The M1117 Guardian ASV (Armored Security Vehicle) entered production in 1999 and is manufactured by Textron Marine & Land Systems. It is a 4x4 vehicle that fills the gap between larger armor systems and more lightly armored wheeled vehicles such as the M1114 and M1151 HMMWV. The low profile UGWS 40/50 turret's under-armor reload capability, combined with its oblique armored steel hull and ceramic composite expandable armor, provide unparalleled, all around survivability against small arms fire, Rocket-Propelled Grenades (RPG), overhead artillery fragmentations and under-wheel and under-hull mine blasts. The ASV was designed to have a crew of 4 (Commander, Driver, Gunner and Dismount). It is armed with a 40mm MK. 19 Grenade Machine Gun and an M2 .50 caliber machine gun. The M1117 ASV is currently in use in Germany, Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
The kit contains the following:
• Sprue A (2 ea) consists of 54 parts molded in grey styrene
• Sprue B (1 ea) consists of 31 parts molded in grey styrene
• Sprue C (1 ea) consists of 19 parts molded in grey styrene
• Sprue D (1 ea) consists of 52 parts molded in grey styrene
• Sprue E (1 ea) consists of 31 parts molded in grey styrene
• Sprue GP (1 ea) consists of 23 clear parts
• 1 length of brass chain
• Top Hull
• Bottom Hull
• 4 vinyl rubber tires
• 12 page (6 pages front/back) instruction book
• 1 sheet of decals
• 2 sided, 7-7/8” x 11-1/4” color printed painting and marking guide. Side A references an Operation Iraqi Freedom vehicle in overall desert sand color. Side B references a 3-color camouflage vehicle as used by KFOR forces in Kosovo. The color guide additionally provides color reference numbers for paints produced by Mr. Hobby, Vallejo, Model Master, Tamiya and Humbrol.
• 2 small frets of photo-etch parts. Fret ‘A’ consists of parts for the engine air intake grill, handles for the fuel filler caps, environmental air intake screen, headlight protective cover, and taillight mounting plates. Fret ‘B’ consists of 16 additional appliqué armor plates and bolt details for the suspension.
The molding of all the parts is very well done. None of the parts were damaged when I opened the box, and there is no flash present. All of the parts are very well detailed with some of them having anti-skid texture molded on, which looks very convincing and to scale. One thing that I think is neat about the way Trumpeter molded some of the parts is that they molded two-sided parts using what I will call mold extensions to eliminate ejector pin marks on both sides of the parts. You see these ‘mold extensions’ on any part that is seen from more than two or three sides. It is a very ingenious idea and will save modelers a huge amount of time cleaning up ejector pin marks if they want to have a hatch or door in the open position. Mold seams are also minimal.
The instruction book is 12 pages with 6 total pages printed front and back. The text is bilingual (English & Chinese). Page 1 is a vehicle illustration, ‘Read Before Assembly’ statement, symbol legend and decal application instructions. Page 2 is a comprehensive, all inclusive parts illustration that shows all the parts that you should have in the kit. Pages 3 through 12 cover kit assembly in 14 steps as follows:
• Steps 1 through 4- covers assembly of the suspension and wheels. Step 5 is assembly of upper and lower hull.
• Steps 6 through 10- assembly of hull details (doors, hatches, handles, etc) and installation of both the styrene appliqué armor panels and the photo-etch appliqué armor panels.
• Step 11- installation of the suspension sub-assemblies on the lower hull and lower hull details.
• Steps 12 and 13- Assembly of the weapon systems and turret.
• Step 14- installation of the turret on the upper hull and installation of the winch chain.
Overall, the instructions are well laid out and are black & white line drawing illustrations. Assembly steps are well defined, easy to understand and parts are clearly labeled in the instructions. All photo-etch parts are labeled with a ‘PE’ part number prefix in the instructions so that you know when a part is photo-etch. This is important in a couple of steps where the use of photo-etch parts is optional to the model builder.
Suspension and Wheels:
The four vinyl rubber tires are cleanly molded. The tread detail is very good and the mold seam is minimal, actually it is barely there. The sidewalls on both sides of the tires are detailed. There is raised molding detail that reads MICHELIN X
and 14 00 R 20XZL
. Four tire/wheel assemblies are completed in step 1.
Front and rear transmission housings/assemblies are identical and are both assembled in step 2. The suspension arm for each wheel is independent and can be moved up and down. As with most moveable suspensions on models, unless you need the suspension adjustable for display purposes, you may be better off gluing everything into place.
There is a unique suspension assembly for the front (assembly E) and the rear (assembly D) of the kit. The significant difference between the two assemblies is the rear suspension/wheel assembly has shorter springs than the front and a protruding driveshaft. The front assembly has longer springs and the protruding driveshaft is not present.
