Coming hotly on the heels of an AFV Club release of this same variant, this Dragon kit boasts some improvements over it's rival. For one the side fold down doors are independent parts and you are not required to cut into the top piece as you do with the AFV Club release. Additionally the tracks are interlinking plastic system (not labeled as MagicTrack). Dragon has also updated the fighting compartment (according to the information provided with the kit) so you should find some minor differences between this kit and say the 251/17 Ausf.D that was released last year. That kit of course did not have the fold down side doors.
One item that was not fixed however seems to be the undersized "dwarf" driver (see images at right with comparison to Gen2 figure parts). The included figure is made from DS100 soft vinyl. It will make it easier to fit the figure into the drivers seat of course. And after all, there are such a thing as small Germans.
The kit consists of about 700 parts so it's no lightweight in the time-to-build department. The instructions include 3 paint schemes; field gray (1942), dark yellow (East Prussia 1944), and dark yellow with khaki green Kursk pattern (Tunisia, 1943). As stated all schemes are units with the Herman Göring Division.
One item of note for box art folks is the apparent (to me anyways) use of a real image or 3D mock-up which has been Photoshop'd and re-touched to appear like a painted box-cover. The effect is actually that when seen more than a few feet away the box-art appears to be a photo. It will be interesting to see if this format catches on. It must certainly be less expensive than paying for painted pieces.
The credits on this kit are attributed to Dan Graves for technical drawings and Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson for additional technical assistance.
For visual comparisons of the AFV Club kit you can check out Terry Ashley's review on PMMS
Also for comparison to the 2cm Ausf.D here is Vinnie Branigan's review
from December 2005
This is just a preview folks so no critical commentary from the likes of me. If anyone has a question about the images and needs some clarification though I would be happy to oblige. That is if it's before the kit is sent out to a reviewer for a more in-depth review.