Kit, Bronco CB35080, M1114 Up-Armored Tactical VehicleJanuary 2 2011 at 10:24 AM
|FrankV. De Sisto (Login zappa93)|
from IP address 18.104.22.168
CB35080, M1114 Up-Armored Tactical Vehicle. 1/35th-scale styrene/multimedia kit. Contains 357 styrene parts (including 13 clear), one photo-etched brass fret, four water-slide decal markings schemes and 20 pages of instructions in 27 steps.
The HMMWV (High-Mobility, Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle), began serving with the US Armed forces in the mid-1980s. Since then, it has indeed become everything its designers had hoped for, and more. Kit manufacturers very soon began offering the Hummer (or Hummvee) in 1/35th-scale. First Italeri, then ESCI, followed by Academy and then Tamiya released kits, with most manufacturers providing additional versions based on the initial releases. In addition, since the Hummer has continued to evolve, after-market manufacturers have produced various detail and up-date sets, usually with an eye on making a particular manufacturers kit represent types currently in service.
Bronco has just thrown their hat in the ring, with this new kit of the up-armored M1114 being bang-up-to-date, right from the box. It is fitted with the Gunners Shield Kit, Kit-A shields designed for the USAF M1116, LVOSS (Light Vehicle Obscuration Smoke System) on all four corners of the roof, cargo hatch Ballistic Protection Shield and an air-conditioning unit. Previously, these items were only available as after-market items, so right there, Bronco has all its competitors beat.
These are uniquely molded as inner and outer side-wall halves, which are then inserted into single-piece rings that replicate the tires tread portion. These rings come from a slide mold so that the tread detail is not compromised, and the tires have a proper cross-section. When assembled, they rival any after-market tires on the market for detail. The side-walls have raised letters for GOODYEAP and WPANGLER (note the P where the R should be); I presume this was done to avoid copyright issues. There are four tires, plus a spare. Modelers should note that most (but certainly not all) photos show the treads face in specific directions, depending upon where a given wheel is positioned; reference should be consulted.
The suspension system is broken down in a fashion similar to the Tamiya and Academy kits, with separate wish-bone units for front and rear, along with four separate coil springs. The coil springs are embellished with etched brass bolts for complete detail. Sway braces and steering linkages complete the rear and front units, respectively.
The chassis frame is a single main part, to which the suspension system is added. Separate cross-braces are fitted as is the transmission/differential unit and its associated drive-shafts. A two-part fuel tank is then fitted, as is an exhaust muffler, pipe sections, radiator fan/fan-belt unit, front and rear bumpers, tow hitch, and various tow clevises and tie-down loops. A number of etched brass parts are also added to detail certain assemblies.
Body and Cab.
The lower body is a single-piece, slide-molded affair. Like most other Hummer kits on the market this encompasses the floor, side and rear walls, and part of the nose. The entire part is packed separately in its own small box, for damage prevention; this worked fine in my sample. The inside floor panel is properly detailed with embossed ribs, which are also visible underneath, through the chassis frame. Etched brass parts are provided to detail areas where the injection-molding process cannot do so. Separate armored side panels are then fitted around the doors and fuel tank filler cap opening, with the latter being separate; it can be posed opened on its hinges for access to the filler cap.
The doors are two main parts each, with separate handles. Each door also received a two-part etched brass assembly to represent the locking catches. The clear glass panel is also separate, and a CIP panel can be fitted on both sides, to the rear-most doors. These can be posed opened or closed, while the separate tail-gate panel can also be similarly posed. The latter has cargo straps molded in place and they look blobby and unconvincing; the manufacturers logo is also absent.
The front nose extension is separate and it is complimented internally by a multi-part etched brass and styrene grill unit. This unit includes brass screening and clear parts for the head-lamp lenses. The engine compartment hood is also separate; it includes a separate grill plate for the center, with etched brass screening fitted behind it. It has proper frame details on its inner face and is only marred by two, easy-to-fix ejector pin marks. Separate lift rings, hood closures, black-out lamps, and fog lamps are then fitted; the latter include clear parts for the lenses. A CIP panel can also be fitted to the hood. The wind-shield unit fits partially under the hood, and it includes several parts related to the engine that get added separately.
The wind-shield features separate clear glass plates, and molded-on wiper blades. In addition, beneath the hood, an insert is given to represent the engine, which fits in front of the wind-shield unit. Several separate detail parts are to be added to the insert, along with a face for the radiator. Standard (low) and deep-wading (extended) air filter intakes are provided as separate options.
