login   |    register
Armor/AFV
For discussions on tanks, artillery, jeeps, etc.
REVIEW
M103A2 Heavy Tank
CMOT
Staff MemberEditor-in-Chief
ARMORAMA
#406
Visit this Community
England - South West, United Kingdom
Joined: May 14, 2006
KitMaker: 10,631 posts
Armorama: 8,362 posts
Posted: Monday, April 20, 2015 - 08:17 AM UTC
Jason Bobrowich takes a look at the Black Label offering of the M103A2 Heavy Tank from Dragon models. Is everything as bad as we are led to believe?

Link to Item

If you have comments or questions please post them here.

Thanks!
Cantstopbuyingkits
Visit this Community
European Union
Joined: January 28, 2015
KitMaker: 2,083 posts
Armorama: 1,906 posts
Posted: Monday, April 20, 2015 - 04:04 PM UTC
They're going to do need to far, far, far better than this if they want to reach the modern standards Tamiya, AFV club, Bronco, etc has set in this subgenre.
165thspc
#0
Visit this Community
Kentucky, United States
Joined: April 13, 2011
KitMaker: 8,454 posts
Armorama: 7,871 posts
Posted: Monday, April 20, 2015 - 07:49 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Jason Bobrowich takes a look at the Black Label offering of the M103A2 Heavy Tank from Dragon models. Is everything as bad as we are led to believe?

!



It would appear so!
accelr8
Visit this Community
Washington, United States
Joined: March 17, 2005
KitMaker: 152 posts
Armorama: 149 posts
Posted: Monday, April 20, 2015 - 09:03 PM UTC
I think Jason took it easy on them, but I might be of a very biased opinion on this subject
165thspc
#0
Visit this Community
Kentucky, United States
Joined: April 13, 2011
KitMaker: 8,454 posts
Armorama: 7,871 posts
Posted: Monday, April 20, 2015 - 09:20 PM UTC
For anyone out there who may have NOT have seen the article elsewhere on the Armorama site covering the rebuilding and correcting of the faults in this model (which are extensive)I suggest you click here:

http://www.armorama.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=SquawkBox&file=index&req=viewtopic&topic_id=230397
LeoCmdr
Visit this Community
Alberta, Canada
Joined: January 19, 2005
KitMaker: 4,025 posts
Armorama: 3,857 posts
Posted: Monday, April 20, 2015 - 11:23 PM UTC

Quoted Text

I think Jason took it easy on them, but I might be of a very biased opinion on this subject



As per recent direction from the Armorama Editorial Staff "in box" reviews are to comment on the quality and contents of the kit and not on accuracy. While this approach may not be favorable to many modellers it is the current Armorama directive.

If I would have included accuracy issues the score would have dropped dramatically and the "in box" review would probably have been twice as long. Read into that as you may.

Your build blog is amazing in addressing and correcting the accuracy issues and hopefully build blog will as well from a different perspective.

From a different angle take a look at Ben Guenther's excellent build review of the kit where he addresses and corrects multiple accuracy and detail issues...

http://web.ipmsusa3.org/content/m103a2-heavy-tank
CMOT
Staff MemberEditor-in-Chief
ARMORAMA
#406
Visit this Community
England - South West, United Kingdom
Joined: May 14, 2006
KitMaker: 10,631 posts
Armorama: 8,362 posts
Posted: Monday, April 20, 2015 - 11:28 PM UTC
As Jason will be building this model for us the accuracy issues are much better tackled in that phase. I feel Jason did a very good job of giving us a flavor of what this model is like when viewed as an in-box model.
Bravo1102
Visit this Community
New Jersey, United States
Joined: December 08, 2003
KitMaker: 2,581 posts
Armorama: 2,249 posts
Posted: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - 02:04 PM UTC

Quoted Text

They're going to do need to far, far, far better than this if they want to reach the modern standards ...set in this subgenre.




