Sd.Kfz.251/17 Ausf.C
Dragon Kit #6395
Review by Terry Ashley



This “new” kit from Dragon comes hot on the heals of the AFV Club kit of the Sd.Kfz.251/17 Ausf.C and is similar as it includes some new, some old and some borrowed parts but unfortunately Dragon have missed the opportunity to learn from previous kits and go back to the drawing board to give us a fundamentally accurate kit as they did with the Panzer IV F2(G) kit #6360.

Instead we have a kit with a few new updated parts, the same 20mm Flak as with kit #6288 but still the same poorly represented Ausf.C interior as detailed in the Sd.Kfz.251 Ausf.C comparison review done earlier.

I will make some comparisons with the AFV Club Sd.Kfz.251/17 Ausf.C (kit #AF35118) along the way to highlight the differences and better illustrate the comments.

The Kit:

This contains parts from the previous Sd.Kfz.251 Ausf.C kits as well as the 2cm Flak38 from kit #6288 and includes the following but there are quite a few parts from the previous kits not used with this kit;

Approx. 760 parts in light grey plastic (including individual link track)

The standard of plastic moulded is again very good with very clean and crisp mouldings and virtually no pin ejector marks to be seen after the parts are assembled, but some of the “older” parts have larger mould seam lines as they are showing their age a little. There are again many small knockout ‘nodes’ on most of the parts and this does require a bit more cleanup of the parts and care with the smaller parts where the nodes are sometimes larger than the part but the end result is very clean and blemish free parts so the little extra effort is worth it. Those few pin marks present are quite shallow and easy to remove and as mentioned are there aren’t many in any case.

The quality of the etched parts is also very good and on a par with contemporary etched sets with clean etchings and the usual engraved bend lines to help in the process.

Lower Hull:

This consists of a shallow lower tub with separate axles allowing them to be positioned any way you like as well on the inside is the front transmission and final drives, the large fuel tank, battery and rear oil tank. All of this can’t be seen after you attach the upper hull so it’s best to just bypass this for quicker assembly as it has no bearing on the rest of the kit.

The front axle is in two parts with separate stabilizer arms and with the two part steering arm now included with the front wheels able to be assembled so they are steerable and the leaf springs articulate, the detail on these parts is good but the main axle and springs are slightly undersized. Also included is a separate lower suspension armour panel sometimes fitted and this simply fits over the existing hull detail.

Running Gear:

Dragon have finally “discovered” that the drive sprockets on all German half tracks feature “teeth” in the form of small rollers that intermesh with the track links, the drive sprockets themselves have flat facet sections around the sprocket that the track links “sit” flush on as the pass around the sprocket, this is a design feature of all production Halftracks from Kettenkraftrads to FAMOs as far as my references tell me and not due to wear.

The new sprockets have separate rubber sections, one set perfectly round and the other with the flat facet sections and you should use the faceted parts unless building a prototype or early Ausf.A and are not applicable to this kit.

Detail on the sprockets is quite nice but there is a large pin mark in the middle of the hub that you will have to remove and you should also note there is different designs for the hub, with this kit featuring one and the AFV Club another so they are both correct with the hub detail.

You have to be very careful when fitting the rubber section to get the offset of the faceted section with the drive tooth which is different each side and the instructions give a diagram to help get this right.

One point is the rubber section extends out past the hub rim where most photos show this narrower than the rim and thinning the rubber section will give this effect.

The assembled sprockets look good but the drive teeth are wider than the old sprockets and the track provided in the kit is a very tight fit around the sprocket requiring a bit of pressure to ‘squeeze’ them onto place and they tended to ‘pop’ off easily.

If you were to cut the sprocket notches from the inner sprocket half (parts E3) the track will then fit around the sprockets much easier and you could just trim the notches from the section of the sprocket the track covers and leave them on the exposed teeth for a better appearance and keep some of the new details.


Also included are new outer road wheels that include better detail on the holes and fine embossing on the rubber section and these are an improvement over the previous wheels and are now on a par with the AFV Club wheels that were included in their 251 kits from day one.


These are the same individual links with separate track pads as with previous kits and when assembled are fully workable. The details on the links is excellent with assembly being straightforward with the now standard method for this type track of each link fitting onto the next and held in place by the track pad stuck on top, but watch the orientation of the three pins on the back of the pad as they only fit one way around.


