Buffalo 6x6 MPCV (2004-6 production)
|KIT #:||CB 35100|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||New tool kit|
The Buffalo vehicle was designed based on the successful South African Casspir mine-protected vehicle. While the Casspir is a four wheeled vehicle, the Buffalo has six wheels. Buffalo is also fitted with a large articulated arm, used for ordnance disposal. Both vehicles incorporate a "V" shaped monohull chassis that directs the force of the blast away from the occupants.
Buffalo is also now equipped with BAE Systems' LROD cage armor for additional protection against RPG-7 anti-tank rounds. Glass armor is sufficient at 6 inches thickness. Run-flat tires are present in all tires. The Buffalo combines ballistic and blast protection with infrared technology to detect the presence of dangerous ordnance and a robotic arm to disable the explosive ordnance. Personnel operate the Buffalo’s 30-foot robotic arm and claw from within the armoured hull via a mounted camera and sensory equipment, to safely dispose of mines and IEDs.
In 2004, the United States had a limited number of Buffaloes in service, with an order for 15 more, at a cost of $10 million. On June 6, 2008 Force Protection, Inc delivered its 200th Buffalo to the U.S. Military.
This is a bit of a change for Bronco. Most, if not all of their previous kits have been WWII stuff and this one is definitely not. It is also a most unusual vehicle in that its prime purpose is to remove undetonated bombs, mines and other buried things that go BOOM. As such, this is not a small kit.
Molded in the usual tan plastic that Bronco likes to use, the kit is up to their renown standards when it comes to detail. The kit states it is a 2 in 1 kit. That might be stretching things a tad, for unless I missed something, the only option in this regard is the ability to model the scoop extended or retracted against the side of the vehicle.
There is a nicely done photo etch fret for screens, a few equipment boxes and a myriad of smaller bits and pieces that are the norm with modern armor kits. Also included are three sizes of plastic tubing in .4, .6, and .8 mm sizes. These are used to represent what I guess are hydraulic lines.
The kit provides a very detailed suspension and drive line as much of this is exposed. I found it interesting that each wheel/tire is built up of separate bits with the tread being a separate item as well. The kit has a full interior with driver's position and various crew seats. No engine is provided, so this is technically a curbside. The upper bodywork is well done with properly thick 'glass' windows that should allow you to see your interior work unless you tint them.
With a vehicle like this, there is a ton of external detail as most equipment is kept outside. The inside, due to the vee shape, is rather limited as to what can be carried internally. One of the highlights of the kit is the large crane scoop that is used to dig under mines at a distance that does not put the crew in danger. As mentioned, this can be built extended or retracted against the side.
Bronco's instructions are contained in a 36 page color book. Each of the 51 construction steps is well drawn and has detail drawings to help out. In some areas the builder will need to stretch some sprue. One note caught my attention and I have scanned that section from the instructions. Not many folks that I know can scratch build a universal joint out of sprue.
The decal sheet is very nicely done and provides markings for three vehicles, all with a sand base color. First is a US Army 101st Airborne vehicle from Iraq in 2006. This one gets most of the colorful markings, such as they are. Next is a USMC version from the same place and time. The third option is a French Army one from Afghanistan in 2008. This has large areas of chocolate brown painted on it in what looks like a hand brushed scheme.
For those into modern vehicles, this is a must have. It is not going to be a quick and easy build, but those used to complex kits like this will have a real beauty when they are done.
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. This one should be at your local shop or have them order it for you.
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