Panda-Hobby 1/35 M1235A1 MaxxPro Dash DXM Kit First Look
|Date of Review||January 2018||Manufacturer||Panda-Hobby|
|Subject||M1235A1 MaxxPro Dash DXM||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||35032||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Nice details||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$49.95|
When the Department of Defense sought out survivable armored vehicles under the Mine Resistant-Armor Protected (MRAP) program, a number of vehicles were procured to protect military personnel from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Iraq and Afghanistan. While these vehicles were acquired and shipped overseas, a significant number of them were never put into service. While the MRAP concept was sound, the logistics challenges to support such a wide variety of vehicles created a new problem. In the years that followed that initial push for MRAPs, the Army is focusing its resources behind the Oshkosh M-ATV, specially designed for off-road work in Afghanistan. The Marines selected the International MaxxPro series, though a number of these have also found their way into the other services. Of all of the original MRAP designs procured under that original acquisition, the International MaxxPro is the only one to continue in production today (M-ATV was a later acquisition independent of the original MRAP program).
The MaxxPro features an armored shell with V-shaped boat hull armor underneath to protect it occupants from IED blasts. The shell is bolted to the chassis frame and drive train, which makes repairs and upgrades in the field far easier than all-welded solutions. The MaxxPro Plus introduced a more powerful engine (350 horsepower) while the Dash was a vehicle redesign which made the vehicle less susceptible to the rollovers that other top-heavy MRAPS suffered. The MaxxPro Dash DXM introduced the improved DXM suspension to the redesigned Dash and retains the 350 horsepower engine.
Here is a bit of a surprise from Panda Hobby - the M1235A1 MaxxPro Dash DXM kit in 1/35 scale. This is the first M1235 in 1/35 scale, with Trumpeter's 1/16 kit being the earlier M1224 as is the recent Bronco kit. Molded in tan styrene, this kit is presented on six parts trees (duplicate trees not shown) plus body shell and chassis, two trees of clear parts, and one fret of photo-etched details. What is especially refreshing is that the kit has a very simple layout. This kit doesn't suffer from numerous tiny parts.
Among the kit's features and options:
- Detailed interior configured as troop carrier
- Full set of (empty) mission systems racks
- Positionable left and right cab doors
- Positionable rear entry ramp
- OGPK turret w/M2 machine gun
- Detailed chassis, suspension and drive train
- Styrene wheel rims and rubber (vinyl) tires
- Variety of mission systems antennas included
The kit features some very nice detailing inside and out. The interior does not have radio or computer gear which is what makes this kit 'generic'. Like other MRAP, Humvee, M-ATV vehicles, the mission systems installed on a given vehicle varies by mission, unit, theater, etc. Where the average Humvee or truck in the first Gulf War rarely had much equipment, the capture of Private Jessica Lynch changed the Army's philosophy and now each vehicle has communications ranging from HF to SATCOM, FBCB2 for command vehicles and Blue Force Tracker for non-command types, and a variety of other systems. This kit has a jammer rack fitted while the other racks are empty and no gear is installed around the right (commander's) seat. Here are a few notes to consider:
- There is little information available at present on the different mission systems configurations for these vehicles, but you might want to seek out some aftermarket gear to busy up the racks and the commander's station
- This kit has the OGPK turret, but you can also go to the aftermarket and replace the OGPK with CROWS II instead
- You may wish to replace the wheels with weighted resin wheels, also available in the aftermarket
- Finally, you might want to obtain a copy of Ampersand's title 'MaxxPro MRAP' to see many of the details and colors (and weathering) of the different MaxxPro vehicles featured inside
I'm quite impressed with the engineering and assembly of another recent Panda-Hobby kit, the M1 Abrams. While the build is still in progress as of the date of this first-look, I'm seeing some of the same engineering and consideration applied to the design of this kit as well and I look forward to getting this on the bench in the near future.
This kit will make a great addition to the collection of MRAPs that are finally available in kit form. Grab one for your scale motorpool!
My sincere thanks to Panda-Hobby for the review sample.