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Trumpeter- Sd. Kfz. 251 D 1/16 scale Full Build

Catalog Number: 0942 Manufacturer: Trumpeter
Published: Sunday, April 7, 2024 Retail Price: $144.98
Scale: 1:16 Reviewed By: Chuck Aleshire


Sd. Kfz 251 D ( 1/16 Scale )

For a look at the parts, sprue photos, and initial evaluation of this kit, please see the First Look review of this kit;

In that First Look review, I noted some opportunities for improvement to this kit. I will be be noting those opportunities in the review below.

Building this big Sd Kfz 251 D

As with most armor kits, the build begins with attaching various bits to the lower hull. All fit well, no issues

Above - the roadwheel suspension arms and bump stops. The suspension is engineered for sitting on a level surface, but as the tracks are workable (using care in assembly…), with some minor surgery to the suspension arms you could most likely pose the vehicle on uneven ground. All suspension parts fit reasonably well, although a couple of them had minor sink marks on them.

Above - the sides of the engine bay fixed to the lower hull. Fit was easy, and perfect.

The drive sprocket parts, all seven of them including the photoetch ring to the right side of the photo. There are a LOT of sprue attachment points needing cleaned up, so assembly of these sprockets is a bit more time consuming than expected. Fit was good though.

Also above - the roadwheel suspension arms and bump stops can be seen clearly.

Above - the completed drive sprockets are rather impressive, but I did wish that I’d pre-painted the rubber sections prior to assembly! 

Above - the various parts that make up the front wheels assembly; the leaf springs, tie rod, mounts, axle, etc. There are quite a lot of interconnected parts here, but all went together well and without issue. Fit was good.

Above - the front wheels / suspension assembly completed. Note that unless you perform some major surgery, the wheels can only be positioned straight ahead.

Above - the completed front wheels suspension assembly fit easily onto the lower hull.

The roadwheels are made up of two parts, the steel wheel and the rubber tire, which is actually styrene. Some wheels also have a photoetched ring mounted around the rim. The beauty of having the wheel and tire molded separately is that you can paint them easily prior to assembly. BUT..

As mentioned above, I pre-painted the roadwheels and tires prior to assembly. I also chipped the wheels up a bit, and applied a Turpenoid / oil paint wash. Once I’d gotten the wheels looking how I’d wanted, I then mounted the tire parts to them. Perhaps due to the paint I’d applied, the fit of the tire parts to the wheels was EXTREMELY tight. As I wrestled the tires into place, I placed the completed roadwheels to one side.

A few minutes into this process I noticed something move out of the corner of my eye….a minute or two later, I noticed it again. Then, while I was looking towards my group of assembled roadwheels, one popped an inch straight up into the air! Some of the tires were splitting under the stress of being forced onto the wheels. Some examples of the tire splitting are pictured above (red arrows…).

Above - the photoetched ring that mounts to the outer edge on some of the wheels. I must confess to not being entirely sure what this ring was intended to do..protect the rubber tire from wear?

Above - repairs made to all split tires, and roadwheels and drive sprockets mounted to the lower hull. All roadwheels mounted well aligned and level, all touching the ground (at the same time, no less!). Prior to mounting the wheels and sprockets, I pre-painted the part of the lower hull that would be difficult to paint later due to the interleaved wheels.

The front tires are made up of three styrene parts and a vinyl / rubber tire. As I’d noted in the First Look review of this kit, the tires had no markings of any sort on them, and had a slight warped area on them.

Above - fortunately, mounting the tires on the wheels eliminated the warping issue. However, the tires are totally devoid of any manufacturer or other markings, they are completely smooth. This is a place where an easy upgrade can be done, as aftermarket wheels with correct markings are available. 

Now we are ready to build the track runs, easily my least favorite part of this entire build. As seen in the above photo, the track links are made up of three parts, from left to right; the pad which contacts the ground, the pad mounting part which contains one of the ribs that reinforce the main link part beneath it, and the main link part which contains the track guide horn. Each track run is made up of 58 links.

This tracks are workable, just don’t use a glue with good capillary action when attaching the track pad and mount to the links. In the image above you see a track pad and mount part assembled, and below it you see two main link parts mated up with the track hinge pins in their recess. 

Fit of the track pad / mount onto the two joined main linked parts beneath it isn’t real good. Quite often the track pad and mount did not seem to want to seat properly, leaving the “rib” that is supposed to join its mates on the main link part floating in mid air. Also, extreme care must be taken with cement placement or you will lock the links up, preventing articulation. I used the old school Model Master cement with the needle applicator, that stuff stays where you put it.

