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In-Box Review
135
British AS90
British 155mm AS90 Self Propelled Howitzer
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

The AS90 is a 155mm lightly armoured SPG (Self Propelled Gun) which is built by BAE systems. The AS90 went into service with the British Army in 1992, which have so far purchased 179 AS90’s. The AS90 currently equips six regiments in the RA (Royal Artillery) and RHA (Royal Horse Artillery) of the British Army. There are two types of this SPG, which are the AS90 and AS90 Braveheart. The AS90 Braveheart has a 52 calibre weapon as opposed to the 39 calibre of the standard version. There are only two trial versions of the AS90 Braveheart at this time, as the programme has been put on hold.

Contents

The kit is packaged to usual Trumpeter standards in a very sturdy cardboard box which contains the following:

• Six green sprues packaged in four plastic bags.
• The hull tub loose in the box.
• A length of cotton twine in a plastic bag.
• A sheet of nylon mesh in a plastic bag.
• A set of rubber band type tracks.
• Clear poly caps for the road and idler wheels
• A set of decals
• A ten page fold out set of instructions.

Review

Sprue A (x2):
Contains the drive, suspension, and wheels for the vehicle. The mouldings are of a reasonable standard with no obvious flash and very light mould seams. The six road wheels accurately depict the correct number of bolts on all parts, and the profile is also correct. The central hub does appear to be slightly too proud of the wheels surface, but this detail is very minimal and unlikely to be noticed unless compared to pictorial evidence. The rear face of each road wheel does have 4 push out marks which are of various depths. These marks can be filled with ease, but will be impossible to see once the wheels are assembled and installed.

The idler wheels are also accurate with the exception of the very centre (bolt/grease nipple) detail which is too small, and should be the same size as the wheel bolts. The drive cog has again been well replicated and is accurate in all detail except for the locking device of the central hub, one of the possible locations for the central locking arm to be placed has been filled but the actual mechanism has been completely omitted. The suspension, return rollers and axles have a lot of detail most of which I cannot confirm or deny as accurate. I can say that the three braces inside the return roller wheels do not appear correct as they are not on either of the two AS90’s I have been able to check.

Sprue B:
Contains the 2 main turret parts and the hull deck. These parts are all cleanly moulded and free of any issues, there are flow marks in the turret and hull deck. I have noticed eight push out marks on the roof of the turret and two on the hull deck. Despite being able to see them I am unable to feel them with my finger tips or by running my nail over the area and it is my belief they do not represent an issue.

Sprue C:
Contains most of the parts to finish the construction of the hull deck. The parts all appear cleanly moulded, with some having a very high degree of finesse due to the small sizes of some of the parts involved. I have observed a problem with this sprue which relates to one of the headlight guards, the exact same headlight guard has one leg that is shorter than the other. With this being my second Trumpeter AS90 I am lead to believe that the mould has an error on the master, as I purchased my two models 3 or 4 years apart and both are moulded the same. You will need to be aware of a few sink and push out marks in a few pieces, these are more a nuisance than a pain.

Sprues D and E:
I have covered these two sprues together as they contain the parts for the turret and 155mm gun. There are a few misplaced/numbered parts in the instructions of this kit, which if overlooked will be very hard to correct by any means other than scratch building. I will be doing a build review of this model which I hope will identify all of the areas concerned. The main gun is too long but I have been unable to verify by how much. Other than those cautionary words there is nothing else to worry about.

• The lower hull contains no detail, and with the exception of the very bottom of the hull free of blemishes.
• The clear poly caps provided will cause no issues and have a few spares included.
• The cotton twine and nylon mesh supplied are adequate for their purpose but would look better if replaced.

Tracks:
The rubber band tracks included with this kit are a strong point, not a weak one. They are highly detailed with excellent definition, and with the AS90 having no sag in the track these are perfect for the task. There are 5 pins of waste material left over from the injection process on the inner face which will need to be removed.

