11 years ago
Carrier; 377 parts (335 in tan styrene, 16 clear styrene, 10 black
styrene, 8 etched brass, 8 vinyl keepers); price US$43.00
Advantages: nicely executed kit of a current production Humvee
variant; latest crew served weapons station and one current jammer
provided; current electronics fit
Disadvantages: nearly 400 parts for a small vehicle and no engine?;
some skimping on interior cargo and fittings
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for Operation Enduring Freedom modelers and Humvee/
It=92s hard for many of us who served to realize that the Humvee =96
military name for the Hummer high-mobility vehicle =96 has now been in
service for just over 25 years. Staring with the M998 series vehicles
in the mid 1980s, the actual military family has evolved over the
years and now covers a huge number of variants.
One of the main ones =96 and what could be considered a =93second
generation=94 Humvee =96 was the M1113/M1114 series of beefier vehicles =96
called Expanded Capability Vehicles in =93mil-speak=94 =96 that could be
fitted with additional armor protection for use in Iraq. But as
insurgent tactics evolved, the protection levels offered no longer met
Enter what could be termed the =93third generation=94 of Humvees, the
M1151 and M1152. Building on the ECV, the M1151/1152 added a new roof,
12" heavy duty variable springs, reinforced body mounts, a forward
mounted radio rack, and twin air conditioners to provide the crew with
better operating conditions. Basically it also added heavier armor to
the M1113 chassis and could be fitted with interior blast deflector
plates to protect against self-forging fragment penetrators.
The vehicle is normally fitted with one or more jamming devices to
protect against radio-controlled IED weapons. The rear mast mounted
one is the DUKE, but they can also be seen with the paddle-like RHINO
in front of the vehicle or the WARLOCK at the rear.
The centerpiece of the vehicle is its Force Battle Command Brigade
and Below (FBCB2) console with its computer screen and twin SINGARS
radio sets between the driver=92s and commander=92s seats. It also comes
with Blue Force Tracker, a device which permits a commander to see on
a computer map exactly where all his assets are (and functions as a
ground-based IFF system as well).
Academy is now offering a =93factory=94 kit of an M1151 with many of
these features included in the box. (Up until now anyone wanting a
=93third generation=94 Humvee had to either get a Tamiya first-generation
M1025 or the newer Bronco M1114 second-generation kits and a LOT of
The kit comes with all of the basics listed above =96 the FBCB2
systems, Blue Force Tracker, and the DUKE jammer, as well as the
heavily protected =93crow=92s nest=94 crew served weapons station on the
roof. This is complemented by the most involved if not one of the
nicest detailed M2HB machine guns with a total of some 35 parts on its
The directions indicate that the springs are installed in Step 4
AFTER the axles and drive line is in place; while this strikes me as
odd due to the configuration of the suspension it appears correct.
The tires =93trap=94 the wheels when cemented together, and while I am
not a great fan of two-piece plastic wheels these have =93slide molded=94
tread and appear bulgy enough (not flat on one side like the DML
halftracks, but bulged out to the sides). It should make painting them
a breeze. Note that like many aircraft models the vinyl keepers for
the wheels are trapped inside the axle joints, not the wheels, so you
can attach the wheels after the model is finished.
The body is that of the current M1113 series upgrades and has an
extended grille and bumper. The reinforced windscreen is nicely done
as is the internal armor within the passenger compartment. It also
comes with a sprung computer mount (parts E3/E6) and a platform for
the gunner (E63/66/67/68). The armored doors each consist of 13 parts
if closed and an etched brass =93piano hinge=94 if displayed open (these
suckers weigh a couple of hundred pounds when fully set up!)
An optional USMC fording air intake extension tube is included as
The =93crow=92s nest=94 is very complex and takes 25 parts on its own with
all of the windows and plates included as separate parts. Add in the
machine gun and another 15 parts on its own and the turret/weapons
station is a model unto itself.
As noted, with all the details surprisingly there is no engine
provided! As most modelers are not interested in a concours class
vehicle this probably isn=92t a big deal, but if they were going to this
length you think Academy would have gone all the way!
As noted the etched brass is limited to the door hinges, the air
conditioner heat exchanger vents, and two other small parts.
Two figures in modern US Army combat uniforms =96 the digital
camouflage ones =96 are provided. The driver is wearing the full PASGT
body armor and helmet and is posed half in and half out of the
vehicle; the gunner is bareheaded with goggles (not the fancy =93eye
armor=94 ones, just goggles) and looks at ease. I do think Academy needs
to find a better figure painter for their figures, as while they look
good on the sprues their rendering in the directions leaves a lot to
be desired (I think the drive is supposed to be African-American but
looks like something from a blackface minstrel show in the
Two finishing options are shown: one in sand with black eagle
markings on the doors, and one in NATO tricolor sans markings. Given
Academy=92s track record on decals, I would suggest some research on the
Internet and perhaps after-market markings for a vehicle.
Overall, this is a well-done kit with lots of potential. As it is
current, it should be popular with both modelers and the deployed
troops who work on the actual vehicles.
Thanks to Bob Lewen of MRC for the review sample.