login   |    register
Armor/AFV
For all ground-operating modelling subjects.
REVIEW
LRDG Truck
CMOT
Staff MemberEditor-in-Chief
ARMORAMA
Visit this Community
England - South West, United Kingdom
Joined: May 14, 2006
KitMaker: 10,954 posts
P47 Heaven: 0 posts
Posted: Monday, May 27, 2013 - 10:15 AM UTC
Jan Etal shares with us a partial build review of the Dragon Model 1/72nd scale LRDG Truck with Lewis Gun.

Link to Item

If you have comments or questions please post them here.

Thanks!
weathering_one
Visit this Community
Ontario, Canada
Joined: April 04, 2009
KitMaker: 458 posts
P47 Heaven: 0 posts
Posted: Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - 03:07 AM UTC
Finally, a decent review of this kit (I've read a few others that paint a mostly rosy picture of it)! Jan, I must say that as I read through it I found it quite disturbing yet in a way refreshing to see a more objective appraisal. While I like the subject I know that if I had bought this kit I would have been more than disappointed at what I got. When I buy a kit I don't want to throw extra cash at it to make it what it should be from the box. Is this the shape of things to come from Dragon in this scale? Will you be doing a completion Blog like you have with other similar reviews?

Cheers,
AJ
tread_geek
Visit this Community
Ontario, Canada
Joined: March 23, 2008
KitMaker: 2,844 posts
P47 Heaven: 0 posts
Posted: Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - 01:47 PM UTC
@CMOT - Darren,

Thanks for getting this review up!

@weathering_one - AJ,

Thanks for your kudos about the review. I try to review things based on my experiences so they are hardly totally objective. As to your first question, I've noticed this manufacturer "drop" or lower their previous norm or standard for over a year now. What the future holds, I can't predict but hope they find a balance between then and these recent offerings. As for a Blog with this kit taken further, probably. Not sure when though.

Cheers,
Jan
Biggles2
Visit this Community
Quebec, Canada
Joined: January 01, 2004
KitMaker: 7,600 posts
P47 Heaven: 0 posts
Posted: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - 02:20 AM UTC
Dragon's last few 1/72 releases have been increasingly disappointing - poor fit, hatches moulded shut, absence of PE, and, of course, the ever-present instruction errors. They're even losing their edge in 1/35! DML should stop resting on their circa 2000 laurels and get back to serious work! At least Dragon still excel at model ship kits.
firstcircle
Visit this Community
England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: November 19, 2008
KitMaker: 2,249 posts
P47 Heaven: 0 posts
Posted: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - 11:33 AM UTC
Yet another super-detailed review from you, Jan. I have to say that the issue about the wheels seems quite bizarre and I'm almost shocked! Still, it has long been obvious that the left hand of the instruction compilers doesn't seem to be in direct contact with the right hand of the tool makers, so it's perhaps not so surprising that the same disconnect should affect the box side CAD images.

I notice that the same is said about the wheels on box for the more recent LRDG Chevy release, the one with the 2cm Breda cannon, 7504. Actually, that made me wonder if that wasn't in fact the kit that you were meant to have been reviewing since it was released in January 2013, rather than the Lewis Gun version which came out in April 2012... I don't suppose someone sent someone the wrong kit did they?

No doubt you've noticed that Dragon publish some reviews of their products on their own site, and the Vinnie Brannigan review of the Lewis version is largely favourable, while the Cookie Sewell review of the Breda version actually does make some similar points to yours, albeit in more general terms: "Overall the gun is a nice improvement but it still seems more oriented on wargamers model than scale modelers."
tread_geek
Visit this Community
Ontario, Canada
Joined: March 23, 2008
KitMaker: 2,844 posts
P47 Heaven: 0 posts
Posted: Thursday, May 30, 2013 - 04:19 AM UTC
@Biggles2 - Leo,


Quoted Text

Dragon's last few 1/72 releases have been increasingly disappointing - poor fit, hatches moulded shut, absence of PE, and, of course, the ever-present instruction errors. They're even losing their edge in 1/35! DML should stop resting on their circa 2000 laurels and get back to serious work! At least Dragon still excel at model ship kits.



