by: Darren Baker [ ]
Dragon Models has released a new set of figures featuring four Italian Paratroopers in action as a group, and this is a step away from the four individual figures that has been the normal figure releases from Dragon Models of late.
Inside the now usual end opening box from Dragon Models you will find 2 grey sprues and a small decal sheet. These are packaged in a plastic bag which all looks to have prevented any damage to the product.
I should admit from the start that Italian Paratroopers are not a subject I know a great deal about and that my reference material tends towards Italian forces generally rather than specifically. That said my reference does provide some details and pictures of the Italian paratroopers of World War Two, and I can say that looking at the figures against this reference does show that Dragon Models have done a very fair job of replicating that detail in injection moulded plastic. Dragon Models has unfortunately decided not to supply weapons of the standards we have come to expect from them; by this I mean that slide moulding technology has not been used and so the barrels of the weapons will need to be drilled. The weapons are none the less acceptable for most and the addition of a decal sheet for certain aspects mostly the Panzerfaust included in the set. The Panzerfaust in the kit is I believe a 60m.
Parts placement on the sprues is good both in that the sprue is laid out in a logical manner and that the sprue gates are small and minimal. Surprisingly there are no moulding nipples of plastic attached to the parts; which is unusual to say the least where Dragon Models is concerned. Detail throughout is good but not as crisp as I have become accustomed to from Dragon Models, that said it is again acceptable. One thing that I was very surprised by is how hard the plastic is; a good example of this are the mould seams present on all figures could not be removed to my satisfaction with a scraping of a knife blade, I had to resort to cutting the seams away in a number of places which indicates just how hard the plastic is. The hardness of the plastic has also resulted in a very shiny finish as indicated by the pictures, and I do have some concerns about how well paint will adhere to the plastic. I have to believe that this is the result of a faulty batch of plastic rather than I hope a new direction Dragon Models has taken with their plastic.
The hand and facial details are very good with the hands being especially so in my opinion. The three separate hands being particularly good examples of how good the detail is and which I hope can be seen in the attached pictures.
I have assembled a couple of the figures to check out some aspects that cannot be defined any other way. The two figures I opted for are the prone one and the one moulded throwing a grenade, I have not utilised the weapons provided as they are not needed to check the fit of the figures themselves and would have made painting difficult.
Removal of the parts from the sprues is easy enough with a good set of clippers, however due to the hardness of the plastic I very strongly advise that you do not attempt to cut the parts free to closely to the moulding; this may not be an issue if as I believe this is a faulty batch of plastic. If you do get a set made with the very hard plastic, then cutting close to the parts could result in damage to the moulding which may be difficult to rectify. As mentioned earlier clean up of the parts is made harder by this very hard plastic but it is not an insurmountable problem.
Once all of the parts were cleaned up I used Tamiya extra thin glue to stick it all together. Any of you who have used this glue are aware of the properties of this glue know how well it works; on this plastic it did stick well but was not able to soften the plastic to the point where small gaps were filled. That said I was very pleased with the fit of body parts which were of a very good standard overall. I wish that Dragon Models would take the same care with the fitment of equipment that is flexible and so would mould to the body rather than standing proud of it.
Overall these figures from Dragon Models are of a very high standard and well worth picking up. The qualities of the plastic used in this sample is not a high point and I hope and believe it is because of a faulty batch rather than a new direction by Dragon Models. The inclusion of decals with the figures is good to see and that I wish more manufacturers would do. The weapons are acceptable but disappointing due to knowing how good a job Dragon Models can do when they put their minds to it. All things considered and the novelty of the subject do make this a figure set worth seeking out.