Academy 1/35 M1151 Enhanced Armament Carrier Kit First Look
Images by Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||June 2011||Manufacturer||Academy|
|Subject||M1151 Enhanced Armament Carrier||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||13415||Primary Media||377 parts (335 in tan styrene, 16 clear styrene, 10 black styrene, 8 etched brass, 8 vinyl keepers)|
|Pros||Nicely executed kit of a current production Humvee variant; latest crew served weapons station and one current jammer provided; current electronics fit||Cons||Nearly 400 parts for a small vehicle and no engine?; some skimping on interior cargo and fittings|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$43.00|
It’s hard for many of us who served to realize that the Humvee â€“ military name for the Hummer high-mobility vehicle â€“ has now been in service for just over 25 years. Staring with the M998 series vehicles in the mid 1980s, the actual military family has evolved over the years and now covers a huge number of variants.
One of the main ones â€“ and what could be considered a “second generation” Humvee â€“ was the M1113/M1114 series of beefier vehicles â€“ called Expanded Capability Vehicles in “mil-speak” â€“ that could be fitted with additional armor protection for use in Iraq. But as insurgent tactics evolved, the protection levels offered no longer met requirements.
Enter what could be termed the “third generation” of Humvees, the M1151 and M1152. Building on the ECV, the M1151/1152 added a new roof, 12" heavy duty variable springs, reinforced body mounts, a forward mounted radio rack, and twin air conditioners to provide the crew with better operating conditions. Basically it also added heavier armor to the M1113 chassis and could be fitted with interior blast deflector plates to protect against self-forging fragment penetrators.
The vehicle is normally fitted with one or more jamming devices to protect against radio-controlled IED weapons. The rear mast mounted one is the DUKE, but they can also be seen with the paddle-like RHINO in front of the vehicle or the WARLOCK at the rear.
The centerpiece of the vehicle is its Force Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) console with its computer screen and twin SINGARS radio sets between the driver’s and commander’s seats. It also comes with Blue Force Tracker, a device which permits a commander to see on a computer map exactly where all his assets are (and functions as a ground-based IFF system as well).
Academy is now offering a “factory” kit of an M1151 with many of these features included in the box. (Up until now anyone wanting a “third generation” Humvee had to either get a Tamiya first-generation M1025 or the newer Bronco M1114 second-generation kits and a LOT of after-market items.)
The kit comes with all of the basics listed above â€“ the FBCB2 systems, Blue Force Tracker, and the DUKE jammer, as well as the heavily protected “crow’s nest” crew served weapons station on the roof. This is complemented by the most involved if not one of the nicest detailed M2HB machine guns with a total of some 35 parts on its sprue.
The directions indicate that the springs are installed in Step 4 AFTER the axles and drive line is in place; while this strikes me as odd due to the configuration of the suspension it appears correct.
The tires “trap” the wheels when cemented together, and while I am not a great fan of two-piece plastic wheels these have “slide molded” tread and appear bulgy enough (not flat on one side like the DML halftracks, but bulged out to the sides). It should make painting them a breeze. Note that like many aircraft models the vinyl keepers for the wheels are trapped inside the axle joints, not the wheels, so you can attach the wheels after the model is finished.
The body is that of the current M1113 series upgrades and has an extended grille and bumper. The reinforced windscreen is nicely done as is the internal armor within the passenger compartment. It also comes with a sprung computer mount (parts E3/E6) and a platform for the gunner (E63/66/67/68). The armored doors each consist of 13 parts if closed and an etched brass “piano hinge” if displayed open (these suckers weigh a couple of hundred pounds when fully set up!)
An optional USMC fording air intake extension tube is included as well.
The “crow’s nest” is very complex and takes 25 parts on its own with all of the windows and plates included as separate parts. Add in the machine gun and another 15 parts on its own and the turret/weapons station is a model unto itself.
As noted, with all the details surprisingly there is no engine provided! As most modelers are not interested in a concourse class vehicle this probably isn’t a big deal, but if they were going to this length you think Academy would have gone all the way!
As noted the etched brass is limited to the door hinges, the air conditioner heat exchanger vents, and two other small parts.
Two figures in modern US Army combat uniforms â€“ the digital camouflage ones â€“ are provided. The driver is wearing the full PASGT body armor and helmet and is posed half in and half out of the vehicle; the gunner is bareheaded with goggles (not the fancy “eye armor” ones, just goggles) and looks at ease. I do think Academy needs to find a better figure painter for their figures, as while they look good on the sprues their rendering in the directions leaves a lot to be desired (I think the drive is supposed to be African-American but looks like something from a blackface minstrel show in the directions!)
Two finishing options are shown: one in sand with black eagle markings on the doors, and one in NATO tricolor sans markings. Given Academy’s track record on decals, I would suggest some research on the Internet and perhaps after-market markings for a vehicle.
Overall, this is a well-done kit with lots of potential. As it is current, it should be popular with both modelers and the deployed troops who work on the actual vehicles.
My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!
- A 2 Body, hood
- B 49 Roof, turret ring and base, hatch, windscreen, details
- C 49 Chassis, axles, wheels, grille, driveline
- D 70 Armored doors, window frames, seats, figures
- E 130 Interior, seats, accessories, details, DUKE IED jammer
- F 16 Clear styrene
- G 35 M2HB machine gun
- â€’ 10 Tire halves
- â€’ 8 Etched brass
- â€’ 8 Vinyl keepers