Voyager Models
WWII German Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf.D
Voyager Model 1:35 Set # PE35258
Review by Terry Ashley


Voyager Modelshave released a series of six individual sets update sets designed for the Dragon Sd.Kfz.251 Ausf.D kits which allow you to pick and choose the details you wish to add. Using all six sets virtually rebuilds the Dragon 251 kit with just the lower hull/suspension, the road wheels/track and a few smaller parts used from the kit, everything else in supplied in the update sets including the upper hull armour, storage boxes/fenders and extensive interior and exterior details.

The standard of the etched parts is excellent with some very fine parts, embossed details and the usual engraved bending lines where required while the resin is also very well done with just the small casting blocks to be removed. The details on resin parts is very well done most notably the MP40, MG34 and MG42 which are well defined without any warping or blemishes.

We’ll now have a closer look at what is included in each set but you should note that the box top image with set # PE35258 shows the built up model with all six sets used which is a little misleading when you really want to know what is in that particular set. But it does list all the sets numbers in the fine print.

The 6 sets reviewed are:
PE35258 Sd.Kfz.251 Ausf.D Armoured Personnel Carrier:

This set consists of 29 resin parts 3 larger etched frets, 5 smaller etched frets plus lengths of this wire and rod as well as photo film for the driver’s instrument panel.

The set is quite extensive and includes many of the smaller details and updates you would associate with a “basic” vehicle detail set which doesn’t require a lot of alterations to the kit although there is a bit of work to do.

The most work is with the front suspension where you have to cut away the plastic leaf springs from the front axle and replace these with 7 brass “leaf springs” plus numerous smaller brackets and attachment fittings to virtually replace the front suspension apart from the axle itself to add considerable more detail than on the kit parts.

There are also the front two hooks, the armoured panels for along the hull sides around the suspension mountings with other exterior parts being the front rear view mirror, the head light mounting in fine resin plus the fender tool clips and brackets, rear convoy light and small hull side brackets to complete the exterior detailing.

The majority of the parts are for the interior with the full driver’s instrument panel in etched brass with the photo film dials that requires you to shave off the moulded on detail from the kit panel. Additional details are provided for the steering column, the accelerator pedal in 6 parts plus the seat springs and rear perforated panels.

All the weapon brackets and clips for the Kar98 rifles, MP40 and MG34 are provided along with resin MP40 and MG34 to add to the racks, there is also resin MP40 magazine pouches and MG34 drum magazines with the magazine racks made up of 7 etched parts each with the top retaining bracket that can be shown open or closed as well as etched racks for the spare vision port glass blocks supplied in resin. Also provided are two fine resin MG42 for the top MG shield mounting with additional details provided for the rear MG support

The radio is also in resin with an elaborate 8 piece radio rack as well as the small storage box added to the right hull side made up entirely of etched parts with working lid hinges and a two part latch.

The hand rails along the inside lip of the rear compartment has the mounting brackets in 2 small parts each and the rails from the thin plastic rod provided as well as the rear fire extinguisher racks, this requires you to cut the mountings from the kit extinguishers for the new parts.

At the back the inner entry door latches are made up of 7 parts each side with the upper spring made from thin wire wrapped around thin rod and the central door levers can be made to work if you don’t mind working with extremely small parts?

Finally there are the four canvas cover tilt frames provided if you wish to add these for a different appearance possible in conjunction with partial resin compartment covers which are available aftermarket sets.

In all this is an extensive update set for the basic Sd.Kfz.251 Ausf.D if you just wanted to add what would be considered the “essential” updates by contemporary standards before venturing on to the more elaborate updates in the other sets released.

Set PE35258 parts
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PE35263 Sd.Kfz.251 Ausf.D Armoured Personnel Carrier Bench & Boxes:

The set consists of 4 assorted sized etched frets and a few lengths of thin wire.

This set provides the four floor lockers under the rear troop seats as well as the wall mounted storage bins that also support the seat back rests.

Each of the lockers has separate lids with inner braces and workable hinges as well as separate latches and a padlock on fine chain which will allow you to show the lockers open if you wish.

The side storage bins are made up of several parts as well as the lower rail and again add good definition to this detail in the kits.

A fairly simple update to replace the kit lockers and storage bins for additional detail to the interior.

Set PE35263 parts
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PE35264 Sd.Kfz.251 Ausf.D Exterior Stowage Bins & Fenders:

The set has 3 etched frets. 2 brass fender width indicators, 1 resin part for the exhaust muffler and 3 lengths of this wire.

This set replaces the kit fenders and hull side storage lockers with the front fenders requiring some careful bending to get the side lip and fender bends in the right order and there are additional inside attachments brackets. The muffler is provided in resin with the etched support plate and four small attachment brackets and there are also the formed brass width indicators to add the fenders that require you to add the small bend in the indicator shaft before fitting.

The side storage bins are in separate segments with separate doors that in turn have separate parts for the latch recess and latches themselves with more very fine etched chain attached to the padlock.

The hinges in the doors can be made workable using the wire provided and this allows you to show one or more lockers open for a bit of animation in a diorama setting and as a small bonus you also get 4 etched spanners to use as required.

This set completely replaces the fit fenders and side storage lockers for those wanting to add finer detail, the metal fenders also allow the inclusion of realistic damage should you wish to include this?

Set PE35264 parts
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PE35265 Sd.Kfz.251 Ausf.D Early Version Armour Plate:

Set has 2 large frets in thicker brass for the hull armour panels plus 5 smaller etched frets, 4 resin parts and 4 lengths of thin wire and plastic rod.

This is probably the most adventurous and work intensive of the update sets and provides the full upper hull armour plate in thicker brass to completely replace the kit upper and rear hull plates.

