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In-Box Review
135
M270A1 MLRS
M270A1 Multiple Launch Rocket System
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by: Brian O'Donoghue [ BRIAN638 ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

The Multiple Rocket Launcher System is well recognised weapon system and it has had a successful career and is still in service with many nations. The US Army has upgraded the original vehicle in 2005 to the A1. The launcher appears identical to M270, but incorporates an improved fire control system (IFCS) and an improved launcher mechanical system (ILMS). This allows for significantly faster launch procedures and the firing of new types of munitions, including the GPS guided rockets.

Review

Dragon have previously released this kit on a number of occasions and it first saw the light of day back in 1992. This release is based upon the Dragon kit No:3523 which was the M270 MLRS with M26 Rocket Pods. This release is the same kit with an additional set of sprues to upgrade the M270 to the A1 standard.

So what is in the box? On opening the standard large box that comes with a photograph of the M270A1 and it also has illustrations of the extra parts. Inside the box there is the usual mass of parts that is expected of many Dragon releases.
Contents:
  • 16x Grey Sprues
  • 1x Lower Hull
  • 1x Sheet of clear plastic
  • 1x Decal Sheet
  • 1x Instruction Sheet

The instructions are fairly typical of early Dragon releases as is the method of assembly. The moulds have stood up well for an older release and there is a minor amount of flash on the older sprues. The newer sprues are moulded to the typical newer levels of detail that is expected from Dragon.

The kit does have a reasonably detailed cab interior and will look reasonable if the doors are left open. The communications equipment is inaccurate for the system that should be fitted to current vehicles but the newly tooled targeting computer is accurate. Please pay attention to the instructions as there are a number of minor differences for the Bundeswehr version. The clear sheet must be cut to size using the template on the instructions.

The weakest item is surprisingly are the tracks on the plus side they are link and length and were accurate with the original release. The tracks have a number of knock out pin marks and will require filling to hide them. The vehicle now uses the ‘Big Foot’ tracks and not the older style supplied in the kit, as these tracks were withdrawn from US Service around the mid 90’s. However they are seen on the British Army version.

The main rocket pod looks fairly straightforward but the actual rocket pods will need careful assembly to ensure they remain square. The pods themselves are then slid down the rails inside the main box as per the originals. There are a number of options the rocket pod can be built; stowed, elevated for firing and elevated locked up for maintenance. The pods can be shown out of the main box which would look ideal in a diorama.

The final stages of the build add the M270A1 features and include stowage boxes, air conditioning unit, M240 including the swing mount and an external (electronics?) unit. These parts are new moulds and the M240 has a separate and detailed feed cover.

Painting and Finishing

Dragon have only given the modeller two options in the box, both in tri-colour NATO:
  • 6th Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, South Korea
  • Bundeswehr, Germany

Conclusion

Overall this is a welcome re-release there are a few negative points. Despite the extra parts that add the A1 features, Dragon have missed the opportunity to update the tracks and could have offered a few more decal options. Dragon have re-released another one of their older kits whether modellers are getting value for money will be down to the individuals choice. If the tracks are replaced then an accurate M270A1 can be depicted.

Reference

Prime Portal M270 Live links
Military Photo Report from Julie Ludmann Live links
Wikipedia Article Live links
SUMMARY
Highs: Updated parts are very detailed
Lows: Old style tracks, limited decal options
Verdict: Recommended for all modern artillery fan, there are positives and negatives but this is a welcome release of a modern AFV
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 3557
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Jul 23, 2015
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 80.00%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 86.19%

Our Thanks to Dragon USA!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
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About Brian O'Donoghue (brian638)
FROM: ENGLAND - WEST MIDLANDS, UNITED KINGDOM

I began modelling way back when Matchbox appeared on the scene with their new range. It began an interest in a hobby that has spanned 40 years.... and has seen the greatest resurgence in recent years. The only breaks in the hobby have been for the usual reasons that most modellers experience; caree...

Copyright ©2017 text by Brian O'Donoghue [ BRIAN638 ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.


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Comments

Yes brian i agree with your review, I have one and when I opened the kit and seen the tracks I was surprised, to say the lease. I will not buy a dragon kit with DS tracks. It seems to me dragon is doing alot of re-issues with ds, and old parts. where other brands are coming out with workable tracks with their kits. Dragon was a leader without a doubt. But my question...is dragon just using their name and not what should be in the box?
JUL 24, 2015 - 10:46 AM
I think Dragon is/was resting on it's laurels and it's bit them.It's almost as if all their engineers and CAD operators jumped ship and went on to other companies?Could explain the new companies and products being released. My 2 cents adjusted for inflation...... Mike
JUL 26, 2015 - 08:26 AM
I think that this was a lazy release,they could have included an older set of decals and at least given the option of other nations. I built the Orange Box Abrams (IFOR/USMC) version it was a dog of a kit with only a few additions. I think that Dragon can still produce a few stunning kits unfortunately they are mainly variations on existing German armour. I really wish that they had upgraded the tracks as this would have made a great addition.
JUL 26, 2015 - 09:32 AM
I detest this model. The sprue attachment points and ejector marks are absolutely horrid and make no sense at all. Because of these, I had to switch from a detailed interior to a buttoned-up and firing pose. I have had to do tons of cleaning, and that's just on the doors and window shields. Sure, there is detail, but at what cost? This model is in serious need of a re-tooling. I gave it a 60%, and that was being generous. I build a great many modern armor and arty, and this, by far, is the worst kit I've had the displeasure of opening in a couple of years. Even worse that any Zvezda kit I've done.
JAN 26, 2016 - 02:45 AM
Wow, good thing that I stayed away from this kit.
JAN 26, 2016 - 12:44 PM
Good thing Merit has a MLRS announced so we don't have to suffer with this sub-2000 quality trash any more.
JAN 26, 2016 - 02:16 PM
^ Just a bit over-dramatic. Sure it is an older kit, but it is not that bad of a kit. With a little TLC, it can come out looking great. I have built a bunch of these over the years and they can be great with a little work.
JAN 26, 2016 - 02:35 PM
Ha, no. The original kit was good around it's 1992 release date, but this release is shockingly basic and outdated compared to modern kits in the same $60 price range even if you ignore the terrible casting flaws Curt pointed out.
JAN 26, 2016 - 03:50 PM
Whatever. Guess it comes down to how much effort you actually want to put into a build. Not every kit is going to fall together as you shake the box. Some actually take a little modeling skill. I'm sure the forth-coming Merit one will be better, but until it arrives, this one is a very buildable kit and can come out looking great when done. Like I said, it just takes a little effort.
JAN 27, 2016 - 03:54 AM
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