Bronco Models 1/35 M1114 Up-Armored (Heavy) Tactical Vehicle Kit First Look
|Date of Review||April 2011||Manufacturer||Bronco Models|
|Subject||M1114 Up-Armored (Heavy) Tactical Vehicle||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||35092||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-etch|
|Pros||VERY nicely detailed kit||Cons||Very minor (see text)|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$73.95|
In the early 1980s, the US Army developed a requirement for a new multi-purpose vehicle to provide greater capabilities to the warfighter while simplifying the support requirements needed to keep the existing fleet of vehicles operating. At this point in time, the Army was still using the M151 Mutt, M561 Gamma Goat, M718 and M792 ambulances, and a number of commercial vehicles (CUCV) to fulfill its various missions. A common chassis and powerplant would significantly simplify the training and number of parts it took to keep these vehicles operational. So started the High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) program.
AM General won the program and has produced over 190,000 vehicles in over 16 variants since the mid-1980s. Early versions of the Humvee were powered by 6.2 liter diesel engines while newer types received the 6.5 liter diesel. All Humvees are equipped with automatic transmissions to simplify driver workload.
The M1113 Expanded Capability Vehicle was the first variant that was built upon an improved chassis and powertrain that allowed heavier payloads including add-on armor. The M1114 is built upon the ECV chassis and makes good use of that enhanced payload capability with the addition of more armor for the crew cab, armored turret, and built-in air conditioning. The new armor can protect against armor-piercing 7.62mm round and 12lb mine blasts. This variant would be an intermediate step to the current M1151 series of heavy up-armored HMMWV.
Bronco Models recently released a new-tool kit of the M1114 and at first blush the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of around $74 USD might cause some to wonder how a Humvee kit could be so expensive given that Tamiya's new-tool M1025 Humvee is only $41 USD. Is the Bronco kit that much better than any previous Humvee kit released to date? Let's take a look:
First of all, this kit is molded in desert tan styrene and presented on 13 parts trees plus five separately packaged tire centers, two trees of clear parts and one nice fret of photo-etched parts. Contrast this to the Tamiya kit with four desert tan parts trees plus one clear tree, this Bronco kit is at least three-times as detailed.
While the Tamiya kit was an earlier variant of the Humvee, there aren't THAT many differences between the two types. In a nutshell, the Tamiya kit provides a nicely accurate exterior and chassis underside, but the interior is devoid of any sort of mission equipment and you can't look under the hood without some help from the aftermarket. Companies like Legend and Blast Models have been producing a wide range of detail sets for this kit to replicate the M1114 and other variants and with those additions, the $41 USD Humvee is now closer to $100 USD and even then you're missing one or two distinctive systems in many of those aftermarket sets.
This Bronco kit comes out of the box as a super-detailed M1114 with everything you'd need to build a contemporary Humvee. The features and options in this kit include:
- Very nicely details chassis and drivetrain
- The first to capture the unique braking system of the Humvee
- Three-piece wheels (not a big fan of these, but the tread is great!
- Updated crew seats
- Complete set of instrument panel placards
- Battery box under the commander/front passenger
- Positionable hood
- Details under the hood
- Photo-etched radio tray (a first)
- Dual SINCGARS radio mount w/radios and dogbone handset (another first)
- FBCB2 computer system (ditto)
- VIC-3 intercom (ditto)
- PLGR/DAGR GPS unit
- Rear armor plate behind rear seats
- Air conditioner
- Positionable doors
- Positionable rear hatchback
- Positionable tail gate
- Mk.19 Grenade Launcher (stowed)
- M2 .50 Caliber Machine Gun (stowed)
- New extended grille
- Up-armored doors with full detail inside and out
- Very nice turret ring detail
- New armored gun turret
- Choice of Mk.19 or M2 on the pintle
- Combat ID panels
- Photo-etched grilles
- Read deck armored shield
- Spare tire on swing-away rear mount
- Choice of standard intake or USMC snorkel
- Smoke dischargers on all four corners
- Crew weapons including AT-4, M4 carbines with and without grenade launchers
- Counter Improvised Explosive Device Jammer
- Water bottle (only one?)
- Fuel and water Jerry cans
The only things missing in this kit are the crew and their food provisions. This is THE most complete Humvee kit I've ever seen straight out of the box and without the need for any resin aftermarket parts. Congratulations to Bronco for providing the extra effort!
As an aside, this will be one of the first kits I can recall where the clear styrene windows are now scale thickness with the armored glass!
Bronco provides a nice set of decals with a really good set of vehicle maintenance stencils and placards and even instrument faces for the instrument panel. There's even a tactical display for the computer monitor. The kit instructions provide a color profile for a generic vehicle in desert sand and paint instructions for GSI, Humbrol and Tamiya paints. Unfortunately there are no placement instructions for the particular vehicles portrayed on this sheet, but from what I can gather, these include:
- M1114, Military Police, OIF, US Army
- M1114, Iraqi Army
- M1114, Czech Army
So is this kit worth around $74 USD? If you're looking for an accurate and detailed Humvee, yes. If you're an AMS modeler that would get a basic kit and load up on the aftermarket stuff to complete the model, this kit is a good value at $74 and more so with a street price around $55 USD. Compared to the otherwise empty Tamiya kit, Bronco has raised the bar on this subject!
There are a few parts provided in the box that aren't used with the M1114 which means we'll be seeing more variants coming from Bronco in the future. If you've been collecting some of those aftermarket parts for your Tamiya kit to properly fit out that vehicle, you can do some swapping here and there to render some other variants using this kit instead. While I'll still be building some of my Tamiya kits, I'll be definitely obtaining more of these Bronco kits for many of those projects. Academy is due to release their M1151 later in the year and one can only hope that they pay attention to the level of detail in this box.