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  1. Russian K-4386 Typhoon-VDV (VS-014) 1:35 Meng via Creative Models Ltd The buzzword MRAP, or Mine Resistant Ambush Protected is a key feature of modern Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC), with the Allies learning hard lessons from their operations in the Gulf, where HUMVEEs and even Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) were ripped apart by Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) left by insurgents, killing and injuring many in the process. The lessons haven’t been lost on any major army, and since 2010 the Russians have been developing the Typhoon project to produce a line of MRAPs to protect their troops during transit, using common components such as engine, suspension and electronics to make a range of vehicles for specific operations. The KamAZ-53949 is a 4-wheeled armoured patrol carrier on which the K-4386 is based, which shares the modern design, angled undersides, protective seats and use of composite components, adding a large Remote Control Weapons Station (RCWS) that mounts a 30mm auto-cannon along with a coaxial machine gun on one side and grenade launchers on either side of the main weapon. As well as the mine protection, the windows are all bullet-proof, with seating for five in the passenger compartment, and three crew, capable of 80mph on metalled surfaces, with adjustable height suspension allowing a relatively high speed over rougher terrain, assisting with infil. and exfil. operations immensely. This variant is for the Russian airborne forces, the VDV (Vozdushno-Desantnye Rossii), they of the stripy tshirts, so is also air-deployable to maximise its capability. The Kit This is a brand-new tooling from our friends at Meng, only trailing behind the real vehicle’s deployment by a short while. As usual with Meng, the kit arrives in a compact box with their traditional satin finish and a nice painting of the type on the front. Inside are five sprues and two separate hull parts in a light grey styrene, a clear sprue, four flexible black tyres, four small springs, a short run of 8 poly-caps (not pictured), a fret of nickel-plated Photo-Etch (PE) brass containing just the radiator grille, a small decal sheet, and the instruction booklet with colour profiles in the rear, all bagged separately to resist chaffing in transit. One word of caution is that the springs are loose within the turret shell bag, and these small items could be easily lost if you open the bag incautiously, so I have put them in a ziplok bag with the PE to keep them safe. Meng have produced partial interior for the crew and passenger areas, with a lot of detail moulded-in, and sensible use of sliding moulds to improve detail and reduce unnecessary parts, which sometimes elicit cries of “over-engineering” from some quarters. The clear parts are especially clear, although I miss the days when you would receive them with a tint of blue/green that gave the impression of the thickness of a piece of laminated bullet-proof glass. It’s not a major issue, but I really liked the look of them and wish they’d bring it back. Construction begins with the angled boat-style lower hull, onto which the suspension and drive-shafts are fitted over a number of steps, resulting in the suspension able to move by leaving the arms unglued. The axles stubs are snapped into place at the ends of the swing-arms, with armoured covers fitted over the central section, with the front bumper/fender, steering linkage, rear cross-brace and the braking system fitted next. The struts have the working springs slid over them and are then slotted into the lower hull floor, with a quarter turn locking them into place in the receivers and the big mudflaps fitted while the hull is upside down - this gives the suspension some realistic bounce. The tapered lower hull with the axles is attached to the underside of the floor, and the four wheels with two-part hubs trapping a poly-cap have the tyres pushed over the lips, then are pushed into place on the ends of the axles. Attention turns to the interior, with the drivers and co-driver’s seats first to be built from three parts each including the long protective supports that prevent spinal injury from intense explosions under the hull. These are glued to the floor of the crew cab, then a near-vertical steering column with central gear-selector between the seats are both added, to be joined by the dashboard with instrument binnacle that has decals that give it plenty of visual interest and realism. The two pedals attach behind, then the trim panel is added to provide the attachment to the floor. That sub-assembly is installed behind the engine compartment and it is joined by the five wall-mounted three-part passenger seats in the rear. The uneven number of seats is due to the remote turret’s “basket”, which sprouts from the floor in a tapering enclosure that has a monitor screen and control box on its side, with decals for both the screen and the side of the equipment box, the former having a silhouette