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1/72 Dragon 1+1 HMMWV M998 “Guntruck”

and M998 Cargo/Troop Carrier Kit Review

By Patrick Keenan - Aurora, Illinois USA

Basic Item Information

Item

1+1 HMMWV M998 “Guntruck” and M998 Cargo/Troop Carrier (2 Kit Set)

Stock Number

7297

Manufacturer

Dragon

Scale

1/72

Medium

Injection Molded Plastic with limited Brass Photo Etch and Vinyl details.

Kit Contents

118 gray and 26 clear plastic pieces; 9 vinyl tires;  8 brass photo-etched pieces.

Retail Price

$12.95 USD

Reviewer

Patrick Keenan

Review Date

July 13, 2006

Review Summary*

Review Type

Quick Build Review

Basic Positive Features

High quality parts detail and casting; Clear Plastic Doors and front windscreen provided to facilitate painting/masking; Multiple build options.

Basic Negative Features

Interior detail “sparse”.

Overall Rating

 4.0 of 5.0

Kit Accuracy Rating

 4.0

Parts Fit Rating

 4.0

Parts Casting Quality/ Detail Level Rating

 4.0

Decals, Marking/ Painting Information Rating

 4.0

Instructions/Packaging Rating

 4.0

Recommendation

 Highly Recommended

* For information regarding the review terms, grading scale, etc. please go to the WarWheels Review FAQ/Key

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Photos

         

              

(Please note: There are more model parts included in the kit than what I photographed above.  I did NOT photograph the duplicated sprues.)

                        

Detailed Review

Background

If you’ve read my other reviews or know me personally, you might already know I am not usually a small scale (Braille scale) modeler.  However my past few builds have been in 1/72 and I have to say I am really enjoying myself immensely.  There is just something really nice about taking a smaller amount of time to build a nice looking kit in 1/72 versus all the time it takes me to complete 1/35 vehicles.  Plus the prices are usually less too and with the new generation of Braille scale kits, I don’t have to compromise kit quality any longer.  I don’t think I will ever primarily build 1/72, but I will definitely NOT let the small size discourage me or cause me not to model a kit any longer.  To me, this is a huge paradigm shift and honestly a welcome one.

With all that being said, I don’t know if I can definitively state the 1/72 Dragon M998 HMMWV 1+1 Combo kit was the direct cause of my change in mindset toward modeling smaller scale kits, but I know I can say, this kit combo set is a gem!  Considering the low MSRP, this is one great value for your hard earned Dollar (US, Canadian or Aussie), Pound, Euro, Yen or Dong (the Vietnamese Currency, that is).

Two kits are provided in the set; a “regular” unarmored M998 HMMWV Cargo/Troop Transport and a Hummer “Guntruck”.  However, the cargo/troop hauler sort of has a second sub-variant option.  Mind you, this isn’t an official HMMWV sub-variant, but Dragon provides enough extra options to really change the looks of the cargo vehicle.

With two kits and three different versions, there are a ton of spare parts left over, which is great for the spares box.  Dragon also provides three Photo-Etch frets with parts mainly for the Guntruck (side appliqué plate armor and ASK protection) and some brass benches for the cargo Hummer.  For all you “youngsters” out there, ASK stands for Armor Survivability Kit.  ASK was developed as a concentrated interim measure to beef up the protection of the fleet of US unarmored Vehicles in Iraq.  ASK is different than the improvised armor protection many unfortunate US soldiers employed to protect themselves from danger.  ASK was sent to the troops in ready-made in “kits”, which were to be installed by the maintenance personnel.

Even though there are only 8 brass photo-etched pieces included, Dragon selected wisely on what to provide.  By that statement I mean that the parts provided are very useful and easily utilized to improve the looks of the completed model.  Surprisingly, after giving us the PE they don’t provide a gun shield for the Guntruck.  No matter though as that is only a small nit to pick;  Just puzzling.

 

Kit Accuracy

I compared the accuracy of the kits’ details and dimensions to the references I have available and they look very good.  I did not recognize any problems I would consider substantial or even of a mid-level magnitude.  Again, I relied mostly on a set of scaled down plans of 1/35 line drawings by George Bradford, founder of AFV News.  However, I also used other references including Squadron’s “Hummer in Action” and Concord’s “US HMMWVs in Iraq”.  The main reference I used for the “Guntruck” was Tankograd’s exceptional book, “Armored/Gun Trucks of the US Army in Iraq”.

 
Fit of Parts

First of all, I want to start off by stating I only built one of the two kits: the Cargo/Troop Truck.  However, I am confident in saying that all of my experiences, thoughts, comments, and conclusions discovered when building the cargo truck, would hold true for the Guntruck as well.