Behind the wind-shield unit is placed the dash-board. It features a separate steering column, steering wheel and duct-work segments. The dash-board is also dressed up with decals for various warning placards, while the instrument panel also has decals for the dial faces. The drivers hand and foot controls are all there and some are made by combining etched brass and styrene parts.
The communications and navigation instruments seen in current Hummers are now given as well. These include a multi-part etched brass and styrene radio set (with separate hand-set), computer terminal and monitor (with a decal for the screens image) and hand-held GPS set.
The seats are all five-part assemblies, each configured for its location inside the vehicle. They are all embellished by etched brass parts. Various parts are provided to replicate braces and plates scattered about the interior, while the gunners platform mounts on a new protective base plate and also includes an electronics module. The underside of the roof also receives braces, armor plates and turret race.
The roof assembly is based on one main part, with a rear hatch opening and separate lid. The top deck mounts the rotating weapons ring-mount, with separate two-part hatch lids. The various weapons are mounted here, behind the provided gunners shield. The Kit-A shields from the USAF M1116 can then be fitted. These are based on four styrene parts and numerous etched brass detail parts. Note that the latter is not suitable for use with any of the markings schemes provided in the box. A number of small detail parts are fitted in various locations. Externally, a multi-part etched brass folding shield is provided for the cargo hatch, while the hatch itself, made from styrene and etched brass parts, can be posed opened or closed. The tail gate is separate, can be posed up or down and is fitted with molded-on (and unconvincing) cargo straps; their location obscures the location of the vehicle manufacturers logo, which is totally absent. A multi-part hinged spare tire holder, along with a complete tire, are provided to mount on the rear bumper, after the appropriate holes are opened up. It looks great but photos show that it was not mounted on any of the vehicles for which markings are provided in this kit.
Each corner of the roof mounts a six-part LVOSS launcher. Two separate radio antenna mounts and bases
are fitted at the rear. One is high on the starboard side, while the other is low and on the port side. Neither has an antenna rod, while dimensions and instructions to create one are not given in the instructions.
A multi-part, styrene and etched brass assembly represents the armored bulkhead that separates the crew compartment from the load-bed. In the back of this is the multi-part air-conditioner system, which includes etched brass screening and separate external vent grills. The remainder of the load-bed receives mounting brackets and pads for the weapons and ammunition boxes. This includes the M2 and the Mk19 as well as several ammunition boxes. The extra weapons and jerry cans can also be stowed back there.
Weapons and Accessories.
These Hummers are normally armed with a .50 cal.M2 heavy machine-gun or a 40mm Mk19 automatic grenade launcher. Both weapons have storage racks inside the vehicle, while only one can be mounted in the turret at any one time. The M2 is based on a slide-molded receiver group and barrel cooling jacket. The cooling jacket has the perforations clear-through and the end where the (separate and pre-bored) gun barrel fits, is also completely opened up; think Tasca here. The receiver cover, cocking handle and grips are also separate. This mounts on to a two-part cradle, which fits the separate two-part pintle; a third part connects the latter to the gunners shield. The ammunition box and tray is one piece and it includes belted ammo molded in place.
The Mk19 is a four-part item, to include separate grips. The core part is based on a slide mold, so the muzzle is bored out and the slots are properly represented. The ammunition box is a seven part assembly, with full detail all round. Of note are the parts that represent the grenades in the box: they are given as two layers for added depth and detail. The pintle is broken down in precisely the same way as the one for the M2, but it uses two other tailored parts.
A 5.56mm M4 carbine and an M4 with a 40mm M203 grenade launcher attached are provided as extras, as is a three-part AT4 shoulder-fired anti-tank missile. The carbines come from a slide-mold, so their tiny muzzles are already bored-out. Four modern jerry cans are given, in two distinct styles. Each is composed of three or four parts and they represent water and fuel cans, respectively. Spare ammo boxes are also included: six multi-part 40mm boxes and four single-piece12.7mm boxes. The final accessory is one clear mineral-water bottle, with a decal for the label.
Molding, Fit and Engineering.
Molding throughout is excellent, with crisp detail throughout. Parts break-down is well thought-out, providing for a maximum of detail. Slide molding is used where helpful, which is always welcome; the wheels are a perfect example. There was virtually no flash and no parts shrinkage of note, and mold parting lines are light and easy to clean. Major parts fit together with no problems; I am working my way through some of the finer parts and, so far, so good!
