Building Dragon's 1/48 Long March 2E

Boxart Last summer at the IPMS/USA nationals in Columbus, OHIO, I ran across the Dragon stand were they had a quite colorful box standing with a Chinese rocket. Mike Idacavage managed to buy the only kit then available and was so kind to have me take it back to The Netherlands. Finally in December I found the time to put this kit together.

Well on their first civil rocket kit I have to congratulate Dragon. To start with the boxart is very attractive, showing a painting of the rocket lifting off against a sunset. Upon opening, the box is crammed with parts, all plastic runners individually wrapped in plastic and some rather chunky body parts, a manual, clearly printed decal sheet and a stand. Upon close inspection it turns out the main body, payload fairing  and solid rockets are made of blown plastic. The halves are unfortunately clearly visible, on the plus side it has raised detail.


The seams are easily removed from the blown plastic parts, care has to be taken not to damage the raised detail. Fine details are replicated with injection molded plastic, these consist of solid motor bottoms, rocket nozzles and cable trays and lox feed lines. The parts fit together very well, although filler is required between the injected plastic and blowmolded parts.  There is some clean-up required for the ribbed sections, but nothing very serious. I'm especially pleased how the rocket nozzles are made up, no halves fitting together, but a one piece nozzle to which a ring has to be glued. The only drawback on the kit are the cable trays that have to be glued on the solid rocket motors. You have to carefully remove raised detail where the plastic strip will come, otherwise there will be a gap between the plastic part and the solid's body. I shaved the raised parts off with a razor blade, which worked very well. First hold the plastic part to blow-molded part, mark with a pencil what has to be removed and then carefully slice it off.


Most parts of the rocket are white except for rocket nozzles and turbopump exhausts. The blue bands are all printed on the decal sheet, but I decided to paint them on, rather than try to make the decals conform to the raised parts. I haven't put on the decals yet, so do not know how well they stick. After painting and decaling, several coats of Johnson will make the rocket as gloss as you want it to be.


The kit is in the rather odd 1/48 scale, which makes it almost as tall as Revell's 1/96 Saturn-V. You need a lot of height to display this kit. So far Mach 2 also has some 1/48 Thor/Delta rockets and rumors are Hasegawa will release a H-2 in 1/48 as well. Compared to the 1/48 Glencoe Jupiter-C this kit is a giant. The kit builds very easily and at $40 is a real bargain. If you have the space to display it (an entrance hall is a great place), 2 cans of white paint and about 15 hours, this beautiful rocket will definitely draw attention.

Julius de Roo