Dragon 1/32 P-51D

Picked up one of Dragon's freshly minted P-51Ds on Saturday. There are some
very nice examples of the injection moulder's craft in that sturdy little
box - take a look at the exhaust stacks, or the .50 cals and their
associated ammunition belts if you get the chance, you'll see what I mean.
Nice PE set in the box too, covering the radiator, pilot's seat and
instrument panel, nice looking Cartograph decals (including, in what I
assume to be a late addition, markings for an RAF Mustang IV in India), and
weighted rubber, sorry "Dragon Styrene", tyres for those who like that sort
of thing. There's a well done Packard Merlin in there too, that looks like
it will build up into a nice replica with a few extra details and some deft
All that effort, and Dragon manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory
by employing the guy who used to do the panel lines for Matchbox kits. Why
did they go to all that trouble and then try to make it look like a toy?
According to DML, the Cadillac of the skies had Ford Pinto shutlines. Not
good. Spent two evenings so far masking, filling, sanding and rescribing
panel lines. Actually, mostly masking and filling up to now, looks like a
good week's work correcting (should that be "modifying to personal taste"?)
the surface detail before taking either glue or a brush anywhere near it.
The trouble is, the rest of it just looks so good that there's no way it's
going to go into the stash to stay unbuilt. Damn.
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flak monkey
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I'm building Dragon's P-51 too. I have read and found about the kits shortcomings, but this kit in the hands of a beginner has the opportunity to build up to a good model as well as instill the needed confidence to continue building other models. Let's take the panel lines; these lines offer a beginner who doesn't yet possess the finesse to paint or airbrush fine detailed lines between colors. Laying down masking along these deeper panel lines makes it so easy to align, it was actually easy to do. The pricing for a large model such as this kit is affordable to more modelers, so that is a positive as well. This kit offers beginner and intermediate modelers an easier subject to rescribe panel lines covered with putty/filler during construction. This will help tune the skill set to become a more advanced builder. I don't know the exact demographics which Dragon had planned to market this kit towards, but my guess it is to those who wanting to build a model and not necessarily advanced builders. In the near future I will publish a review of my build complete with photos on my website. This model isn't 'perfect' but it does have some merit. Let's keep our hobby a positive one, too much negative and doom and gloom talk only sends potential modelers back to the video game arena.
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My attitude towards this kit is on the whole very positive. The shortcomings of it can be addressed fairly easily, and the end result should, I think, justify the effort. With respect to the intended demographic, I don't understand why anybody would want to in effect "dumb down" what could potentially be a flagship product. This is Dragon's first 1/32 aircraft kit, and as such I can't help but feel they should have pulled out all the stops to get it just right. These are the people who brought you possibly the best 1/48 FW190-D and Me262 you can find, and so expectations were high. Dragon's P51D is a good kit, in fact at the price it's a steal and deserves a place on anybody's wishlist. Thing is, there's that feeling that you know for a fact they can do a lot better.
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flak monkey
Flak I agree with you they could have done better, but why build a Lexus right out of the gate when you can leave room to raise the bar so to speak and pick up more new customers along the way. (Toyota refined their product before introducing their premium line). If they really did decide to make the 'perfect' model, at what price would it sell for? Could they keep it under a $100 USD or would it be closer to $200? There are those who would pay that kind of price for a 'museum grade' model, but the majority wouldn't. I've already started a penny jar to budget to get the Trump 1:32 F-100 due in June. For me the $169 price tag is over my budget but I want it to show case my own product line. I think Dragon will improve the errors made on this kit so as not to repeat them in future releases. But as someone pointed out to me, you can buy a pre-built and painted 1:18 scale for under $40 that is fairly representative of the subject, so why build one unless you want the satisfaction of doing so. With that in mind, I believe these companies are scrambling to be competitive in a market that is seeing new entrants trying to capitalize on the success others had as a niche. As the price for Zinc continues to rise, diecast manufacturers will continue to use more plastics which will have an impact on the costs of plastics models.
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zinc will not stay high. the mine owners are ramping up production to cover this spike. the new demand is temporary. if you interested, google up zinc for better details. the level will correct itself this year.
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I was told there was a 300% increase in raw material costs, I understand that this spike was forecasted by the consumers yet the mining folks didn't seem to care. Now that they are responding, it might be a little too late since the diecast companies have found there are benefits in using other materials which are lighter and cleaner. Only time will tell how this will play out. Either way the end consumer will benefit the most, especially if it causes prices to go down.
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