Dragon Kit #: 7256
Modell Trans Kit # MT72340
Construction review by Rob Haelterman

(For a preview see here.)

Preliminary note:
I decided to build the kit using the lower hull from the Dragon kit with a "convertible" turret using either the Modell Trans E-100B turret (but using the Dragon gun barrel as explained below), or the Dragon turret modified with the mortar from the Sturmtiger. (The latter is a completely fictional vehicle, but so is the former it seems, even though many a manufacturer has released a similar turret.)
This implies that the review will not cover the mantlet-to-barrel assembly of the Dragon E-100.


The Dragon hull

For a kit of this size, it goes together extremely fast. In fact, if I hadn't decided to convert it with another turret, I could probably have finished assembling it in less than two hours (even counting all the time removing the minor seam lines).

The modeler has to pay attention, however, when attaching the idler wheel. I would suggest attaching the arm (part E5) to the hull before attaching the idler wheel itself, and not -as the instructions suggest- attach it to the wheel first and then to the hull. While the instructions are correct, the paint diagram shows the idler in front and the drive sprocket at the rear, which I believe is not correct. It seems difficult to mount them like that anyway.
Also note that the instructions mention part E6 (a roadwheel), but the drawing doesn't correspond to that part.

There is only one driver's hatch that can be modeled open, which is sad. Worse, it will probably always result in a slight visual difference between both hatches if you glue them in the closed position.
Compared to the drawings in Panzer Tracts 6, the driver's hatches don't match, some seams on the roof are lacking, and the rear plate should extend further down the tracks.
The main engine hatch can be modeled open, even though nothing can be seen inside. I would suggest painting the inside of the engine compartment in a dark color, as a slight see-through effect remains through the engine meshes.
When installing the exhausts, I suggest leaving the mold seam. The real exhaust pipes had them as well.

The tracks are of the new DS100 type: very well detailed and flexible. I had thought of installing them after finishing the hull, slipping them under the side skirts. I can tell you: this doesn't work... My diorama setting came to the rescue, as often the tracks were just rolled up before installation, as seen in these war-time pictures. I have read that the tracks might be too long, but due to my "choice" I can't confirm. (Fellow modelers didn't seem to have this problem either.)

Note that the tracks react violently to MEK, by which I mean they literally disintegrate.

The decal sheet is the same as in the Maus kit. As I depicted the vehicle in red primer on the assembly line, none were needed.

The figures are also the same as in the Maus kit. They are very nicely done, in a slightly supple plastic. I can't understand why Dragon doesn't include figures more often.

The instructions are simple, but not without errors, as mentioned earlier.


The kit turret

I converted the kit turret with parts of a Dragon Sturmtiger, to make a completely fictional vehicle, so my opinion of the turret might only cover the body. Nevertheless, I finished a similar turret for a diorama some time ago, and in both instances my conclusion would be that it goes together very well.
Again according to Panzer Tracts, there should be no step at the front of turret curve and the "dimples" in the turret seem too large.
Note that the rear of the turret interferes with the engine deck and that the hatches are closed, even though we get two figures.


The Modell Trans conversion set

The Modell Trans conversion set offers an alternative turret, which the company labels as the E-100B. While Panzer Tracts 6-3 mentions that the E-100 would at first have been fitted with the Maus turret (as the Dragon kit does) and later with a new turret, this does not seem to be the one in the Modell Trans set. This leaves the question if this turret is based on actual plans, or a fictitious design. I believe that - even though many companies have depicted this turret - it can be traced back to this fictitious model.
What is for sure is that (to me at least) it looks a great deal better on the tank than the original turret, which might explain why so many companies have copied it.

The turret body is nicely done, except for quite a large number of pinholes on the rear face. This would be the part of the turret that would be on top when casting the piece, judging from the molding carrot.
The mantlet is another matter. It seems that, in my example, the mold halves shifted, leaving a rather nasty jump-seam and a tough job to get a round cross-section.

The same issue was found in the gun barrel (which has a separate cap to have a hollowed out end). I ended up using the 128mm gun from the Dragon kit, with a scratch-built mantlet.

The commander's hatch also has an airbubble to take care of. The last part in the set is unidentified, and as Modell Trans gives no instructions but only a single side view, I can only hope I glued it in the right spot.

The figures in the diorama are from FBMinis.

Back to Dragon Kit List
Back to Modell Trans Kit List
Back to Home Page

Article Last Updated: 24 May 2013

Back to Construction Review Page