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HMEE-1 Kit

Panda-Hobby 1/35 HMEE-1 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review September 2019 Manufacturer Panda-Hobby
Subject HMEE-1 Scale 1/35
Kit Number 35041 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Nice details Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $TBA

First Look


The U.S. Army needed an effective tractor equipped with a front-end loader and backhoe that was off-the-shelf, be able to accept armor kits around the cab, and be able to dash out to/from a site at high speed. These requirements were rolled up into the High Mobility Engineering Excavator program and the first variant was the HMEE-1 produced by J.C. Bamford Excavators of the UK. The U.S. Army procured 800 examples to provide road and trail clearing, digging defensive positions, clearing debris, and other construction/engineerind duties in regions with insurgency problems.

Panda Hobby had announced the HMEE last year with many folks anticipating its release. The wait is over as the kit is now appearing on store shelves and looks like a nice kit. Molded in tan styrene, this kit is presented on five parts trees (duplicate tree not shown) plus separate cab shell and hood, one tree of clear parts, one fret of photo-etched details, and one set of rubber (vinyl) tires.

Among the kit's features and options:

  • Detailed chassis and suspension
  • Detailed diesel engine and power train
  • Engine hood can be made removable
  • Detailed cab interior
  • Nice armored cab shell
  • Supplemental armor plates on vehicle underside
  • Movable loader arms and bucket
  • Movable backhoe
  • Photo-etched grilles and heat shields provided

The decal sheet provides instruments and placards for inside the cab, placards and stencils for around the vehicle.

One item of note is on the photo-etch sheet - part 8 - which looks like a British license plate that according to the instructions, mounts at the front of the hood over the radiator grille. The plate says KL 90 AB.

This is another nice release from Panda Hobby which provides another unique combat support vehicle for your scale motor pool. I'd love to have one of the full-scale HMEEs around here for work around this place!

My sincere thanks to Panda-Hobby for the review sample.