of a trio of 'Tangos' about to be blown to bits, plus another decal for the buttons around the MFD (Multi-Function Display). This is inserted into the floor in preparation for the turret fitting later. The lower hull has a set of tanks on the sloped sides, with handed duplicates on the opposite side, but the numbering on the instructions is a little unclear here, only noting one part number per tank, although as the parts are next to each other on the sprue it’s not difficult to resolve. The interior of the upper hull is painted white, and the two-layer bullet-proof glazing is glued carefully into the windscreen frames, the outer part giving it the bulky look that typifies the MRAP breed. The front grille has vertical slots, which are backed by the single PE part that has fine mesh where needed and solid sections for gluing to the rear of the plastic part. Clear lenses are inserted into the depressions on each side of the grille, with the LEDs depicted by a ring of small recesses around a larger centrral one, ready for highlighting with a little careful painting. The two-layer doors are essentially a very similar shape, but the rear one has the window almost totally closed over by armour panels, with just the smallest of observation windows and a thick chunk of bullet-proof glass behind them, plus pull-handles and locking mechanism added below. The crew doors have larger glazing panels and more standard handles and latches, plus a four-part door mirror for each of them, for which you’ll need to source some shiny surface, using a Molotow chrome pen, or the new Liquid Mirror from Stuart Semple which I’ll be trying out soon. The back door is fitted to the rear bulkhead, and along with an internal equipment box slides onto guides on the upper hull together with the front grille. The back door is flanked by a pair of panniers that act as passenger protection for them as they leave the bus, for a few steps at least, which can be crucial if you’re loaded down with gear. They are both made up from a number of parts including rear light clusters that need painting, and they then slide into the rear of the hull, butting up against the rear bulkhead. The deep-wading muffler runs up the starboard A-pillar with a quartet of windscreen wipers added in a fairing over the top of the screen and a pair of stop-ends finishing them off. A pair of bullet-proof observation windows are glued into place on the sides of the main compartment, which can then be dropped onto the chassis with no glue applied to the turret ring base. More accessories are added in the shape of a towing bar, aerial base, grab rails on the diagonal roof edges, stowage rails along the waist, crew steps at the rear and sides, then a turret ring adapter on the roof. Turrets are fun in my estimation, with this one having an almost complete outer, that has four lift-eyes on the roof and six grenade launchers on the mantlet face. Inside is the pivot point for the 7.62mm coax MG attached to the side with a poly-cap inside for later. The main gun has a semi-cylindrical mantlet with two axles on the opposing flat sides, attached to the turret base by a pair of pivot-points that again have poly-caps inside them to allow the gun to elevate. The turret is closed up and the 30mm 2A42 autocannon barrel is shrouded and has a TV box on top, with the same process except for the top box, for the 7.62mm PKTM machine gun. The MG slips into its slot and is retained by the poly-cap, while the main gun is glued in place in the mantlet, completing the build, save for twisting the turret into place on its bayonet fitting. Markings There are two decal options in the box, which is fair because it has barely seen service. One is Russian green, while the other has a tri-tonal faceted camouflage scheme, which is the more exciting of the two. From the box you can build one of the following: Army 2017 International Forum, Kubinka, Moscow, 2017 Russian Generic Tri-colour Camouflage Decals are printed in China with good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion After their Gaz Tiger, this is a welcome addition to their Meng Russian/Soviet product line, with lots of detail moulded-in that is everything we have come to expect from them. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. The Rye Field Models M1240A1 M-ATV is now in stock and ready to dispatch, featuring a wealth of photo-etched parts, crisp details and a full interior. https://www.wonderlandmodels.com/products/rye-field-135-m1240a1-m-atv/
