Dragon "styrene" Tracks: NEVER again!

Joined: May 19th, 2013, 5:56 pm

June 13th, 2018, 3:26 pm #1

This morning I removed one of my Dragon Panther models form the shelf to dust it and one of my fingers barely touched the L/H track, which simply disintegrated into many tiny pieces--like dropping an egg on the floor.  I had completed this kit less than a year ago.  After gluing it together, I kept it in a cardboard box for a couple of months before painting.  During that time, the tracks leeched out an amazing amount of oil (of some kind), and even after I had removed the model from the box, the tracks continued to leech out oil on the shelf until I painted them (with Tamiya acrylics).  Obviously, whatever that oil was, it was what made the tracks flexible, because now they are completely dried out and as brittle and fragile as a dead leaf.  Luckily I have a spare set of Magic Track to replace the styrene tracks, but IMHO, I should NOT have to do that.

NOTE TO DRAGON:  I will never buy another of your kits that contains the "Dragon Styrene" tracks.  They are your worst invention ever.  Plus, all the Dragon kits in my stash that currently contain your styrene tracks will be disposed of.  If you wish to keep me as a customer, bring back the Magic Tracks.  I would much prefer gluing those individual links together than repeat the disaster that occurred this morning. You should be ashamed.
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Joined: October 21st, 2007, 7:19 pm

June 13th, 2018, 4:33 pm #2

A constant problem with DS tracks. I had a kit knocked off a shelf last year and the once flexible tracks shattered like glass.
I see Dragon have just re-released a Sherman that initially had DS tracks but now they are adding hard plastic individual links or link and length, I'm not too sure which. Anyway they are aware of the problem but there is not much we can do with the kits that have already in the stash except to get rid of them or buy AM track sets.

Dave.
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Joined: August 13th, 2005, 6:51 am

June 13th, 2018, 5:17 pm #3

Hi all,
I have a set of DS tracks on a Sherman that have been in place for five years and are still just as flexible as when I put them on. I also have a Panzer IV H with DS tracks that is going on three years old and they too are fine. I wonder why this problem happens in such a random way? If the manufacturing was to blame you'd think they would all be bad,but obviously they aren't. Perhaps climate has something to do with it? I live in a very dry part of the country. 
But whatever the cause of the problem I agree that Dragon should have done a better job in dealing with it. They should bring back magic tracks in all their kits and offer free replacements for those with defective DS tracks. It might cost them in the short term,but would help their business in the long run.
Regards, Bob(one of the lucky ones)
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Joined: August 12th, 2005, 3:39 pm

June 13th, 2018, 6:08 pm #4

I have a box of DS tracks that have never  been assembled and they look good as new.  Can we rule out paints or environment before we condemn the tracks?  No dog in this fight, just looking for answers.  Personally I would prefer they revert to the magic tracks too, or even the Imperial Series tracks.
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Joined: April 10th, 2018, 6:21 pm

June 13th, 2018, 7:00 pm #5

So Rick you feel you have the right to decide what DML should do, to the detriment of other modellers?

Maybe it's your environment so you should move 200 miles and that will solve your problem??? There are many kits in which easy to assemble DS tracks are a boon, especially if, like me, people have neither the time, inclination or patience to assemble a set of individual link tracks

The main thing to remember is that in the end DML don't care if they are sellimg x thousand of the same kit, without anyone whinging...so DML, please listen to me not him

LOL
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Joined: July 12th, 2013, 4:18 pm

June 13th, 2018, 7:42 pm #6

I had a set of DS Panzer IV tracks disintegrate on me while still sealed in the small bag they came in.  never taken out of the bag, Always kept flat, never exposed to paints, solvents,  glue, heat or Southern California air.
As an Aerospace Quality professional, I strongly suspect the issue is with the specific product, not the environment.
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Joined: May 19th, 2013, 5:56 pm

June 13th, 2018, 7:54 pm #7

Graeme Wear wrote: So Rick you feel you have the right to decide what DML should do, to the detriment of other modellers?

Maybe it's your environment so you should move 200 miles and that will solve your problem??? There are many kits in which easy to assemble DS tracks are a boon, especially if, like me, people have neither the time, inclination or patience to assemble a set of individual link tracks

The main thing to remember is that in the end DML don't care if they are sellimg x thousand of the same kit, without anyone whinging...so DML, please listen to me not him

LOL
No Graham, at this point, I truly don't give a hoot what Dragon/DML does.  I can only do what I consider to be "right" for me, and I'm voting with my wallet.  If it turns out that I only buy kits with indy tracks, and they are NOT Dragon kits, so be it.  There are now LOTS of outstanding kits out there that are superior to Dragon's offerings, and lots of good Dragon kits that don't have styrene tracks, so I will still have lots to choose from.

If I move 200 miles from my current location, the weather/environment would practically be the same, so I'm not sure what you are getting at.  