The hull comprises of two pieces, a top half and a bottom half. The packing process for the kit has both halves ‘connected’ by foam wrapping which is protecting the corners and edges of the doorways on each side of the kit. All hatch openings and door openings are present, with the hatches and doors detailed both inside and out. The modeler can display them open or closed without compromising build quality/detail that you get with some kits that don’t detail the inside of kit doors and hatches. Dry fitting of the upper and lower hull excellent fit with no gaps to be filled.
Probably the biggest feature of this kit is the appliqué armor panels. Trumpeter has done a masterful job of replicating the panels. The detail of the mounting bolts is excellent. Another item that Trumpeter did an excellent job on is replicating the non-slip coating on the horizontal surfaces. The depth and direction of the non-slip coating looks very accurate and to scale.
One thing that perplexes me about the kit packing is what parts they chose to protect. As an example, the front headlight guards have foam sheeting wrapped around them to keep them from getting broken. Yet, the rear tail-light guards, which stick out further from the sprue and are more vulnerable to breakage, are not protected at all. Then, Trumpeter wrapped the armored covers for the tire inflation system in foam sheeting and all they are is flat discs. Just seems strange to me.
All headlights, tail lights and periscopes are clear parts. Trumpeter has simulated the numerous equipment tie-down points that are present on the M1117 Guardian. This is done using ‘strips’ of tie-down points that have been molded in styrene. The tie-down ‘strips’ are installed at applicable points on the model. There are 10 individual windshield wipers that are individual parts to be installed.
In Step 7, you have your first opportunity to choose options. You must select a photo-etch engine grill cover or a styrene grill cover. In my opinion, the photo-etch piece is superior but the styrene piece is very well done also. You additionally must choose between two different horn types.
In Step 10, you choose options again, this time between two different types of mirror mounts. The mirror bodies are the same design as those used on HMMWV’s.
In Step 11, when you install the front suspension assembly, the builder can turn the wheels left or right if desired before gluing the steering rods into place.
The lack of an interior with this kit is really a disappointment. Trumpeter did such a fantastic job with the exterior of the kit that a good
kit could have been a great
kit with some interior details. With the option of having so many doors and hatches open in addition to all of the windows present on the vehicle, an interior is important I think. What color does one paint the interior in this situation? Do you paint it overall black to eliminate visibility of the empty interior or do you tint the windows to reduce/eliminate visibility of the empty interior?
The turret assembly in Step 12 looks pretty straight forward. The provided weapon barrels have hollowed muzzles which is nice. However, the 40mm barrel would look better replaced by an aftermarket barrel. The muzzle detail on the kit supplied 40mm GMG barrel isn’t very sharp. The turret is also cast with anti-slip coating on the horizontal surfaces.
The smoke discharges appear to be similar to those seen on the Bradley, HMMWV and M113 family of vehicles with the primary difference being the mounting brackets. The smoke dischargers have photo-etch mounting brackets that look like they will be a challenge. Just to clarify an incorrect statement on the kit box, the turret on the M1117 is not the same turret as the one used on the Marine Corps AAVP-7A1 AMTRAC. It has some similarities but is not the same thing. You get to choose between a styrene or vinyl rubber ammunition feed chute for the 40mm GMG. Comparing the vinyl rubber feed chute to the styrene part did not reveal any significant differences. In this step you will be assembling 8 periscopes which will probably be pretty time consuming.
The decals included with the kit appear to be of good quality and very comprehensive. However, the placement of the decals and which decals are used with each different vehicle are not clear to me. My best guess is that you have markings for 3 KFOR (woodland camouflage) vehicles and 4 or 5 sets of markings for an Operation Iraqi Freedom (desert sand) vehicle. A glaring fault with the decals, though, are the ‘Tie Down’ decals and ‘Tow Eye’ decals. Apparently in the printing process, the ‘w’ was replaced by a ‘k’. The decals included in the kit read ‘Tie Dokn’ and ‘Tok Eye’. Fortunately, I have some extra US vehicle markings from Echelon that I can use to overcome this deficiency.
Overall, the kit is very well molded and executed. The subject is a welcomed one for modern armor modelers, especially those who like wheeled afv’s. The lack of an interior leaves a challenge for the modeller to overcome. The highlight of the kit, I think, is the detailed anti-slip coating that is cast on the horizontal surfaces. It is very well executed and an often over looked detail on modern American armored vehicles.
The only readily obvious challenges with ejection pin marks will be on some of the suspension parts and if you choose to scratch build an interior. Mold seams are minimal and should clean up quickly and easily. Hopefully, the couple of incorrectly printed decals included in my kit is an isolated incident and not a common problem. The kit should build up into a good representation of the M1117 Guardian ASV right out of the box.
A Build Log
has been started in the Forums to evaluate the kit construction. *****