Dragon Models Limited (DML)
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII

Hong Kong based Dragon (aka DML), came on the 1/35 scale scene in the early 1990s. Initially their AFV focus was split between WWII and modern subjects. But the quality of their products and the fact that tanks were offered with independent track links quickly grabbed hold of the WWII modelers and soon that genre was outpacing the others. Using their own new molds and borrowing parts from others such as Italeri and Gunze Sangyo, it seemed that DML was churning out a new kit every other week by 1995. Their sudden popularity gave Tamiya a swift kick in the pants and had the folks in Japan looking over their shoulders.

However, towards the end of the decade DML found a new gold mine—12” action figures, like the GI Joes of old. Just as with their plastic AFV models, these figures hit the market at the right place at the right time and soon baby boomer GI Joe collectors were buying up every “doll” they could find. This new product line took a lot of focus away from the plastic kits, much to the consternation of modelers. Their annual AFV output was just a trickle of what it had once been by 2001. Of course, there is still an emphasis on German subjects, but those interested in American figures were delighted by the appearance of airborne infantry, tank hunters and Bastogne battlers in 2002 and 2003, ending a seven-year dry spell since their U.S. tank crew hit the market. Two more kits released in 2004—a set of heavy weapons teams and (finally) an Omaha Beach infantry set—were well received.

Canadian artist Ron Volstad has designed poses for nearly every DML WWII figure set. Ron often converses with modelers through discussion groups such as Track-Link. He’s quite patient with those of us who want to see more GI sets. As Ron explains, DML is a business, and the business of German armor and figures is the most profitable. Most of the ideas we pass along to Ron are one’s he’s already tried to get Dragon to produce, but if they’re not German their chances of seeing the light of day are slim. But we, and Ron, keep trying.

Dragon’s 1/35 figures have been praised for their sculpting and degree of detail. Most serious figure modelers feel DML faces are too complacent and heads from Warriors, Verlinden or Hornet offer better substitutes. Some of the earlier figure sets are on the large end of the scale. Overall, DML’s weapons and gear have been lauded for their accuracy and detail. Sometimes they’re found copied in resin figure sets. There are some inconsistencies among size and design of some of their German equipment, but their U.S. equipment is generally good.  Their Allied infantry weapons set is out of production and hard to find, but well worth it.

Many of DML’s earlier Sherman products include Italeri’s lower hull and running gear, but they do cover the sponsons, unlike Tamiya. There are some notable inaccuracies among their British Fireflys, but at least they give us Fireflys. Link-to-link tracks, however, are a classic “downside” example of what can happen when you get what you ask for. With complaints that injection pin marks mar the tread surfaces and the links are too difficult and time consuming to clean up and assemble, many modelers who clamored for indy links were yearning for the simplicity of rubber band tracks, especially upon seeing the quality of the new generation of tracks from Tamiya or link-and-length options from Academy. Link-to-link tracks work best when you need a lot of sag over the return wheels (not a feature of American tanks) or you want to articulate the running gear over uneven diorama surfaces. In any event, they demand patience and are not suitable for more young or inexperienced modelers.

Some DML kits find themselves in high demand from time to time. One particularly hard-to-find kit was the early M4A1 Sherman. When it was re-released in 2004 it flew off the shelves, much to the consternation of many who ended up on waiting lists or missed out on the brief sightings. There were rumors that the re-issue was just the release of some recently found stocks, or that kits were hoarded by modelers looking forward to making a mint on E-bay; the kit often commanded upwards of $70 during the previous draught. But it resurfaced in large quantities in March 2005.

The T26E3 Pershing, which also was a hot item on E-bay, was re-released in 2003, only to be eclipsed by Tamiya's kit.

In 2004, Dragon launched a new line of 1/72 scale kits; M4A1 and M4A3 Shermans released in 2006 generally got high marks. It remains to be seen how Tamiya's foray into 1/48 AFVs will affect DML's product line.

