The Soviet SU-85 is a WWII Soviet self-propelled tank destroyer based on a T-34 chassis. The SU-85m was an improved SU-85 with the SU-100 style commander’s cupola.
This specific kit from Dragon is a reissue with some new parts. This “Orange Box” kit includes Dragon’s “Magic Tracks” as well as a sprue #GA containing Soviet Infantry Equipment. The box itself is a thinner cardboard and a ‘side-open’ style. A color profile and decal placement guide is shown on the back of the box.
Directions are simplified and very easy to follow.
All parts are molded in the standard grey plastic, and the kit also includes a metal tow cable. There is no photoetch fret with this boxing. Decal options are included for two unknown units.
As with most armor kits, I have built, assembly starts with the hull and drive gear. Due to my limited modeling time these days, I’m restricted to what I can get in when I get home from work in the evenings. In just a few days I had the lower hull done. Parts were literally snapping into place with no issues. When I got to step #5, I could not get part “G7” (rear superstructure with hatch) to fit correctly. I thought it may be me, so I tried a few different things, and sanded a bit, trimmed a bit, and kept trying. No matter what I did, “G7” didn’t seem to fit – thus ending with me having to use some putty.
The rest of the build was straightforward with no fit issues. I noticed on the directions in step #13, the parts labeled as “L4” (grousers) are actually parts “Q”. Other than that, the parts callouts were correct and easy to follow. A nice look at this kit is the ‘bent and damaged’ front fenders & fuel tanks. Both have a molded-in damaged look. (The kit also includes ‘like new’ fuel tanks if the builder wishes to use those.)
This boxing includes Dragon’s individual molded “Magic Tracks”. This was my first experience using them and I do admit I have been avoiding them for years. The plus for me was that there is no need to cut tracks off the sprues, and sand/file each part. I think the detail is better than the DS style track, and the painting and overall realism that can be achieved is better as well. I’m sure with a little more practice the process will be much less stressful in the future - but it was a nice touch to have the “Magic Tracks” included with this kit.
I painted the kit with Model Master Enamel FS34102 Medium Green.
I opted only to use the small number included on the decal sheet, rather than one of the slogans. A light wash and some dry-brushing completed the kit.
Recommended those interested in Russian Armor – especially if they would like a cost-effective way to upgrade an SU-85 with the newer “Magic Tracks”.
Thank you to Dragon USA for continuing to add to their WWII Armor line and for this review sample.
Editors Note: I purchased this kit shortly after I posted this review from Tim. I found that in my boxing of this fine kit there was a separate part and an erratum sheet for the very part Tim had fit problems with during his build. Because the replacement part is covered only by the erratum (and not by the normal instructions) the builder would not know of the existence of this replacement part. So, please if you have this kit and its missing the erratum sheet and second part please contact Dragon support. David
There's a pretty big error here causing the fit problem. The hull sides are missing. That's why the front plate and rear plate on the casemate appear to overlap the sides.
The build is wrong, the sides of the casemate should be flush with the front and rear plates at each corner, instead the sides are pushed inside that is why you can't fit the front and rear panels correctly. A dry fit should be done always especially with Dragon's kits as their instructions not always are exact.