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Dragon MIM-104B Patriot with M983 HEMTT

FineScale Modeler reviews the 1/35 scale plastic model vehicle kit
Dragon’s new 1/35 scale MIM-104B Patriot missile launcher with M983 HEMTT is a huge kit of an impressive vehicle. Finished, it measures more than 19 inches long and 11 high with launchers and antenna raised.

The parts count on the imposing vehicle is not all that high for its size, and the 526 parts fit well. This is one of Dragon’s Black Label models. But because of its size, I spent the bulk of my time painting and weathering the model.

I went at this a bit backward, starting with the HEMTT first. This allowed me to build the truck’s interior and, while it was drying, start the trailer.

The HEMTT’s cab and several other parts are from Italeri’s 20-year-old M977 HEMTT, and they show their age with soft details. But the parts fit well.

After the cab interior was painted, the rest of the HEMTT went together rather quickly with details packed in all over the place. If this is going to be a showcase piece, or you’re looking to upgrade it, adding a bit more detail to the motor would be easy. It’s visible from the bottom of the truck and from behind.

Next, I moved to the trailer. It is broken down nicely into separate subassemblies, making the building and painting much easier. These also are great small projects to make progress on the build when you only have a small amount of time to work on it and don’t want to dive into a larger, more-complex step.

I suggest leaving all of these subassemblies, or as many as possible, off until they are painted. Putting them all on prior to painting creates a lot of small areas that are hard to get at.

Some parts also can be left workable, if you are delicate with them. The four outside support legs can be left movable, as can the doors on the generators.

Painting and weathering requires the most time here. There is a lot to paint. I used just a little more than two full bottles of Model Master acrylics for the base coat, so I suggest that you plan to have plenty of paint on hand. You never want to run out mid-build.

It’s not too surprising that the kit has a fairly large decal count. Most went on without any trouble. Just a few needed a second coat of decal solution.

It’s easy to get carried away with weathering. I forced myself to work in small areas at a time so I didn’t miss cleaning any spots up. There are a lot of little areas here where mistakes can hide.

The kit’s box is large, and its sprues are too. While the box size may scare off newer modelers, it shouldn’t. This kit builds fairly easily because the sprues and instructions are split into subassemblies. That means you’re mostly working off only one or two sprues at a time.

I spent almost 100 hours building and painting the HEMTT and Patriot launcher. You don’t need to be a master modeler to tackle this giant kit. You’ll be fine if you have a couple of kits under your belt and are looking for a large model to sink your teeth into.
This kit will reward any modeler looking to add this iconic vehicle to their Gulf War lineup.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the July 2017 issue.
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