Obviously Dragon does not care what I do or what I buy, but that doesn't mean I should not share my experiences with others.  After all, that's what forums are for--to share BOTH the good and the bad.  I would hate for someone else to go through what I did this morning.  But, if you have no problems with those styrene tracks, then have fun and enjoy.  Maybe you can buy my old, styrene-equipped kits.  I'm sure they'll go cheap, and I'll be glad to get rid of them!  As an option, send me all your Dragon Magic Tracks and I'll send you my styrene tracks (what few I have left). 
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Joined: April 10th, 2018, 6:21 pm

June 13th, 2018, 8:04 pm #8

Rick Cummelin wrote:
Graeme Wear wrote: So Rick you feel you have the right to decide what DML should do, to the detriment of other modellers?

Maybe it's your environment so you should move 200 miles and that will solve your problem??? There are many kits in which easy to assemble DS tracks are a boon, especially if, like me, people have neither the time, inclination or patience to assemble a set of individual link tracks

The main thing to remember is that in the end DML don't care if they are sellimg x thousand of the same kit, without anyone whinging...so DML, please listen to me not him

LOL
No Graham, at this point, I truly don't give a hoot what Dragon/DML does.  I can only do what I consider to be "right" for me, and I'm voting with my wallet.  If it turns out that I only buy kits with indy tracks, and they are NOT Dragon kits, so be it.  There are now LOTS of outstanding kits out there that are superior to Dragon's offerings, and lots of good Dragon kits that don't have styrene tracks, so I will still have lots to choose from.

If I move 200 miles from my current location, the weather/environment would practically be the same, so I'm not sure what you are getting at.  

Obviously Dragon does not care what I do or what I buy, but that doesn't mean I should not share my experiences with others.  After all, that's what forums are for--to share BOTH the good and the bad.  I would hate for someone else to go through what I did this morning.  But, if you have no problems with those styrene tracks, then have fun and enjoy.  Maybe you can buy my old, styrene-equipped kits.  I'm sure they'll go cheap, and I'll be glad to get rid of them!  As an option, send me all your Dragon Magic Tracks and I'll send you my styrene tracks (what few I have left). 
Hi Rick,

My post was a simple and gentle response to what is, really, a completely over the top reaction to the issue.

Your point about kits with indy tracks is the more interesting one...as someone who loves tanks (I served in the Army as a tank mechanic) I find that my options for building kits of tanks I want in my collection is now more limited, because they have indy track links, so I want more plastic tracks to increase MY enjoyment! So who's right and who's wrong?

(If I moved 200 miles from where I am now, I'd be in France...and no-one would want that surely!) :-)

G
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Joined: November 5th, 2008, 8:18 pm

June 13th, 2018, 8:30 pm #9

Hi all,
From my humble experience on industrial context, I find absolutely "normal" the issue appears in what looks like a random pattern of loss of material stability over time. When it happened "always" maybe this product had not even reached the market. You can think of:
- Different subsuppliers for materials which should be the same specifications, but one can´t mass-produce with stability. 
- The material is just difficult to produce with required process stability.
- Poor process conditions (contamination...), call it a "bad mix", leads to material losing the stability.
- Poor material/process choice in the sense that all affecting factors on process or lifetime were not properly taken into consideration.
- The relevant affecting process characteristics vary so much in technically or economical feasible conditions that have a % of risk of manufacturing not OK product. Tipically: a combination of circumstances.
- It was unknown to the material "chooser" that the material can lose its stability.
- Intentional cost saving measurements, not fully validated, or some "small" negative results ignored.
- Maybe environmental influence on the product lifetime not properly evaluated.
- As the product seems to be ok right before delivery, maybe the problem is that no reliable durability testing was/is in place supporting production. Typical protection is to test random parts from batches. You need the will, and the proper tests that really "looks for the future problems" in the product.
....
Many of such issues happen, or made to happen, daily in many industries all over the world. A typical question many companies can´t reply is whether their products are guaranteed to result always ok in all possible combinations of their product and process tolerances, and what are the usage limits. Murphy´s law rules the universe...
As engineer myself, I am sorry for all those who receive the result of bad industrial performance.

Kind regards
Nacho Roces


 
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Joined: May 19th, 2013, 5:56 pm

June 13th, 2018, 10:15 pm #10

There may be many possible reasons why these tracks got brittle & fragile.  One thing the engineers may not have tested for is that I waited several months from the time I opened the tracks and glued them in place until I finally painted them (as the oils leeched out of them).  Just as there is no apparent reason why this only happens to some of Dragon's styrene tracks, but not all.  But the fact remains that most of us have never had tracks self-destruct like this and it is very frustrating and disappointing, let alone costly.  It truly makes me irritable, especially since this has been happening for at least several years without Dragon acknowledging that anything is amiss with their product.  Thanks to Nacho for explaining what may have happened, but "bad industrial performance " is indeed what we have here.

BTW Graham,  I live "in-the-middle-of-nowhere" in Western Colorado, USA and need to drive a minimum of 240 miles to get to any major city & (what some consider) civilization (Denver to the East and Salt Lake City UT to the west--nothing to the North or South for many more miles).  The altitude & scenery will change, but not much else.  Good thing we love it here.   
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