The bar has been raised so high that Dragon can't quite reach it anymore or maybe they just don't want to in this subgenre.
Cantstopbuyingkits
Visit this Community
European Union
Joined: January 28, 2015
KitMaker: 2,083 posts
Armorama: 1,906 posts
Posted: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - 03:30 PM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

They're going to do need to far, far, far better than this if they want to reach the modern standards ...set in this subgenre.




The bar has been raised so high that Dragon can't quite reach it anymore or maybe they just don't want to in this subgenre.



Whilst the bar for 1/35 military is very high right now Dragon have been constantly raising said bar since their first kits back in the early 90s and I have no doubt in the event DML returning the R&D focus to Armour [back from Mr Stark] they would almost immediately raise the bar again.
TankSGT
Visit this Community
New Jersey, United States
Joined: July 25, 2006
KitMaker: 1,133 posts
Armorama: 940 posts
Posted: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - 03:36 PM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text


Quoted Text

They're going to do need to far, far, far better than this if they want to reach the modern standards ...set in this subgenre.




The bar has been raised so high that Dragon can't quite reach it anymore or maybe they just don't want to in this subgenre.



Whilst the bar for 1/35 military is very high right now Dragon have been constantly raising said bar since their first kits back in the early 90s and I have no doubt in the event DML returning the R&D focus to Armour [back from Mr Stark] they would almost immediately raise the bar again.



If the look out on the Titanic had seen the iceberg a little sooner we wouldn't have that bad Celine Dion song. But its too late for the Black Label kits as well.

Tom
Removed by original poster on 04/22/15 - 13:40:07 (GMT).
easyco69
Visit this Community
Ontario, Canada
Joined: November 03, 2012
KitMaker: 2,274 posts
Armorama: 2,232 posts
Posted: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - 09:31 PM UTC
Those are "Dragon's official website pictures" of the completed model, did you even put this model together for the review????
HeavyArty
Visit this Community
Florida, United States
Joined: May 16, 2002
KitMaker: 16,847 posts
Armorama: 13,088 posts
Posted: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - 10:43 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Those are "Dragon's official website pictures" of the completed model, did you even put this model together for the review????



No. It is an in-box review, not a full-build review. Jason states this and the intentions of the review right up front, "...this in box review will concentrate on the moulding quality and contents rather than accuracy."

I don't see why everyone is giving him grief about it. It is a good in-box review. It tells you just how the parts looks and the general layout of the kit. He does state that the earlier errors are still all there. If you want a more in-depth review, check out some of the builds going on of it.
CMOT
Staff MemberEditor-in-Chief
ARMORAMA
#406
Visit this Community
England - South West, United Kingdom
Joined: May 14, 2006
KitMaker: 10,631 posts
Armorama: 8,362 posts
Posted: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - 10:47 PM UTC
David: Jason sent us an in-box review and it is listed as such. Jason will be building this for a follow up addition. Jason also stated that the finished model images where from the Dragon website.
tankmodeler
#417
Visit this Community
Ontario, Canada
Joined: March 01, 2004
KitMaker: 3,074 posts
Armorama: 2,490 posts
Posted: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - 11:00 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Those are "Dragon's official website pictures" of the completed model, did you even put this model together for the review????


No. It's an in-box review.

As was stated above.

Gotta read the messages.


As an in-box review and with the editorial caveats, it's a fine review. The editorial caveats, however, do significantly lower the usefulness of such reviews to me.

Your mileage may vary.
Vodnik
Visit this Community
Warszawa, Poland
Joined: March 26, 2003
KitMaker: 4,241 posts
Armorama: 3,838 posts
Posted: Thursday, April 23, 2015 - 02:14 AM UTC

Quoted Text


As per recent direction from the Armorama Editorial Staff "in box" reviews are to comment on the quality and contents of the kit and not on accuracy. While this approach may not be favorable to many modellers it is the current Armorama directive.


