Soooo, got the long awaited M48 AVLB and it's sort of a disappointment. The M48 chassis is ok, good details, exactly what you would expect from the other Dragon M48 kits.
Unfortunately not the same can be said about the bridge itself. The plastic is different in quality. Seems more brittle, has a different glossy look, the details seem very rough, almost like these sprues came from a different manufacturer (a bad one, from the '80s).
It's the same situation as their Egyptian Sherman kit. The Sherman parts are ok, the AMX-30 turret is baaaadly molded. I have an album where you can see the difference in parts quality. The same is here with the AVLB vs the M48 parts
Right now I'm almost convinced they've outsourced these parts to some very cheap manufacturer. And don't get me started on accuracy. It's oversimplified, the inner structure has the support struts only on the most exterior parts, everything else is a solid panel (instead of a X).
I really hope Takom or some other major player puts out another AVLB as this one is a big stinking POS.
The review on moxingfans shows the same issues.
14 November 2018, 21:55
Thanks for the info mate. 👍
14 November 2018, 23:24
No problem. The idea is that for the price Dragon asks you kind of expect a top product with good details. And you get a good M48 with a poor bridge.
Actually I've been studying the sprues and I think I know why there is such a difference in quality. The bridge sprues (same as the AMX turret in their Egyptian Sherman kit) are a "short run" production as opposed to the steel moulds they normally employ. What this means is that it's waaaay cheaper to produce these sprues as long as you're considering a limited run and not large mass production. Unfortunately the quality is not very consistent between batches with a short run and the details are not very sharp either. You can see this with other short-run manufacturers like Modelsvit, Roden or some older Special Hobby kits.
So why the short run then? Well, Dragon relies very heavily in their business model on reusing the same sprues all over again.
With the AMX turret in their Egyptian Sherman and the AVLB bridge parts here, someone at Dragon thought that they will likely not re-use them in other kits and probably also figured out the kits are not going to be high-sellers. So a short-run will cover them and keep their manufacturing costs low.
All very good and dandy but then they asked a high price for their kits, more inline with a normal manufacturing process. And that proves once again that the new business practices of Dragon leave much to be desired.
Too bad Dragon is no longer maintaining the standards which have made them famous but fortunately there are other players in the market right now so Dragon can kiss goodbye to my wallet.
15 November 2018, 10:30