Kit Review: DML 1/72 scale Armor Pro Series Kit No. 7324: M2A3 Bradley; 191parts (159 in grey styrene, 22 in DS tan plastic, 10 etched brass); price US$13.98
Advantages: state-of-the-art kit of the most current model of the Bradley fielded
Disadvantages: some parts simplified, e.g. tools molded in place, one or two bad seams may be hard to align
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for small-scale modern American fans
The US, like the Russians and Israelis today, is having to come to grips with the fact that they no longer really need open-country heavy combat vehicles as much as "street fighters" to deal with terrorists and other urban fighters. The latest model of the Bradley IFV, the A3, now adds to the vehicle's capability to deal with these threats.
Like the M1A2 Abrams before it, the A3 Bradley now adds a Commander's Independent Thermal Viewer (CITV) mounted on an armored pedestal behind the commander's hatch. It also adds the complete explosive reactive armor array which was designed for use even with the first versions of the A2 variant more than 17 years ago. GPS and IFF antennas are also present. There are other internal changes, but the bottom line is that all of this means the Bradley is now pushing 30 short tons weight from the wrong side.
Following on the heels of the DML M3A2 variant of the Bradley CFV (No. 7333) this kit includes nearly all of the parts from that kit less the commander's bullet-proof glass "cage" and adds even more parts to it. In point of fact, DML's 1/72 scale kits are now quite similar to their 1/35 scale brethren - once you take all of the sprues out of the box you will never get them all back in!
The kit is nearly identical to the M3A2 but now adds two more sprues with the A3 parts and some detail changes to the hull. In this scale, it does provide a great deal of options: all wheels roll, the rear ramp operates, and the gun can be made to move up or down. The latter comes at a price, as it requires using the aerial gunsight connector arm and other sight arm (parts E2 and E4) made out of DS plastic now, so one end may have to be left loose.
The hatches and missile launcher box are poseable but not moveable. Also this version comes with thermal ID panels and etched brass mounts for some of the ERA assemblies. These are the bases (meaning if desired the boxes may be left off). Note that you may have to sand or scrape off some of the surface detail to get a good fit with the styrene ERA assemblies on the hull sides and glacis.
As the A3 is now the vehicle of choice, the kit offers four finishing options: Charlie Company, 2-7 Cav, 1st Cavalry Division, North of Baghdad 2004 (C-13); 2-8 Infantry, 2nd Brigade 4th Infantry Division, Fort Irwin, California 2001(ID panel number 4160); 2-7 Cav, 1st Cavalry Division, Iraq 2004 (black 73); and Unidentified Unit, Iraq2005 (ID panel A21, rear number 11). All are in overall sand with few tactical markings. A small sheet of targeted Cartograf decals is provided.
Overall, this kit nearly completes the full range of Bradleys in US service since the mid 1980s.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.