Above - the dreaded floating rib…I tried everything that I could think of to reduce this issue, sanding this, trimming that, with minimal success. I wound up bending the worst of the floating ribs down to contact the surface of the link as it should. I found these tracks to be quite fiddly to assemble, to say the least. There are a LOT of sprue attachment points to be cleaned up as well.

Above - both track runs assembled, along with materials I painted / finished them with. Given how tough these tracks were to assemble, if I were to build this kit again, I would seek out other tracks. That said, once assembled, these tracks looked pretty decent once painted and weathered.

Despite the issues that I had with building the tracks, they fit quite well to the roadwheels and sprockets, with just the right amount of sag. At this point, I just had to do a test fit of the hull top, which seemed to fit very well.

Next we move on to other lower hull work. First up are the twin doors at the rear of the hull. Each door has a nicely detailed door opening / latching mechanism. Hinges are also added to the outer side of the hull. I only installed one door at this time, as I intend to pose one door open.

Above - one door in place, fit was good. I did a test fit of the second door, and found that it  would have required some sanding down to fit, had I placed it closed up.

Above are several sub-assemblies that all fit beneath the floor of the vehicle including a fuel tank, what looks like a battery, some transmission parts, and a few other items that I can’t readily identify. Several of these items are two and three part assemblies, all fit well. 

All of these sub-assemblies fit well inside the lower hull tub. With just one very minor exception, every bit of these parts will be hidden once the floor is installed, which makes this sub-floor work sort of pointless.

Above - the floor plate dry fit into place, effectively hiding all of the work done in the previous steps. You must drill out a total of eight holes on the floor plate, which are mounting points for the stowage boxes that the passenger seats mount to.

The surface of the floor plate itself is perfectly smooth, no non-slip or Diamond plate type texturing anywhere. Most interior images of the Sd Kfz 251’s show a non slip floor surface. This is another place where this kit could easily be improved upon.

Finally we’re onto the fun stuff! Moving up into the driver’s compartment, a five part steering wheel column is assembled and mounted to the bulkhead, along with a two part gas mask case, various other small parts, and what I think is a pipe intended to provide heat to the drivers compartment. All parts fit well, and there are nicely done dials and gauges molded on the bulkhead.

The drivers seats are quite nicely done three part assemblies as seen above. The spring detail in the seat back and the straps that attach the cushion to the seat back are very well done.

The passenger / crew benches are made up of a stowage bin base, a seat frame that mounts on top of that, and finally the two part seat cushion itself. There are two different lengths of seating bench used, one long and one a bit shorter, one each per side. Most of the photos that I’ve seen show wooden bench type seating in the 251’s rather than a cushioned seat. Regardless, all of these stowage bin / seat assemblies went together without issue.

Above - an overview of the seating arrangement in the vehicle, minus the upper seat backs for the bench seating. See that tiny little light area between the front seats? That’s all that can be seen of the sub-floor parts I’d installed earlier. Also, you can see my base coat of primer color on the floor. I will be doing a really aggressive chipping / scuffing / weathering job on that floor, in part to to partially obscure the fact that there’s no texture or non-skid surface on it.

Above - the driver’s bulkhead and instrument panel finished. I overdid it a bit with the chipping on purpose, this area will be sort of hidden in the dark, beneath the roof above the driver’s position, and I’ll be applying a generous grime wash over the entire interior as well. Note the instrument panel gauge faces, those are very nice kit supplied decals with a drop of Future applied to simulate glass. To the right you see the rear door that I’ll be mounting open.

The tab that the red arrow points to in the above photo is the mount point to the floor part. The tab was far too large to fit, I cut it down to mount the part.

Above - floor and driver position bulkhead mated up. In the view above you can see the mounts for the up front seats. Also seen is the rather heavy chipping that I did on the floor and the stowage bins located beneath the bench seats.

Above - drivers seat, detail painting of parts as assembly progressed made for a time consuming build. 

Above - floor installed (minus seats up front), rifle racks installed on the interior walls above the bench seating. The rifle racks will be inside of a wall bin that also serves as a padded seat back for the benches. It’s nice that the seat backs are separate parts, and can be painted before mounting on the bin above the seats.

As anyone who’s ever built an open topped fighting vehicle knows full well, you must pay every bit as much attention to detail, and expend as much effort on the interior, as you do on the exterior. Much time was spent on the interior of this model, on painting, chipping, weathering, etc. There are quite a few items which required detail painting prior to being mounted inside the vehicle.

