It seems as if Perfect Scale Modellbau has set its sights on recreating the NATO, US and especially USMC vehicles of the Cold War and today. Each new offering helps fill in the missing pieces, and despite some whining on the Internet about a fictional dearth of modern vehicles, it's a really good time for those who build post-WW2 AFVs.
But not so good that fans of the USMC will be totally happy.
Most new styrene offerings are Big Green Machine (US Army issue). PSM is working to fix that with a steady offering of kits and conversions to replicate the most-important tanks and soft skins serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. I can think of no more iconic vehicle than the HMMWVV or Humvee (often mistakenly called a Hummer, the name for its civilian version). Originally designed as a transport platform to be used out-of-range of pesky snipers and RPGs, the Humvee has over time been drafted into a combat role. The role started out patrolling insurgent areas where a "restive" populace was looking to stir up mischief, or in places where a tank or an AAVP "tuna boat" personnel transporter are too heavy or wide.
However, anyone who's seen "Black Hawk Down," much less served in combat in the Middle East or A'stan, knows the Humvee isn't the most-secure place in a fire fight.
Over time, Humvees were given more firepower than just a .50 caliber MG, with the M1114 variant an "up-armored" gun platform capable of carrying a variety of medium-size weapons. Yet the guns are only effective when their operators are alive, so attempts have been made to add bulletproof Mylar, steel plating and other "hardening" measures to this workhorse patrol vehicle. The USMC version of the M1114 is now attainable in 1/35th kit form using PSM's conversion and the Bronco base kit.
Inside PSM's usual white cardboard box are:
64 pieces of light blue resin plastic
1 sheet of PE
1 sheet of clear acrylic "bulletproof Mylar"
3 pages of 8 1/2 x 11 instructions in full color
The parts are all well-cast, though some of the larger pieces are a bit "hairy" with flash (as is common with resin casting). The pour plugs look easy to detach, though take extreme care with the many tiny resin parts. The PE fret provides additional sharp detail in window frames especially.
The conversion works off the basic Bronco kit (there is separate conversion for Tamiya's kit intended for carrying the S250 shelter). Some hardening add-on armor, as well as the hardened doors make up the major components of the conversion, along with electronics peculiar to the USMC variant and a clear protective wall around the roof machine gunner. While the army Humvees have been fitted with the autmatic CROWS array (for "Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station"), the Marines continue to "do more with less," and have resorted to more ad hoc solutions.
Overall, the kit looks like it's pretty self-explanatory to build, with the color illustrations a nice touch from a smaller supplier. One criticism I would have would be the lack of identification of the various components. Humvee geeks will know these items, but I would prefer they were identified on the instructions.
While another reviewer
had some breakage issues with a review sample for a different kit, this sample was perfect out of the box. In any case, PSM stands behind its kits, and if you have problems, simply send a reference to the issue and they'll replace damaged parts.
Ironically, the M114 has proven to be too heavy for places like Afghanistan, where abysmal roads and mountainous terrain require air deployment, so the Army has developed the M1117 Guardian Armored Security Vehicle. Yet the up-armored Humvee is probably still THE iconic non-tank vehicle in the US motor pool, so having a USMC variant is a huge addition to the hobby. The parts are well-cast, the various components all seem to be present, and the instructions are clear. Highly recommended.
I'm building the Bronco kit with this conversion, and the quality of the casting is not as high as with other PSM products I have had in my possession. The doors are difficult to remove from the pour plugs, and have broken off small bits along the edge. Be very careful in removing them.
Additionally, the instructions are somewhat lacking. For example, it's unclear whether the kit armor reinforcement for the sides replaces the kit parts C15 and C18 or is applied over them for additional protection.
Thanks to Perfect Scale Modellbau for providing this review sample. Be sure to say you saw it reviewed on Armorama when ordering.