by: Vinnie Branigan [ ]
It is beautifully presented kit, the box top art computer rendered, and all sprues individually bagged. There are 12 sprues of light grey styrene, plus loose centres for road wheels, two lengths of track in Dragon’s light tan DS100 ‘gluable’ styrene, a photo-etched fret, the lower hull, and a small decal sheet by cartograph. The instruction sheet is of the photographic style, and I have to say that I prefer the line drawing style over these, for clarity.
Upon examining the parts closely, I could find no flash whatsoever, and because of Dragon’s unique moulding configuration there are no sink marks either. A down side to this is the number of extrusion points to be cut off the parts, but this is a small price to pay for near-perfect parts! The detail of the parts is exquisite. The styrene that Dragon uses seems to allow for some very sharp detail to be represented. At this size, over-scale rivets are inevitable, or to be left off altogether, however, they look ‘right’. There are moulded on tools on the hull deck, which again, do not out of scale, and the tread pattern on the fenders is understated and looks good.
Construction begins, naturally enough, around the hull tub, with the construction of the running gear, and I have to say the inclusion of separate hubs for road wheels at this scale is extraordinary; they will certainly make painting much easier!
Most of the hatches in the kit come as separate parts, which will certainly aid in placing the vehicle in a diorama if so desired. Another nice touch is the inclusion of either styrene Schuertzen or photo-etched for that extra touch of finesse. Dragon go much further however, in that the photo-etched side Schuertzen are actually supplied as separate plates, which opens up the possibilities of representing realistic damage on the model should you so wish.
Dragon make good use of their slide-moulding technology on this kit, with a one-piece barrel and muzzle brake, and various other bits and pieces that quite frankly would have astounded us 10 years ago, yet today we seem to take for granted. Dragon offer 7 finishing options, all very different from each other, I for one intend to build all 7 to display together.
Another excellent kit from Dragon. The moulding is first class, construction is simple, and the cost low. What else is there?