Trumpeter 1/35 M1117 Guardian Armored Security Vehicle Kit First Look
|Date of Review||October 2009||Manufacturer||Trumpeter|
|Subject||M1117 Guardian Armored Security Vehicle||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||1541||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$37.95|
The M1117 Guardian is an ASV-150 armored car developed by the Cadillac Gage division of Textron to provide security forces with a protected patrol vehicle while keeping the rear areas of combat areas secure. The vehicle is a modernized and up-armored version of the V-100 and V-150 armored cars used by security forces during the Vietnam era. During its initial roll-out, the US Army was reluctant to adopt the vehicle since it didn't fit into the armored vehicle category with the Abrams and Bradleys, and it was far more expensive than the standard HMMWVs equipping the rest of the Army. After a small number of the ASV-150s were procured, the Military Police Corps were issued armored M1114 Humvees.
When these armored Humvees were found to be as vulnerable to insurgent attacks in Iraq as the rest of the Humvee fleet, the Army embarked on the emergency MRAP acquisition and the Military Police Corps got their M1117s. These vehicles have proven very reliable and are able to withstand devastating attacks.
As an interesting side note, then the Army did put the M1117 into high-rate production, the facilities used by Cadillac Gage in New Orleans was one of the casualties of Hurricane Katrina. The facilities were quickly rebuilt and expanded to shift production rates from one vehicle every three weeks to 56 vehicles per month.
Here is one of Trumpeter's latest gems, the 1/35th scale M1117 Guardian. The kit represents the first styrene kit of this vehicle to be produced in any scale and according to the specs, consists of 369 parts. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on six parts trees plus the upper and lower hull halves, one tree of clear styrene parts, two frets of photo-etch, and four rubber (vinyl) tires.
Given the number of parts and the size of the hull, I was initially thinking that this kit must have an interior, but believe it or not, this uses every part on the exterior! If you look at the instructions and the sprue trees, the project is by no means difficult nor does it involve lots of tiny parts. The distinctive hull receives lots of sections of armor appliqué including photo-etched appliqués in the wheel wells.
Interestingly enough, the styrene windows are just about scale thickness for the armored glass in the various viewports on the vehicle.
The hatches can be positionable, but you'll need to either scratchbuild the interior or hope that an aftermarket option comes along. Trumpeter does provide grab handles and latches for the insides of each hatch.
An impressive amount of detail is provided with the vehicle's two differentials and independent suspension system. This is a 4 x 4 vehicle, so the drive train is really nicely done along with the steering and suspension. Given that some of the detail will be obscured by armored skid plates, there will be plenty to see for the judges with the flashlights and magnifying glasses.
The turret may look familiar to armored vehicle fans - it is nearly identical to the turret used by the US Marines' amphibious assault vehicle armed with the M2 .50 caliber machine gun and Mk.19 40mm grenade launcher.
Markings are provided for two examples - one by the US Army Kosovo security forces (KFOR), and one from Iraq. Sufficient numbers are provided to replicate unit markings and serials for any of the vehicles overseas.
One note here: Trumpeter has been doing a much better job of late in getting the English stenciling spelled right, but every now and then, one gets by their artist. On this current sheet, all of the markings looked good except for those that needed a 'W'. Look here...
The TOW EYE and TIE DOWN stencils didn't quite make it, but these will be easy enough to replace or correct.
This is another nice kit from Trumpeter and really captures the look and detail of the vehicle. If you want to add another important modern combat vehicle to your collection, this will definitely be a great addition.
My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!