On opening the box and giving the kit a once over, I was surprised at the level of detail Dragon is putting into their 1/72 kits these days - pics 3 to 5.
Being 1/72nd scale, it's a necessarily brief build, but results in a great looking model, albeit small!
I began with the interior and gave it a quick coat of Dark Yellow (lightened for the scale). This quick coat was to reveal areas that needed more sanding or seams removed etc. Pic 6 shows the progress after the seats have been added. The gearshifts and other small items will be added later. Pic 7 shows it from a different angle.
Pic8 shows painting and just a little bit of a pin wash on the rear of the seats to highlight the excellent spring detail. When the wash dries I’ll soften the effect. There were also some seams on the seats that I missed at this point, these were taken care of and the areas repainted. The red X in pic 9 shows the areas that require some more attention, here the remains of the tabs are still showing.
In pic 10 you can see the dashboard after an initial spray and a bit of work on the instruments. The wash effects will be softened after I have dry brushed the instruments.
When building one of these 1/72 scale Sd.Kfz.251 kits, firstly cement the floor to the hull before adding the seats it makes for a more stable platform to attach the seats. Also if you glue the seats on first and then attach the floor afterwards, aligning the floor (and seats) to the hull correctly requires a file. I added one set of seats first and luckily discovered my error quickly.
At this point the dash still needs some more colour (green and red on the Rev counter), plus dry-brushing to lift the detail and then some Future to add the glass effect for the instruments. It’s a fun build and you get lots of practice using the tweezers. Recently had my first experience folding 1/72 scale etch, never used a pair of tweezers to fold etch before, so it took some time to get the MP rack/holder to work the correct way (or so I hope). Once folded the largest of these brackets measures ±3mm in length, pics 11 & 12. Pic 13 shows a close up of one of the sets.
Pic 14 shows the Dash finished and as it is hardly visible in the completed vehicle, I left it slightly overdone. The seats (front & back) needed some touch-ups and some toning down, as did the floor. The floor’s effects will lessen with a light dusting of pastels and some dry-brushing, pic 15.
There was a gap in the dashboard/firewall, which a piece of stretched sprue was used to fill, pic 16. In actual fact when the upper hull is put in place very little is visible of the inside, so I overdid the colours, contrasts, weathering and washes. I hoped that the results still looked acceptable/realistic. Pics 23 to 25.
I had bought some accessories and figures for a small diorama when the kit was finished. At this point I wasn't too sure of the actual layout that I would use, but would figure that out as the build progressed, pic 26.
As is the norm with mould/seam lines, they are always in difficult places and always extremely visible, the gearshifts unfortunately had very prominent mould/seam lines. Sanding or scraping the lines leaves the round bits looking very flat. Usually a dab of gel super goo (sorry glue) and the problem with mould/seam lines on round items is a thing of the past. As luck would have it no super goo and I couldn't seem to find any around in the shops when I needed it! The answer was to use a mixture of paint & future/Klear. Mix a single drop of paint and a drop of Klear, leave the mixture to dry for a bit, when it is tacky pickup a bit and dab it on the offending gearshift. Pic 27 shows the problem gearshifts, and pic 28 shows the end result.
Unfortunately, like a true muppet, I broke off the gearshifts and had to scratch some sharpish. The Gearlevers are ±7mm & ±5mm in length and do strain the eyes slightly. Once again I had to mix paint & Klear, let it dry and try again. Pic 29 shows the scratched gearlevers, and pic 30 shows the levers with the mixture added. Now just to paint them, which is how they broke off in the first place!
Now I toned down the inside, glued the upper hull in place as well as the side bins, front mudguards and a few other items. Once all the major hull parts were glued in place, the entire outer hull was given a light coat of dark yellow so the usual errors could be highlighted and corrected, pic 31.
The wheels were painted and given a heavy weathering, this will be lightened to a more realistic tone later, pic 32.
The rear MG mount needed some work as it clips into place and there was some flash on the ‘clip area’. The seams will be removed before the mount is put in place, pics 33 & 34. The 2.8cm sPzB 41 AT Gun had been built and painted and was busy drying. Pics 35 & 36.
At this point I still hadn't decided on the final finish, would it be plain or camouflaged? I’d like to do something off the beaten track, but hadn't yet to come to a decision.
All the components had been painted and were ready for final assembly and paint finish, as soon as I made my mind up that is! The hull and other components had been lightened using Vallejo Sand Yellow, pics 37 to 41.
For a 1/72nd scale kit this item is very well detailed and there are one or two items where it even trounces its 1/35scale brethren. One of these was the MP40 brackets which are extremely delicate items, but the fantastic detail of the PE more than makes up for any aggravation. The other is the steering rod. Here 3 pieces a, b & c (see pic 42) make up the actual steering assembly, but the instructions are vague in the truest sense of the word. Actual photos of this item are, it seems, rare and only after gluing the items in place did I manage to find some reference photos. It appears that the steering rod on this kit cannot be positioned correctly as the rest of the front suspension and steering is in the way, pics 43 & 44.
Unfortunately the steering bugged me to the point where it just had to be corrected (or at least improved a little!). The steering was rearranged until it was more or less where it should have been, pics 45 & 46. At this point somebody posted a pic of the steering linkage as it appears on an AFV Club 1/35th scale 251, which helped a lot, pic 47.
After a week of procrastination, the camouflage finally went on. This pattern was not planned it just sort of ended up like this (called it ‘self defence’ camo!). I was just spraying random patterns on some scrap paper, trying to improve my abysmal airbrush ‘manner’ and mixed some red-brown to test the colour. The colour looked great and not believing that it would come out this good again... so the airbrush was turned on the kit, pics 48 to 51.
Now for the weathering! As can be seen from pics 52 to 57, the build is almost complete at this point. The wheels and tracks needed to be glued on, the numbers needed to be added to the licence plates, some weathering touch ups need to be done and a dull coat/matt varnish needed to be sprayed over the Klear coat.
Finally! The finishing touches to the kit. I just found out that in 1/72nd scale I absolutely individual numbering on licence plates. Dragon just supply us with one complete number plate set for each kit...I mean!
The matt varnish was dry! Unusually I use acrylic paints and an enamel varnish. Well XtraColor seems to work best for me so no complaints. That said, if Humbrol supplied their enamel paint in a dropper format I’d be back using their paint tomorrow.
Pics 58 to 62 show the finished model.
This kit had a few sore spots and now they seem like trivial matters. The build time should have been much shorter, but I enjoyed building it to the point where some pieces that just didn’t seem right were redone, which obviously stretched out the build.
The original blog this build article is based on can be found HERE.
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