DML 1/72 HMMWV 'Gun Truck' and HMMWV Cargo Kit First Look
|Date of Review||March 2006||Manufacturer||DML|
|Subject||HMMWV 'Gun Truck' and HMMWV Cargo||Scale||1/72|
|Kit Number||7297||Primary Media||164 parts (120 in grey styrene, 26 in clear styrene, 10 in grey vinyl, 8 in etched brass)|
|Pros||"Pickup" versions of the Humvee now join the "hardtop" versions; replicate the latest vehicles being used in Iraq||Cons||Due to the plethora of HMMWV variants in service may be confusing to modelers as to which is which, what it does and if it is in wide service|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$11.95|
When the AM General HMMWV series of vehicles were adopted, one of the prime considerations was that they replace four different vehicles then in service with the US Army: the 1/4 ton 4 x 4 M151 series ("jeeps"), the ancient 3/4 ton 4 x 4 Dodge M37s still hanging around in some locations, the 1 1/4 ton 4 x 4 M880 and M1008 series cargo trucks, and the 1 1/4 ton 6 x 6 M61 Gama Goat. As a result, the vehicle was offered in a wide variety of models, of which four were considered baseline: a four-seat "hardtop" with a turtle-back shell and access via a hatch at the rear, plus a rotating weapons station in the center of the rear section of the compartment; a four-seat "softtop" with a short pickup cargo bet; a two-seat cargo version with provisions for eight troops in the now familiar folding slat benches on the sides of the cargo compartment; and a two-seat shelter carrier with up to a 100 kW generator and modified electrical system. Since all of them used the identical body shell and frame, the latter two simply had steel door inserts to close off the rear door openings of the body when the two-seat models were produced.
This is the third set of two HMMWV vehicles offered in one box, and DML should be congratulated for the consideration to the modeler (twelve bucks for one would be pretty steep) as well as the coverage of the wide variety of Humvees out there in service. This kit offers two versions: the most common M998 1 1/4 ton 4 x 4 cargo carrier version, as well as one of the semi-standardized "gun trucks" now in use in Iraq with applique armor to protect the crew from roadside bombs and snipers. This latter vehicle is nothing new, as its direct ancestors have been around since WW I and were most notable in recent memory due to the ones used in Vietnam ("Eve of Destruction" – a 5 ton M54A1 conversion – is on display at Fort Eustis, VA, and is the only known survivor from Vietnam.)
DML uses their familiar "mix and match" concept of kit offerings, with 43 parts forming the chassis and basic vehicle and then the specific add-on parts for the version being modeled. For example, each vehicle comes with a clear styrene windshield and top assembly molded in one piece, and a set of either soft or armored doors for its respective version.
The cargo version comes with the door blanks and the troop seats, but is a rather spartan model when complete. However, this is the way the actual vehicles are so it is accurate in that account. Note that the troop seat slats themselves are etched brass and there are no replacement parts for them, something of a surprise as DML generally gives you an option.
The "gun truck' has far more options and from what is shown in the directions can be built as either a "gun truck" with drop-in armored module and machine gun mount in a ready-for-action pose or with the gun dismounted and top bows up in a storage or transit mode. The armor parts can be either etched brass or styrene at the modeler's option. The vehicle also comes with twin radio antenna mounts at the rear of the body and an etched brass top rail for the tailgate (MA1) which looks to be relatively difficult to bend to shape due to its small size. Also not indicated in the instructions until step 6 is the fact that the lower body applique armor can be added from etched brass (MB1/2); this would appear easier to do at step 4.
One spare tire is included for this vehicle, but two spare tires are included with the kit so an unmounted one could be displayed as well or used as a "roof decoration" as seen on some of the hardtop variants. All are slide molded with wraparound tread patterns.
Markings and painting suggestions are provided for three vehicles: an M998 cargo carrier from 3rd COSCOM, Baghdad 2004, and two different gun trucks, one with full armor from the 1st Infantry Division's attached 82nd Engineer Brigade in 2003 and one without the armor from the same unit back in Germany.
Overall this is another nice job from DML, and it is hoped that modelers do not become confused due to the nearly infinite variety of HMMWV variants and options seen in the field.
Thanks to Freddie Leung of Dragon Models USA for the review sample.