  3. Dingo 2 GE A2.3 PatSi (03284) 1:35 Revell The Dingo is a German MRAP vehicle based on the Unimog chassis produced by Krauss-Maffei Wegman for the German Army. As well as being deigned to be mine resistant it will also protect the occupants from machine gun fire, and artillery fragments. The Dingo 2 has increased performance and higher payload than the original vehicle. The new vehicle also features a roof mounted remote weapons station and sensors. As well as the German Army the vehicle is used by Belgium, Norway, Austria, Luxembourg and the Czech Republic, with more than 800 under contract. The Kit This boxing is a re-release of the 2013 kit with additional parts for the 2 model. There are 7 sprues of plastic, a clear sprue and 4 runner tyres. The quality of the mouldings is good. Construction starts with the vehicle chassis. Both side rails are made up along with the front wheels arches. The rails are then linked by cross braces and the transmission casing. The rear plate containing the tow hitch and convoy marker plate is added. The front suspension units are then added into the chassis. Next up the front & rear axles are made up, along with the wheels. The transmission power shafts are then added as well. These can then be added to the chassis with the rear suspension units being added as well. The engine is then made up and added on to the chassis. along with the exhaust. Construction then moves to the body of the vehicle. The lower body pan is made with seats being made and added, along with equipment and its racks. At the front the dashboard is made up and added. Next the armoured windscreen and doors are made up, The doors being added into the vehicle side panels. The entry steps and supporting structure is made up for each side. The sides, rear, roof and windscreen can then be added onto the main body. The separate rear stowage compartment can then also be made up. These can then all be attached to the chassis along with the bonnet assembly. Last up the roof mounted remote weapons station and sensors can be made up and added. To finish off a few fitting such as mirror and antennas are added, a length of antenna wire being included taped to the front of the instruction booklet so it does not get lost. Markings There are markings for 3 German Army vehicles, one training unit in Germany, and 2 operational units in Afghanistan. Decals are by Cartograf as can be seen from the small "c" at the end of the code, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion It is good to see this kit being re-released and upgraded to represent the latest vehicle in use today. Highly recommended. Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit or
  4. New one on me, looks pretty good in the CAD:
  5. MaxxPro MRAP Ampersand Group The International MaxxPro is Navistar Defence’s Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle and incorporates the latest design in armour technology. Extensively tested by the military and used in theatre today, the MaxxPro features a V-shaped hull and other design features that greatly improve survivability. With so much protection, it’s the vehicle that every crew wants when they’re out in the field. The MaxxPro MRAP is built to withstand ballistic arms fire, mine blasts, IEDs, and other emerging threats. Its V-shaped hull helps deflect blasts out and away from the crew and its armour can be customized to meet any mission requirement. The book is printed in a similar fashion as the old Squadron Publications standard, in a landscape format with a short, two pages worth development history of the type. The rest of the book is dedicated to the very detailed walk rounds of various vehicles, and when I say detailed, they are really very detailed, with every part of the exterior being covered, even the smallest part of the suspension. Unfortunately, due to the operational nature of the vehicles there are no interior photos, with only glimpses of the interior when the rear ramp is down. There are several types of MRAP shown in the book, with various types of additional armour fitted to them, bar armour, FRAG 6 Block armour or the latest anti-RPG netting. Notes that accompany each photograph are very descriptive and useful for the modeller in identifying what each piece of equipment is. In addition to the equipment usually found on the MRAP there are pictures of the various weapons fits, such as M2 50cal machine gun, or 40mm grenade launcher and other items such as the mine roller system fitted to the front of the vehicle. Lastly there is a small section at the rear on the M1249 MRV, (Mine Resistant Vehicle), which is basically the MRAP cab fitted to a large double axle wrecker crane style body which is fitted with a rotating crane jib. This vehicle is used to lift MRAPs, recover damaged vehicles, and lift concrete barriers or other heavy items in theatre. Conclusion This is a superbly produce and very interesting book. Not only are the photographs clear and sharp, but the information they and the noted provided will prove very useful to the modeller to get even the smallest detail correct on their model. Review sample courtesy of
  6. As Pro Art have gone out of business and it's getting harder to find their excellent modern radio sets I decided to order the Blast Models "MRAP" radio set. Now I'm no expert on the technicalities of modern radios and can't even identify all the components. However a lot of the newer kits come with very spartan interiors but tons of aerials so I like to add some radio gear on the inside. I won't claim to get it right or accurate but it looks good to me. Anyway, this set arrives in a small ziplock bag with very thin pour blocks which snap off easily. The details look crisp and there is hardly any flash. To me they look the business. Just need to build something to put them in now. While I was at it I also ordered Blast's set of Pelican cases and cooler boxes One can never have too much stowage in the spares box. Don't know how I will pant this to look like water bottles in ice though