2006 was a banner year for U.S. AFV modelers, with the releases of the M4A1(76)W for Operation Cobra, the M4A3E8 Thunderbolt VII commanded by Creigton Abrams, the first styrene M4A2 as seen at Tarawa, and the M2A1 half-track, the first new HT in more than 30 years. In 2008, the M4 81mm mortar and M16 GMC half-track versions arrived, and the M3 75mm half-track reached the store shelves in quantity at the end of the year. Dragon followed on these projects with announcements of new kits of the M4A1 direct vision and M4 75mm Shermans for 2009. Also on tap are two sets of the early suspension units seen on M3 Lees, M7 Priests, and early Shermans, as well as an assortment of weapons and tools, and the T48 rubber chevron track.

The DML figure line has been enhanced with "Gen2" figures, offering more parts and better detailing on the weapons and handy frets of photoetch for slings and such. Some of the older figure sets have been re-released with the improved weapons. The long out-of-production Weapons WWII Allied Infantry was rumored to be on the shelves again in 2008, but didn't make it. A Gen2 version of such would be most welcome, as would an equipment set similar to the German box from the 1990s.

Dragon has a subsidiary located in China, Shanghai Dragon, which has produced certain kits that Dragon dropped from its catalogue, though not much has been seen in this line for a number of years. Cyberhobby is another DML offshoot that reboxes and sells the parent company's products.

Figures and Accessories

3815Weapons WW II Allied Infantry
6010U.S. Army Airborne (Normandy, 1944)
6021U.S. Rangers (Normandy, 1944)
6038U.S. Marines (Iwo Jima)
6054U.S. Tank Crew (NW Europe, 1944)
6120U.S. Infantry, 2nd Armored Division (Normandy, 1944)
6148U.S. Army Airborne (Operation Varsity 1945)
6149U.S. Army Anti-Tank Team
6163U.S. 101st Airborne (Bastogne 1944)
6167Windtalkers, U.S. Marines and Japanese Infantry, South Pacific
6198U.S. Army Support Weapon Teams
621129th Infantry Division, Omaha Beach, D-Day 1944
6271Advance to the Rhine, U.S. 1st Army at Remagen 1945
62722nd Division USMC (Tarawa 1943) (poster)
6366U.S. Armored Infantry
6377 10th Mountain Division
6378U.S. Army Tank Riders 1944-45
6379 U.S. Marines Guadalcanal 1942
6653Allied Force ETO 1944 (3 U.S. Infantry figures, 1 British figure)
6802U.S. Marines Korea '50-'51 (Chosin Reservoir)
6808G.I. (Pusan Perimeter 1950)
3863DS Track for Sherman (T80)
3864DS Track for Sherman (T54E1)
3865DS Track for Sherman (T54E1 w/EEC)
3866DS Track for Sherman (T48)
3867DS Track for Sherman (T48 w/EEC)
3869 M4 VVSS Suspension (Late) + T-51 DS Track
3870 M4 VVSS Suspension (Early) + T-41 DS Track
3879 U.S. Army Fire Support and Accessories

Wheeled Vehicles

6714 Armored 1/4 Ton 4x4 Truck w/.50-cal Machine Gun U.S. Army, unidentified unit Western Front, 1945
6748 Armored 1/4 Ton 4x4 Truck w/Bazooka    


6329M2A1 Half-Track1st Armored Division (M2)Tunisia, 1942
1st Armored Division (M2)Italy, 1944
  XX Corps (M2A1)Belgium, 1945
  U.S. Army (M2)1941-1942
  U.S. Army (M2A1)1941-1942
6332M3A1 Half-Track (3 in 1)
6361M4 81mm Mortar CarrierSP HQ 13, "Prowler"USA, 1944
 unidentified unit
  1st Battalion, 41st Armored Infantry(?)Belgium, 1944
6362M21 Mortar Motor Carriage2nd Armored Division, 41st Armored Infantry Regiment, 1st BattalionArdennes, 1944
  unidentified unit, #93
6381M16 Multiple Gun Motor Carriage9th Armored Division, 482nd AAA BattalionRemagen, 1945
390th AA Automatic Weapons BattalionGermany, 1945
unidentified unitWester Front, 1945
457th AA Automatic Weapons BattalionLuxembourg, 1945
209th AA Automatic Weapons BattalionLuzon, 1945
1st Polish Armoured Division, 1st Light AA RegimentFrance, 1944
6421Quad Gun Trailer M55 (Maxson Mount from M16)


