by: Kevin Brant [ ]
The Husky VMMD (Vehicle Mounted Mine Detector) was developed in South Africa in the 1970's. The vehicle, which was previously known as the Chubby, gained a lot of notoriety with its service during the Afghanistan War. Several countries deployed the vehicle, Canada, Spain, France, UK (in Croatia), and a lot by the United States.
A recent kit from Panda of this vehicle represents the Mk.III variant, as mostly seen in service in Afghanistan.
5 Plastic Sprues
1 Clear Plastic Sprue
5 Rubber Tires
1 Fret Photo-etched parts
1 Length of wire
1 Decal Sheet
I was a little surprised when I opened the box, in that there did not look to be a lot of parts. The plastic is molded in typical Panda tan colored plastic, with only five sprues. A quick review shows there is really is not a lot to this vehicle, and all the parts were there. The moldings looked good with some nice looking details. I did find some flash in areas, as well as some sink marks that will need to be dealt with.
The kit also contains five rubber tires, with nice looking tread definition, but will need to have the seam removed, which sometimes in not easy on this material. A fret of photo etched parts is included, as well as a sprue of clear plastic for windows and lights. Also included is a length of black plastic covered wire, but there is no mention of this wire in the instructions at all, including as to where it might be used.
So on with the build. The instructions have you start with the lower hull, of which goes together very well. I did leave the sensor mounts off till later. Then you move onto the front suspension assembly. Here is I did find that the leave spring did not fit well onto the brackets, and that the opening in the brackets needed to be enlarged a little to a good fit. The rest of the assembly went very well. There is also sink marks in the supports near where they will attach to the hull that will need to be filled. It should be noted that I left the wheel guards off for ease of handling for now. One thing to note on the mud guards is that the sprue gates carry up the inside, this was easily dealt with using a micro chisel.
The rear suspension assembly went very much like the front, other than there are a few more bars to align. With both front and rear suspension sub-assemblies complete, I mounted them to the lower hull, using a block to ensure the axles were level. Also at this time I added the sensor sub-assemblies. These can be added as moveable if you watch were you apply the glue.
I next moved the cab interior, which while including some detail parts, really ends up sparse compared to the actual vehicle. Some of the controls are included with some dial and instrumentation, but there is no wiring details, and the inside mounted fire extinguisher is not included. This is a shame, as the cab has three big windows to look inside. I also found a sink hole in Part A25 in the lower dial display. There is also no paint callouts or warning label decals. Now originally when I built the cab, I scrummaged through my decal supply for instruments as there were no decal applications shown in the instructions. But later when I applied the exterior decals, I noticed there were instruments decals on the sheet. Strange that they were not mentioned during assembly.
I primed the interior black, apply Ammo by Mig US Modern Vehicle, added some detail colors and applied some scrummaged instrumentation decals. With this done I added the upper hull. The windows were given a quick coat of Tamiya Clear Green on the inside, and then attached to the vehicle. I masked the outside and ensured I applied a black primer around the window to ensure the inner frame would show black.
The rest of the upper hull details went on with no issues. Overall fit of the entire model was good with no gaps left. The wheels, including outer rim sections were left off for painting. It should also be noted that the kit includes a Rhino for the front, but I was unable to locate any images of a Rhino mounted on a Husky, so I left it off.
As mentioned the kit did include any wire, but nothing in the instructions from Panda show where and how to use it. Very loosely based on some reference images, I added some of the wire to show some extra details. While no were near correct or complete, it does add a little interest to the vehicle.
The vehicle was then primed with Ammo by Mig Black primer and painted with several light coat of Ammo by Mig US Modern Armor. Following a coat of Future, the decals were applied. The decals from Panda look to be well done, and go on very well. I did find that there were a lot more decals on the sheet then shown in use, even though the decal sheet was labelled for this specific kit. Also having two mounted fire extinguishers, a decal for only one of them was provided.
Overall this is not a bad kit from Panda, but it does lack some of the finer details that could have made it a great model. The interior cab was short in detail, while there was wire included there was not direction for its use, and lack of decal use in instructions left me scratching my head. The kit does have great over all fit of parts, and with a bit of work, could create a great looking build model of this very interesting vehicle. I would recommend this kit for someone looking for just the basic look of the Husky, and warn those looking for most of the bells and whistles that this kit comes up short.