  7. M-ATV MRAP Trumpeter 1:16 History In the summer of 2008, the U.S. Department of Defence (DoD) began to examine the possibility of developing and procuring a lighter-weight, all-terrain capable MRAP variant to address the poor roads and extreme terrain of Afghanistan. Source selection activity considered responses from more than 20 companies to a Request for Information (RfI)/Market Survey dated 21 August 2008 and in mid-November 2008 the U.S. government issued a pre-solicitation for an M-ATV. In early December 2008 the M-ATV formal Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued. The original M-ATV program requirement was for between 372 and 10,000 vehicles, with the most probable production quantity stated as 2,080. In March 2009, it became known that two each of six different vehicle types (from five manufacturers) had been delivered to the U.S. Army for two months of evaluation, at the conclusion of which up to five ID/IQ (Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity) contracts would be awarded. In addition to Oshkosh's proposal, BAE Systems submitted two proposals, these being a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) derived design and an FMTV-based Caiman derivative. Force Dynamics (a Force Protection/General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) joint venture) offered Cheetah, GDLS-C (Canada) offered an RG-31 MRAP derivative, and Navistar offered an MXT-based solution. After GDLS-C's RG-31 was eliminated from the competition in May 2009, it was announced that the five remaining bidders had been awarded ID/IQ contracts, and were each to deliver three production-ready test vehicles for the next stage of the competition. At the completion of testing, the U.S. DoD stated that it planned to select a single M-ATV producer but could, at its discretion, place production orders with multiple producers as it had done with the initial MRAP procurement. On 30 June 2009, the M-ATV contract award was announced with a single ID/IQ contract award to Oshkosh. Brigadier General Michael Brogan, United States Marine Corps program officer for MRAP, stated that the Oshkosh M-ATV was chosen because it had the best survivability and Oshkosh had the best technical and manufacturing capabilities of all the competitors. The Oshkosh bid was also the second cheapest. The initial M-ATV delivery order was valued at over $1 billion and included 2,244 M-ATVs. The overall M-ATV requirement had increased in early June from 2,080 to 5,244 M-ATVs, these split 2,598 (Army), 1,565 (Marines), 643 (U.S. Special Operations Command), 280 (Air Force), 65 (Navy), and 93 for testing. In July 2009, the first 46 M-ATVs were delivered, and in November the 1,000th M-ATV was handed over. Oshkosh reached its contractual obligation to produce 1,000 M-ATVs per month ahead of schedule in December 2009, and by using its existing manufacturing facilities in Oshkosh, WI (50%), and making use of its recession-hit JLG telescopic handler facility in McConnellsburg, PA (50%). The first vehicles arrived in Afghanistan in October 2009 and were to be all delivered by March 2010. In total 8,722 M-ATVs were delivered to the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) for use in Afghanistan. M-ATVs were delivered in two main variants. The base model is designated M1240 with the Objective Gunner Protection Kit [OGPK] manned turret); it is designated M1240A1 when fitted with the Under-body Improvement Kit (UIK). The second main variant is designated M1277 and is fitted with M153 CROWS remote-controlled weapon station (RCWS). Produced in smaller numbers, the SOCOM-specific variant is designated M1245; M1245A1 with UIK fitted. As part of the overall divestiture of the wartime MRAP fleet, the U.S. Government will keep about 80% (around 7,000) of the M-ATV fleet, 5,651 of these (inc. 250 for SOCOM) to be retained by the Army. Work is currently underway at Oshkosh's Wisconsin facility and the Red River Army Depot to reset the around 7,000 M-ATVs retained to a common build standard. Oshkosh was awarded an initial 500-vehicle M-ATV Reset contract in August 2014. Three additional contract options for 100 vehicles each were awarded in December 2014. Total contract value is in excess of US$77 million. Deliveries are under way and will continue through September 2015. Reset work centres on returning vehicles to Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) 22 standard: essentially the build standard for the final M-ATV production batch. LRIP 22 includes upgrades such as the UIK and enhanced Automatic Fire Extinguishing System (AFES). Reset work also adds Engineering