All in all, the fit of the parts/pieces was excellent.  I did find a bit of trouble in fitting a few pieces here and there, but again, I believe that was due to my lack of experience with small scale kits.  I used no putty when building the kit and no excessive ham-handed force that I am famous for.  Without hyperbole, this was a treat to build!

 

Quality of Casting/ Detail Level of Parts

The quality of the casting of the kit pieces was excellent no matter what scale the kit is; Let alone it being a tiny 1/72.  I found the casting quality as good as most of Dragon’s 1/35 kits, although the interior was a bit sparse and simplified.  Again, a small “negative” point, but considering this kit is only about 2 inches long, this was not a negative to me at all and didn’t sour my feelings for the kit.  Heck, Dragon has to give the aftermarket companies some biz, right?

There was very little flash present on the parts, and even the smallest pieces were well cast.  Also, there were no sink holes present, even in the hard to see/reach areas.  I was amazed as to how the bleep they did that so well.  As for the vinyl tires, there was a slight mold line present on some of them, but most either had none or it was very faint.  A quick scrape of a sharp No. 11 bladed hobby knife did the trick in most cases.

The detail level provided by Dragon on their parts was also excellent in all but one case; The one case being that the interior was a bit simplified and what I consider “sparse”.

Speaking of “sparse”, while writing this section of the review on the Hummer kit details, I feel that the amount of words I’ve used is too little to describe just how well the pieces were produced.  What I mean is that, I am almost compelled to write more and that I am not doing the kit “justice” by using so few words.  But, with that being said, I’ll let my last statement on this topic speak volumes. Basically, as soon as I opened up the review sample and fondled the plastic, I ordered another of Dragon’s 1+1 HMMWV Versions; The M1046 TOW Carrier.  I happily spent my hard earned USD.

 
Decals, Marking Information and Painting Information

Dragon provides top quality Cartograph Decals which are thin and printed in register.  The decals are crisp with no color overrun.  The decals provided cover the markings of 3 U.S. vehicles, circa 2003; 1 cargo/troop carrier in Iraq, 1 stationed in Germany and the Guntruck being that from the 1st Infantry Division in Iraq as well.

The painting and marking information provided is very good and pleasing to the eye.  Dragon has included color painting diagrams in the instructions with easy to follow directions on placement.
 
Instructions/Packaging

The instruction sheet is “typical Dragon” and posed no major problems using if you are anything but a novice modeler.  The only “problem” I actually had was with step 4 where Dragon stated that the builder needed to cut out an area of the door/window frame to mount the rearview mirrors. Even though the location was provided accurately in the instructions in hindsight, the exact spot where they wanted it done was hard to understand when just looking at the directions; to me at least.  It’s hard to explain, but you might find that if/when you build it.  Again, I got over that point fine and decided to put the cyanide pills away for the time being.

With that being said, caution should always be used when following their instructions.  This is not a negative point to me in that the “problems” encountered with Dragon instructions are not due to their low quality.  Any difficulties encountered are usually due to the fact that they provide in their kits a myriad of vehicle versions, sub-variants, etc.  The more options Dragon gives us, the more cumbersome their instruction sheets will generally be.

Hey, I’m not complaining.  I’d rather have Dragon provide more build kit options in their kits and get more “complicated” instructions rather than receiving outstanding/exceptional instructions but only getting one vehicle version/option.  So, be careful folks when building the kit and make sure you are working on the correct step, for the kit version you’re actually working on.  Take it from me, that stinks!

The kits’ box is constructed of sturdy cardboard with a pleasing color cover.  On the box-top, Dragon provides color photographs of the two versions of kits in the set and line drawing-type illustrations of the kits’ parts and build options.  As usual, Dragon provides excellent kit “safety” by bagging all sprues separately.  Also by providing so many dang parts there is no risk of the parts bouncing around and breaking due to the snug fit of the parts in the box.  They also mount their decals, vinyl wheels and PE frets on their signature black cardboard “slab” and bag them separately as well.

 
Conclusion

With this HMMWV 1+1 combo kit, Dragon has provided us with a little gem (or two as it is).  The vehicles look excellent on the shelf even when next to and compared with, their big 1/35 brothers.  I had a great time building the kit and in my opinion, it is a more than acceptable project for the novice modeler as well as the experienced ADS (Advanced Detailing Syndrome) suffering nut/builder too.

Thanks to John Noack of IPMS/USA for providing the review sample to me.

Highly Recommended

 
Copyright: Patrick Keenan - July 2006