Hull interior:

The main floor section has nice tread plate pattern included with the two crew seats have spring details on the back with optional etched springs if you wish and the floor is glued to the lower hull tub but the rest of the interior is sadly lacking in detail.

The driver’s steering wheel is undersized; the gear levers are very basic with the hand brake in particular just being a stick and lacking any detail with the driver's foot pedals being just plain plastic squares glued to the firewall again lacking any detail.

The central transmission hump is also way undersized and should be larger in width and length and this is due to the position of the engine bulkhead which is 9mm too far back leaving no room for the correct sized hump.

Some modellers have reported problems fitting a drive figure to the Dragon 251 Ausf.C kits and this is the reason as there is no room for the driver’s legs with the firewall being so far out of position. You get in this kit the original DS vinyl driver figure to use as required taking the above comments into account.

On the bulkhead the left side offset is simulated only and is not actually offset as it should be and while the raised instruments have nice detail the position of the steering wheel attachment is too low lacking the distinctive indent under the wheel quadrant.

At the back the large door hinges are moulded in one piece each but are also way undersized and look rather flimsy when compared to photographs of the real things and there are two new crew seats at the back of the compartment for the gun crew which are finely moulded.

There is a new raised floor section for the 20mm gun mounting which includes nice tread plate pattern but is about 9mm shorter than the same panel in the AFV Club kit but as I don’t have specific info on this I can’t say which is correct. But the AFV Club floor does cover the full width of the fold down side openings which does sound logical while the Dragon panel only covers about three quarters of the opening leaving little room for the gun crew to stand on while servicing the gun?

There is also the raised gun platform on four legs and this is moulded as one piece for easy assembly as there isn’t any while the AFV Club platform has the four legs separate for a bit more assembly and both use a large lower panel to hold the 2cm Flak in place.

Upper hull exterior:

The two lower side panels are separate parts with the cut-outs for the rear gun section included and these simply glue in place between the inner floor and lower hull tub with a separate rear hull section added but the plastic is very thick and this is apparent with the cut-out sections.

There is still an issue with the hull width which has been increased by 1mm from that of the previous 251 Ausf.C kits but is still 1mm too narrow when compared to the latest plans in the Panzer Tracts 251 books #15-2 and #15-3 as well as to stated hull dimensions.

The increased upper hull width does allow for the top overhang as it should be on the Ausf.C but you have to wonder if you are going to alter the hull width at all why not go the whole hog and increase it by the full 2mm which was the discrepancy on the previous kits?

The answer is quite simple because the lower hull panels have not been altered (other than the drop side cut-outs) meaning they are still too narrow and if the top hull was increased by the full 2mm the overhang would have been more like a veranda?

The upper superstructure is in two sections meaning of course you don’t have to cut them apart as with the AFV Club kit with the forward section including the engine compartment with separate engine bay doors and also separate visors on the upper section with these having three part inner brackets for nice detail.

On the top is a new roof panel but this is just a plain rectangle and lacks any detail at all and should have a recess at the back and have a straight bullet splash guard but none of these details are included. There is also no inner head padding detail with the AFV Club roof panel included all of these details missing from the Dragon kit and it seems this roof was just thrown in as an after thought?

You should also note that the 251/17 configured as a Command Vehicle with the large frame antenna has the standard roof panel with curved bullet splash guard if you were thinking of modifying the kit for this vehicle?

The engine compartment side armoured intake covers are separate parts as is the front hull panel and the side fenders are full length single pieces with separate small storage boxes, front exhaust and nicely moulded pioneer tools but most will replace the tool clips with etched items.

The hull drop sides can be positioned raised or lowered but are not movable with the hinge linkages able to be fixed as extended or folded depending on your choice of position?

One issue is the length of the drop sides (and hull cut-out) on the Dragon kit is 3mm longer than on the AFV Club kit and as the two sets of 251/17 plans I have contradict each other on this it’s difficult to determine which is correct? But using the trusty Mk.1 eyeball with available photos of the vehicle the Dragon kit does appear to have the better contours of the drop sides while they appear less so for the AFV Club kit.

The short rear hull section fits in place with separate flanges for the ends of the hull cut-outs but remember to trap the rear doors between the upper and lower rear hull sections as you fit these.

Other parts for the hull include the front headlights with black out covers, Notek light the width indicators from pre-formed brass and the side aerial mount as well as new finely moulded rifle racks for the hull sides as these were relocated from inside the vehicle on the 251/17 and added to the rear doors are racks for two jerry cans.