Above - the MP40’s and their magazine pouches that mount to the wall’s of the driver’s compartment. The machine pistols are quite well detailed and look splendid, other than the clunky mount point (red arrow above). Also, the magazine wells are not hollowed out, but the way the guns are oriented on the walls, the mag wells point downwards and cannot really be seen.

Above - rightly or wrongly, I didn’t like the appearance of the top of the magazine pouches, they looked far too squared off to me, so I sanded a slight radius on the tops to look more like a flap to me. Above is a comparison view, unradiused on the left, radiused on the right.

Above - The MP40’s mounted to the driver’s compartment walls. 

The kit provides a total of eight Kar.98k Mauser rifles. These are pretty nice representations, despite having no slings. I considered making slings, but decided not to, as the rifles will be rather hard to see inside of their wall mounted storage bins.

The rifles fit to the racks was poor, perhaps due in part to the paint that I’d applied to them. I had to trim the butt end of the rifle stocks to get them mounted in the racks. There will be a bar clamp holding the muzzle ends of the rifles in place. The stowage bin with seat back attached will be mounted to the wall, covering the rifles.

There are no proper mount points for these stowage bins, just some tiny raised lines on the wall to help you orient them. Use caution not to mount any of these bins too high on the interior wall, you do not want to foul the fit of the hull top.

Above - all of the kit supplied interior items and components done, the field gray cases above the rifles are for spare MG42 barrels, I believe. 

Also seen above at the rear interior of the vehicle are the fire extinguishers mounted next to the doors. The extinguishers are nicely done four part assemblies with good detail. Sadly, the kit doesn’t include decals for the extinguisher data plates.

Okay, now it’s time to go back to the outside of the vehicle. The exterior stowage bins consist of four parts, the main housing which keys into the hull, and three stowage compartment doors. I will be posing one of the doors open. The red arrows in the photo above indicate interior compartment door ribs that I need to remove, as no reference photos that I have been able to find show such ribs. Fit of the main stowage housing to the hull was good, the individual stowage compartment bin doors didn’t fit perfectly, needing some sanding to fit.

Above - stowage bins assembly mounted to the hull, giving the 251 D it’s distinctive slab-sided look.

Next we move to the rear of the vehicles hull, building the towing hitch assembly, made up of four parts.

The towing assembly fits neatly into a socket that was added back when the under floorboards work was done. I have absolutely no idea what the piping above and just to the right above the tow assembly is….but it fit well!

Just about wrapping up the lower hull work was the addition of 19 bolt heads, seen above circled by the red marking.

Finally working on the upper hull! The bullet splash guard ( the bow shaped part on the cab roof ) is added, along with the front plate that mounts the vision ports. All fit well. The engine bay doors and their hinges are added, again no fit issues. This kit has no engine whatsoever, which is a bit of a shame.

Detailing the upper hull interior side includes the vision blocks and armored covers, the two bumper cushions that mount on the ceiling ot the drivers compartment ( seen dry fit above ) and the radio ( also seen above ). The radio is well detailed, but will barely be seen. 

There are two vision ports with the associated vision blocks that mount up front for the driver and his co-pilot. A total of nine parts make up each of these two assemblies, each with a clear “glass” part. These assemblies are a little tricky to put together, dry fit carefully before gluing anything.

Above - the driver’s side vision port from the interior side.

Above - I opted to have the driver’s armored visor in the open position for visual interest. The other one will be closed.

After completing the interior of the upper hull and painting it, it was time for the single most pucker-inducing part of this build, mating the upper and lower hills, including the bow plate which is cemented to the upper hull. What makes mating up these two parts so tense is the sheer size of them, and the many different angles, corners and slopes that are involved. I probably dry fit the upper to lower 5-6 times, noting where I’d need to apply pressure to get the parts to fit. Four hands would have been very useful, but to my immense relief, I was able to fit these assemblies together with no gaps. 

There are two MG42 mounts to be added to the hull top, the forward mount (seen above) is made up of four parts including the shield. The assembly simply plugs into a hole in the roof. The rear MG position is a simple post and swing arm arrangement consisting of just two parts which plugs into the roof above the rear doors.

Above - the fore and aft MG42’s mounted in their positions. These machine guns are lacking the very commonly seen cooling holes in the top of the barrel shroud, and are just a bit on the basic side as well. I believe these guns to be another spot for an easy upgrade.

Above - There are a total of five tie down points to be added to the upper hull, three on the left side of the vehicle, two on the right. These tie downs consist of a tiny PE plate that mounts to the hull, with a  small loop that is attached to it.