The main hull is in two large brass sheets, the front hull/engine compartment and the upper side panels and rear hull panel with the hull angles having engraved bending lines to aid in getting things bent to the right angle. You can get the angles basically correct by matching the segment joins as you bend the panels but checking these against the plans in the Panzer Tracts book No.15-3 Sd.Kfz.251 Ausf.C & D will ensure the correct angels are achieved. Soldering the joins is the best option to ensure a strong join as cyanoacrylate will simply not cut it given the stresses and flexing the hull panels will be subjected too during the rest of the assembly.

There is one issue with the brass armour panels resulting from the Dragon 251 Ausf.D kit hull being too narrow by 3mm overall (1.5mm each side) and as these new brass panels have to mate to the kit lower hull they also are too narrow by 3mm in overall width once bent to shape. This is a shame the hull width is not addressed but Voyager had little option because if they made the upper hull the correct width it would not mate to the Dragon lower hull, sort of caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place.

Another thing to watch is there are extra perforations above and below the driver’s visor openings to aid with the bending due to the thin lip of the visor openings and these small perforations would best be filled with solder or covered with the etched weld beads supplied.

Main hull parts bent to shape and the joins soldered
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Surface detail on the brass armour panels is nicely done with engraved flush screws around the engine bay door openings and on the upper rear hull and there are strips of textured brass “weld seams” to add along the hull joins to add the weld detail which also goes to fill any small gaps left after soldering the main hull sections together. There are also numerous small etched bolt heads to add along the lower edges of the hull panels.

The engine bay doors are separate with separate working hinges and a separate inner lip around the engine bay opening allowing your to leave the doors open or closed if you wish to add a resin engine such as that from JP Hobby (set #35A12) or soon to be released from SKP Model.

The bolted flanges that join the front and rear hull sections of the real 251 are provided as separate parts with the large bolt heads attached on small stems that you bend around to fix the bolts to the flange and these are soldered in place on the front hull section to make fitting the rear section easier, much like the real thing.

The two front plate visors have etched outer covers that are bent to form the raised visor cover and again are best soldered as well as quite intricate inner visor frames and vision block brackets and if careful during assembly these can be made workable.

The rear compartment has separate inner spall liner brass panels as well as additional fairings inside the rear upper hull as well as the hand rails for along the inside lip of the upper hull made up of two part support brackets and the rail from the plastic rod provided.

The rear doors are also separate with more workable hinges and the inner door opening levers are the same as included in set #PE35258 and can be depicted open or closed depending of the position of the actual doors.

Above the driver’s compartment is inner head padding panels in resin as well the machine gun shield and MG mounting brackets in brass to replace the undersized kit parts as well as very nicely done MG34 in fine resin to add to the mountings.

This particular set is not for the inexperienced modeller and is quite a project for those who enjoy a challenge that not only adds refined details to the kit but enhances your skills as you go.

Set PE35265 parts
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PE35266 Sd.Kfz.251 Ausf.D Floor:

Set has 1 etched fret and a length of plastic rod

This is another fairly simple update set that has the floor plate with subtle tread plate pattern included and to fit this you have to cut away the moulded on central transmission hump and seat mountings from the Dragon floor plate.

There are separate parts for the central transmission hump also with tread plate pattern included as well as the gearshift “box” and replacement hand brake made up of twp parts and wire cable plus the driver’s brake and clutch pedals. The seat mountings are also in brass with additional smaller brackets and seat levers with all this adding some nice details to the kit floor.

This set can be used to correct the undersized transmission hump in the initial Dragon 251 Ausf.D kits or simply to add additional detail to the later kits as well.
Set PE35266 parts
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PEA117 Sd.Kfz.251/ Sd.Kfz.11 Front Wheels Pattern 1:

Set has 2 resin parts for the front wheels.

The final “update” is two resin front wheels with the most common hub/rim details seen on 251s with just a small casting block to be removed and has clean crisp details for the hub/rim details that includes the tyre valve stem and nice tread pattern on the tyres.

Also included on the wheels is slight bulging which is a shame as has been said on numerous occasions wartime military cross ply tyres correctly inflated simply don’t bulge but the bulging is not that excessive as seen on some but hopefully this doesn’t catch on and becomes a plague of flat tyres for vehicles.

But apart from the bulging these tyres are nicely done and designed to fit straight onto the Dragon axle stubs for those who prefer resin wheels with a little more refined detail.
Set PEA117 parts
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Altogether these sets really do a comprehensive makeover on any of the Dragon 251 Ausf.D kits and being separate sets you can pick and choose which updates you want or go the whole hog and get the lot.

Obviously some experience working with etched brass would be an advantage with the many very small and intricate parts as well as for the full hull armour panels if you go that far, it’s just a shame the hull width issue was not addressed but Voyager had little choice if they wanted their brass upper hull to fit the Dragon lower hull?

Overall highly recommended for the advanced modeller.

Sdkfz251 Ausf.C & D

Panzer Tracts No.15-3
ISBN 0-9771643-5-7

Ground Power Special
GALILEO Publishing Co.,Ltd
Schutzenpanzer (Armored Personnel Carrier)
Ryton Publications
ISBN: 1930571291
Sd.Kfz.251/1 in detail
Special Museum Line No.37
Wings & Wheels Publications
ISBN 80-86416-50-X
Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf.D
Model Detail Photo
Monograph No.22
ISBN : 83-89717-60-3
Sd Kfz 251

Tank Power Vol.X
Wydawnictwo Militaria No.224
ISBN: 83-7219-224-3

Osprey New Vanguard 25
SdKfz251 in action
Squadron Signal #2021

Thanks to Voyager Models for the review set.

Page created December 5, 2008