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172
Coming in out of the Cold

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There have been a few 1/72 scale Dragon kits recently that have, let’s say… not hit the mark in respects to overall quality. Personally I feel this is not one of them. No kit is ever perfect and I think that we would love to see all the bells and whistles on each kit we buy…it just does not happen that way. I also know I will draw out a few of the diehard Braille-scale fans that will immediately converge on the lack of Zimmerit supplied by Dragon. True, but it’s not a deal breaker for me. I also know that Dragon does not supply photo etch, individualized track links and still employ some molded tools on the fenders but this does not break the back of the kit when you take the availability and price into context.

Dragon has utilized previously release sprues, actually from their Brümbar, Pz.IV F, F2 and G kits and incorporated thin mold process for the new Ausf.H rendering. This thin mold process is evident in looking at the upper hull section located on Sprue C. The forward hatches and rear engine doors, albeit molded closed, are so finely molded that light shines through easily when held up to the light. This would of course make it easier to cut these hatches and door open if you wish to. The forward hatches actually have interior molding of the handles and hinge placement. The engine door louvered vent spacing is molded open to give some depth to the piece.

Jumping to the lower hull, this is the standard molded tub as seen in previous Pz.IV variants including the F, F2 and G from this series. The rear plate and bow plate are separate as seen in most kits, along with the top front glacis plate. The suspension is comprised of one-part bogie construction for each set of two road wheels. The wheels themselves have a separate exterior rim and center cap provided. Each of these rim parts has a small stub of sprue on the backside, and although it will need to be removed it does provide a nice little holding pin for painting these up separately.

Moving to the fenders, the first thing noticed is the dreaded molded-on tools as seen with numerous Dragon kits. This trend is not likely to end anytime soon, so I moved passed this rather quickly. There are a few parts that are separate like the jack, cleaning rods and extinguisher that are done separately. All in all there are many qualities to the newer Dragon kits in 1/72 that mirror their 1/35 scale counterparts.

Forward on to the turret! The delicate components of the turret schürzen add to the details of this kit. The wrap around armor of the schürzen is molded in the thin mold process giving them a truer to scale appearance. The barrel has a clean mold to it incorporating the hollowed out muzzle brake, however, the barrel itself is not and some carful drilling will be needed. The cupola is nicely molded but yet again does not offer the model builder the option to have the open turret to allow the possible use of figures. For me this is not a make or break, but I do value the concerns of the avid Braille Scale builder.

The side skirt plates are molded in one piece, with the rail for hanging the plates molded to the backside of the two pieces. I was thinking of adding some interest to this area by attaching as individual plates with some of them lost or knocked off. This required cutting the plates apart and sanding the molded rails on the back. Of course a little scratch building needed to be done in the form of a new rail. With a couple of strips of styrene and a few cuts the two extra parts did not take too long to build. One of the rails, I decided to bend a bit for conversation.

This kit is supplied with Dragon’s DS one-piece tracks. This is certainly a two-sided argument. I do not particularly mind the tracks as they are fairly easy to work with and when time and patience is taken to prepare and paint these links, proper sag and a good appearance can be obtained.

Finally this kit offers five separate finishing options; Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front 1943 (black crosses); Unidentified Unit, Vistula River, Poland 1944 (black 923); 3rd Panzer Division, Ukraine 1943 (crosses, red 624); 2nd Panzer Division, Normandy 1944 (white 802); 2nd Panzer Division, Normandy 1944 (white 823). Each of these five designs is supported on the supplied Cartograf decal sheet.

In closing the review section of this feature I would have to say that I recommend this kit. There are pros and cons to this one as there are with most kits on the market. As I am actually writing this section after constructing the model itself I will say that the building process was uneventful. The model was easy to construct and has a very nice level of detail to it. I am sure I could pick apart the molded on tools and lack of PE which has been argued previously. As for the lack of Zimmerit, well this is a no brainer…I am not too much of a Zimm fan myself so the absence works for me. Maybe someday, DML will offer something in the 1/72 scale range with the Zimm option…just not yet. A lot of the time I build simply for the enjoyment of it. So to be brutally honest about this, if I wanted to build a kit to museum quality I would have shelled out more money for a specialized kit with PE and individualized tracks and maybe scratched on some Zimm. I can’t complain about what is offered for the quality and the price…well worth the fun.

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About the Author

About Todd Michalak (TRM5150)
FROM: MASSACHUSETTS, UNITED STATES

I am building what I like, when I like and how I like it; having fun doing it. I have been building and finishing models on and off my whole life but the past ten years things really exploded. Just about anything goes when it comes to hitting the bench, but wrecked armor, rusted hulks, ships or ...


Comments

Impressive, Todd! Very impressive!
OCT 28, 2013 - 11:39 PM
Great diorama, some of the most realistic snow effects I've ever seen, 1/72 too superb job!
OCT 28, 2013 - 11:58 PM
Hello Roman!! Thank you very much my friend!! Hi Dave...thank a bunch, most appreciated!!
OCT 29, 2013 - 04:17 AM
Hi Todd, Excellent work, the build up of the snow on the vehicle looks terrific, a really interesting read and a super little dio. Nice work Sir. Al
OCT 29, 2013 - 08:28 AM
Todd, pretty sweet Dude. A great build and review. Truly Grand And the correct scale too
OCT 29, 2013 - 08:34 AM
AL - Thank you Sir! The Ice and Snow is a really neat product. I think I am just touching the surface on what can be done. "Directional" applications, working with clear resin and silicone to create ice effects...I think I have some playing around to do!! Jeff - Thanks buddy!! LOL...does it show that braille is not my forte'?? Big fun! The Panzer fell together! I am sure there will be more little builds in my future!!
OCT 29, 2013 - 09:16 AM
Buddy, I wish my builds came out half as good
OCT 30, 2013 - 08:52 AM
LOL...they do my friend! We are always most critical of our own work!!
OCT 30, 2013 - 09:30 AM
goooooooooood
NOV 18, 2013 - 06:52 PM
You da man Todd!!!!!
DEC 31, 2013 - 08:22 AM