Dragon 1/35 M270A1 MLRS
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (M270 MLRS) is an armored, self-propelled, multiple rocket launcher; a type of rocket artillery.
Since the first M270s were delivered to the U.S. Army in 1983, the MLRS has been adopted by several NATO countries, though Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway have since retired the system. Some 1,300 M270 systems have been manufactured in the United States and in Europe, along with more than 700,000 rockets. The production of the M270 ended in 2003, when a last batch was delivered to the Egyptian Army.
M270A1 was the result of an 2005 upgrade program for the U.S. Army, and later on for several other states. The launcher appears identical to M270, but incorporates an improved fire control system (IFCS) and an improved launcher mechanical system (ILMS). This allows for significantly faster launch procedures and the firing of new types of munitions, including GPS guided rockets.
Many years back, Dragon released the base M270 kit. This one is an upgrade and includes those bits that are different such as a batch of antennas and the main machine gun. This kit is of such an age that Dragon has not included injected plastic windows, providing a sheet of acetate and a template for these items. There is also no photo etch. However, they have retooled a number of the parts.
First thing I spotted is that there are no separate track links nor DS tracks. This one is link and length, which works out just fine for many modelers. Some of the options provided are having the blast slats open or closed and separate parts are provided for this. The interior is fairly complete with instrument detail needing painted on rather than the usual decals. There is a roof hatch that can be opened. One of the markings is for a German vehicle and that one has a few additional details not on the US variant.
A goodly amount of the mass of the kit is devoted to the rocket launcher section. One can model this in the travelling or firing position. For the latter, the section can be elevated and moved in azimuth as well.
Instructions are well done with the usual Gunze and Model Master paint references. Both the US and German option are in the NATO scheme, even though the US version is based in South Korea. The small decal sheet is well done and provides the basic markings for both options.
Not your run of the mill tank kit, but with 400 parts, it is no slouch, either. This is a fairly cool vehicle and one of the many in the modern US arsenal. I should mention that the kit does not include all the tarps shown on the box art photo.
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. You can find this kit at your favorite hobby shop or on-line retailer
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