Change Proposals (ECPs) that include acoustic signature reduction (muffler), Modular Ammunition Restraint System (MARS) ammunition storage, and some Government Furnished Equipment (GFE) relocation. On 28 May 2015, Oshkosh announced the U.S. Army had awarded it a contract modification for the reset of 360 additional M-ATVs. The modification includes options for the reset of up to 1,440 additional M-ATVs. Deliveries for this latest modification are to start is October 2015. Oshkosh is on contract to reset a combined 1,160 M-ATVs with a total value of over $115 million. The Model The first thing you will notice about this kit is that it comes in a very big box with an artists impression of the vehicle on the front. Originally released as a ready built model by Merit International, sister company Trumpeter have now released it as a kit. On lifting the lid of the box off, you are confronted with a sea of plastic and a second box which contains both the larger single piece items and the small parts, to keep them safe. In total there are ten sprues of grey styrene, two of clear styrene, eight separate parts, also in grey styrene, one small sheet of etched brass, four metal springs, eight metal shafts, one metal link shaft, twenty three screws of various sizes/types, five large vinyl tyres, each three inches in diameter, and a smallish decal sheet. The moulding of all the parts is superb, particularly on the large separate parts that make up the chassis and body parts, with crisp details, such as bolt heads. There is no sign of flash or other imperfections, such as sink marks on even the largest parts. Although it appears to be quite a small vehicle, the completed model measures out at 386.3mm long and 159mm wide so will take up quite a lot of display space. Construction begins with the with the wheels with the four central hubs being fitted with two inner hub parts before having the large vinyl tyres slipped over them. The inner hubs and brake accumulators are then attached. The wheels are then put aside whilst construction concentrates on the chassis. The large single piece chassis is fitted with the four suspension mounts, each pair fitted with two piece differentials which include the drive shafts for each wheel. Each suspension mount is then fitted with upper and lower wishbones and ball joint. Between the two wishbones a metal sprint is fitted, before the whole assembly is fitted to the mount, followed by the shock absorber and wheel assembly. The steering rack is then attached to the front axle and the large transfer box is fitted on the centreline, attached to the rear cross-member and the drive shaft fitted between the transfer box and rear differential. The front bumper is fitted with two uprights and attached to the front of the chassis. On the underside of the bumper there is a large crossbeam which is attached via two brackets. Whilst on the underside, the two scuff plates are fitted over the front and rear differentials. The build moves onto the cab, with the firewall being fitted with the two foot pedals, followed by the instrument binnacle, to which the instrument panel is attached and detailed with the appropriate decals. The steering column is added next, followed by the navigation screen which has a map represented by a decal, on view. The cab floor is fitted by the two racks that make up the centre console between the seats. The three passenger seats are each made up of a squab and backrest, whilst the drivers seat is mostly moulded in one piece, with just the base frame and headrest to be fitted. With the seats in place the front bulkhead/instrument panel is fitted, along with the door frame uprights and metal steering link shaft and put to one side. The next major component to be assembled is the CROWS II gunners/commander cupola. The upper, armoured section of which is moulded in one piece, to which the lower section, which has been fitted with the access hatch, is added, along with the clear parts that represent the armoured glass. The 50cal heavy machine gun is a super bit of moulding and only requires the fitting of the pintle mount, two piece ammunition box, breech to plate and shield attachment fitted before it can be added to the cupola. The splinter shield is then fitted with the two armoured glass parts before being fitted to its mount on the machine gun pintle. The instructions now tell you to add the cupola to the single piece main body section, but it may be possible to leave this off till you’ve finished painting, although it does require a fixing ring to be fitted from the inside. The armoured windscreen parts are then fitted from the inside to the body section, along with the PE grille screen, and three boxes associated with the cupola rotation. The cab assembly is then fitted from underneath the body, along with the inner wings and the door hinges fitted to the door posts. Each of the four doors are fitted with their associated armoured glass parts, door cards and hinges. Each of the doors can then be hung on the opposite hinges allowing them to be opening if