A nicely detailed MG34 is provided to be fitted to the rear hull above the doors but no photos of the 251/17 show this fitted so it would be best to leave this stowed inside the hull.

2cm FlaK38:

This is basically the same as included in the 2cm FlaK38 kit #6288 with most of the comments below being the same as for that review.

The round turntable base has nice tread plate pattern and the gunner’s seat is made up of six parts again with very good details and another small hand wheel on the back of the chair base.

The two gun cradle sides have separate upper bearing rings as per the real gun for good definition with additional separate parts for the elevation assembly and hand wheel plus the gunner’s foot rests and on the inside of the right cradle is a separate perforated reinforcing bracket and at the back is the rotation box and hand wheel.

The main gun sight is made up of five parts for good definition and the X stamped ammo clip container on the left side has three separate parts with the stamping on both sides.

The 20mm gun is moulded separate to the gun mount and also has a separate shell ejection chute cover while the flash suppressor is partially hollowed out with the six muzzle brake openings only represented by small indentations. There are three alternate chamber covers allowing different versions of the gun to be built.

The actual gun dimensions from the FlaK38 Technical Manual show that the kit barrel is the correct length with just a minor discrepancy in the overall gun length.
The measurements are; full length of the gun (housing and visible barrel including flash suppressor) is 2252.5mm which equals 64.357mm in 1:35 scale and the visible length of the barrel with flash suppressor is 995mm being 28.429mm in 1:35 scale.

There are alternate elevation arms and sight linkage rods to position the gun at 0°, 20°, 40° and 60° elevation with corresponding lower carriage panel for the applicable angle so you best make your choice of angle early on in the assembly.

The plastic gun shields are a little on the thick side with bevelled edges to give a thinner appearance and also include nice bolt head and attachment details with the upper and lower main shields as separate parts but no etched shields are included with this kit as with the FlaK38 kit.

The shell ejection cage is included with plastic frames and etched mesh with the lower “basket” in two pre-formed halves and the upper sections that require you to bend to shape which is best done with your fingers to achieve natural contours and sag in the mesh and this should give a nice appearance.

Overall the 2cm FlaK38 will build into a nice replica but is simply not as detailed or as accurate as the revised AFV Club/Tristar 2cm Flak38 kit other than the barrel dimensions for those wanting the best available 2cm FlaK38.


There are two small decal sheets included, one with a selection of licence plates and numbers allowing virtually any vehicle registration to be modelled with the other have a selection of balkenkreuz and vehicle numbers for three vehicles all from the “Herman Göring” division obviously.

  • Flak Rgt., “Herman Göring” Div., 1942 in overall Dark Grey
  • Flak Rgt., “Herman Göring” Div., East Prussia 1944 in overall Dark Yellow
  • 6.Kp., Flak Rgt., “Herman Göring” Div., Tunisia 1943 in overall Dark Yellow with wavy green cam scheme
Vinyl Driver figure


We have here another re-run of previous kits where if you just want a nicely moulded kit that is fairly easy to assemble and will look good with a coat of paint then the Dragon kit will do the job. But if you want a kit that while taking a bit more effort to build is better detailed and fundamentally more accurate then the AFV Club 251/17 Ausf.C kit is the one to get.

It’s good to see that some areas (wheels, steering arm) have been updated but others have only token changes (hull width, still too narrow) but the basic interior is woefully inadequate by today’s standards with nearly everything undersized, in the wrong place or poorly represented (gear levers, foot pedals, rear door hinges).

The 20mm Flak is perfectly adequate but not quite up the level of detail of the revised Tristar 2cm Flak included with the AFV Club and overall this “new” kit is average at best with Dragon missing a golden opportunity to re-do it correctly as they did with the recent Panzer IV F2(G) kit.

Recommended 7/10

The Sprues:

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Detail Images
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Ground Power Special
GALILEO Publishing Co.,Ltd
Schutzenpanzer (Armored Personnel Carrier)
Ryton Publications
ISBN: 1930571291
Sd.Kfz.251 1939 to 1942

Panzer Tracts No.15-2
Sd Kfz 251

Tank Power Vol.VI
Wydawnictwo Militaria No.215
ISBN: 83-7219-215-4
Sd Kfz 251

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

Osprey New Vanguard 25

Thanks to my credit card and the excellent service from Blast Models for the review kit.

Page created April 28, 2007