6511M4 Sherman 75mm Normandy70th Tank Battalion, C Company, "CANNON BALL," White 2Utah Beach, D-Day, 1944
  4th Armored Division, 37th Tank Battalion, "Tonto" Brittany, 1944
6441M4 Sherman "Composite Hull" PTO44th Tank Battalion, “Southern Cross”Limon, Philippines, 1944
  763rd Tank Battalion, 96th Infantry Division, “Bushmaster”Leyte, 1944
  44th Tank Battalion, “Battlin Basic”Manila, 1945
  44th Tank Battalion, “Ole MissManila, 1945

M4A1 Sherman Early Version

1st Armored Division, 13th Armored Regiment, 2nd Battalion, HQ Co., "Major Jim"Tunisia, 1943
603rd Light Tank Company, "Sloppy Joe"Manus Island, Pacific 1944
  1st Armored Division, G Co., "Weenie One"Italy, 1944
6404U.S. M4A1 DV 1st Armored Division, 1st Armored Regiment, H Co., "Honky Tonk"Sidi Bou Zid, Tunisia, 1943
2nd Armored Division, 66th Armored Regiment, H Co., "Hannibal" Sicily, 1943
6083 M4A1(76)W "Operation Cobra"2nd Armored Division, 66th Armored Regiment, D Co. "Duke"France, 1944
3rd Armored Division, 32nd Armored Regiment, I Co., "In the Mood"France, 1944
3rd Armored Division, 33nd Armored Regiment, F Co., "Ferocious III"Belgium, 1944
2nd Armored Division, "Elowee"France, 1944
Polish 1st Armored DivisionHolland, 1944
6062M4A2 "Tarawa"1st Amphibioius Corps Tank Battalion, C Co., "Cannon Ball"Tarawa, 1943
 1st Amphibioius Corps Tank Battalion, C Co., "Charlie"Tarawa, 1943
  1st Amphibioius Corps Tank Battalion, C Co., "China Girl"Tarawa, 1943
  1st Amphibioius Corps Tank Battalion, C Co., "Cobra"Tarawa, 1943
  1st Amphibioius Corps Tank Battalion, C Co., "Cuddles"Tarawa, 1943
  1st Amphibioius Corps Tank Battalion, C Co., "Dude"Tarawa, 1943
  1st Amphibioius Corps Tank Battalion, D Co., "Destroyer"Tarawa, 1943
6462USMC Sherman M4A2 Late PTO2nd Tank Battalion, Co. C, C30Tinian, 1943
  2nd Tank Battalion, Co. C, C30Tinian, 1943
  1st Tank Battalion, Co. C, C8Peleliu, 1944
  USMCPTO, 1944-45
6255M4A3 76(W) VVSS Sherman (Battle of the Bulge)4th Armored Division, 37th Tank Battalion HQ, "Thunderbolt IV" Bastogne, 1944
  1st Armored Division, 4th Tank Battalion, "Somme IV"St. Lucia, Italy, 1944
U.S. Fifth Army, 760 Tank Battalion, "Kokomo"Italy, 1945
  761st Tank Battalion (clored), Task Force Rhine, "Julia/Cool Studs Inc. #4" ("Black Panthers" African-American unit)Germany, 1945
  Pzkw. M4 748(a) "Beute Panzer" (tank captured by Germans)Aschafenburg, Germany, 1945
  12th Armored Division, 714th Tank BattalionGermany, 1945


