Today I’ve got something a little different to show off. What you’re looking at in the above picture is a beautiful M4 Sherman variant called the Sherman “Tulip,” created by a British unit called the Coldstream Guards as it prepared to cross the Rhine River. The Tulip is a stock Sherman packing two rail-launched RP3 rockets that were intended for air-to-ground use by British fighter-bombers. The RP3s were 60-pound monsters that did tremendous damage, though they were highly inaccurate when fired from a tank turret. This model is of a very different style from the Forces of Valor models I have shown off on the blog so far — it’s made by a Taiwanese company called Dragon Armor that also enjoys an excellent reputation among enthusiasts.
Click on the image on the left to view it in full, glorious detail. You’ll notice it’s proportioned just as accurately as the FoV tanks in the picture, this is a 1:72 scale Sherman that also has a rotating turret, elevating main gun and vinyl tracks (though they don’t move at all, unlike the FoV tanks’ tracks). The Tulip is in the foreground, which is why it appears larger than the FoV Sherman; in actuality their dimensions are virtually identical, a true tribute to the painstaking attention to detail paid by both Dragon Armor and FoV. And now for a few notes on the stylistic and philosophical differences I have noticed that separate these two great companies…
Dragon Armor is clearly more focused on detail than FoV, which is saying a lot. Dragon Armor models are made from a lightweight plastic, which means they lack the solid heft and ruggedness offered by FoV models, all of which are made using die-cast steel. However, Dragon Armor’s plastic materials allow their modelers to create really, really detailed designs. For example, Sherman tanks have shovels and other infantry tools strapped to their backs. The FoV Sherman’s shovel looks OK from overhead, but squint down at it and you realize the shovel is just a raised piece of metal that’s too thick to be a real shovel. The shovel on Dragon Armor’s tulip has a razor-thin blade, with details on the blade itself. It looks like it could actually detach!
Click this image to enlarge it! The plastic is also a much better medium to work with when it comes to painting and weathering the skin of the model, so there’s a richer, more realistic tone to the surface of Dragon Armor’s models as well. Dragon Armor’s models all come mounted on a black, plastic display stand, which emphasizes their philosophy: their tanks are for looking at, not for playing with. So if you want a tank to play around with, go for the FoV tanks sold in the Rifles Ready! Store — they’re very accurate and also very tough, intended to be handled a lot. That’s not to say they’re children’s toys or anything — all FoV tanks are very accurately modeled and would look perfectly excellent in any serious collector’s diorama or display case.
But here’s the bottom line: if you’re a real enthusiast who wants beautiful models that are for eye-candy only, Dragon Armor is the winner. Note all Dragon Armor products cost more than twice as much as their FoV equivalents, which is justifiable given how much attention and man hours they lavish on each piece. The Rifles Ready! Store may carry a couple Dragon Armor models in the future — we’re working with the company to see if they will give us some kind of discounted price that we can then pass on to you. Just to give you an idea of how much more expensive they are, the Sherman Tulip here costs $22 before tax!