so desired. The front doors are then fitted with large wing mirrors. The main cab/body section is then fitted to the chassis assembly, along with the large single piece under chassis angled plate. The next stage is the fitting of the rear mud flaps and large equipment frame/truck bed. The upper beams of the frame are closed off with a single part that covers the three sides, whilst the storage lockers are fitted to the single piece wheel are section. The upper frame is then attached and is fitted with the three aerial bases. The assembly is then attached to the rear of the chassis and fitted with mudflaps, radio box with another aerial base, grab handle and reflectors. The three piece towing hitch is then attached, as is the spare wheel mounting frame, and step frame. The large exhaust is also fitted, along the right hand side of the vehicle. The thick DUKE aerial is fitted to the right hand side rear wheel arch, whilst to the rear the spare wheel, with two part hub is attached to its mounting frame. At the front the two piece headlights are attached, along with the two reflectors. Finishing off the build the modeller just needs to fit the roof mounted floodlights over the drivers and co-drivers positions, rear door mounted floodlights, two more aerial bases, one on each side of the scuttle, with the right hand one fitted with a two piece flat plate aerial. There is a two piece camera unit fitted on the centreline of the scuttle, between the two windscreens, whilst at the front the flag shaped anti-IED device is fitted to the mounting plate on the bumper. Finally the two three piece access steps are added to each side. Decals There is only one colour scheme provided, that of overall sandy brown. Most of the decals provided on the sheet are for the various instruments and placards inside the vehicle, with just the vehicle ID numbers on the front, rear and sides and a couple of caution/tie down markings on the sides. Only one vehicles ID marks are provided. Conclusion Having seen the built model at Telford in November, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this kit. But from what I’ve seen in the box I really like it and it actually screams, BUILD ME, so it could end up jumping to the top of my build pile. Although quite large, the model doesn’t seem overly complicated, but with enough detail provided to make an out of the box build worthwhile. For those who wish to go the extra mile there is plenty of scope to add further details, such as maps, bottles, ration packs, personal kit and weapons. It’s certainly a good size to display, either at home or at a show. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for
  8. And the next build begins. This is the 1/35 Buffalo by Bronco with Slat or Bar armour, the 2nd of 3 versions of this vehicle they have done. From WikipediaThe Buffalo vehicle was designed based on the successful South African Casspir mine-protected vehicle.[2] While the Casspir is a four wheeled vehicle, the Buffalo has six wheels. Buffalo is also fitted with a large articulated arm, used for ordnance disposal. Both vehicles incorporate a "V" shaped monohull chassis that directs the force of the blast away from the occupants.[3] Buffalo is also now equipped with BAE Systems' LROD cage armor for additional protection against RPG-7 anti-tank rounds.[4] Glass armor is sufficient at 6 inches thickness. Run-flat tires are present in all tires. The Buffalo combines ballistic and blast protection with infrared technology to detect the presence of dangerous ordnance and a robotic arm to disable the explosive ordnance. Personnel operate the Buffalos 30-foot robotic arm and claw from within the armoured hull via a mounted camera and sensory equipment, to safely dispose of mines and IEDs. Inside the box are 13 tan sprues, 4 clear sprues, a large PE fret, 8 wheels, 2 halves of the hull and decals and twine for cables etc. It's also a very big vehicle. A lot longer than the RG-31 and that's not counting the arm! Started on the suspension. This will be a very slow build as there are a lot of tiny parts and while fit is good I think they have over-complicated the construction. The parts are all nicely molded with no flash and minimal seam lines but there are hundreds of parts....even just cleaning off the sprue joins is going to be a slow, delicate and laborious process. So if you're interested in following this build be prepared for a long haul!
  9. Ok, here is my Kinetic M-ATV with added auto turret from LiveResin. This kit was over my head, probably should have done some other things before trying this one out. Had a few fitting issues, had a lot of issues with really small parts. I built the seat belts out of masking tape and use some of the spruce for the buckles. I think it worked out pretty well. As for the dash and interior colors I didn't stick with kit instructions or some of the pics, I wanted to add some interest. From the pics I realized I need to put the wipers back on, add the lenses for the spots and put the one indicator on the front. Thanks for looking.