6325M4A3 76(W) "Premium Edition"4th Armored Division, 37th Tank Battalion, “Thunderbolt VI”Bastogne 1944
1st Armored Division, 4th Tank Battalion, “Somme IV”Lucia, Italy 1944
5th Army, 760th Tank Battalion, "Kokomo"Italy 1945
Task Force, 761st Tank Battalion, “Cool Studs Inc. #4”Rhine, Germany 1945
12th Armored Division, 714th Tank Battalion, #711Germany 1945
6698M4A3(76)W—ETO10th Armored DivisionTrier, Germany, 1945
11th Armored DivisionAndernach, Germany, 1945
9010M4A3 76mm (W) HVSS6th Armored DivisionGieisen, Germany, 1945
9010XM4A3 76mm (W) HVSS(same as above with corrected resin hull)
6183M4A3E8 "Thunderbolt VII"4th Armored Division, "Thunderbolt VII"Germany, 1945
4th Armored DivisionGermany, 1945
   4th Armored Division, 35th Tank BattalionBastogne, 1945
  11th Armored Division, 41st Tank BattalionGermany, 1945
6283M4A3E8 Sherman "Major Albin F. Irzyk" (2005 Dragon Expo kitbash of M4A2 and M4A3 parts with HVSS suspension)

HQ-1, 4th Armored Division, 8th Battalion

Belgium, 1944
6665M4A3E2 "Jumbo"
6811M4A3E8 Easy Eight Korean War89th Medium Tank Battalion, C Co.Han River, Korea, 1951
9009XM4A3E8 Easy Eight Korean War

(same as above with corrected resin hull)

6032T26E3 Heavy Tank1st Army, 12th Army Group, 9th Armored Division, 19th Tank Battalion, B Co.
Aachen, Germany
6801M26A1 Pershing Tank Korean War
6322M26 Pershing announced for 2008!  

Artillery, Wheeled and Tracked

6499105mm Howitzer M2A1 & Carriage M2A1with crew figures based on 101st Airborne Bastogne figure set
6531105mm Howitzer M2A1 and Carriage M2A2 w/USMC Crewwith crew figures based on Iwo Jima figure set
6430 M2 Half-Track w/37mm Gun announced for 2008!  
6467M3 75mm Gun Motor Carriage 601st Tank Destroyer BattalionTunisia, 1943
U.S. Army Sicily, 1943
U.S. Army Stateside, 1943
2nd Marines USMC, 3rd Battalion, L CompanySaipan in 1944
British Army, 1st King’s Dragoon GuardsItaly 1944
British Army, 1st King’s Dragoon Guards, Germany 1945
27th Lancers, A SquadronItaly 1945
6496 T19 105mm Howitzer Motor Carriage (Smart Kit)unidentified unit, "Cathy"1942
unidentified unit, "Battering Ram"1942
unidentified unit, "Alamosa"1942
  unidentified unit,"Bull"1942
  3rd Infantry Division, 7th Regimental Combat Team, “Evelyn”Rabat, Morocco, 1942
6637M7 Priest Mid Production6th Armored Division, 231st Armored Field Artillery Battalion, Battery A, “All American/Crazy Helen”Germany, 1944
9th Armored Division, 73rd Armored Field Artillery Battalion, Battery A, Gun A10Germany, 1945
8th Armored Division, 399th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, Battery A, Gun A2, “Minnesota” Bohemia, 1945
6807M4A3 HVSS POA-CWS H5 Flamethrower6th Armored Division, 69th Tank Battalion, H Co.Ardennes, December 1944
6354Sherman M4A3 (105mm) HVSS 10th Armored Division, 20th Armored Infantry BattalionGermany, 1945
  13th Armored Division, 67th Armored Infantry BattalionAustria, 1945
  752nd Tank BattalionItaly, 1945
  713th Tank BattalionOkinawa, 1945
6548M4 (105) Howitzer Tank4th Armored Division, 8th Tank BattalionNormandy 1944
7th Armored Division, 31st Armored Regiment, B19 Normandy 1944
3rd Armored Division, 32nd Armored Regiment, HQ companyBelgium 1945



Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII © Timothy S. Streeter