US Marines deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan face numerous hazards in close-combat urban environments. Small arms fire and fragments from IED explosions are high on the list. To lessen those risks, the USMC turned to BAE Systems to develop a transparent, bulletproof shield that can be attached to gun turrets on a number of types of armored vehicles. The result is the Marine Corps Transparent Armor Gun Shield (MCTAGS), a transparent ballistic-glass armor that allows for continual observation and increased security, while providing ballistic and IED fragmentation protection.
MCTAGS is fielded on a range of vehicles, including the M1 Abrams tank, up-armored HMMWVs, MRAPs, MTVR and LVS trucks, etc.
Adapted from: http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/
Live Resin is a company responsible for a revolution in the model making process. Using 3D rapid prototyping technology, the company produces high-quality weapon and accessory sets in 1/35 scale. Many of these sets have been reviewed on Armorama: link
This review covers MCTAGS Turret with Ibis Tek sun and rain cover (LRE-35229). The set is supplied in a hard cardboard box featuring CAD boxart images showing the MCTAGS turret setup which can be built using the pieces in this kit. The box contains zip-lock bags with 38 parts cast in grey resin and 6 pieces in transparent resin. One of the resin carrier blocks was missing in my set, but I received a replacement soon after contacting Live Resin and informing the company about the problem. The resin looks really good and, other than some thin flash residue which can be easily removed, I found no evidence of any casting imperfections with the parts displaying impressively sharp details superbly rendered in 1/35 scale.
Consisting of 44 pieces, some of which are extremely delicate, this set is aimed at more experienced modelers. Before actually starting the assembly, I took some time to identify all the pieces of the set and studied on-line reference images as thoroughly as possible. The set doesn't include printed instructions, instead I had to download these from Live Resin website. As I donít have a computer on my workbench I had to jump back and fro in order to check where each piece is supposed to go which was a bit frustrating. I suppose I could have printed the instructions myself but these are designed on a dark background and my black cartridge would probably choke printing 5 almost completely dark pages. So, Live Resin, please include the instructions in the box as you did with all the previously produced complex sets or design the instructions in a more printer friendly manner.
First, I removed all the pieces from their carrier blocks. The pour stubs feature minimal contact area with the pieces, facilitating the process. However, some of the pieces in this set are extremely delicate and additional care should be taken not to damage them. After cleaning the pieces, I started the assembly. MCTAGS is a complex build and subassemblies are a must. For the purpose of this review I annotated the pieces on their carrier blocks and Iím also displaying photos of major subassemblies, noting the position of each part. The M240B on the weapon cradle is shown on photos 1-2 and the gunnerís shield assembly on photos 3-4. The turret hatch can be assembled in opened or closed position, as displayed on photos 5-6. The initial part of MCTAGS turret assembly is shown on photos 7-8, and with all the subassemblies fixed together, the complete system is displayed on photos 9-14.
The peculiarity of this set is the inclusion of Ibis Tek MCTAGS Cover. The cover is installed on MCTAGS to protect turret gunners during inclement weather and obscure their view by the enemy in hostile conditions. The cover in this set is made of 12 pieces, most of which are extremely delicate. I fixed the base of the cover to the turret first. The pieces are intelligently engineered resulting in perfect fit and easy alignment to the turret. Next, I fitted the frame pieces to the cover top. These fragile pieces do not tolerate any manhandling and it takes some time to align the pieces optimally. I experienced some problems inserting the frame into the base openings and had to enlarge the openings a bit so the frame would fit. However, the extra effort is well worth it as the completed structure looks very impressive (photos 15-20). The set includes mesh window sides as well; the instructions suggest using resin window frames only and adding some kind of thin netting to replicate this in scale, however I decided to leave those off for this review.
MCTAGS Turret with Ibis Tek sun and rain cover (LRE-35229) from Live Resin represents a 1/35 scale version of the armored turret fitted to a range of USMC vehicles. The kit consists of 44 pieces cast perfectly in resin. The assembly is rather complex but all the extra effort is well worth it in the end, as this kit builds into an amazingly detailed and very realistic rendition of the MCTAGS turret in 1/35 scale.
A big thank you to Yaroslav from Live Resin for this review sample.