Decals:
The decals for this kit are of a good quality and suitable for this vehicle. SFOR and IFOR decals are included, but unfortunately only one vehicle is shown as regards finishing and placement of the decals. Eight British forces number plates are included giving British AFV fans some welcome spares. Everything considered, the decals are another big plus for this kit.

Instruction Sheet:
The instructions for this model are clear and not overly busy. Completion of the build is detailed over 19 stages, and with the exception of a few errors which will be covered in the earlier mentioned build review construction should be straight forward.

Conclusion

I believe Trumpeter makes the only AS90 in injection moulded plastic, and this model is an impressive looking when completed. With the exception of some incorrectly positioned parts and errors in the instructions, and excluding the odd ejection/sink marks this kit has a lot going for it. The weld seams are of a very high standard and the wing mirror arms are very fine (it does make you wonder why they simplified the periscopes), and made glaring errors in positioning the drivers viewing device.
The price however, which at under £20, is a lot of model for a small outlay. Some parts are extremely well moulded due to their very small size/diameter which results in a high level of detail.

Everything considered, I recommend this product for anyone with an interest in modern British armour or SPG’s in general. You will need some good references and a reasonable level of scratch building ability to build an accurate AS90, but it is possible. I would advise changing the barrel, as the kit supplied one is not accurate. RB Model makes a turned metal barrel for the AS90 which is Reviewed Here.


To evaluate the kit further, a build review can be found Here on Armorama.


SUMMARY
Highs: A good basic kit of an impressive looking AFV which is also a great base kit for those who enjoy super detailing their work.
Lows: The kit contains some misplaced and overly simplified parts.
Verdict: A must have for British AFV fans and SPG fans in general.
Percentage Rating
80%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 00324
  Suggested Retail: £16.99
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Mar 13, 2010
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.16%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 84.63%

About Darren Baker (CMOT)
FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM

I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...

Copyright ©2017 text by Darren Baker [ CMOT ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.


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Comments

Darren I have some photos of this vehicle. I took some snaps of this vehicle when i took my son to a recent recruitment day at Thepival Barracks Lisburn. I will look them up and let you know what i have. Cookie
MAR 15, 2010 - 04:48 AM
Thank you Cookie
MAR 15, 2010 - 04:56 AM
You may already have seen them but, just incase, I thought I would post a link to some AS90 photos I took at an airshow held at an airfield owned by its makers. They have been reduced in size so as not st take too long opening. If there is one that you would like in a bigger size; just let me know. http://david-j-ross.fotopic.net/c618067.html
MAR 15, 2010 - 01:35 PM
David thank you for the offer but the link you have provided but when clicked I get 404: Page Not found We're sorry but we couldn't find the file you requested: LINK So either it doesn't exist, or it's been moved.
MAR 15, 2010 - 03:05 PM
Nice review, Darren. I love watching videos of these things cranking one out. Makes me ears hurt just thinking about it.
MAR 15, 2010 - 03:39 PM
Sorry about that. I messed the link up. This is the corrected link... LINK
MAR 15, 2010 - 03:47 PM
Thank you Dave. depending on my ability to obtain permission to take pictures of the one at Larkhill, do I have your permission to use these pictures and portions of them in a build log which I hope to do after the build review has been published.
MAR 15, 2010 - 04:02 PM
Sure, no problem.
MAR 15, 2010 - 04:12 PM
David Thank you for that as it has already yielded results when compared to pictures from Prime portal. When looking at the AS90 from the front left just to the back and left of the large vent there is a side vent (I believe the exhaust) in your pictures, but this part is omitted from the AS90 on Prime Portal. The Trumpeter model does have the feature that is included in your pictures and both sets of pictures were taken in 2005. There are only 2 versions of the AS90 that I know of which is the standard AS90 and the AS90 Braveheart, and according to various sources the Braveheart version is a stalled upgrade that will take place in the future, but has not gone beyond trial vehicles at present.
MAR 15, 2010 - 04:47 PM
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