MIM-104F Patriot in 1/35...
...PAC-3 SAM system on the M901 launch station by Dragon, built
One of two kits of the Patriot missile system which Dragon have released in 1/35. This particular one is just the trailer mounted launch unit of the more recent version, the PAC-3 (PAC = Patriot Advanced Capability). Using similar size launch containers to the earlier versions, the newer, small sized missiles mean that rather than one missile in each of the four containers, there are now four, increasing the number of weapons per launch unit from four (as in the PAC-1 versions fielded during the Gulf War in 1991) to now holding 16. These new versions of the Patriot are more specifically designed for targeting ballistic missiles, as well as retaining a capability against aircraft threats.
It's a big box and a nicely detailed model, without it being over complicated. With the four launch containers, there are four good size sprues with the parts for each one and four more with missiles and other fittings. You have the option to fit one of the missiles posed emerging from one of the launch modules on each of the four containers. Optional parts are provided for the front panels accordingly. I'm not sure if I'd want to fit all four in this way, but one perhaps. The trailer allows for you to build it with the landing legs up or down, with the missile boxes in either the travelling or firing positions and the four stabilizers either up or down, supporting the trailer for firing the missiles. There is also the option to fit the doors on the two equipment boxes that are fitted to this variant of the Patriot system either open or closed, so the instrument panels can be seen or not.
Fit of parts is good, though a number of them on the various sprues have what I always call 'moulding pips', elements which help the plastic flow in the moulds, and which then need to be removed in addition to the removals of the parts from the sprues. This is just an extra task to do in the clean-up process prior to them actually being assembled, so do look out for them. Best removed with side cutters, and then cleaned up with a craft knife. Considering the missile containers, the firing and elevating mechanisms, along with the equipment boxes, there are working platforms for the crew to stand on all around these elements, and these are neatly done, and which fit cleanly as well. For the ones on the swan neck of the trailer, stanchions and wire for the safety cables to prevent any crewman from falling off are included in the kit.
There are two main options for finishing, and this is whether you paint it in overall green or sand. The sand example is for a US operated system in Iraq in 2003, serving with the 2nd Battalion, 43rd Air Defence Artillery Regiment. The green option is for a set of inert missile containers, used for training, and serving with the JASDF (Japan Air Self Defence Force) , 4th ADMG, 14th ADMS from the Sub Area Activity Hanshin at a summer festival in 2015. Transfers are provided for either option, and include markings for both live and 'inert' loads. Plenty of equipment stencils to be applied, along with data plates and warning notices as well.
At the moment it is built, though the four missile containers are not fixed in place yet, not until it is painted and the transfers applied to them for all the stencils. This leaves more to come on this one as it progresses, so watch this space...