Here's another very welcome release by Dragon of the Alvis Saladin Mk2. This is a vehicle close to many a British armour fans heart the "sally" or "sally-can" as it was known was in service with the British army for many decades until finally replaced by the CVR(T) Scorpion. It also served with many armies around the world.
Dragon have released this under their black label sub brand and as you know many of the recent releases under this heading have had a severe slating on some of the modelling forums on the net. Usually before anyone's even seen the kit for real! Well this one's no exception and it's been savaged thoroughly on the net, mostly by people who never post a completed model and who are so called experts on everything!
On to the review and as usual the kit comes on a nice sturdy box with a very nice illustration on the front and a guide to the features on the bottom. The molds are cast in a nice grey plastic and you get 4 sprunes holding most of the parts, separate upper & lower hull and turret. A small etched grill, clear lights and a decent decal sheet are there too as well as some rather nice DS wheels.
The complex suspension of the Saladin is nicely produced here and most of the parts deal with this area giving it a nice busy look just like the real thing. The details are very good and all the parts are cleanly cast.
The remaining sprune has most of the remaining upper hull fittings and again everything looks pretty good. The main gun is slide molded which means that you don't have to drill it out or glue two halves together. The stowage bins look good but a little work adding padlocks will make them look even better. The hatches have no details on the inner faces which would have been nice but nothing you can't add yourself. The fenders also look nice with good details.
The wheels are dragons DS plastic and they are very well molded with a good tread pattern.
The hull is a tub affair and has good details along both sides, an initial fitting with the upper hull shows a very nice fit. The upper hull sports some nice details including the conduits running either side of the hull which are for electrical cables to the front and rear light assemblies on the real thing.
The turret now and this is again well cast with good weld beads along the top plates.
And lastly just one small bit of etch is included for the rear air intake grills plus clear lenses for the lights and a very nice decal sheet with five options included.
You have a choice of three green vehicles and two desert vehicles but of course you can paint it bronze green for an early vehicle as well.
So overall I'm very impressed with the kit, everything is cast well and looks to fit nicely too. The only things missing really I think are the interior hatch details and clear periscopes (which are provided in the kit as solid plastic) and no .30 cal machine gun for the commanders station. However out of the box it should build up into a very nice replica of the real thing and with a few minor additions look even better. As you can tell I'm chuffed with this kit as It's been a long time coming. The release of anything modern and British is always a good thing in my book.
I'm now itching to start it but with a couple of other projects needing my attention I'll have to resist the urge for a week or so! Let's hope we see more British armour being released in the future and I'm now keen to see how Dragon fair with there upcoming Conqueror.