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British Mastiff 2 6x6 Wheeled Protected Patrol Vehicle (SS-012) 1:35


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British Mastiff 2 6x6 Wheeled Protected Patrol Vehicle (SS-012)

1:35 Meng Model via Creative Models Ltd

 

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The Cougar on which the Mastiff and Mastiff 2 are based is built by Force Protection Inc. and is based loosely upon the previous South African MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected), but integrates many innovations and lessons learned from previous experiences with asymmetric warfare and urban combat. It has a V-shaped hull with the wheels mounted externally, and the engine is in a separate compartment at the front of the vehicle, away from the crew area. The V-shape of the hull directs the blast away from the crew compartment, improving survivability, which has been proven many times since it entered service.

 

This variant is the six-wheeled chassis option, but there is also a 4x4 version in service elsewhere. The British Army bought an initial quantity of the 6x6 version as the Mastiff Protected Patrol Vehicle (PPV). The Mastiff 2 was developed after experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq, and is fitted with the CREWS II remote weapons station, while earlier versions have been retro-fitted with a manned turret, the whole vehicle surrounded by protective armoured screens to pre-detonate shaped-charge warheads such as the Soviet-era RPG-7, taking the power out of the jet of molten metal and helping to protect the crew further.  The CREWS II turret can mount either a 7.62mm GPMG, a 12.7mm heavy machine gun or a 40mm automatic grenade launcher for self-defence, and the hull armour can protect the crew from armour-piercing rounds up to 12.5mm and detonating explosives up to 15kg, with increased ground-clearance improving mobility along with more effective run-flat tyres and a fuel-tank that can withstand a substantial blast without rupturing.  The seats are enhanced to protect the crew from deformation injuries in the event of an IED blast, and an advanced anti-spall liner further guards against fragment injury to the increased passenger load of up to ten soldiers.  Since the withdrawal of coalition forces from the Middle East, many British Mastiffs have been withdrawn from service to conserve scant resources, with some finding their way into a delivery to the Ukraine to assist with their fight against the invader.

 

 

The Kit

This new variant of the original 2015 tooling of the 6x6 Cougar from Meng will be a welcome addition to any MRAP collection, and as it's from Meng, you know it will be a great kit to build with tons of detail. It arrives in a standard Meng top-opening box in a satin finish, and inside are a wealth of sprues for you to pore over. There are fifteen sprues in light grey styrene plus a hull part in the same colour, two sprues in a flexible black styrene, four sprues in clear styrene, one of which is in turquoise tinted clear styrene, six flexible styrene wheels, a short run of poly-caps, a slide-moulded .50cal Browning machine gun breech in light grey styrene. The decal sheet is separately bagged with a small sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, and the instruction booklet is Meng's usual affair, in four languages, and colour profiles at the rear for the painting and decaling instructions.  There are also three pages of sand-coloured thick card that gives additional information about the Mastiff 2 in four different languages.

 

First impressions are excellent as usual with Meng's offerings, and the part count is high, with some nicely tooled detail evident. Inclusions such as PE, flexible styrene and tinted windows to simulate the bullet-resistant glass are the icing on the cake of what is a great looking model. From the box you can build either a desert or green camouflaged vehicle that have a different aerial fit due to the green option being a Ukrainian vehicle. This is pointed out at the top of the instructions, and will dictate your aerial choices and colours during the build.

 

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Construction begins with the V-shaped lower hull, which needs a few holes drilling in it, after which the leaf-suspension can be installed, plus a rear towing bracket and two-step crew access with PE mesh treads. The three main axles are built up in broadly the same manner, with the steerable front wheels having additional parts, including track-link rod and bearings. Each one is fitted to the lower hull, with an armoured transfer box between the front and rear axles out of which the transmission shafts project. A pair of fuel tanks with PE thread-plate tops are built up next to install under the hull of your mastiff, which is nice. You are also tasked with building a front bumper/fender bracket assembly that carries the slat armour later, and has a pair of towing shackles on the underside.

