by: Sven-Åke Grufstedt [ ]
IntroductionWhen I decide which kits to buy, one of the first thing I look at is the level of detail that the kit provides for me. Finer and more delicate details equals less need for optional parts like resin and photo etched accessories which keeps costs down. This kit is Dragon's latest in its series of Shermans featuring the 76mm gun and VVSS suspension. As always, it's a treat to open the box for the first time to inspect the parts.
Kit ContentsInside the box are:
5 sprues of grey plastic
1 lower hull in a separate plastic bag
1 small fret of photo etched parts
1 length of metal towing cable
1 set of DS tracks
1 sheet of decals from Cartograf
1 construction manual
Parts EvaluationOnce again I'm amazed with what can be done with modern molding technology. Dragon uses slide molds for many of the parts and the details on some are so small that they can't be seen without a magnifying glass. There are, as far as I can see, no flash or sink marks on the parts. The upper hull has unfortunately some of the pioneer tools molded on which I personally think is a shame but otherwise the details are very crisp. Another downside (also a personal thought) is that both the hull and the turret lack a little bit of texture compared to the real thing but that's just a minor problem which can be fixed quite easily.
A small fret of extremely small parts are included and they would really test anyone's eyesight and patience. However, once they are in place on the model they will heighten the end result dramatically. All the provided photo etched parts can of course be discarded if they seem too hard to handle by using the regular alternative plastic parts provided and still make a beautiful tank. A 75mm long spun metal wire is provided for the making of the tow cable which I think gives the tank a more realistic feel when such parts as this are made from metal.
The tracks are very crisp and easy to work with. Since they are from Dragon's specially formulated styrene, they take paint very well and can be glued with ordinary plastic glue. The decal sheet, which is nicely printed by Cartograf, provides us with markings for 5 different vehicles with both US and Polish markings available, all from 1944: 2nd Armored Div. France, 2nd Armored Rgt. Polish 1st Armored Div. Holland, F Co. 33rd Armored Rgt. 3rd Armored Div. Belgium, I Co. 32nd Armored Rgt. 3rd Armored Div. France, and D Co. 66th Armored Rgt. 2nd Armored Div. France.
InstructionsThe layout is Dragon standard with clear and precise drawings of the parts and where they should go. The downside is that for the beginner it can be a bit confusing since Dragon uses many standard sprues with a lot of parts for other versions so it is possible if one doesn't read the manual very carefully to construct a never-before-seen Sherman version. The painting and decal instructions are very good and clearly show the different cammo and marking options possible.
All in all a very nice kit.