Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dragon's 1/35 Hummel

I've taken a slight break from working on the Arizona. Yesterday I tried airbrushing the hull and the results were rather less than spectacular. I don't know if I over-thinned the paint or if I simply didn't prepare the surface well enough but whatever it was the paint just lifted right back off. I'm using Model Master Acryl which is a new paint for me so it may just be a new learning curve at work. Whatever it is, I've set it aside for now and decided to work on something else for a bit.

That "something else" is the Dragon 1/35 Sd.Kfz.165 Hummel (Late Production) that my wife bought for me as a delayed birthday present. This is my first Dragon kit and I must say I am extremely impressed with the quality and detail! It's one of their Smart Kits that includes photo-etch frets and an aluminum barrel for the main gun. It also has their Magic Tracks that consist of individual links - 144 of them on each side. I must say that step, building the tracks, is one I'm both looking forward to and dreading!.

Here's the box art:

I neglected to take photos of the parts trees before I started construction but there are plenty of reviews of the kit online, both video and photo.

The kit instructions are CAD generated and more resemble engineering assembly diagrams than traditional model kit instructions. Tamiya set the standard for those years ago and it's been one that other kit makers have had a hard time matching. Fortunately it's not that difficult to decipher Dragon's instructions, at least for me. Then again I do have a background in both architectural and mechanical drafting as well as multiple forms of CAD so it may just be that they're something I'm used to. Either way once you examine the parts and locations they go it's easy enough to figure out.

Assembly starts with the sprockets, idlers, return rollers, and road wheels. From there the suspension is assembled and put in place, then the final drives, driver's compartment cover, fighting compartment floor and gun mount deck are installed. Fenders go on, but where Dragon calls for installing all the fender mounted gear (tools, jack, etc.) I opted to leave those off until a later time. This is where the kit stands now (please pardon the messy workbench, it's a bad habit of mine):

Just from this much I can tell you there will be many more Dragon kits in my future! I grew up on Tamiya armor kits and while I still love them, they simply cannot match the level of detail Dragon puts in at remotely the same price. I'll still be building Tamiya but if it comes to a choice of of Dragon or Tamiya for the same subject Dragon will most likely get the nod.

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