although complex, the gun went
together extremely well with no fit problems whatsoever. However, careful
clean-up of parts is a must, as is careful alignment of completed sub-assemblies.
Mistakes made early on will cause surprises in the end if the modeler
is not careful. Although the DS100 soft styrene is used in this kit, curiously,
the belted ammunition for the guns is in conventional styrene. One would
think that the DS100 soft styrene would be a perfect use in this area.
Another indication of the research that has gone into this kit is the
ammo storage arrangement. It not only includes the three boxes for the
gun’s pedestal, but it also includes the three extra ammo boxes,
as well as the bulk ammo bin, that were mounted towards the rear of the
fighting compartment. DML’s designers did their homework!
The remainder of the kit will be familiar to anyone who has the earlier
Ausf. D halftrack kits from this manufacturer. Some features of note are
the two different upper hulls, with the early (two-piece) and late (one-piece)
engine deck hatch arrangements. DML has tweaked the late upper hull by
removing the incorrect radiator filler cap. However, they have not added
the panel seams around the smaller forward-most access door. DML has also
upgraded the road wheels with manufacturer’s logos on the rims,
but have not done any of the other subtle corrections that would make
these wheels totally correct. A bit of mud on the finished model will
make that a moot point. They have also provided a new tow coupling made
using slide-mold technology. Finally, added lower hull side details are
also given as photo-etch plates that get laminated over the plastic parts.
This same fret also contains seat backs, seat springs and gun sight.
Other features of the kit include a total of six crew figures. Four hail
from an older set, 6191 “Achtung-Jabo!”, while the now-standard
driver figure and a tailored gunner figure are presented in DS100 soft
styrene. The figures all represent Heer (Army) troops and are quite well-molded.
They wear M1942 Panzer crew uniforms with the added large breast and thigh
pockets, with the exception of the driver. He wears more conventional
M1943 tunic, along with the older-style M1939 boots. To compliment the
figures, there are two folded garments and a pair of ankle boots in DS100
soft styrene. There are additional features such as choices of driver’s
seats, two open stowage bin doors, two-position rear access doors, two
styles of semi-workable track, clear parts for the opening view ports,
turned brass width indicator stanchions (with one of the sprues set up
to provide a bending guide), turned brass 2cm full rounds and spent cases;
and photo-etch/plastic head-phones for the radio operator. There are quite
a few left-over parts, including the mount and ammo bins for the Pak 40
from the ‘251/22, various styles of bench seats, storage bins, weapons
(MP40, Kar 98, MG 34 and MG42) and various other items (jerry cans and
racks) from both the Ausf. C and D kits. The sprue layout also provides
for a complete extra MG151/20. This could be useful, as these guns were
seen on improvised trolley mounts very late in the war, often at Luftwaffe
The decals are the now-familiar Cartograf sheets as seen on the previous
iterations of the Ausf. D. There is a sheet with license plate variations
for the Heer and SS. The main sheet contains a set of vehicle-specific
markings (tac number 425), as well as generic items such as white outline
numbers and crosses, black numbers and crosses and black/white n
and crosses. Two sets of instrument panel dial faces are provided as are
shipping stencils. The final sheet has divisional insignia for the 16.
through 27. Panzer Divisions, as well as the 116. Panzer and 130. Panzer
Lehr Divisions. Additionally, several SS-Panzer Grenadier Divisions are
also represented (16., 23., 27. and 28.). Registration and color saturation
are excellent, while the huge amount of left-over items will fill a decal
spares box quite nicely.
The instructions are in the classic drawn style. One should be very careful
when assembling the guns in step 18. Note particularly the orientation
of part G15, which will affect part G10s “sit”. In step 8,
note that there are etch bits that replace some plastic bits, so be careful
here (the etched bits for this particular section were missing in my review
sample). Otherwise, it should be smooth sailing.DML has again, in my opinion
come through for modelers with a well-done (but not perfect) kit of a
popular subject, with options and excellent details, at a decent price.
The detail seen on the gun mount is as impressive as anything I’ve
seen in a long time. Now, how about some new US halftracks, Mr. DML?
Frank V. De Sisto
DML kits are available from retail and mail order shops. For details
see their web site at: www.dragonmodelsltd.com.