by: Darren Baker [ ]
The Israeli’s are not known for wasting armour when it can be redesigned and or repurposed, it would seem Hobby Boss has picked up on this and so they have updated their offering of the IDF APC Puma and released a Puma AEV version of the model. The puma is based on the British Centurions that were the IDF MBT once upon a time and ended the MBT days as the Sho’t version; this alteration basically means removing the turret in order to create a space for troops sit and go into battle in a vehicle that offers a good level of protection. This offering being the AEV (Armoured Engineering Vehicle) version of the Puma its role is to carry engineers into areas of combat and in addition to getting engineers to a destination safely it can also carry out specific tasks and provide small arms defensive fire. Hobby Boss has not been covered much on the network in the last few years but thanks to Creative Models in the UK providing this kit for review that is about to change.
Hobby Boss takes the protection of the models seriously and so you get a sturdy cardboard tray and a separate equally sturdy cardboard lid. Inside the box there is a divider that further stabilises the packaging and helps to prevent movement of the contents. The model sprues are packaged in a large number of bags that helps prevent damage to the parts from rubbing against each other or parts getting locked together. There are a few duplicated sprues that are packed together with no ill effect. An examination has left me with a positive feeling about the contents. the actual mouldings only have one issue and those are ejector pin marks that are hidden for the most part.
The hull of the Puma clearly shows it’s Centurion heritage, the tub has a nice level of detail on the lower face and the suspension unit while consisting of a number of parts and so a little tricky to assemble will add a lot of finished detail. The same is true for the bell housing, for the rear drive wheel, I suppose my only complaint would be that there is some lovely detail here, none of which you are going to see. There are seven return rollers on this vehicle, two doubles and five singles , I cannot recall ever having seen so many return rollers, however being an Israeli vehicle and there tendency to modify things this number of wheels may just be one of those modifications. The road wheels are provided with two options, with either six or three lightening holes, I am unclear as to exactly what wheels are specific for what reason. Something else that may perturb some modellers is that the rubber on the wheel is vinyl rubber, wait a minute no it's not it's injected moulded plastic; nicely done Hobby Boss. The track links are individually moulded and have four connection points that will need to be cleaned up. The detail is very good and will in my opinion make for a nice level of detail on the finished model. I am aware that individual track links are not to everyone’s taste, but I do feel these are a big improvement over rubber band tracks.
The track guards hold a large assortment of tools and protective systems. Protection wise you have very good smoke launchers that can be assembled with or without a cover on them. The stowage on the track guards is towards the rear of them and this provides the crew with a good field of vision, when using the defensive weapons mounted on the hull. The track side guards have nice sprung detail on the inside, which will again unfortunately not be seen in any great detail. The bolt detail on the guards is very good, and has a nicely replicated wave pattern on the lower edge. I was expecting to see a droid in place, but that is not an inclusion and can be obtained from the aftermarket if a desired inclusion.
The upper surface of the hull is provided in an interesting way in that you have a single piece covering the front to rear, and then a raised crew compartment that is attached to that. The crew compartment has a number of hatches that can be opened or closed, and again provides smoke dischargers that can be assembled with or without a cover. The guards for the optics are a bit like grab handles, and I suspect that these would be better replicated with wire and using the kit parts as a pattern, this also applies to the handles on the hatches. The defensive weapons on the crew compartment consist of three manually operated machine guns and a fourth which is a remotely controlled turret. These MG’s have been slide moulded, which I am sure everyone will approve of. I also appreciate the addition of lights on each of the machine guns, unfortunately the lenses are not moulded in clear plastic.
Moving to the rear of the upper hull, a nicely detailed stowage basket is provided on to which a high level of detail has been added, assembly of which will require a good eye and a steady hand. There are a few more tools stored on the engine deck, such a hammers which are all visually appealing details. The tow cables provided in the model are provided via separate hitch eyes and copper cable, I am very sorry Hobby Boss, but I detest the copper cable you include as it is the same as provided in every kit when needed and so poor scale representation and detail is provided. I know that we all have our favourite cables to use for this purpose, and I would certainly utilise that, as opposed to what is provided.
What makes this model so different from the previous release, are two mine clearance pieces of equipment. On the rear is a rocket launcher barrage, designed to create a pathway through a mine field by setting of a mine to clear a path by concussive force. On the front of the vehicle, are the KMT mine roller system, the idea of these two pieces of equipment is that the twenty rockets destroy most of the mines, along a set path via concussive force. The mine rollers on the front of the vehicle then detonate any mines that were missed, but it should be noted that this will only be a track width clearance as regards the KMT mine rollers.
Assembly of the mine rollers is another area that the modeller will need a steady hand and a good eye, as a combination of plastic and copper chain are brought together to make this item. There are again a number of half circular handles present, which I feel would be better replicated with wire. On the mounting plate for the two rollers, there are two plastic parts that replicate the clasps and wire for supporting the dual arms of the roller. This is another area where I would consider cutting off the kit part replicating the wire and replacing it with wire. The rocket launchers at the rear of the vehicle has a well designed casing, that will require careful clean up of parts to get to go together well. The rockets (or as I would recognise them as fin stabilised mortar rounds), have a very nice level of detail to them, unfortunately Hobby Boss has not supplied a full load of these rockets.
Finishing options: Hobby Boss has only supplied a single finishing option for this model, which I would normally be harsh about. However, on this occasion due the limited number of vehicles used in this set up I will happily forgive them.
This offering from Hobby Boss is a very nice representation of an IDF Puma used in the AEV role. I have made some comments and concerns around parts such as the vinyl rubber tyres and the copper cable provided, and even suggested a few alterations that could be tackled by most modellers without too much difficulty. With that said, the model built as is from the box will still make a particularly eye catching addition to any modellers show case depending on ability.
I would like to thank Creative Models for providing this model for review .