With the last three or four newer kits that I've seen, the omnipresent Dragon Accessary Card has not been present (decals are just thrown in the box or in one of the sprue bags). Lets also not forget the moulding of tools in place as opposed to them being separate parts. As has been stated by modellers in more than a few threads, Dragon appears to be focussing more on the pre-built market to the detriment of the modeller.

@firstcircle - Matthew,


Quoted Text

Yet another super-detailed review from you, Jan. I have to say that the issue about the wheels seems quite bizarre and I'm almost shocked! Still, it has long been obvious that the left hand of the instruction compilers doesn't seem to be in direct contact with the right hand of the tool makers, so it's perhaps not so surprising that the same disconnect should affect the box side CAD images.



Thanks for acknowledging this review, it is much appreciated. Bizarre is quite an appropriate word to describe the wheels on this kit and I was a bit stunned when I first saw them. I have never seen anything to this "extreme" from Dragon nor from any other mainstream manufacturer short of die-cast "toys." I have a friend who is a pattern-maker and he has more than a few times commented on Dragon's design process and stressed that there is definitely a lack of communication between all the stages from design to production. Part of the blame is from what he sees happening in his occupation and what he refers to as the "90 Day Cycle." Basically it is 30 days from concept to production, 30 days of production and sales followed by 30 days of sales before production is terminated and they move on.


Quoted Text

I notice that the same is said about the wheels on box for the more recent LRDG Chevy release, the one with the 2cm Breda cannon, 7504. Actually, that made me wonder if that wasn't in fact the kit that you were meant to have been reviewing since it was released in January 2013, rather than the Lewis Gun version which came out in April 2012... I don't suppose someone sent someone the wrong kit did they?



Obviously neither Kitmaker nor I have any control as to when a manufacturer sends a kit for review. Let us just say that this kit was made available prior to the release of the Breda version and I have no recollection of Armorama receiving the second version.


Quoted Text

No doubt you've noticed that Dragon publish some reviews of their products on their own site, and the Vinnie Brannigan review of the Lewis version is largely favourable, while the Cookie Sewell review of the Breda version actually does make some similar points to yours, albeit in more general terms: "Overall the gun is a nice improvement but it still seems more oriented on wargamers model than scale modelers."



My normal methodology of preparing a review is to research the subject, visually inspect the sprues and instructions in depth (making copious notes) and then write a rough draft of my findings. If the review involves glue meeting plastic, that is also incorporated. After all this I will search out other reviews and see how my findings compare to them. I have seen Dragons reviews by Vinnie Brannigan but they are mostly short and almost always positive. As you point out, Mr. Sewell's may go a bit further but not to the degree that might be helpful to the "scale modeller."

I have seen Blogs on Armorama that were far more helpful to me when I first returned to the hobby than most reviews. When I started doing reviews I patterned my review style after the one's that I found most helpful. This kit review was quite long in preparation due to the many "hurdles" that needed to be overcome. A quicker and easier solution to rectify the wheel issue required considerable trial and error. What many (yourself excluded) may not realize, writing a review that might be helpful to the wide skill range of modellers that might read it can be quite difficult. How does one cater to the beginner or novice while not forgetting or boring the more advanced modeller! On to the next victim...errr review!

Again, thank you two for your interest and comments.

Cheers,
Jan
Braille
#135
Visit this Community
California, United States
Joined: August 05, 2007
KitMaker: 1,501 posts
P47 Heaven: 0 posts
Posted: Monday, June 03, 2013 - 02:28 PM UTC
@tread_geek – Jan,

Excellent and well written review!!!

When I decide to make a purchase on a kit I usually make an effort in finding a review on the subject kit first, sometimes there isn’t one. Then I’m on my own hoping that I won’t be spending a lot of extra time in having to scratch make items if I don’t have a suitable replacement in the parts stash or making corrections / modifications to the kit, as you’ve done on the tailgate for example, to enhance the details. I certainly wouldn’t be frustrated with putting together a war gaming piece knowing that the detail will be soft, incorrect for the most part and often times non-existent but then again these are substandard kits, certainly not holding a ‘Pro’ this or that label. The price for such kits are usually much less equating to getting what you pay for. There’s no excuse for doing otherwise and expecting to keep an edge on the competition.