No accuracy comments in in box reviews??? What the heck! is wrong with Armorama these days?! Then maybe you should delete over 100 of my reviews from the site now? So when a reviewer sees some OBVIOUS accuracy issues or is aware of serious accuracy issues from other sources, he is not allowed to mention them because of some #$_%$÷ directive?... And we have to wait weeks and months for a build review to get any USEFUL information about kits? Sorry, but this is one more reason for me to reconsider if the Armorama is really the place for me Any restriciton applied on reviewer regarding what he can write about a product and what is forbidden to mention is a form of censorship and I'm not intetested in reading censored articles.
18Bravo
Visit this Community
Colorado, United States
Joined: January 20, 2005
KitMaker: 6,466 posts
Armorama: 5,443 posts
Posted: Thursday, April 23, 2015 - 02:44 AM UTC
Count me in among those who would prefer accuracy to be part of the review. I've written very few "official" reviews simply because I find "out of the box" reviews somewhat useless. They can't offer any insight into fit, brittleness of parts, or other useful tidbits. Now without accuracy coming into the review either, that makes it even less valuable.
A have written several unofficial reviews of Legend products when I have the time, simply because again, most of the ones posted are just a peek at the contents, whereas I like to let you know if they actually fit or not. The color of the plastic or the part count, while important to some, doesn't tell you what you're ultimately getting.
This isn't aggregious enough to make me want to bail to the other side, (where girly spats happen all to frequently. We got rid of the worst offender here, which makes this site the better choice in my book)but I think we can better serve our fellow modelers by being "allowed" to mention accuracy.
CMOT
Staff MemberEditor-in-Chief
ARMORAMA
#406
Visit this Community
England - South West, United Kingdom
Joined: May 14, 2006
KitMaker: 10,631 posts
Armorama: 8,362 posts
Posted: Thursday, April 23, 2015 - 03:09 AM UTC
Pawel and Robert I can understand your concern here, but what is meant by the comment is that as Jason will be building this kit where the faults and accuracy is better tackled in that portion of his work more fully. If there was going to be an inbox review only then of course accuracy does and should play a big part of the review. A build takes a good amount of time to do and so the suppliers lose out due to the time taken before a build is submitted.

In this review Jason has covered a good amount of accuracy and detail in this review, and the build will enhance upon that and show more clearly the issues with the model. I hope that helps.
LeoCmdr
Visit this Community
Alberta, Canada
Joined: January 19, 2005
KitMaker: 4,025 posts
Armorama: 3,857 posts
Posted: Thursday, April 23, 2015 - 05:12 AM UTC
You can all read the original post by Darren/Jim and perhaps focus your comments on that post if you deem fit.

http://www.armorama.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=SquawkBox&file=index&req=viewtopic&topic_id=234195&page=1

I have been brutally honest in my previous in box reviews regarding identified accuracy issues (read my Trumpeter Grizzly AVGP review if you dare) and I will continue to do my best to address accuracy issues in my build blog of the M103A2.

Regarding this specific review...this kit sat in the available kit review list since December 2014 with no takers...I volunteered to review and build this kit only recently and I am doing my best to learn about the tank and compare it with the details provided in the kit.

Don't worry, the end is not nigh!

SgtRam
Staff MemberEditor-in-Chief
AEROSCALE
#197
Visit this Community
Ontario, Canada
Joined: March 06, 2011
KitMaker: 3,919 posts
Armorama: 2,849 posts
Posted: Thursday, April 23, 2015 - 05:32 AM UTC
I don't believe that all reviews should be about the accuracy, it should be about the model, after all this is a model hobby not an accuracy competition. While there is room for pointing out some of the accuracy issue, plastic models, in my opinion, are about having fun, enjoying working with our hands, and enjoying the fact just to glue something together.

A lot of the accuracy reviews trash what could be a great kit for those who just enjoy assembling models. Back 30-40 years ago there was no such thing as true accuracy, and people needed to scratch build, which is how they enjoyed the hobby.

It is almost getting to the point where the some people trash the hobby, the kits, and the companies for not producing a 100% accurate replica. I say if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it must be a duck. For those who want accuracy, that is where the aftermarket companies come in, allowing those striving for perfect to get their replica.

