JASDF Patriot PAC-3 Launching Station

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Company: Aoshima - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Dragon Models USA - Website: Visit Site
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The PAC-3 Patriot is a surface-to-air missile system, whose primary purpose is to intercept ballistic missiles in the terminal phase of flight. This new offering from Aoshima is the first injection molded kit of the Patriot Missile system in 1/72 scale. The kit includes the Transporter Erector Launcher trailer, 4 missile containers, and an Isuzu Type 73 Heavy Truck. There are several options for displaying the model: you can display the TEL with outriggers up or down; the missile canisters can be stowed or ready to fire; the antenna can be in the raised or lowered position; or you can also show it firing a PAC-3 missile. One of the neat features of the kit is that it provides two full sets of outrigger legs and you do not glue the legs on, they are attached by poly caps. This means that if you are careful you should be able to swap out how you display the trailer.
The box contains seven sprue trees molded in hard dark green plastic, one clear sprue, a short length of vinyl tubing, several poly caps, and a separately molded truck cab. The parts are separated into two large bags; one seems to be for the truck and the other for the missiles and the trailer, suggesting another boxing in the future with a different truck. The parts are very well molded with little to no flash. There are a fair number of mold lines and sink marks on some of the parts, but Aoshima did a great job in making sure the sink marks were hidden and the mold lines are easy to sand and remove. The only initial issue I had was with the packaging, as there were several small parts that had broken off the trees in shipping, and a few very thin parts were bent. This may be due to having three to four trees per bag with no padding. Also the trees seem to be labeled with a letter in the instructions on the last page. The letters are not referenced elsewhere in the instructions, however, the parts are labeled sequentially.
The construction starts as usual for kits of this type, with the nicely detailed Type 73 Truck. The construction progressed very quickly. Within 3 hours I had managed to assemble all of the main subassemblies for painting. The fit for most of the kit parts was great and despite the small scale the detail was quite good. Aoshima did a great job of modeling tiny interior details, including a great diamond pattern on the trucks horizontal services, tiny reflective lights, and a myriad of other tiny details. The interior of the cab is shown below and Aoshima included a nice decal that really dresses up the gauges.
I did have a few minor fit issues but as with the sink marks and the mold lines, these were placed so that they were easy to fix or they would be hidden. The first fit problem was the back side of parts 12 and 13 which make up the jerry cans and rack. The backs of the cans fit into the three sided main piece but there is a large gap. I did not feel that this needed to be filled because the back of the jerry cans is up against a large tool box. I also had some difficulty with the tires. They are modeled in two pieces with the rim and inboard part of the tire as one piece and the rest of the tire as a separate piece. The advantage to this is it makes painting the tires and rims much easier. However, there are a couple of issues with the two piece wheels. First the fit is not great, leaving a gap on the inboard side of the trailer tires and front truck tires. This is mostly not a problem because the trailer tires are placed in a way that the gaps are hidden and the two front truck tires are easy to fill and sand. However, I ran into a bigger problem with the trailer tires. The fit of these tires was so tight that I did not feel the need to use glue. However, once they had been painted and sat for a couple of days, all four tires cracked and separated rather dramatically. I am assuming that this was probably due to the tight fit, so be careful when building the trailer tires and you may want to sand down the mating surfaces to make the fit a little looser.
Once I had the major subassemblies finished I moved on to painting. All of the paint callouts are for Mr. Color and Mr. Hobby paints. There were a couple of mistranslated names on the paint list, primarily the main color used on the upper surfaces of the truck and trailer. The instructions list the primary color as FS34227 Gray Mr. Color c312 but FS34227 and c312 are actually Green. I prefer to spray Tamiya acrylics and I felt that Tamiya’s version of FS34227 was far too light of a green based on my reference pictures. So I chose XF-59 NATO Black for the tires and under surfaces and XF-67 NATO Green for the upper surfaces. Once painting was completed it was time to add the decals. The kit contains a large decal sheet that contains a ton of tiny stencils, mostly for the TEL and the missile canisters. The decals are well produced, in great register and performed perfectly over a coat of Future. The decals even include a few beautifully produced placards for the TEL. The final part of the project is to run the PVC air hoses for the missile canisters and the air lines to the trailer. The PVC tubing is very flexible, attached well with super glue and was very easy to work with. They add a very nice touch to the trailer and are much easier to work with than most of the PVC tubing that I’ve used in larger scale kits. My only issue is that the PVC tubing seems a little large for the scale to my eye.
Overall this is a great little kit. It builds up quickly and fits really well. It seems to be fairly accurate and the multiple display options are very cool. I really enjoyed working on this kit and I recommend it for anyone that likes modern armor. My thanks to Dragon Models USA and IPMS for giving me the opportunity to review this kit.


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