by: Mario Matijasic [ ]
Each day across vast stretches of Iraq and Afghanistan, convoys leave the wire with a vital mission: route clearance. Soldiers assigned to this mission work to assure the mobility and resupply of forces. Riding in highly sophisticated and ultra-protected vehicles, route clearance teams go where others fear to tread, hunting for landmines and improvised explosive devices. To protect route clearance specialists, the US Army fielded the Buffalo Mine Protected Clearance Vehicle, a 13-foot-high, 26-plus-ton monster. This highly specialized, armored, wheeled vehicle’s signature feature is a remote-controlled, 30-foot hydraulic arm used to handle suspected explosive devices and execute the delicate work of clearing routes of explosive hazards.
(adapted from defencetalk.com)
This review covers one of the latest books from Wings & Wheels Publications: Buffalo MPCV in Detail. As with all WWP offerings I reviewed so far, the book feels very professional at first glance: printed on high-quality paper, well structured and presented, and bursting with large full color photos. Here are the basic facts:
Title: Buffalo MPCV in Detail
Publisher: Wings & Wheels Publications (WWP)
Authors: Ralph Zwilling
Format: softcover (22x24 cm)
Color: full color
Retail Price: $28 (€20)
The book consists of 48 pages, organized in 6 chapters:
• History and Development (002-007)
• Walkaround (008-023)
• Interrogation Arm (024-029)
• Suspension (030-035)
• Interior Details (036-045)
• OIF Buffalo (046-048)
The first chapter, history and development, explains the origins of Buffalo and its design peculiarities as well as adding technical details on the vehicle. This chapter also describes Buffalo Surogate Vehicle, a Buffalo mock-up for training and mission rehearsal exercises. After a short textual introduction, the book continues with Buffalo photographic references. The walkaround chapter spans over 16 pages and shows the complete exterior of the well worn vehicle: front bumper and armored grill, hull side details with ballistic windows, spare wheel mounts and indicator lights, rear hull details with ladder, rear floor area and fuel tank, and roof details featuring emergency hatches. The interrogation arm chapter is 6 pages long and describes the most important device of the vehicle, the robotic arm built by the Italian company Fassi Gru S.p.A. This chapter shows the robotic arm in detail: the bumper mount, the "claw" with CCD camera, flexible hydraulic lines, as well as the Hannay Reels air spade upgrade. Next up is the suspension chapter, also 6 pages long, covering front axle in detail, transfer case armored cover, and rear axle. Brake lines and armored covers for brake actuators are shown from different angles as well. The chapter with interior details follows, with 10 pages showing the armored cabin: front section with driver's and commander's compartment including the dashboard and various driver's controls, camera and interrogation arm remote control units, front, middle and back seats and , roof details, air conditioning system and the C4ISR rack. The amount of detailed photos is absolutely amazing and should be very welcomed by modelers and vehicle enthusiasts alike. Finally, a short chapter shows several OIF Buffalo vehicles, most fitted with cage armor. Unfortunatelly, these are the only photos showing the additional armor used so often in Middle Eastern theaters of operation.
WWP has again produced an exceptional photo reference book, this one covering one of the most peculiar vehicles today, the Buffalo MPCV. Good photos are the main reason modelers buy books, and this particular volume features 130 high-resolution, large color photos showing almost every aspect of Buffalo MPCV. The vehicle is shown inside and out in great detail. The information supplied on the Buffalo is kept short and concise; the intro gives interesting details on the origins of the vehicle, while the brief captions provide a very informative read, explaining various details presented in the photos.
Although a pretty thin book by WWP standards, this volume provides a great photographic reference on the Buffalo MPCV. Jam-packed with large high-quality images, the title includes almost everything a modeler would need to super-detail a Buffalo. The only thing missing are the detailed photos of the cage armor, which is often used on these vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan.