Panda 1/35 Cougar 6x6 JERRV

KIT #: PH 35010
PRICE: @$60.00 SRP
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Includes photo etch parts.

HISTORY

 

The Cougar is an MRAP and infantry mobility vehicle structured to be resistant to landmines and improvised munitions.

It is a family of armored vehicles produced by Force Protection Inc, which manufactures ballistic and mine-protected vehicles. The automotives are integrated by Spartan Motors. These vehicles are protected against small arms, land mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) using a combination of design features and materials to protect both the crew and engine compartment against a wide range of attacks. A Monocoque type, V-shaped hull extends to the engine bay and serves to direct the blast away from under the vehicle. The dual air-conditioners help keep heavily dressed troops from overheating in temperatures over 100 F (38 C) in Iraq.

Cougar JERRV (Joint EOD rapid response vehicle). 4x4 and 6x6 variants have been built for the US Army, USAF, and USMC. Approx. 200 ordered in 2005 and 2006, with another 200 ordered in late 2006 but now called MRAPs to take account of the new US military/political initiative to be seen to be responding to public concerns about casualties.
THE KIT

MRAPs and similar vehicles seem to be the latest craze from modeling companies with vehicles in this category having been released by a number of China-based plastic kit makers in the last couple of years. The good news is that it seems all of these kits have been excellent.

Panda Hobby now adds to that mix with their new Cougar 6x6 JERRV. If you have ever built one of Panda's military kits, you know that the detailing of the parts is first rate. This one is no exception. You also know that there are a lot of them, and again, this one is no exception.

The front and rear suspension pieces are little models in and of themselves. No molded-in brackets and braces on this one as all these parts are separate. Since this has to be strong, none of the photo etch is used on these assemblies. These will then fit onto the lower hull along with the drive shafts and the Vee shaped transfer case, itself made up of seven pieces. As this is a 6x6, there are, in effect, two rear axle assemblies.

Once the drive line is attached to the lower hull, then the fenders, fuel tanks, rear stairs and so on are fitted. These assemblies do use some of the photo etch bits and these parts are used where they provide the greatest detail. I should mention that the fret is very nicely done and not just a mass of teeny bits as is often the case, though there are some parts that are relatively small.Those who have built the previous 4x4 MRAP, will notice that many of the bits are the same, though there are others specific to this kit.

Once the lower hull is fully built, and this includes installing the six very well done vinyl tires, one then goes on to building the interior. While the kit is by definition a curbside in that it has no motor, the interior is quite highly detailed. A full driver's section along with passenger seats, a full radio suite and racks as well as interior storage is included. This is where much of the small p.e. bits are used.

The upper hull has separate doors with full inside and exterior detail. While the instructions show them closed, it would be a simple matter to display these open, and after all the work put into the interior, this is what I'd do.

On the outside are storage boxes and all the windows are those super thick looking armored glass items one sees on similar vehicles. The kit seems festooned with those very tall and rather thick antennas, with two on the forward right and two on the rear of the vehicle. There is a turret on the top that appears to be manned so I would guess this is not a CROWS system item. This is also very detailed and uses quite a few pieces in its building. It appears it mounts a venerable .50 cal machine gun, possibly the longest serving military weapon of all time other than a knife! With all those antenna mounts sticking up, one does wonder if there is some sort of interrupter mechanism in the turret to keep the gunner from blowing them to smithereens.  Not shown in the parts layout, but included in the kit is one of those little tracked bomb sniffing vehicles, a nice addition.

The kit instructions are in book form and consist of 23 well drawn and very large construction steps. There is no painting information during construction and I've often wondered how someone who is not familiar with these vehicles goes about getting the interior and suspension colors right. A full exterior painting guide is provided and no surprise, the vehicle is overall desert tan. The decal sheet is for one vehicle and offers all the appropriate stencils that one finds on these sorts of vehicles. All of the dash instruments are provided on the decal sheet.

CONCLUSIONS

I have to say that I am continually impressed by the quality and detail that Panda Hobbies puts into its kits. They pick interesting subjects and I would think that the kit builds as nicely as it looks in the box.

REFERENCES

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cougar_%28vehicle%29

December 2015

Copyright ModelingMadness.com

Thanks to Glen Coleman and Panda Hobbies for the preview kit. This one should be on your store shelves.

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