 

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The Mastiff rolls along on six tyres, although in the event of an IED blast, it has been known to limp home on less. The tyres are flexible styrene, with separate hubs, space for a poly-cap in the middle, and a thick rear to the hub that hides the poly-cap, trapping it in place.  At this point the model is flipped over and work begins on the crew cab starting with the floor, which is stepped down at the front sides to form a base of the seats and up in the passenger compartment to further protect the crew from blasts. The drivers' seats are first to be built up, with insulating concertina bases that contain the usual complement of adjustments under a tough protective gaiter. The seats are made up from two parts, consisting of the main seat, plus a rear with the headrest built in, which once joined are placed on the base, and a pair of flexible styrene belts are added to each one from the black sprues. The driver's pedal box is installed into the short front bulkhead stub on the left, and an armour panel is placed behind each seat up to head-height on three pegs, with a scissor lift perch insert in the middle of the passenger area.  The dash is a full-width part, and the instrument panel has several decals supplied to detail its surface after painting, plus a couple of stencils on the co-driver's side, adding a steering column with wheel into the left, as they originate from left-hand drive vehicles.  An equipment bay is fixed to the deck behind the co-driver’s armour after adding detail parts to it, with two large lightened brackets on the raised left-hand edge of the compartment.  Near the rear are another couple of equipment boxes on the right, then the floor is inserted into the lower, resting on a couple of cross-members.  The seven passenger seats are each made from two main parts plus another two for the supporting framework, and they each have a set of flexible styrene belts added before they are glued in place. There are additional bare frames attached to the side walls for additional seats if they are needed, with more equipment at the right rear that also mount a pair of fire extinguishers that have stencil decals applied, as does the MFD screen at the top of the equipment stack.

 

The upper hull is a complex moulding with some great detail on the outer skin, and the interior headlining is dropped in, covered in realistic quilting texture of the anti-spall lining.  Several clear rectangular light-fittings are inserted into recesses in the linings, painting the bezels black beforehand.  A radiator grille and the multi-part turret ring for the top-mounted CREWS II weapons station, which is trapped in place by another ring on the inside of the crew compartment.  The interiors with the seats and equipment already installed are then slid into the hull, clipping into a slot at the edge of the roof liner, after which a pair of pull-down MFD screens are fixed to a C-shaped bracket that can be posed down in front of the windscreen or raised flush against the roof, as per the accompanying scrap diagrams, which also show the location of the screen decals if you need to fit them.  The windscreen is made up off the model, starting with a two-part frame with raised wire-cutters added at each end, followed by the tinted screen panels.  The assembly is then glued over the windscreen that has clear windows slipped into the frames beforehand, making the thickness appropriate for the scale.  The side windows are similarly glazed with clear parts in the frames, then boxed in with extended frames that have tinted panels in them.  A palette on angled legs is added above the windscreen with a pair of short antennae on two of the mount lugs, plus a front camera assembly that is made up from two styrene parts, a lens for the light and a clear dome that fixes over it, taking care not to trap any dust or other debris in there, with the same precaution taken for the windows.  The upper hull is completed by adding the rear bulkhead with large door aperture moulded-in, then it is installed onto the lower hull, enclosing all the detail inside that should still be visible through the windows and/or back door.  The rear bulkhead has an aerial bar that is placed above the door, and in the centre is a rear-facing camera that fits in a framework box, and behind it is a cruciform sensor that’s covered over by a clear box.

 

The short front fenders and long rear fenders are built up following this, with the various light clusters added front and rear, plus muffler for the exhaust on the right fender, and a large stowage box on the left side.  The exhaust then goes up over the door frame through a flexible wrapped hose that exits the back of the muffler on an angled adapter. The rear fenders are simple side sections that cover the two rear axles and have the light cluster added to the bulkhead, which also has a flexible black styrene mudflap glued to the underside.  These are all attached to the sides of the vehicle in preparation for the appliqué armour panels that are made next.  Each inner surface is built from two layers with an additional top section, to which the outer layer is fitted along with a small front element on the thicker portion.   Along the thin bottom edge of the assembly, a row of pegs are inserted into holes in the panels whilst still attached to the sprue, so that once the glue has cured, you can remove the sprue gates and make good without having to manhandle the pegs individually, with the attendant risk of loss due to tweezer malfunctions that feed the carpet monster.  A few small stencils are shown applied at this stage because they are really small.  The completed side armour can then be glued in place on the sides of the hull, locating on five small pegs that match up with holes in the side of the hull.

