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Mike

M1114 Up-Armoured Tactical Vehicle

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M1114 Up-Armoured Tactical Vehicle



1:35 Bronco Models

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In association with

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The original HUMVEE was brought into service as a replacement to the ubiquitous Jeep in the early 80s, but in action it was found that the crews suffered unduly with casualties due to the light armour of the vehicle. With this in mind, an up-armoured version was developed that included armoured glazing, door panels, and additional protection from IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices). It came into service in time to serve in the second Gulf War in 2003, and has since seen action in all of the US's major operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as service in Europe and home soil.

The kit is a new tooling from Bronco Models, who seem to raise their game with every new release. The box is a large one, and on first inspection appears a little oversized given the relatively small dimensions of the M1114. Inside however, are seven sprues of sand colored styrene, a small clear sprue, a white inner box containing the main chassis and wheels, and a separate bag containing decals and a large (for the size of the kit) photo-etched (PE) sheet, plus of course a full color instruction booklet of 20 pages, which includes 5 pages of painting and marking guides.

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The boxing of the chassis may seem a little pretentious on first inspection, but given the thickness (or lack of) of the part, it is a sensible move, as the delicate B-pillars could easily become damaged in transit, despite strengthening runs of sprue between the stub of the A and C pillars. Staying with the chassis for a moment, the detail moulded into it is excellent. The front area within the engine bay has fine raised rivet detail, as does the underside of the main crew area. The rear of the vehicle has the familiar corrugated surface, carrying on into the tops of the rear wheel wells. This detail is replicated on the underside of the chassis, including a number of strengthening bars crossing the area. Ejection pin marks have sensibly been kept in the wheel wells and other places where they will not be noticed under normal inspection. It really is an impressive component, especially given its size of only 5" long by 2.5" wide, and illustrates well the benefits of slide-moulding to the modern model kit.

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Detail hounds will be very happy with this kit, as almost every area of the real thing is replicated here. The suspension is made up from a large number of parts, all of which are very nicely detailed, with each axle having a poly-cap sandwiched between the two halves to allow the modeller to remove the wheels during the build & painting process. The steering rack, transmission, and exhaust/muffler system are also portrayed, and although the full engine isn't provided (most of it is hidden away under normal circumstances), a facsimile of the parts that can be seen from above is given, with fan and cambelt visible, along with the upper side covered with HT leads and other wiring.

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The front crew compartment has the two driver and co-driver seats moulded with quite deep indentations in the cushions, as is often the case due to the amount of use that these vehicles see, and the equipment that your average US infantryman carries these days. The dash and armoured windshield are well depicted with decals provided for all of the instruments in the driver's binnacle. Photo-etched sun visors add a little extra detail here, and the communications gear between the two seats is exquisite, consisting of a large number of styrene and PE parts.

Moving back to the main crew compartment, various racks & supports are provided for the additional ammunition crates for the .50cal and the 40mm grenade launcher, and the aircon fans are also provided on the port side rear arch. Spare weapons are also racked in the rear well, with two M2 .50 cals and a Mk.19 grenade launcher in the back.

The armoured doors are built from inner and outer parts, with the bullet-proof glass sandwiched between. Various PE and styrene parts make up the door handles and other detail parts, including the louvered recognition panels on the outside of the rear doors. The glazing panels are thin and optically clear, with smooth surfaces that should enhance realism.

The roof is installed after the construction of the main body is finished, and onto that go the two weapons stations, which are again made up of a large number of parts, with detail all around. Even the roof lining of the crew compartment is provided and shows the panelling and the underside of the main "turret" ring, which makes a refreshing change from the blank area that is often present.

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The large shrouded turret on the roof of the vehicle is built up from the individual armour panels, which glue together to create the complex box in which the weapon operator sits. The option of either the M2 .50cal or the Mk.19 Grenade Launcher are provided, with their attendant mounts, ammo boxes and well moulded ammo belts.

The large vents around the body are all backed with PE mesh sheets, preventing the see-thru look, and adding yet more realism to the build. This attention to detail is carried through to the rear load cover, which can be posed open or close, and the foldable bullet shield that sits on the rear deck, which is made entirely from PE to keep it looking in scale. The radio masts, additional personal weapons (including M4s and an AT4 Anti-Tank man portable weapon), and the smoke grenade launchers all add to the busyness of this purposeful looking model.

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The five tyre treads that accompany the chassis in the little inner box are also slide-moulded, and as such have no seams on the heavy treaded area. Once joined with the tyre's sidewalls, which have delicately raised Goodyear logos and the outer hub face moulded in, you should be left with a realistic looking set of wheels.

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The decal sheet allows you to portray one of the following vehicles:

  • 95th battalion, 16th Military Police brigade (NATO colors)
  • 95th battalion, 16th Military Police brigade (airbourne) (Desert Scheme)
  • 924th Military Police Battalion, 977th Military Police Company (Desert Scheme)
  • 924th Military Police Battalion, 977th Military Police Company (Desert Scheme alternative markings)

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Oddly, the prominent placards telling the locals to stay well back in both English and Arabic are provided as decals, but there are no parts within the box. Instead, you are given dimensions of the required piece of sheet styrene you need to cut in order to use them, which given the comprehensive contents of the box seems a bit odd.

Conclusion

This is a very nicely moulded and comprehensive package, and allows you to bring the newer uprated HUMVEE without spending a fortune on masses of aftermarket parts. Hopefully it will trigger some neat conversions that are available for the Tamiya kit to be adapted to this new chassis.

The instructions are excellent, with color call-outs backed up by the parts in question being shown in the intended colors. The painting guide also includes full color call-outs for the ancillary equipment such as the comms gear, weapons, ammo boxes and various personal equipment, and decals are included on the sheet to detail these up. The sprue layout implies further versions will become available, as does the picture on the small inner box, which shows a side view of the version with extended bumper that is designed to trigger IEDs early, the large RHINO jamming aerials that interrupt service to the mobile phones sometimes used to trigger these devices, and the armoured viewing ports that have more recently been added to the gunner's shield on the top turret.

The kit gets a big thumbs up from me, but the novice may want to experiment with PE before diving in, although there's very little in the way of complex bending, so the kit could even be used as a gentle induction.

Review sample courtesy of luckylogo.gif

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Oooh! I like the look of that.

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That still doesn't look quite as "armored-up" as some current vehicles I've seen in photos. Lucky Model actually recently came out with a set that I think gets it pretty close.. http://www.luckymodel.com/scale.aspx?item_no=LF12A7

There is at least one further up-armour package after this one - you'll notice I say "modern", not "current". If you read the last part of the 2nd paragraph, you'll see I mention it there :)

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There is at least one further up-armour package after this one - you'll notice I say "modern", not "current". If you read the last part of the 2nd paragraph, you'll see I mention it there :)

Ah yes...indeed you do. ^_^ Got a bit ahead of myself there..

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Ah yes...indeed you do. ^_^ Got a bit ahead of myself there..

Don't worry about it. :) Have a squint at the inner box pic... shows some promising bits & bobs that will save your HUMVEE modeller a fair few bob* ^_^

* For non Brits, a "bob" was slang for 12p in old pre-decimalisation money, of which there were 20 bob to the pound, so 240p to the pound - and people moaned about decimalistion! :wacko: it's since become slang for "some money" over here. :)

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