During my most recent visit at Hornet Hobbies store on Friday I have of course picked up some new models. This time one of them was Dragon’s Saladin, which has finally appeared at the shelves here.
I was quite curious about this kit. I must applaud Dragon for the choice of subject, which is exactly the type of vehicle that I like to see modelling companies bring to us (especially from Dragon, after offering us million and one versions of Panzer IV).
The kit itself is quite interesting. One thing that will strike you right after you open the box is that there is not that much inside. There is only one large sprue, five smaller ones, upper and lower body of the hull, turret, wheels, some clear parts, 1 (one) photoetch part and decals. Quick glance of the instructions and it’s clear that this kit is going to be a quick affair.
Since Friday I have spent about 4 hours building this kit as I got really tempted by the vision of another quick project. The result of my effort at this point you can see on the photos below. I have added many of the details to the main body of the vehicle, but quite few are still to be added. The construction of the model is really smooth affair. Fit of the parts is exemplary. Number of parts is limited thanks to the Dragon’s capability to mold complicated parts of the vehicles in one piece, so you save time on the assembly. Now the downside is that, the options for customization are rather limited. For example – all the stowage boxes are molded in one piece with covers or shut. This means that to show them open you either will have to scratch build them or use some after market photo sets, which will no doubt appear in time.
The other feature of the kit – absence of photoetch parts, aside from the one for grill at the rear is also not much to my liking. I would prefer if Dragon would offer photoetch alternative to some of the smaller parts. Well, this kit really seems to be designed so as to appeal to the fans of “Tamiya style” – no fuss and quick build. Very finely molded parts and good fit. It also has some of the compromises on the level of detail, which are so typical for Tamiya, though it is not that bad. All the tie downs on the turret and body are molded in plastic, so bit heavier in appearance when compared to the reference photos.
One particular area, which seems to be bit oversimplified are the turret hatches. In general the kit offers no interior whatsoever, not even the inside of the hatches. Especially on the turret, the hatches are simply a flat slab of plastic with hinges and no detail. Based on the photo on the primeportal site, the hatches should have bit more detail along the edges, though I do not want to generalize based on this one photo, which was taken in the Latrun museum in Israel (not being an expert on this vehicle I cannot say whether the hatches were identical on all vehicles).
All that said, I love this kit. It packs a lot of detail in relatively small size, so gives the “busy” appearance. As I have said, fir of the parts is great and the assembly is really very enjoyable.
If you like modern British armoured vehicles, you definitely should not miss this one.
Categories: My models