by: Ted Hayward [ ]
A very unique release for lovers of odd German tanks, this is presently the only styrene kit of its kind on the market. Fear not if you canít afford the Cyber-hobby price tag; Trumpeter has just listed one in their upcoming list of future releases.
Although the box contains over 600 parts (569 in gray styrene, 44 clear, and 14 photo-etched brass), most of those are the individual track links. Thatís right, if you wanted Dragonís Magic Tracks, or ďDSĒ tracks, I'm afraid youíre out of luck.
Construction of these indy tracks will make for a very tedious job, each one needing to be painstakingly-removed from its sprue (and there are seven sprues of these!). Iím never one to be good at following directions. Not familiar with Dragon products, I did find the 15-step instruction sheet to be somewhat vague in areas, especially for such an un-complicated tank. Careful examination, prior to building, will be in order.
I found it odd that so much rivet detail (carefulÖnot all) needs removingÖby Step 2! It is, as some tanks go, of quite simple construction Ėwith a suspension similar to the Churchill or Char B. There are no moving suspension parts, or even rotating wheels. As the entire slide-moulded upper-hull/ panniers is a single part, assembly is further simplified. It's a very unconventional build: once the suspension bogies are assembled and placed, the belly pan is simply fitted to the bottom of the one-piece hull. The few parts that I did dry-fit together mated well.
The tiny sheet of decals seem to be of the same good quality we have come to expect from Dragon. No unit markings are provided. The instructions include a painting guide for two vehicles: one for Norway (1940), and for Germany (1935).
Itís difficult to fault a kit when itís the sole choice of a desirable subject. Yes, this will no doubt build into an impressive model, I just donít feel that the extremely-high sticker price reflects what is in the box, however. It contains the bare minimum of photo-etch, and no interior parts at all Ėthe many turret hatches and visors will need to be assembled shut.
Yes, the overall quality of moulding is crisp and the detail is excellent. The weld beads and rivet heads look great. Yes, a clear sprue for all the many vision blocks is included, but that is nothing unique. If I could just find somebody to remove, clean, and assemble all those fiddly individual track-links together, this would be a nice week-end project. This is a limited-edition kit, so one needs to hurry, if one can afford it.