Duel of the Baby Dragons

Well, I’ve FINALLY got some progress to report on my Dragon (the kit-making company) Duel. Here it is…
UPDATE #1 (posted March 24, 2007)
Dammit! I’m a-buildin’. And so is Riccardo. This Dragon model has a lot of teeny-tiny parts. So far, I’ve lost two to the carpet, after they shot out of my tweezers like they were hitched to a rocket. Also, I’ve had some issues trying to sort out how to build the particular variant I’m after in the instructions. It’s probably because I’m not reading it as closely as I should, but they don’t seem to distinguish between which parts go with which variant very well.
UPDATE #2 (posted March 27, 2007)
As promised (and slightly belated), I’ve uploaded a trio of pictures related to the Dragon Duel. In the first picture, we have the test-fit of some of the parts. You might not know it to look at it, but just the top of the turret consists of no less than nine separate pieces. Although I’d hardly done any gluing as of this point, it was obvious to me that this is a very detailed kit, with many teeny-tiny parts. I’d also filled in some holes along the body of the tank. These were optional, if you wanted to mount the external fuel tanks, but needed to be filled in if–as I am doing–you plan on mounting the "matress spring armor".

Next up (on the left) is a picture of one of the larger pieces of brass photo-etch that come with this kit. I can see that I’m going to have a horrible time with the brass. I haven’t worked with it much before, and some of the pieces that you can use on the kit (optionally, of course) are nearly microscopic. Of course, the level of detail it adds (and the fact that I’m trying to learn here) make it worth doing, but it is a pain in the arse. If anybody has some helpful hints about working with tiny brass, I’m all ears.

This also brings me to another "lesson learned" (or "learning") on this kit: The directions. Every kit maker has their own style, and Dragon is no different. It’s taking me a little bit of time to figure out exactly what all the little different symbols mean and how to tell which steps to follow for which variant you want to build. It’s not painful, but there is the smallest of learning curves there.

And in the final picture, I made some improvements in the hobby room last week. I added two tables and a chair along the back ("left", in the picture) wall, to create a second work station. So far, it’s been useful for stacking up kits that I’ve run out of room for in the closet.

In order to keep my sanity while working on this kit, I’ve also started work on a second kit. When I get frustrated after dropping a piece of brass into the carpet. It’s a 1:72 "Morane-Saulnier MS.225". Very old kit from Heller, but fairly straightforward and shouldn’t be overly complicated. In short, a much-needed break when I start getting crazy about the T34. The Morane-Saulnier 225 is only unique in its obscurity, being briefly produced in France in 1932 and 1933. I won’t go into gory details on it, but if you’re interested, here’s a picture.

The Duel is just beginning. Hopefully, I’ll stay on task to get the T34 (and the Morane 225?) done in time for the contests next month. Regardless, I’ll keep posting the progress here.

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