DML 1/35 IDF M113 APC 1973 Kit First Look
|Date of Review||December 2018||Manufacturer||DML|
|Subject||IDF M113 APC 1973||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||3608||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch, Vinyl|
|Pros||Great details||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$69.95|
The M113 was developed as a light armored personnel carrier (APC) for the US Army in the late 1950s. Produced by Food Machinery Corporation (FMC), the M113 design was based on two earlier APC designs also from FMC, the M59 and M75, but the steel plate armor was replaced with aluminum. The aluminum armor would protect the crew and passengers from small arms fire up to 7.62mm and give the APC greater mobility including amphibious operations. With over 80,000 examples (M113 and variants) produced, the design was not only versatile, many M113 versions remain in US and allied service today.
When the M113 was deployed to Vietnam, it was quickly apparent that the commander and cargo compartment gunners were exposed to enemy fire. The armored cavalry assault vehicle (ACAV) modifications were rushed into the field giving the vehicle commander all-round armor protection while also providing gun shields for the cargo compartment hatches. The Israeli Defense Force is one allied operator of the M113 who have evolved the APC into a variety of variants, but the basic APC entered service with the name Bardehlas (Cheetah) though it was more commonly known as 'Zelda' in those early days.
There are several kits of the M113 that have been produced over the years:
- Tamiya: Their early M113 featured a detailed engine bay in addition to a nicely detailed interior. In their later releases of the M113, that engine bay was left empty because later versions of the M113 swapped the gasoline engine for a diesel powerplant. Tamiya's lower hull also featured holes in the bottom to support motorization - a common option for armor kits during that era.
- Academy: Academy followed with their own M113 series though they were very similar to the Tamiya kits, right down to the motorization holes. Because of the similarity and low retail price, the Academy kit was a good option for building M113 variants from aftermarket sets developed for the Tamiya series.
- Italeri: This was a new-tool development which has lots of nice details inside and out but differs with the lack of motorization holes (thank you) and replaces the 'rubber band' vinyl track used in the Tamiya and Academy kits with 'link and length' track similar to ESCI's armor kits.
- AFV Club: This is a recent series of M113 kits which also do not have motorization holes in the hull, another nice approach to interior and exterior details, but provides the vinyl 'rubber band' track. While a nice kit overall, the retail price will preclude many folks from building more than one or two examples.
Enter DML with their own new-tool M113 series. This kit is laid out for many variant options but offers a similar range of interior and exterior detailing. This kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on six parts trees plus the lower hull plate, two trees molded in gray vinyl, one tree molded in tan vinyl, and one fret of photo-etched parts.
Some key features of the kit are:
- Detailed driver's station
- Detailed cargo/troop bay
- Link and length track with vinyl track pads
- Positionable crew hatches
- Positionable overhead bay hatch
- Positionable rear ramp hatch
- Positionable rear ramp
- Positionable engine bay hatch (no engine included)
- External stowage racks
- Nicely detailed M2 .50 caliber machine gun on commander's pintle
- Two machine guns on pintles on either side of the overhead hatch
- IDF external engine exhaust duct
- 25 duffels and backpacks for stowage (tan vinyl parts)
Markings are provided for two IDF '73 War examples.
Overall, the kit is another nice option for the M113, though like the AFV Club kit, the MSRP of this release is on the high side. Had the kit included the figures shown in the box art, this would be an excellent buy. It is also a shame that the stowage was provided in vinyl versus styrene or resin, but there are aftermarket alternatives available. But with aftermarket options, you can start from the Academy or Italeri kits for roughly half this kit's retail price.