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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

US M113 ACAVs in Vietnam

Battlefront's new all plastic M113 kit is really quite spectacular!  Now, as some of you may remember- I dislike plastics. It's not the end result, or the weight, or anything like that.  It's certainly not the price (this new box retails for $35 for 4 vehicles- a big savings over the previous resin and metal offering).  It's just the assembly.  I hate assembling plastics.

With that in mind, this kit is really quite good!  With options for The M113 APC, M113 ACAV, M106 and M125 mortar carriers, and a Zippo- this is the one box to rule them all! (or at least, all of the ones the US can use).
Assembly was very straightforward.  I must say- this is a HUGE improvement over the Open Fire Sherman.  Almost every piece was machined perfectly, with no question about whether or not something would fit.  Tolerances were spot on, and I had absolutely no trouble with the assembly.  If I had to compare the assembly difficulty with something recent, I would put it on par with Plastic Soldier's newer Panther kit.  Both these M113s and those Panthers have gone a long way to change my opinions on plastic.
The one complaint I had with the sprue itself was that the front plate was difficult to remove without leaving some unsightly blemishes.  In all likelihood, this says more about me as a modeler than the kit itself, but it might bear mentioning.  It took me a few tries and near surgical precision to remove the front plate without the bottom looking a bit rough.  If you look closely at the last picture you can see the slight divots in the front plate where they meet the track.  Again, I am willing to take the blame for this, but the rest of the pieces cleaned up and assembled so easily, this caught me off guard.
Including a robust set of decals, the kit truly lets you build just about anything the US can utilize.  It doesn't include lots of extra crew (which are available separately), nor does it include the turrets used by the ANZACs, but so much is included in the set, it's hard to complain.
With this set, Battlefront have shown they are in to stay with plastics, and can compete with the best of them.    I liked this kit so much that I originally had no interest in doing US Mechanized forces in vietnam... but have now totally changed my mind.  With a low cost, one-stop-shop box available, the decision is made easier!

In conclusion, this plastic kit is up there with the best of them.  I had very few mold line issues, zero assembly issues, and every option I would need as a US player.  If I had to find any faults with the kit, I'd be stretching.  All I could ask for was more crew options and perhaps the ANZAC kit.  All of which is available for special order.

I give it 8 out of 9 Lima Zulus.

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