MBT-70 (Kpz. 70)
This is another of Dragons “Black Label” kits. The model is boxed in a sturdy box with a nice painting showing the vehicle used in West German markings. Inside you will find seven spruces molded in grey plastic. Also one clear spruce, lower hull section, four Dragon DS track links, small decal sheet, instruction fold out sheet, and a photo reference sheet with photos of a vehicle at the famous Deutsches Panzermuseum Munster located in Germany. The parts are flash free with some mold lines that clean up very well. Dragon includes a correction instructions sheet for step 15. The correction is a simple one in that all is needed is to cut off a piece of a part and glue it in a different area. The parts count is just right and I found that there are only two parts left over after the build - something that I’m not used to with a Dragon kit as my parts box usually gets stuffed after a Dragon kit build. No PE fret is included in the kit.
The assembly starts with the suspension and road wheels. The vehicle can be posed in the kneeling position or the elevated position by scraping off parts of the suspension. Dragon shows this in their instructions and also provides an alignment tool (part of a sprue). The build continues with the lower hull. Looking at the photo reference included with the kit you can clearly see the rear engine deck grills have screens covering them. No material is provided in the kit for this. A set of PE screens would have been nice. I corrected this by cutting out some spare screens and applying them. The front head lights are missing brush guards around them. I did not add this as I was building the vehicle to look like the one shown in the photo reference provided with the kit.
Continuing on to the turret there are several options that the kit allows. The view ports and optics can be posed in the open or closed positions. The 20mm AA gun can be placed in many different positions, which is a nice option. The gun itself lacks detail but is not bad out of the box. Some of the view ports are missing the clear parts and need to fill the void that for some reason are not part of the clear spruce. This includes the warning light on the top of the turret that is required on all vehicles used on roads in Germany. The light is molded as one piece plastic. I corrected these issues by cutting parts from clear plastic stock. For the warning light I used one of the clear spruce mold tabs attached to one of the parts.
The Main gun is molded in one piece. The molding is crisp, but there are some mold lines to clean up. RB models have developed a nice turned aluminum metal barrel if you wish to replace the kit one. The mantel has some issues. The gunner’s sight is missing the glass window so I used a punch & die set to stamp out an optic to fill in the empty hole. The search light is missing the wire lead and the connection point on the turret. This is clearly seen in photo references. I scratch built this item. The three antennas appeared too short for me after looking at photo references so I replaced them with brass ones. The smoke dischargers are missing the chains that connect the covers to the tubes. This is something that an aftermarket company may develop down the road. I did not add the chains to this build. Finally Dragon provides a set of DS track in the kit, which goes together with liquid glue and takes paint very well. The fit over the road wheels is just right with no toeing or bowing.
Dragon only provides marking for the German vehicle as referenced in the photos provided with the kit. I replaced them with some dry transfer markings.
I painted the kit with Tamiya paints and gave it a very light dusting and very little to no weathering, as this was a prototype development tank.
The kit fills a void in the modern armor collection that was missing this very important vehicle. I hope that Dragon will produce the American version in the future. The kit only took me about 20 hours to build and went together smoothly. There are some issues to be corrected but nothing that is very difficult for any modeler with the basic of skills could not master. I would like to thank IPMS USA for allowing me the opportunity to build this kit and Dragon models for supplying the kit for review. I recommend this kit to all skill level modelers.