|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The International MaxxPro MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicle is an armored fighting vehicle designed by American company Navistar International's subsidiary Navistar Defense along with the Israeli Plasan Sasa, who designed and manufactures the vehicle's armor. The vehicle was designed to take part in the US Military's Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle program, led by the US Marine Corps, as well as a similar US Army-led Medium Mine Protected Vehicle program.
MRAPs are categorized as category 1 or category 2, depending on usage and passenger compartment space, and Navistar produces the MaxxPro in both sizes, although the vast majority of those sold have been category 1 MRAPs. The MaxxPro Plus model comes with dual rear wheels for increased load carrying capacity, such as an ambulance or EFP protected variant. The latest model produced is the MaxxPro Dash, which is a smaller and lighter category 1 model. Both the Plus and Dash models use the MaxxForce 10 engine with 375 hp, in place of the DT 530 with 330 hp, used in the original base model produced.
About 9,000 MaxxPro vehicles were bought by the U.S. Army between 2007 and 2011, and they plan to keep only about 3,000 of them. A disturbing number are being operated by US police departments. Navistar is pitching the MaxxPro MRAP as a vehicle that can be upgraded into a mobile command post or power generator. With budget cuts, the plan would allow the Army to get solutions they want from the existing fleet. The company is also planning to make it a maintenance vehicle and mortar carrier.
Panda Hobby is your main source for MRAPs with this being the eleventh kit of the type they have produced. This one is no different from the rest being superbly molded and chock full of detail. It is basically a curbside with only underside engine detail being molded onto the chassis. However, it comes with a full interior that includes a well detailed driver's compartment and and even greater detailed rear section. This latter area has seats, storage and radio racks and other equipment. This is mounted on a curved floor which is part of the mine resistant design. Some of the photo etch is used here for the racks. The rest of it is used for exterior screens and various braces and brackets that are appropriate for the material.
Once the interior is built up, it fits into a one piece upper body and then the chassis and suspension is attached. The vehicle has dual shocks on each wheel and this, along with the exhaust system is duplicated. The drive line components are also superbly rendered and very complex looking. I can only imagine that being a maintainer of these vehicles is a pretty busy job. The kit provides rubber tires and thanks to having the two piece wheels separate items, will make wheel painting easy.
The rear of the body is a separate section that requires a lot of building as there are a lot of parts, including fuel can holders and a rear storage compartment. I'm not sure if this can be modeled open, but it would be a great way to show off all the interior work. There are also side body storage bins to be attached as well as the separate front doors. On the topis the machine gun turret and again, the detail level on this assembly is quite high and uses some of the p.e. for various brackets. Final construction steps involve the attachment of mirrors, steps and various antennas, of which this vehicle has many.
Instructions are well done with well drawn construction steps. Aside from the dashboard, the instructions provide no interior color information so you'll need to scour the 'net for photos to help you out here. There are markings for two similar vehicles in desert tan. Gunze paint colors are provided for exterior painting on the full color painting and markings guide. The decals are nicely printed and should work just fine.
Once again, a really fine kit from the folks at Panda Hobby. Considering the widespread use of these vehicles, it should be very popular with modern AFV builders. I do wish they'd make an effort to provide interior color info, but they don't and it doesn't seem as if this will be changing soon. Overall a kit that I know you'll enjoy and will look great when finished.
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Thanks to Panda Hobby for the preview kit. You can get yours at your local hobby shop or on-line retailer.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
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