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M2A2

Revell 1/72 M2A2 Bradley Build Review

By Loren A. Pike

Date of Review August 2005 Manufacturer Revell
Subject M2A2 Bradley Scale 1/72
Kit Number 2134 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Accurate shape, nice detail in this scale Cons  
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $9.95

Background

Quoting from the kit instructions: “The M2 “Bradley”, introduced in 1983, is the standard fighting vehicle of the American armoured infantry. The main armament consists of a McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Systems 25mm M242 Bushmaster chain gun with double belt feed (max. firing speed 200 rounds per minute), together with a 7.62mm M242 C machine gun mounted coaxial to the right of the cannon. To the left on the turret is a launcher that swivels up and down for twin TOW anti-tank missiles. The M3 “Devers” (the name of this version was not adopted) is the standard vehicle of the tank reconnaissance units. Both the M2 and the M3 are amphibious after a flotation screen and the trim vane at the front have been erected. The vehicle is still propelled by its tracks when it is in the water and develops a maximum speed of 6.4 km/h.

The first combat capability upgrade made the “Bradley” (M2 and M3) in 1985, primarily involving modifications to the turret, including the capability to fire the new TOW 2 missile, led to the M2A1 and M3A1 versions. A drastic improvement of the passive armour protection in the form of appliqué armour was made within the framework of a further modernization carried out from May 1988 onwards and giving the designations M2A2 and M3A2. Both versions are driven by a V-8 Cummins VTA -903T Diesel engine with a capacity of 608 hp (447 kW) giving them a maximum road speed of approximately 61 km/h. The M2A2 is crewed by a driver, a commander and a gunner. The rear troop compartment can accommodate six infantrymen who dismount via a rear ramp. The combat weight is 22,940 kg. The crew of the M3A2 consists of driver, commander, gunner and two men in the rear troop compartment. The combat weight is 22,443 kg.

The Kit

M2A2 1:72 Revell #03124 M2A2 Bradley. The parts come in an end-opening box, not at all helpful to building a model and one in which unattached parts slip through the end flaps rather easily. Once you have built sub-assemblies, you have no where to put them (except in an old box from a previous construction project that had a bottom and a top of the box!!). Fortunately, the parts are bagged in a cellophane bag, so until you break the bag open, they are safe. Once opened, I use Zip-Lock™ bags to hold parts once they are cut from the parts trees and until I mount that part on the sub-assembly.

The box top painting is a very good guide to painting the vehicle – if you choose that version. Kit parts are the usual, highly excellent molding that one comes to expect from a main-line manufacturer such as Revell. No excess flash, petite parts and a well executed break-down of the parts into logical assembly. The kit is molded in a dark green plastic. The first couple of pages of the directions give you the various warnings (in multiple languages), the “used symbols” and the “used colors”. There is a full page devoted to the parts trees. The directions run 16 pages and are printed on “re-cycled” newsprint-type paper.

Assembly

M2A2 Steps 1 through 6 deals with the track sub-assembly. Once this is complete, you might paint this the appropriate colors and then move on to the next step. Steps 7 – 13 build up the lower hull and its details. Steps 14 – 22 add details to the upper hull. I deviated by not adding the side shields (parts 51, 52, 56 & 57) until a little more base color was sprayed on to my vehicle. I masked off the tracks for the overspray. Steps 23 – 37 complete the turret.

In step 37 I substituted a bristle from a black paint brush for the antennas vs. stretching plastic sprue as the directions have you do. I find that my paint brush bristle is much more flexible and realistic than stretched sprue. I now have sub-assemblies to paint. Since I am doing a “desert Bradley”, the flotation screen (part 59) was left off. Once all the sub-assemblies were painted to my satisfaction, assembly was completed, and the necessary “touch ups” to the paint was done as well as the detail painting described below completed.

Painting

M2A2 Base color is Pactra #M-28 (Israeli Yellow) FS33238. I sprayed the base color on the track sub-assembly, and then detailed the tires with a “rubber black” and the track with 60% matt rust and 40% matt steel thinned mixture, with highlights of the rubber black on the track pads. All was given a thinned dirty wash later.

As stated above, I do my painting in sub-assemblies, then assemble and touch up. Detail painting of the tools, the lights and other items were now done. I then do some “weathering”, and apply decals. Weathering is usually done with acrylics and “flowed on” in a very thin wash. A dry brushing is the last item done, prior to a matt overall coat, and this is done very sparingly.

As to the lights, I use a very simple technique of first painting a light silver (from the small Testors bottle) letting it dry a few DAYS – this stuff takes forever to dry. Then, I use the appropriate acrylic “clear” paints (red for taillights, amber for turn signals, blue for vision blocks, etc.) and cover the silver. The result is a very lifelike representation of a light, vision block, etc.

Decals

M2A2 Since armor models do not have a lot of decals, I do not spray the entire model with a gloss coat (over my matt base) but rather use “puddles” of Future™ to float the decals on the model. I first brush a small “puddle” of Future™ on the vehicle, and then put the decal down, then an overcoat of more Future™. (Future™ is a clear, acrylic usually used by homemakers to coat their floors and manufactured in the USA by Johnson & Johnson).

After all my weathering is done, highlighting and dry brushing done, I then overcoat the entire model (being careful to either mask or do at a later time the light lens, vision blocks, etc that need to be glossy) with a dull coat. Currently I have a bottle of Floquil-Polly S ( #110015 Flat Finish) that I have been using, but many brands will work and cover up and blend you decals, paint and weathering.

I’m trying a new (for me) procedure with the “air recognition flag” found in the decals. I’m applying it to a piece of ordinary aluminum foil (glossy side). As you can see in the photos, this “drapes” very naturally and I’m pleased with the results.

Conclusions

Because of the “link and length” track, this is not a kit for a beginner. Also, because of the “link and length” track, I would strongly recommend this kit for someone with some experience in these assemblies as the track is extremely well detailed and fairly easy to cut off the sprue trees and to assemble. I wish that the manufacturer (all manufacturers for that matter) would include a few more “extra” single track sections as the “carpet monster” does collect its dues from time to time!!

The level of detail is outstanding. The directions are very well designed, laid out and clarity is above average. The number of optional finishes is a plus.

I had a lot of fun building this kit and enjoy its intricate detail once it is completed. I would strongly recommend this kit to anyone interested in modern U.S. Army vehicles.

Now, where is the support M-977 HEMTTs?

References:

  • M2A2/M3A2 Bradley: Backbone of the U.S.Mechanized Infantry by Concord Publications Company
  • M2/M3 Bradley in Action by Squadron/Signal Publications
  • M2/M3 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle 1983-1995 by Osprey/New Vanguard Publishing

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