I do not like the way the etched brass parts are protected. Peeling the shrink-wrapped plastic away from the fret without mangling the more delicate parts is a concern as I learned on one of Broncos earlier kits. On my sample, the plastic peeled easily, without leaving chaos in its wake. But I still think this is a bad idea, which should be discontinued.
Accuracy and Details.
I dont have reliable 1/35th-scale drawings for this vehicle type, so I cannot comment on certain of the kits accuracy aspects. Photos confirm that the details and features given are substantially correct.
These are clearly-presented line drawings that are in full-color. Color notes (in color) are given throughout the construction sequence, while the weapons and accessories get their own, full-color painting and decaling section. Each of the four vehicles for which painting and markings information is given is covered in five full views, all in color. In addition, dimensions are provided to cut styrene sheet as backings for various English/Arabic warning posters often seen in-theater.
I noted a glitch in steps one and two. The two sub-assemblies for the suspension called Front Axle and Rear Axle, have their names reversed in step one. Match the assemblies visually to the locations (and assembly names) shown in step two.
Decals and Markings Information.
Water-slide decals from Bronco are provided for four different US Army M1114s. The details are extremely crisp, with some of the stenciling clearly legible. Carrier film is matte, thin and cropped closely to the design. Color saturation and registration are equally fine. The decal sheet is relatively large, measuring 5.5 x 3.5-inches, featuring M1114s from the following units:
White I 72, 95th Military Police Battalion, 16th MP Brigade, NATO three-tone scheme (armed with a 12.7mm M2 HMG).
Black I 72, 95th Military Police Battalion, 16th MP Brigade, overall CARC Tan scheme (armed with a 5.56mm M249 SAW).
Black Triangle 39, Actually from 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry Regiment, NY ANG, but listed as 924th Military Police Battalion, 977th MP Company, overall CARC Tan scheme (armed with a 12.7mm M2 HMG).
Black Chevron 977, 924th Military Police Battalion, 977th MP Company overall CARC Tan scheme (armed with a 5.56mm M249 SAW).
In the case of this kit, all four markings schemes are verified by contemporary photos, all seen in reference number 7. As noted, one scheme is misidentified, but that does not make it incorrect. Note that none of these vehicles mounts the Kit-A shields (the side and rear plates taken from the USAF M1116) on the turret and that none appear to have the swing-out spare-tire mount. I have listed what weapons they mount as confirmed by photographs.
This kit is the most up-to-date, out-of-the-box Hummer kit on the market today. It is apparently accurate, is feature-packed and it comes with an excellent decal sheet. Best of all, this is only the beginning; there will be a follow-up kit, CB35092, with a different turret and various anti-IED detection devices mounted. And, who knows what will follow. Hummer fans rejoice!
Frank V. De Sisto
References consulted for this report included:
1. Armored Car, a History of American Wheeled Combat Vehicles; Presidio, by R.P. Hunnicutt.
2. HMMWV Humvee 1980-2005, US Army Tactical Vehicle; Osprey New Vanguard 122, by S. Zaloga & H. Johnson.
3. HMMWV Humvee Armed Variants & M151A2 MUTT; Full Detail, by E. Gilbert & A. Swan.
4. M998 HMMWV Hummer and Derivatives; Warmachines No.7, Verlinnden Publications, by F, Verlinden, W. Peters & P. Cooney.
5. Hummer-Humvee in Action; Squadron/Signal Armor No.32, by J. Mesko, T. Tullis & L. Basham.
6. HMMWV Workhorse of the US Army; Concord 7510, by C. Schulze.
7. US Army HMMWVs in Iraq; Concord 7513, by C. Schulze & R. Zwilling.
8. Marines on the Ground, Operation Iraqi Freedom 2; Concord 7517, by G. Arthur.
9. Iraqi Insurgency, US Army Armored Vehicles in Action, Part 1; Concord 7518, by C. Schulze.
10. US Military Wheeled Vehicles; Concord 2016, by M. Green & G. Stewart.
11. ISAF Vehicles in Afghanistan 2007; MMP/Stratus, by D. Taylor.
12. Various brochures from LTV/AM General Corp.
Bronco Models are available in North America from DragonUSA. For more information, visit their web-site at: : www.dragonusaonline.com.
Note: Since May of 2005, I have been writing books for Concord Publications, a sister company to DragonUSA, Broncos current North American distributor. The reader may wish to take this into consideration. For my part, I will attempt to maintain an objective viewpoint when writing these reports.
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