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Italian Puma 6x6 Armoured Car. 1:35 Trumpeter


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Italian Puma 6x6 Armoured Vehicle
1:35 Trumpeter

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The Defence Vehicles Division of IVECO developed the Puma family of 4x4 and 6x6 light armoured vehicles to meet the requirements of the Italian Army.
After extensive trials with prototype vehicles, the army placed a contract with IVECO in 1999 covering the supply of 540 Puma vehicles. The first vehicles were completed in 2003.
Of the 540 vehicles, 320 will be in the 6x6 version with the remaining 220 in the 4x4 configuration. The 6x6 version of the Puma will typically be used in the armoured personnel carrier
(APC) role, while the 4 x 4 version will typically be used for reconnaissance. To reduce overall life-cycle costs, the Puma family shares many common components, such as the diesel
engine, automatic transmission and suspension. The baseline APC version of the Puma is armed with a 12.7mm M2 machine gun. However, the vehicles can be fitted with a range of
turrets and cupolas developed by Oto Melara, including one with a remote-controlled weapon. IVECO has developed a number of specialised versions of the Puma for the Italian Army.
These include ambulance, command post, 81mm mortar, air defence with MBDA Mistral missiles and two anti-tank (one with the Raytheon TOW and one with the Euromissile MILAN
anti-tank guided missile system). The Puma design is such that it can be adopted for a wide range of other roles and missions. Standard equipment includes powered steering, run-flat
tyres, a nuclear, biological and chemical defensive system and afire-detection and -suppression system.

The Model
Packaged in the now Trumpeter standard of sturdy top opening cardboard box the artwork of which depicts a vehicle at the head of a convoy of similar vehicles. Don't look to closely to
the artwork as you'll see something has gone wrong with the front pairs of wheels. Inside there are the hull halves and eleven sprues, all in alight grey styrene, along with one small sheet
of etched brass, a small decal sheet, six poly caps and six rubber wheels. All the parts are very well moulded with no sign of flash and only a few moulding pips. The details are crisp
and well defined and the dry fitting of the hull pieces showed that the fit is superb, almost click together with no gaps whatsoever. Even though the Puma is quite a small armoured
vehicle, in kit form it's a nice size to work with, not too small and fiddly. With only nine pages of instructions it's not been over engineered or has overly complex suspension or
transmission boxes which makes it look like a really nice and relaxing weekend type build even though the kit count is quite high.

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The build starts with the fitting of the clear ports into the upper hull after which the it is slid onto the lower hull and glued into place. As stated above the fit of these parts is quite amazing
and shows how much Trumpeter have come along in the last few years. On the underside the there are two four piece transmission boxes and on three piece box. These are fitted into
position and connected by their respective drive shafts.the main shock absorbers, complete with stub axles are fitted into position and joined to the transmission boxes by cross-shafts.
The front two pairs of stub axles are also fitted with steering racks. The three pairs of wishbones assemblies are then attached to their respective wheel hubs, followed by three
cross braces. Additional details such as the front valance, front towing shackles and mounts, fuel filler cap upper and lower hinge for the side door and a footstep on the left hand side are
attached. The wheels are made up of an inner and outer hub between which a poly cap is fitted. These are best painted before the tyres are fitted which are push fitted over the hubs.
Since the tyres are hollow it might be an idea to fill the lower portion with Milliput or such like to prevent them from sagging in the future.

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The rear bulkhead is festooned with small parts such as the lights, shackles and their mountings, tow hook with addition eye-bolts and storage racks. There is a very complex winch
assembly consisting of eleven styrene and two PE parts. The rear bulkhead assembly is then attached to the vehicle followed by the winch assembly which is fitted to the right hand side
of the bulkhead. The engine intake grille and aerial mounting are fitted to the front of the vehicle whilst three storage clamps are fitted to the right hand rear quarter and an armoured
panel fitted to the right hand side just above the gap between the two front wheels. An attachment plate for the pioneer tools is fitted to the front glacis and then fitted with the pickaxe
and shovel whilst a host of smaller fittings are attached to the rear and sides of the vehicle. Further progress is made with the fitting of the two upper hull rear hatches, side storage
baskets, lifting eyes and the five piece smoke discharge assemblies. There is a strange hook assembly on the bow just aft of the engine deck, the use of which evades me. In front of
the hook structure the engine radiator grille is fitted, whilst to the front of the vehicle the headlight and sidelight assemblies are attached. The drivers hatch is assembled out of the main
hatch, large hinge bar on top, with the two handles and three vision blocks fitted from beneath. This prominent hatch is very often open and it's a shame that there is no interior detail,
even if just for the drivers position. In front of this hatch is a large armoured glass windscreen, with additional wiper part and support plate. The turret assembly also has a number of
vision blocks, but this time fitted from the top. There are a number of other sights and sensors fitted to the turret surround along with the machine gun mount. The turret hatch is attached
to the surround by two hinge parts. The machine gun, which looks like an MG-42 or derivative has a separate ammunition box and cradle for one side, along with a case collection box on
the other side. The completed turret assembly is then fitted to the turret ring on the vehicle. Finally the two part wing mirrors and a couple of grab handles are attached completing the
model.

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Decals
The small decal sheet provides items for two vehicles, one in standard Italian three colour scheme with markings for ISFOR in Arabic whilst eh other is in overall white scheme for a UN
mission. The decals include registration plates, Italian flags, UN identification plates and convoy plates.


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Conclusion
This is a fantastic little kit and going by the fit of the hull sections should be a very nice build with little use of filler. There's quite a lot of detail included and with the exception of the
tyres/wheels or you're adding it to a diorama shouldn't need any aftermarket additions. The six wheeler is a better looking vehicle in my eyes and I'm glad Trumpeter chose to release it
ahead of the four wheeler. I can highly recommend this kit to anyone interested in modern military vehicles and it would be good starter kit for those fairly new to military modelling.


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Review sample courtesy of

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