Well all enjoy the hobby our own way, but those clamouring for perfection in kits seem to scream the loudest and in my opinion put a black eye on what is suppose to be a fun and enjoyable pastime. Not an obsession in some peoples opinion.

We all enjoy the hobby differently, and have an opinion, does not make anyone right or wrong.

Maki
Staff MemberSenior Editor
ARMORAMA
Visit this Community
Croatia Hrvatska
Joined: February 13, 2002
KitMaker: 5,364 posts
Armorama: 2,794 posts
Posted: Thursday, April 23, 2015 - 11:11 AM UTC

Quoted Text

I don't believe that all reviews should be about the accuracy, it should be about the model, after all this is a model hobby not an accuracy competition.



I don't agree with this. I think accuracy is a big part of how good a model kit is. Any major flaws should be included in a review... in-box or build review. People should be informed about the deficiencies of a particular kit and then it is their own choosing whether to ignore the info or not.

We are past those years when models were designed with scale plans that were hard to come by. With the help of modern technologies and tons of detailed plans I think model companies today should strive to produce a "real duck" not something that looks and quacks like one. And should not count on aftermarket companies to fix their errors.


Quoted Text

We all enjoy the hobby differently, and have an opinion, does not make anyone right or wrong.



Absolutely. But why being so harsh and negative on those who want accuracy and details?

Jason's reviews are among the very best on this site, with loads of info on the subject and very informative build sequences. I'm sorry we are drawn into the "accuracy" debate in the middle of his thread.

So, Jason and the other reviewers, keep up the good work. Point the deficiencies and possible solution to fix them. In my opinion, it is what reviews are all about.

Mario
staff_Jim
Staff MemberPublisher
KITMAKER NETWORK
#002
Visit this Community
New Hampshire, United States
Joined: December 15, 2001
KitMaker: 12,441 posts
Armorama: 6,570 posts
Posted: Thursday, April 23, 2015 - 11:46 PM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text


As per recent direction from the Armorama Editorial Staff "in box" reviews are to comment on the quality and contents of the kit and not on accuracy. While this approach may not be favorable to many modellers it is the current Armorama directive.


No accuracy comments in in box reviews??? What the heck! is wrong with Armorama these days?! Then maybe you should delete over 100 of my reviews from the site now? So when a reviewer sees some OBVIOUS accuracy issues or is aware of serious accuracy issues from other sources, he is not allowed to mention them because of some #$_%$÷ directive?... And we have to wait weeks and months for a build review to get any USEFUL information about kits? Sorry, but this is one more reason for me to reconsider if the Armorama is really the place for me Any restriciton applied on reviewer regarding what he can write about a product and what is forbidden to mention is a form of censorship and I'm not intetested in reading censored articles.



Err... well I am not sure where that directive came from (Darren?) but it certainly is not from me. We have lots of reviews (inbox or otherwise) that talk about accuracy (if you actually know the subject or have references, etc.).

Really sometimes I don't get why people think the 'rules' here are all that Draconian. Write a review. Take decent pictures. We publish it. It's that simple.

No issue with you freaking out here Pawel. I freaked a bit myself.

Thanks,
Jim
staff_Jim
Staff MemberPublisher
KITMAKER NETWORK
#002
Visit this Community
New Hampshire, United States
Joined: December 15, 2001
KitMaker: 12,441 posts
Armorama: 6,570 posts
Posted: Thursday, April 23, 2015 - 11:48 PM UTC
Okay... I see where Jason got that from. Darren please amend and remove that bit about inbox reviews not addressing accuracy issues. Sorry I should have caught that when you first brought that post up to me.

Jim
LeoCmdr
Visit this Community
Alberta, Canada
Joined: January 19, 2005
KitMaker: 4,025 posts
Armorama: 3,857 posts
Posted: Friday, April 24, 2015 - 12:13 AM UTC
Before the Contributor forum post is edited I think it is fair that everyone read what I read and then based my review content on. I think that moving forward Armorama staff and members alike should read twice, think three times, and post once before snapping a crayon.

The post...

