Revell 1/35 SPz PUMA Kit First Look
|Date of Review||December 2012||Manufacturer||Revell/Germany|
|Kit Number||3096||Primary Media||Styrene, Vinyl and Metal|
|Pros||First kit of its kind with good exterior detail||Cons||No interior, no clear plastic parts and no crew figures|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$27.00|
The Spz PUMA is the successor to the Bundeswehr's Marder APC/IFV. Improving upon the latter's mobility, firepower and survivability the PUMA is touted as being the best in its class- period. With an innovative modular armor system (one designed for air transport to reduce weight and another for ground combat), a rapid fire unmanned turret with a fully digitized fire control system, and the ability to ferry six soldiers onto the battlefield, the PUMA looks ready to "pounce" on enemy positions in future conflicts. Jointly produced by Rheinmetall and KMW the PUMA is set to go into service with the Bundeswehr by early 2013.
Ten sprue trees contain the 177 individual parts that make up this kit. Molded in the usual dark green plastic styrene, the PUMA, like its predecessor the Marder, is a nice sized kit. The trees are wrapped within clear plastic bags similar to what are used to protect comic books and are closed with tape- making them re-sealable.
The instructions appear to be simple enough to follow but from a design standpoint, Revell/Germany maximized the use of space on each page making it easy to get lost from one subassembly to the next. It would be a good idea to highlight each section as you complete it.
For less than the price of some photo-etch kits, Revell/Germany does a good job of packing in the features for this new release:
- Top hatches can be positioned open or closed
- Rotating turret
- Elevating cannon
- Moveable smoke grenade launchers
- Vinyl treads tracks
- Vinyl tow cable
- Vinyl mud flaps
- Metal whip antenna
Surprisingly, Revell/Germany didn't include clear plastic for the optical sights and targeting system, and without a crewman or tank commander figure, there is little point to modeling the PUMA with an open hatch, only to see the cavernous interior within.
Decals are provided for the first production vehicle. The box color artwork by G. Klawek shows the vehicle in a European woodland scheme but Revell does not offer the corresponding FS color call outs in the instruction pamphlet (which displays the finished vehicle in black and white). They also do not suggest a particular brand of paint, merely providing the modeler with general terms like "Bronze green matte" or "Fiery Red Gloss". You'll have to do your homework if you want more accurate color guides.
What can I say? This appears to be an impressive kit even without an interior. Granted, with the vehicle just entering into service next year, details regarding the insides will probably be off limits for some time to come but an engine and engine compartment subassembly would have been a nice touch.
Overall, I'm pleased with the exterior details and crisp molding. It will be interesting to see if Academy, Hobby Boss/Trumpeter or Tamiya tackle this subject in the near future but for now, Revell/Germany has trumped the modeling world with this offering.