by: Matthew Robeson [ ]
Here's another foray into small scale modeling for me, and this looks like a very nice kit of a very famous and long-lived spy plane. So I'm from California, the U-2 means a lot to us, since they were based at Beale AFB up in the north of the state. This kit represents the U-2R, so not the ultimate Senior Span edition, but still an older airframe, upgraded to new technology.
Worst thing right off of the bat is the side opening box. I know, it's a small scale, but there is no reason a top-opening box can't be don. At least the art-work is good, and the color instructions are right on the back of the box, so you can see your decal options.
This kit was molded very heavily with slide-molding, and I approve of that. The front fuselage section is all one large piece, as it the mid-fuselage, to allow for proper intake shape and depth. I think that's an amazing technique, and means that shouldn't really be any awkward seams to deal with.
After you get the fuselage bits, you see the massive wings, each supplied in one piece, with luckily no molding issues. Taking the wings out shows how big these planes were, but they were in essence very high-altitude gliders, so the large wings were necessary.
Going through the small bags, you will trip over the cockpit, and Dragon did not skimp here. The consoles actually have molded on detail, no flat panels. You really won't see much of anything once it's sealed up under the canopy, but at least we'll all know it's there. The ejection seat is also quite well, so big props to Dragon for putting detail everywhere.
The canopy is nice and clear, but is sadly molded in one piece, so it would require some really careful saw work it get it split to show off your interior.
The instructions are typical Dragon fare, so good, but a bit jumbled at times. But if you've built and kind of Dragon kit before, you should be fine with it.
There are two decal options, one RAF, and the other one is Chinese. I'm not sure why they didn't include anything US, but that's just me. Both planes are simple and black, so you want to weather them a bit to break up the large blank canvas of black paint.