"As Managing Editor of Armorama, it is my job to insure the timely assignment and completion of reviews. Recently I have noticed a number of blogs and builds of reviews samples lagging, or which are not being updated on a regular basis. After discussing this with Jim S the publisher, I want to pass on his expectations to you in the hopes of reducing the amount of pieces that are late or not-completed in a timely manner:

Unless approved in advance, any build log or build samples are sent with an implied in-box review expected before you begin construction. When doing an in-box review of an item you are going to build, we expect a small amount of text covering the quality of the product, and that concentrates on the moulding quality and contents, rather than the accuracy. The accuracy of the model can and should be addressed during the build process, but the primary purpose of the in-box review is to let the reader know about the kit's features and production quality. In addition to the small amount of text, we do also require a good selection of photographs of the contents to help members reading the review to form an opinion of it.

Blogs
When you are blogging the construction of a review sample, we expect it to start after the in-box review has been submitted (if Applicable). We expect the blog to be kept fresh until completion, which means it being updated at least twice a month. We do not place any completion date expectations on blogs, as it really depends on what you are doing with the model; an out of the box build is obviously going to be completed before someone who is using it as a part of a diorama.

Build Reviews
Build reviews are again started after the in-box review is submitted (if Applicable). A build review differs from a build feature, in that the portion we are interested in is the construction of the model and how it measures up prior to painting and finishing. We expect a build review to be completed and submitted within 3 months of the in-box portion being sent in, or 4 months of the posting date to you if no in-box is required. These time scales are not set in stone as some models are obviously more complex than others. As an example I would not have the same time expectations of someone building a ship model as I would someone building a Tamiya Panzer I.

Build Features
Build features are again started after the in-box review is submitted (if Applicable). The difference between a build review and a build feature is that the feature follows the build through to the point you are happy to put it on your shelf. We expect a completion date of a build feature to be around 5 months after the submission of the inbox, or 6 months from the date it was posted to you. These time scales are again not set in stone, as some models are obviously more complex than others.

In closing, it is up to each of you who have requested samples to keep us informed if an issue is encountered. I don’t need to know about family situations, but I do need to know why progress has stopped and when it will be resumed. Given the number of tardy reviewers encountered, I must point out that members who have samples who fail to keep us informed when progress stops, or flat-out fail to complete a review sample, will be placed on a black list and refused further samples until our faith in them is restored. I don't wish to sound harsh, but we must keep the review process to a schedule. It is therefore in your interest to complete items you have, as further samples will not be sent until a project is complete.

As Managing Editor, one of my tasks is to follow up on lapsed review sample obligations for the publisher. So if you get an unexpected E-mail from me and you have a lapsed sample obligation, you know what I am after. I am always nice the first time (at least I try to be, LOL), but I have obligations to be met, and so I will get testy with members who continually "let down the side." That's English slang for screw up."

Follow up post...

"Just in case some may be wondering why the in-box reviews are required, if you are going to take 3 months or more to complete a build then the company providing that sample has lost the golden hour when promotion can make a big difference to their sales as regards stores wanting to stock them and modellers wanting to buy them."


From reading the posts there appears at some level to have been communication between Armorama staff about review content. If my review created the example to get everyone back on track in order to speak to accuracy issues within a review then so be it. Some modellers may not read both an in-box review and then follow a build blog. Addressing accuracy issues in both types of reviews creates two venues for consistent review content.


Reviews should be based informed feedback by the reviewer facilitated by their knowledge and skill level and not based on providing a model producer a platform for increasing sales. There is a defined line between a commercial site and a modelling site. I would suspect Armorama members and reviewers prefer a modelling site.

Have a great weekend and keep on enjoying modelling!

CMOT
Staff MemberEditor-in-Chief
ARMORAMA
#406
Visit this Community
England - South West, United Kingdom
Joined: May 14, 2006
KitMaker: 10,631 posts
Armorama: 8,362 posts
Posted: Friday, April 24, 2015 - 02:38 AM UTC
Jason; No worries it was my fault entirely.