The final steps of the build consist of adding the Bosch headlight where you have a choice of regular lens or covered (slit) housing. I opted for the covered housing. The light has photoetched straps to be added to the sides which meet in the rear at a small plastic part. The PE straps proved easier to fit to the headlight than I’d thought at first.

Next, the pioneer tools are added, an axe and a pick, on the front fenders. Both tools have photoetched tool clamps and restraining straps. Even in 1/16 scale, building the clamps is a little tricky. The tools themselves seem a bit undersized when compared to some 3D printed tools that I got in an aftermarket set (see photo below). That said, the tools look fine mounted on the fenders.

Above - kit tools (gray) vs. 3D printed tools (blue). Quite a size difference!

Finally, with the addition of the tools and then the fender mounted clearance posts, the basic construction of this kit is finished.

Painting and Finishing the Sd. Kfz. 251 D 

As you can easily tell by the photographs throughout the review, I did a substantial amount of painting along the way as I built the model. I used a homebrew mix of Tamiya acrylic Flat Black and Flat Red to make my primer color, and Tamiya Dark Yellow as the primary body color under the winter camouflage. I wanted to chip the heck out of the interior to depict a rather filthy, well worn late winter vehicle. The chipping medium I used over the primer in the interior of the vehicle was Tresemmé hair spray (my first use of this stuff for chipping, and it won’t be the last), followed by the Tamiya Dark Yellow which was then chipped with enthusiasm. A follow up wash of AK Interior grime enamels really blended everything nicely, and provided the dirty, worn look I wanted.

The exterior of the 251 was again Tamiya Dark Yellow, followed up with some Future where the decals were to be mounted. The decals have strong color intensity and are in register just fine, but I found them to be quite fragile. I only applied four decals in total to this model, but managed to tear two of them while getting them positioned properly. I salvaged them, but had a bad few moments while doing so.

The decals did settle nicely into the paint with the help of some setting solution, without silvering or raised edges. A couple of minor paint touch-ups effectively fixed where the decals had torn. A light coat of Future to seal the decals, and then I applied more Tresemmé hair spray as a chipping medium, followed with a sloppy, somewhat inconsistent layer of Tamiya Flat White to represent winter camouflage. Again, the look I was going for is a late war, well used and worn vehicle.

Above is the 251 just before I began degrading the finish, chipping the heck out of it. After the chipping, I did some various Turpenoid and oil paint washes, to tie everything together, and provide some streaking, etc. I added some kibbles and bits to the vehicle to give it a “lived in” look, and that was about it. For all intents and purposes this review is basically complete.

Much of the stowage and gear seen in the finished model photos below came from three sources; my friend Bob Sarnowski who very kindly used his 3D printer to make me some goodies, Value Gear, and SOL Miniatures. 

The Finished Model


It’s a bit tough to simply assign a recommendation level to a kit with as many ups and downs as I experienced with this kit, so I’ll default to listing the pros and cons to help clarify what I found while building this kit. I’ll begin with the cons.


  • while in the end the kit tracks built up into decent looking track runs that fit the wheels and sprockets well, the links were tough to assemble in a consistent manner, and fit of the track pad and it’s mounting part to the main link body sometimes resulted in parts that didn’t quite mate properly.
  • the front tires have no manufacturer markings of any sort, rather unexpected in a 1/16 scale kit
  • the MG42 machine guns lack the commonly seen and prominent ventilation holes on top of the barrel shroud.
  • I found the decals to be quite fragile
  • the floor of the interior is smooth, no usually seen non-skid surface
  • tires for the road wheels were so tight that some split when mounted to the wheels


  • while I did have some fit issues here and there (tracks in particular), overall fit was pretty decent with just a couple of exceptions
  • the kit provided photoetch seemed appropriate, and well made
  • kit instructions were for the most part clear and easy to follow
  • detail level of the parts was generally good. The rifles, MP40’s were nice.
  • decals were provided for the driver’s instruments (none for the fire extinguisher placards though)
  • several varied paint and markings schemes were provided

You can see from the above that this kit had it’s share of inconsistencies.This kit has some areas that are quite well done, and other areas or aspects that are not quite as well done. This kit would serve as a great starting point for a builder willing to upgrade certain aspects of the kit. Some aspects of this kit could have been done better, especially in this scale, but the kit does build up into an impressive looking model.


Thanks to Model Rectifier Corporation for the review sample

Reviewed by Chuck Aleshire AMPS Chicagoland

AMPS 2nd Vice President, Midwest Region


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