Over the last two years Dragon has released many versions of the Sd.Kfz.251 series of German Halftrack. One of the few versions to have been released in both Ausf.C and D versions is the Sd.Kfz.251/16 Flammpanzerpagen. This Eduard set is for the Ausf.D chassis, kit number 6247.
This set from Eduard contains two frets of photo etch, a small acetate film, and a paper insert for the dashboard dials. The instructions run to five sides and are in their new 'mini' format.
The first improvements we're offered are naturally enough, for the inside of the vehicle. There is quite a complicated little assembly offered for the co-driver's sidewall, which is meant to represent the armoured vision block and holder. It even has two mini wipers, and uses a rectangle from the acetate film supplied. A complete dashboard is supplied, along with several brackets and fittings for such things as gas-mask cylinders, MP40's, pipe brackets etc.
New foot pedals are supplied along with a new handbrake, floor panels with handles, gear shift housing, and spare vision block holders. Although Eduard supply a new housing for the radio, they indicate you should still use the radio itself as supplied by Dragon. The two bolted, angled joints are supplied for the inside of the hull walls between the driver's compartment and the fighting compartment, but to be honest, given the fact that you would have to add bolts to these, you would probably be better off just using the ones supplied in the kit.
For the outside of the vehicle we're offered new catches for the engine hood, and lifting hooks for the side of the engine compartment, and new furniture for the rear doors. Eduard quote their references as 'Model Detail Photo Monograph #22 - Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf D' and presumably on the basis of this they include inside handles for both of the rear doors. I'm almost sure that only one of them had a handle.
There is also a new bracket for the fire extinguisher on the rear wall of the fighting compartment, which in any case can't be fitted in the 251/16, so it will probably end up in your spares box. On the outside of the vehicle again, we have a new towing socket for the rear, an etched chain for the towing pintle, two rings for the bases of the width indicators and a rear-view mirror. They also offer a tin piece which is meant to be rolled up to use as the exhaust pipe.........I'm not really convinced of the usefulness of that part!
Since Dragon allow one of the above fender storage boxes on each side to be posed open, Eduard supply some parts to be fitted on the inside of these to allow them to look more convincing. These consist of the inside ribbing that would be viewed on the inside of the boxes, the doors themselves are replaced too, along with the panel on the inside of the door that held the locking mechanism. The small hasp visible on the outside of each of the storage locker doors is replaced on all six boxes, along with the padlock and retaining chain. I've actually performed this procedure on another 251 D and you'll need something akin to a micro chisel from Mission Models to remove the moulded detail........they are very difficult to remove without damaging the surrounding detail.
Back to the inside now, and there is a new rifle rack supplied that will hold three rifles, and on the outside a new rear Notek convoy light, along with new clamps for all the tools. A shield for the MG42 at the rear of the vehicle is supplied, along with a short length of very flat looking ammunition. New brackets are also supplied for the internal handrail around the fighting compartment, but I'm almost sure these weren't fitted to the Flammpanzerwagens as they hampered the operation of the Flamethrowers.
This brings us nicely to the parts specific to this version.........of which there aren't actually that many. Firstly we get two new shield for the flamethrowers themselves. These are very nice indeed, with the external ribs supplied as separate parts. There is a new travel bracket for each supplied, and also a mounting bracket. Also for the pipework supplying the flamethrowers we get some rather nice valves, which are a very definite improvement over the kit parts supplied by Dragon, which for some reason are just solid disc's of plastic?
Mixed feelings over this set. There are some things in this set from Eduard that quite frankly I wouldn't want to be without. Then again there are some things that don't belong in it, and also it's not very specific to the 251/16, and most of it could be used for any 251. With that in mind I recommend it, with reservations!
A useful set from Eduard that will certainly lift your 251/16 above the average. It contains some part I wouldn't want to be without, but then again, there is quite a bit I wouldn't use!