DML 1/72 AAVP7A1 RAM/RS Kit First Look
|Date of Review||August 2006||Manufacturer||DML|
|Kit Number||7237||Primary Media||124 parts (73 in grey styrene, 29 etched brass, 22 in DS plastic)|
|Pros||All styrene hull with supplemental armor fitting points major improvement over first version of the AAV7A1 kit; etched brass and optional parts a plus||Cons||DS styrene wheel bushings will make assembly require extra care; nice, big hatches open up on...nothing!|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$13.95|
When DML released their first kit of this busy modern armored vehicle in June 2004, it was a nice addition to their modern armor selection. But since it was basically a kitted version of their pre-assembled line of 1/72 scale armor, it came with a diecast metal hull and screws for assembly, as well as vinyl tracks. The result was a less than easy to build kit, requiring the use of ACC cement and making it virtually impossible to upgrade or modify without major work.
DML has now released a new version that replicates the current Operation Iraqi Freedom variant, but replaces the diecast parts with styrene and also makes a number of molding changes as well as adds DS styrene parts. This is a plus for the tracks, as they can now be cemented down to "sag" correctly, but since the wheels all use a bushing between two halves for assembly it will require care to avoid getting cement on them and getting them out of plumb or having wheels failing to roll (a great advantage in painting the tires!)
This variant again provides for the post- 1990 upgrades when the vehicles received the ability to mount supplemental armor protection and also an upgraded firepower suite via the "UWS" or upgraded weapons station. This combined a 40mm grenade launcher and a .50 caliber machine gun in one turret. However, the original smaller cupola with .50 caliber only is also provided on the sprues, so the model could be "backdated" much more easily than the diecast one.
The hull is identical to the two sections of diecast metal held together with screws. While the original made any modification or correction the modeler desires a bit difficult, as it is much harder to clean parts made of metal than styrene or attach the plastic components to it, the new one can have the offending screw towers and nubs removed so an interior can be fitted by the inveterate detailer. Since it comes with optional position hatches, it would be a good touch to add. The wave-breaker can be installed either closed (part A3) or deployed (A4), as can the water jet drives (A21/22 open, A23/24 closed). Thanks to "Slide Molding" the headlights are integral with the upper hull; this gives this kit the same technical capabilities as the diecast predecessor.
An etched brass fret is included with bits for the engine gratings as well as the muffler guard and handholds. The RP (right puny) parts include handles and brackets.
Markings are provided for two vehicles, one with the 1st Marine Division in Iraq 2003 and one in Italy during 2005. The former is in the NATO tricolor scheme but the other is in what appears to be FS34102 Forest Green, the as delivered finish for many modern US armored vehicles.
Overall this is a nice upgrade and makes itself much more "Modeler Friendly" than the diecast hull predecessor.
Thanks to Freddie Leung of Dragon Models USA for the review sample.