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REVIEW
VK.45.02(P)H
CMOT
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ARMORAMA
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Posted: Sunday, July 07, 2013 - 06:33 AM UTC
Jan Etal shares with us a build review of the Dragon Armor Pro VK.45.02(P)H kit #7493.

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If you have comments or questions please post them here.

Thanks!
chumpo
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Posted: Sunday, July 07, 2013 - 07:18 AM UTC
But 1/72 is too small, it's hard to see the1/35 scale
tread_geek
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Posted: Sunday, July 07, 2013 - 07:40 AM UTC
@chumpo - Edmund,

Thanks for dropping in and leaving a comment but we must agree to disagree on the scale issue. The 1/72 is still twice as large as 1/144, it also uses less paint and glue, takes up far less space and costs less than larger scales. However, one does require more refined skill and hand control, some specialized tools and an Optivisor won't hurt either!

Cheers,
Jan
weathering_one
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Posted: Sunday, July 07, 2013 - 11:06 AM UTC
Jan,

My thanks to you and Armorama for posting this review. I personally appreciate some honesty in a review that tells it like it is. That turret interior looks great for this scale but what's with the tape on the lower bow? Is that something to do with the armor overlap?

Regards,
AJ
tread_geek
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Posted: Sunday, July 07, 2013 - 02:46 PM UTC
@weathering_one - AJ,

Glad you liked the review and I just report what I see and it's still quite subjective based on my experiences.


Quoted Text

...what's with the tape on the lower bow? Is that something to do with the armor overlaps?



Basically, the tape marks a point .060" from the edge that corresponds to the thickness of the overlaps in other areas of the model. I "hope" to scribe that area to make it look like an area on the lower hull matches that on the upper hull.

Cheers,
Jan
firstcircle
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Posted: Monday, July 08, 2013 - 10:38 AM UTC
Jan, well, it seems I suppose that the trundle downhill has not been averted by this release. The layout of the hulls on the sprues is another example of the tendency to have parts on the outside of the sprues, unprotected by an outer rail. I think I recently compared another recent Dragon offering to a 1960s Airfix kit, and the shot of that hull sprue reminded me of this from the review of Airfix's Female Mk I:

Quoted Text

As can be seen in one of the photos, one steering wheel had come off the sprue, and straight away this revealed that I was looking at an old, 1960’s moulding, where it was common for parts to be attached to the sprue at one point only... The Female parts are on the third sprue, and as you would expect from a newly tooled model, the sprue protects all the parts on all sides with two attachment points on each, so nothing loose there.



I suppose with one attachment point on a big component, it needs to be a big one! Moulded on tools, jack, cable and lamp details (photo 87...) two sprue Bs, chaotic instructions, ill-fitting turret connection, wrongly sized hull mating pins... frankly it sounds a bit poor for £20... but then this kit doesn't seem very appealing, as this rear mounted turret version was never a really serious tank design at all, and somehow it just doesn't look right. I suppose at least the turret hatches are separate parts, and I guess that's why there's some detail on the gun breech?

Thanks for the higly detailed review as usual Jan - I will, I suppose, look forward to perhaps seeing it completed, though don't let me put any pressure on you to do it!
Braille
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Posted: Monday, July 08, 2013 - 07:51 PM UTC
@tread_geek – Jan,

Very good build review on this somewhat obscure vehicle. I happen to take a deep interest in these vehicles simply because they are a part of the Tiger I and II history of German heavy tanks and their variants. So I’m happy to see that Dragon has produced this and the other mentioned VK45.02 (V) vehicle in this scale, however I am disappointed in seeing a huge step back in the manufacturing effort shown here on these later released kits verses their earlier ‘Pro Modeler’ releases. Seems Dragon is gravitating towards the fast build war gaming type of kit with these more recent releases but with a high dollar value attached to them, I just don’t know? Then there’s the issue of poor fitting parts coupled with unclear assembly instructions. And the obvious ‘60’s molding example of parts that ‘firstcircle’ posted, LOL!

Jan, I built a 35th scale resin conversion kit of this vehicle, a while ago now, and remembered doing quite a bit of research on these vehicles. I think that I mentioned to you about the missing guide horns being correct on this kit but now looking back on my build I realize that I am wrong and the tracks should have a pair of links with guide horns sitting together on each track run verses the two links paired together without the guide horns as on the supplied DS tracks. This is due to the odd number of links specified to be used (109) on these vehicles using the same running gear, suspension system and chassis. This feature is found on photographs on both the existing Ferdinand and Elefant museum examples. As for the clearance between the front fenders and idler wheel that should not be as close as pictured on your example of the assembled kit. The high torque of these electrical drive motors would have the tracks bang up against the fenders under normal running power conditions. On these vehicles there was a pair of banana shaped track protectors (not included in the kit) installed at each end where the fenders come to an angle to keep the tracks from damaging the fenders.


This photograph of the kit I built shows about how much clearance there should be between the front fenders and idler wheels, this photograph will have to do as my reference photographs for these vehicles are still packed away in disks from the move. But anyone with photographs of either the Ferdinand or Elefant depicting this area of the vehicle are much welcome to post here for discussion. Also note the two guide horns sitting together on the tracks between the first bogie road wheels set. Placing two links together on these tracks without the guide horns coupled with the smaller diameter of those steel road wheels would make any tank crew a sure shot track throwing contest winner without a doubt. . .

