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Italeri 1/35 M113 ACAV Kit First Look

by Michael Benolkin

Date of Review September 2016 Manufacturer Italeri
Subject M113 ACAV Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6533 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Vietnam war markings Cons See text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $34.95

First Look


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.

Italeri has reissued their M113 ACAV kit which was previously kit 6506 and is, in turn, a reissue of the original M113A1 kit 0276 that dates back to the 1980s. The ACAV version of the kit is a combination of the basic M113A1 parts from Italeri plus two armament trees from the Academy 1/35 M113 ACAV kit. Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Detailed driver's station
  • Detailed cargo/passenger compartment
  • Positionable driver's hatch
  • Positionable commander's hatch
  • Movable rear ramp
  • Movable rear overhead hatch
  • Choice of early trim vane or flotation box trim vane
  • ACAV shield around commander's hatch and M2 machine gun
  • Gun shields for the two M60 machine guns at rear
  • Optional stowage
  • Link and length track

The kit provides marking options for four versions:

  • M113, 12D94668, 22nd Inf Regt, 25th ID, Vietnam, Tet Offensive, 1968, Rommel's Army/To The Alps/Alice's Restaurant
  • M113, 12F17468, 1/5th Inf Regt, 25th ID, Vietnam, 1968, 23, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club
  • M113, 12C51669, 1/5th Regt, 25th ID, Vietnam, 1968, 34, The Perpetual Peace Machine
  • M113, unknown, 1/10th Cav, 4th ID, Vietnam, 1967, 2, Tracks of My Tears

This kit will build into an early M113 circa Vietnam and even includes the recoilless rifle from the previous release (6506) even though it isn't used with any of these examples. Construction is very similar to the Tamiya M113 with the exception that this kit does not include the engine compartment interior (nor does Tamiya's kits as their compartment was the gas engine used on the M113 only and the tooling was never updated for the diesel engines used in later variants).

Some modelers may not like the link and length track in this kit versus the 'rubber band' track in the Tamiya kit or the choice of rubber band or individual track links in the Academy offering. The link and length track provide runs of track where appropriate and individual track links where the track moves around the drive sprockets and return rollers.

The only real issue I found in this kit is with the vehicle stenciling printed in yellow as these are gibberish. The white stenciling is in English and the yellow is supposed to be, but for example: "Radio access issedfer wetew- dwetw/rwr1 cate s/e7."

This is an nice release with some possibilities right out of the box. The vehicle names/artwork will resonate with older veterans who remember the distinctive signs of the 1960s/1970s on vehicles in-theater that resonate with the music and happenings at home.

My sincere thanks to Italeri USA for this review sample!