The smaller scale kits have long been popular in the European market and have recently seen an upsurge in the western and Asian countries. Most of the smaller scale modelers that do take this hobby seriously, and surprisingly there are a lot, in any county will likely find it harder and harder to trust in making a high dollar investment for a kit that includes molded on undistinguished clumps of plastic that are supposed to represent separate detailed parts on kits with ‘Pro’ labeling on the box art. Adding to that are unclear and ill prepared assembly instructions. This becomes the equivalent of almost taking a hamburger back to the counter because you couldn’t find the meat because it was embedded in the bun and hidden beneath the ketchup and you thought you were making a purchasing of the same item on the advertising poster hanging on the window, where you bought the burger, with the larger than life meat hanging off the sides of the bun (you know, like the toes overhanging the undersized shoes that some girls seem to like wearing) really what’s up with that! Let’s see you go and spend your money there again?

Jan, thank you very much for your honestly in presenting us, your viewers, with your views on the kits you review here on Armorama. I do believe that these forums here on Armorama do serve a greater good in that the builders, both pro and novice, can and often do present the viewers with sound information in their build logs and build reviews. Nothing is better than an unbiased account of the kit build process presented via the photographs and text given by a modeler for modelers.

So, will I be interested in adding this kit to the stash? Let me see how much it will impact my budget in aftermarket items and my patience to bring this particular kit up to the current out of the box standards that I had come to enjoy in past Dragon releases. So, does anyone here know where I can get a really good burger?

~ Eddy
tread_geek
Visit this Community
Ontario, Canada
Joined: March 23, 2008
KitMaker: 2,844 posts
P47 Heaven: 0 posts
Posted: Tuesday, June 04, 2013 - 04:17 AM UTC
Eddy,

Thank you very much for your appreciation of the review and also for your comments/observations. I feel that we, the buying public, need to be informed to help make a proper purchasing decision. While I try to be unbiased in my reviews it is not humanly possible to be 100% objective. I try to "tell it like I see it" based not only on my personal experience but also based on what others post in various forums. It's not always easy and with this kit took far longer than I normally would have expected.

I and other "serious" 1/72 scale modellers have seen a steady decline in the standard of the Dragon Armor Pro series of kits. As of late we are seeing quite an inconsistency in the quality of the kits. I have no objection to them reusing sprues from previous releases (these are usually the better ones of the kit) but when you compare the quality of the newly added sprues you see this inconsistency (shallowly moulded on tools, poorly thought out mating features, etc).

As for aftermarket additions, these should NOT be necessary for a properly designed modern kit that retails for in the $20 range. For this kit there was a set of resin wheels that retailed for $13, from what I've read they were of rather mediocre to poor quality and have been discontinued. Black Dog offers a resin and PE accessary set that doesn't include new wheels ($16.45 + $12.15 shipping). So roughly combining the individual costs to make this model acceptable we are talking $50.00 (excluding shipping charges that would bring it to the $70 range) for a smaller 1/72 model!!! As far as I am concerned this is ridiculous (call me cheap).

I intend to complete this build but it is requiring some time intensive preparation as I try to determine what from my spares boxes should be added and what may need to be scratch-built. As for the burger, my SWMBO swears by Wendy's while I prefer a good old Harvey's (don't know if you have the latter in the States.)

Cheers,
Jan
Biggles2
Visit this Community
Quebec, Canada
Joined: January 01, 2004
KitMaker: 7,600 posts
P47 Heaven: 0 posts
Posted: Wednesday, June 05, 2013 - 06:26 AM UTC
I believe Dragon took a wrong turn off Excellent Avenue on to Cynical Road, not far behind Tamiya. Both of them think they don't have to work hard any more - if their name is on the box, someone will buy it!