by: Mark R. Smith [ ]
The following Inbox Review is of Firestorm Model’s new release, Australian M113 Mine roller Conversion, Vietnam.
INTRODUCTIONDavid Hay and Firestorm Models, has introduced another fine resin conversion kit in 1/35 scale from down under in Australia. This kit is based on the M113 Armored Personnel Carrier, with modifications by the mine clearing squads and used in the Vietnam War Era. The original M113 APC helped to revolutionize mobile military operations. The vehicles were able to carry 11 soldiers plus a driver and track commander under armor protection across hostile battlefield environments. More importantly, the vehicles were air transportable, air droppable, and swimmable, allowing planners to incorporate APC’s in a much wider range of combat situations, including many “rapid deployment” scenarios. The M113’s were so successful that they were quickly identified as the foundation for a family of vehicles.
This conversion kit from Firestorm Models is designed to be used with Academy/Tamiya’s 1/35 M113 APC Kit, and the modeler can build an accurate reproduction of this very interesting and useful conversion of this vehicle, which of course was used by the mine clearing squads to aid in mine clearance.
INSIDE THE BOXOpening up your resin kit, inside you will find a well protected and packaged sealed bag of parts, in which the first thing that I noticed (and I must say, impressed me) was the care taken by Firestorm Model to insure that you receive their kit intact and in good condition. (see accompanying photograph) Inside the bag itself are four other bags of goodies, two Ziploc bags containing the misc. resin parts, one Ziploc bag with two different size diameter copper wire pieces and a small link brass chain length inside, and another bag containing the instruction and decal sheet. Two of the bigger and more fragile resin parts are packaged separately from the rest on their own cardboard pieces to aid in their protection (very nice!).
LOOKING A LITTLE CLOSERThirty seven finely casted resin pieces make up the bulk of this kit, produced in an Olive resin. Complete parts list is as follows:
Rear Armor Plate
Side Armor x 2
Tires x 8
Reinforcing Plates x 2
Hinge ends x 2
.30 cal. MG
Bump Stops x 2
Suppression Rail Supports
Upon closer examination you will notice that the resin parts are finely detailed and casted extremely well, and I must note that the only air bubbles present on these castings were on one piece, the rear armor plate. All parts are well defined and shipped mostly on their casting lugs, especially the smaller parts of this kit. It looks to me that after separation from the lugs, little cleaning will need to be done before beginning construction of this conversion. One of the coolest parts of this kit is the bag of copper wire and brass chain, in which the copper wire lengths are used to construct the lifting brackets and suppression rail, and the tiny brass link chain is used to attach to the support Beam/Tire Roller Assembly and the rear of the APC itself. These added touches really add to the realism of this kit (and also a lot more fun!).
From a modelers point of view, the instruction sheet provided is very detailed in both text and drawings, with all proper measurements listed as needed for ideal placement in construction. Also included in the kit is a small (but very good!) decal sheet respectively, with the proper vehicle markings to put the final touch to your recreation of this APC.
CONCLUSIONAll in All I feel that this kit from Firestorm Model’s is an accurate, very detailed production, to provide the modern day modeler a chance to recreate an all too important vehicle that was used in the Vietnam Era. Highly recommended, you won’t be disappointed with this kit. Overall a great value for the money and an excellent addition to your 1/35 AFV collection.
Many thanks and appreciation to David Hay of Firestorm model company, Australia, for providing this review kit sent promptly from down under. Also many thanks to the Australian war memorial website for photo use permission.