Thanks for your always honest review input, I do hope you will finish this build sometime as I have both of these kits (H $ V) in the stash and look forward to any more assemble issues you encounter along the way. Yes, she’s an ugly beast at that but surely you could clearly see the famous Porsche sports vehicle resemblance, NOT!

~ Eddy
tread_geek
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Posted: Tuesday, July 09, 2013 - 05:59 AM UTC
Thank you firstcircle and Braille for sharing your thoughts and commenting.

**************************************************************************************

@firstcircle - Matthew,


Quoted Text

..it seems I suppose that the trundle downhill has not been averted by this release. The layout of the hulls on the sprues is another example of the tendency to have parts on the outside of the sprues, unprotected by an outer rail. I think I recently compared another recent Dragon offering to a 1960s Airfix kit, and the shot of that hull sprue reminded me of this from the review of Airfix's Female Mk I:



I am sorry to have to agree with your assessment about Dragon's technology and design definitely taking a downward slide while purchase price increases. As to you're comment about of parts being protected, here's some pictures of the sprue from last years review of the Dragon Panther D.





I don't think that one can ask for more protection than is provided for the hull pieces and at the same time, no need for the massive sprue gate as on the VK kits. And it is true that for this large a part one would need a large sprue attachment point or alternately, several smaller ones and at locations that would not interfere with assembly or require an inordinate amount of cleanup time.


Quoted Text

... but then this kit doesn't seem very appealing, as this rear mounted turret version was never a really serious tank design at all, and somehow it just doesn't look right.



Actually, I hate to admit that I find the layout of the tank "interesting" although it suggests more of a Tank Destroyer than anything else but with the versatility of having a rotating turret. From my research it appears that Porsche and the German Army put a fair amount of thought into the design. Supposedly their logic was that in urban or confined terrain the long gun of these tanks made it difficult to near impossible to manoeuvre in these tighter spaces. Having the turret at the rear meant less overall length as the gun didn't protrude forward as in the case with a conventional tank layout.


Quoted Text

I suppose at least the turret hatches are separate parts, and I guess that's why there's some detail on the gun breech?.



As I implied in the review, what we see with the turret now seems to be a nostalgic resurrection of where Dragon was headed at the time and have sadly abandoned. While I didn't note it in the review, if one wanted to have the turret rear hatch open then some minor surgery would be involved as the hatch is integrally moulded with its hinge.



In a way this is a bit odd as the interior side of this hatch has some extremely fine detailing.

**************************************************************************************

@Braille - Eddy,

Firstly, let me acknowledge and thank you for your help with the gathering of information about these "Paper Panzers." It was extremely enlightening and helpful in preparing this review.


Quoted Text

Seems Dragon is gravitating towards the fast build war gaming type of kit with these more recent releases but with a high dollar value attached to them, I just don’t know? Then there’s the issue of poor fitting parts coupled with unclear assembly instructions. And the obvious ‘60’s molding example of parts that ‘firstcircle’ posted, LOL!



IMHO, these latest kits hardly even qualify as "fast build" especially when they provide things like the entire turret from their excellent King Tiger kit (that takes some care due to the complexity of small parts that make up the interior gun pieces)! I've built both Italeri and Pegasus fast build kits with two in a box for almost half the cost and there is so far little comparison between the Dragon offerings (other than 'some' finer detailing with Dragon's) and them. This can also be seen when comparing the Dragon Panther D to it's Zvezda rival that Matthew has been doing a Blog about. Those three kits have acceptable detail that can be enhanced and OOTB should build in very little time. This kit on the other hand was time intensive both due to instruction issues and some serious fit and design ones.


Quoted Text

I think that I mentioned to you about the missing guide horns being correct on this kit but now looking back on my build I realize that I am wrong and the tracks should have a pair of links with guide horns sitting together on each track run verses the two links paired together without the guide horns as on the supplied DS tracks



With the missing guide horn on my tracks I think that the best possible answer will be to hide it by having it go around one of the sprockets. Speaking of the tracks, I tried to position (dry fit) the tracks and it is turning out to be a royal nightmare. It's turned out that the rear sprocket, while not a close to the fender as the front one, is still an extremely tight fit. At this point I have had to separate the outer half of what sprocket from the inner to hopefully get the track started on the inside. This is going to take some thought and after measuring the track length it matches what the instructions indicate (203 mm) but is still going to be too tight and not sit as in your picture. Obviously the track will need to be stretched to get some proper sag. I'll see about posting any solution I find here or perhaps in a separate Blog.

**************************************************************************************

My thanks again to both of you for your interest and comments about this kit. As for a Blog, I can't be sure of the timing especially since this track issue has raised it's ugly head. I also have a couple of other "points to ponder" relating to finish colouring and what I am going to do with this kit. As I attend and compete in a number of model shows in my area I have to make some decisions if I want to enter this kit. According to show rules this "tank" cannot compete in World War Two Fully Tracked as it was never fully built or in service. Therefore, I have two possible categories, OOTB and What If. In most shows those two categories are usually "All Scale" and I must follow certain rules for each.

Lastly, I had intended to just do an In-Box review but felt that a "quick build" might not be so time consuming. Boy, was I wrong! Hopefully those that read the review will now have fair warning about this kit.

Cheers,
Jan
tread_geek
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Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 - 07:17 AM UTC
To all interested parties, please find a Blog continuing the discussion about building this kit HERE.

Thanks,
Jan