  10. M-ATV MRAP with CROWSII RWS Panda 1:35 History Originally one of five candidates down selected for the M-ATV (MRAP All Terrain Vehicle) program, the Oshkosh M-ATV was chosen on 30 June 2009 to be the sole winner of the contest. Oshkosh Corporation received an initial order for 2,244 vehicles in a contract worth US$1.06B. According to the United States Marine Corps program officer for MRAP, Brigadier General Michael Brogan, the Oshkosh M-ATV was chosen because it had the best survivability and Oshkosh had the best technical and manufacturing capabilities of all the competitors. The Oshkosh bid was also the second cheapest. The first vehicles arrived in Afghanistan in October 2009 and were to be delivered by March 2010. Additional contracts increased M-ATVs orders to 8,108 as of September 2010. Beginning in 2009, 8,700 M-ATV vehicles were purchased by the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Special Operations Command for use in Afghanistan. As part of the overall divestiture of the wartime MRAP fleet, the U.S. Government will keep about 5,600 M-ATVs, with some 250 vehicles for SOCOM. M-ATVs are being re-fitted at government depots upon their return from combat, with Oshkosh providing parts and technical expertise. The company is also working on a series of safety, survivability, and mobility upgrades for the vehicles, including suspension upgrades and a new communications suite for international customers that would allow them to integrate more and different radios onto the platforms. The M-ATV utilizes the MTVR chassis and TAK-4 suspension with the Plasan designed armoured hull developed for the Northrop Grumman/Oshkosh JLTV. The V-shaped Plasan armoured hull offers protection for the occupants from IED attacks while the centrally inflated run-flat tires allow the M-ATV to travel at least 30 miles at 30 mph even if two tires lose pressure. The vehicle can also take a 7.62 mm round to its engine oil/coolant/hydraulic system and continue to drive for at least one kilometre. The Stat-X engine fire suppression system provides for further survivability. The Tak-4 suspension is coil sprung and fully independent, and offers 16 inches of travel. The M-ATV's roof mounted turret is capable of mounting weapons such as an M240 machine gun, a Mk 19 grenade launcher, an M2 Browning machine gun, a MILAN anti-tank guided missile, or a BGM-71 TOW anti-tank guided missile launcher. The roof weapons can be operated either from the turret by person or remotely inside the cabin with a CROWS remote weapon system. The M-ATV also features modern vehicle safety systems such as Traction control and anti-lock brakes in addition to modern creature comforts such as an HVAC system and power outlets for charging portable electronic devices. Unique among MRAP vehicles are the M-ATV's rear-hinged, aka, suicide doors. At AUVSI 2013, Oshkosh announced it will integrate the TerraMax system onto the M-ATV to allow the vehicles to be converted into unmanned ground vehicles. The goal is to use the M-ATV as an unmanned platform for route clearance and counter-IED missions by engineers. The Model The kit comes in a very nice top opening box with what looks like a photograph of the real vehicle on the front. Inside there are ten sprues of sandy coloured styrene, separate roof and bonnet parts, five rubber/vinyl tyres, two sprues of clear styrene, three sheets of etched brass and two small decal sheets. All the parts are very well moulded with no sign of flash or other imperfections, but there are quite a few moulding pips. There are a lot of parts to this kit, some of which are very small and look particularly fiddly, but that’s what you get for having lots of detail, which this kit certainly has. The kit is in fact an update of the original M-ATV kit released by Panda in 2011 but with new parts which are mostly for the CROWS II Remote Weapon System, (RWS). Because of the high suspension and large gaps between the tyres and the wheel arches these types of kit really need to have the running gear, suspension and chassis well detailed and that is exactly what Panda have provided. The build beginning with the construction of the chassis cross-members with the front one also having the four piece winch attached within the three piece box structure, whilst the rear one is fitted with several smaller parts as well as the towing hook and tow guides. The intermediate transfer box is assembled from two parts whilst the part representing the underside of the engine sump and gearbox is moulded as a single shelf like item. The cross-members, transfer box, and engine section are then sandwiched between the two longitudinal chassis rails followed by the addition of further cross-members and suspension mounts, rear differential and the drive shaft between the diff and the transfer box. The complex suspension units are now assembled, each consisting of the main supporting structure, upper and lower wishbones, ball joints, two piece springs, which would be better replaced with real ones which are easily available, cross-shafts and links. Be aware that the front and rear pairs are slightly different