 

The next phase involves fitting all the additional parts that adorn the exterior of a modern AFV, starting with horizontal two layer tapering louvres that mount over the bonnet access hatches, and fixing a V-shaped towing bar on a narrow tray down the left side of the vehicle.  There are also a few small boxy parts glued to the fender in front of the exhaust muffler.  On the roof over the rear door are a pair of exit hatches, which have handles inside and out, plus a pair of hydraulic lifters on the sides, allowing them to be closed or posed open away from the centre line.  The back of the vehicle has four stand-off brackets fitted into slots in the bulkhead, which are surrounded by more appliqué armour boxes with additional brackets for later installation of slat armour.  On the roof, the clamshell turret hatch closes over the hatchway, and is joined by a pair of side armour panels with small boxes and details installed inside, and another panel at the rear that has a stowage box applied to the outside, then work starts on the .50cal that is built around the slide-moulded breech with the short cooling jacket perforated for realism.  The barrel, breech top, charging handle and twin grip finish the weapon, while the mount is constructed from two main halves plus a few smaller detail parts, adding the Browning into the groove on the top, building up an ammo can with a portion of link making its way to the breech, and the front splinter-shield with the bottom mount that the M2 and its mount drop onto.  The finished gun is then inserted on the base on a peg that slots into a corresponding hole in the front.

 

At the very front of the vehicle a two-part frame is latched onto two grooves in the bumper bar, and two sensor boxes with whip aerials are fixed to brackets either side at the front of the fenders, braced by a Y-shaped bracket to the armour on the door, and with a panel of crisply-moulded slat armour laid over the frame that has a pair of cut-outs for tiny inserts and diagonal corners that wrap around to join the side panel of slats over the front wheels.  A sloped box-section of slat armour is detailed with wing mirrors, indicator and reflectors before it is fitted over the side window, with two more sections and more reflectors over the rear wheels.  The rearmost side slat armour panel has a cut-out to accommodate a side camera in a quadrant fairing and another camera that points perpendicular to the direction of travel from within the armour.  The exhaust pipe is extended along the edge of the roof by two more lengths plus a two-part rear muffler that exhausts through the hollow tip over the back door, protecting the side-view camera from the heat with a rectangular part that fits over the top.

 

The rear is closed over by a pair of narrow doors that have small windows near the top, which have clear glass in the frame, and a boxed tinted section placed over the outside.  Handles and a protective cage are added inside and out, and they can be posed open using a pair of slat armour supports on the oversized piano hinges that run most of the outer edge.  Each door has a fixed outer section of slat armour that joins up with the diagonal section on the side, plus a folding inner section that moves with the door, using different parts for open or closed.  The last parts are a trio of aerials, taking note that the green painting option doesn’t have them on the profiles.

 

 

Markings

Modern AFVs aren't particularly overly marked on the outside, so the decal sheet isn't massive.  There are two camouflage choices in this boxing, with decals to match, as there have only been two colours used on the type so far.  From the box you can build one of the following:

 

  • British Army Desert Camouflage
  • Ukrainian Marines Green Camouflage

 

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The decals were printed in China and although they aren’t up to the standards of the best decal printers, they are suitable for the task, having good register, sharpness and colour density.  The MFD screens could have been a little more detailed, but it’s unlikely many unclassified photos exist of them, so it’s not hard to see why, and they won’t be seen too clearly from outside anyway.

 

 

Conclusion

A very well-detailed model of this modern MRAP, and the inclusion of Ukrainian colours is particularly relevant, allowing the modeller to do something a bit different from a desert Mastiff 2 in British service.  The tinted windows are a good boost to realism, giving the impression of thick bullet-resistant glass.

 

Highly recommended.

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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