so keep them separate before fitting to the chassis. To each suspension unit the brake drums are attached along with the associated brake cylinders. The thing that is most notably missing are the complex nest of piping seen on the real vehicles, but these can easily be made out of fuse or lead wire. Once all four suspension units are fitted to the chassis the main drive shaft is fitted between the rear transfer box and the front differential followed by the two underside cross braces that fit between each pair of suspension units. Now at this point the instructions call for the wheels to be assembled and fitted. But it’s probably best to leave the fitting part till after painting. Each wheel is made up of inner and outer hubs which are glued together before the vinyl tyres are fitted over the rims. [/ce Construction now moves onto the bodywork and the crew compartment in particular, with the assembly of the rear cabin bulkhead with its accessories such as the fire extinguisher, some pipework and brackets. The front bulkhead is then attached to the main cabin floor, followed by the instrument binnacle, onto which the instrument decals are positioned along with the etched stitches and knobs.. Between the front seats is a complex framework which looks like it should contain radio equipment or the like, whist between the rear seats is a similar structure, but a lot less complex. Each of the four seats is assembled from the underseat frame, backrest, squab and headrest. These are further detailed with a rear framework, arm-rests, and handles. The four seats are then glued into their respective positions along with the co-drivers LCD screen, which fits on the front console. The cabin is then attached to the chassis along with the rear bulkhead. To the rear the truck bed is fitted along with the two mudguards foreward of the rear wheels. Next, the four wheel arch liners are attached, each with several etched parts attached. Onto the rear wheel arches two three part storage boxes are glued into place. The large frame that is fitted to the rear of the vehicle is assembled and this included the rear mudguards, reflectors, and aerial base support. To the frame the various communication and anti-IED aerials are fitted before the whole assembly is attached to the chassis. The spare wheel mounting frame is then assembled and fitted to the rear of the truck bed fooled by the spare wheel itself. Each of the four doors are single piece items, to which the clear parts are added which represent the armoured glass by having them fitted to a deep frame. The door large internal door handles are then attached as are the wing mirrors fitted to the front doors. The forward IR sight is then built up form five parts and then fitted to the front of the single piece cabin, followed by the fitting of the doors. If you’d like to show the interior it’s best to pose the doors open, as there isn’t much of a view through the small windows. Once the smaller items such as roof mounted lights, several brackets, the font windscreens and windscreen wipers the whole cab assembly is fitted to the chassis. Whilst on the underside the three sections of the anti-mine, “V” armour is fitted to the centre section, between the wheels. Nearing the end of the actual vehicle build the bonnet is fitted out with the, headlights, sidelights and front wheel arches PE grille before being fitted to the model. There is another anti-IED device, which looks like a stiff flag is assembled and fitted to the front of the vehicle. The last assembly to be built is that of the CROWS II RWS, the hatch of which is fitted to the roof of the vehicle and can have the two doors posed open should the modeller wish. The CROWS II itself is a series of sub assemblies, such as the IR lights, sights, and comes with a choice of weapons and their respective mountings, one for an automatic 40mm grenade launcher and the other for a good old 50cal heavy machine gun. Both mountings are detailed with ammunition belts, and ammunition boxes. With the lights and sights fitted the whole assembly is attached over the roof mounted hatch. The last items to be fitted are the seven parts that make up another large aerial fitted to the co-drivers side wing. Decals The small decal sheets provide lots of placards, the computer screens, instruments, window surrounds, and ID numbers. The have been printed in house and look pretty good, with very little carrier film, but do feel quite thick. Conclusion The assortment of light and medium vehicles that have been born through experience both in Iraq and Afghanistan has been quite amazing and there are quite few now released in model form. I think this one will sit quite nicely with others in the genre. It looks to be quite a fiddly build and I’ve heard that the fit isn’t always perfect, but with a bit of work and some additional details such as the extensive pipework and some crew kit it will look very good indeed. It would also make a good basis as a centrepiece of a diorama. Highly recommended Review sample courtesy of and available soon from major hobby shops
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