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In-Box Review
M88A2 Conversion Set (for AFV Club M88A1)
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by: Jim Starkweather [ STAFF_JIM ]

Originally published on:

The M88 is a heavy recovery vehicle used mostly by the United States and Israel. It was first produced in 1961 and first saw combat in Vietnam. It has been updated and modernized over the years with the introduction of the M88A1 (1977) and then the M88A2 'Hercules' (1997). This conversion is for the M88A1 kit by AFV Club to update it to the M88A2.

The conversion kit

This is a very extensive refit of the base kit. Not only does this set include many updated complete armored panels for the M88A2, but there are several photo-etch sheets, a plexi-panel, metal rods, and metal wire included as well.

As with other recent resin sets we have been provided for review, this one appears to have very well detailed resin parts. There are several parts that will need special care and caution to remove the excess resin. Most notably the crane/boom arm assembly (see photo).

The instructions for this set are a one-sheet (double-sided) array of photos showing the finished kit or sections. The photos are all in full color.

There is no decal sheet provided with this conversion.


This is yet another conversion that will interest many ARV modelers. Heavy recovery vehicles are kind of a subject unto themselves, but certain most modelers will see the potential for dioramas or interesting displays of scenes like this. I can make any grand claims regarding it's accuracy. There have been other M88A2 conversions offered before that by all accounts have not met the grade, hopefully those with more knowledge of this very well documented vehicle can add their approval (or not) of this kit based on the photos provided.

Highs: There is a lot to this conversion and done in typical Legend quality and attention to detail.
Lows: The cost may put off some modelers.
Verdict: While we can't speak to the kits accuracy, based on prior Legend efforts this kit looks like the one to beat.
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: LF1210
  Suggested Retail: $85 (USD)
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: May 02, 2011
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Legend Productions!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
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About Jim Starkweather (staff_Jim)

I started building models in 1971 when I was 6. My first model was a 1/32 P-40 Warhawk. Revell I believe. From there I moved onto the standard cars, Apollo spacecraft, and other kid orientated kits. I don't know what got me started on Armor. I must have seen a Monogram tank kit one day and said "Mom...

Copyright 2018 text by Jim Starkweather [ STAFF_JIM ]. 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.


Well, I started my build about four or five months ago when I got the conversion. I guess I could start one up, to go along with all of the other unfinished projects I have going on...
MAY 02, 2011 - 08:15 AM
Please dont think im having a pop at you Jim with my following comments, because I most certainly arent. But is there any reason why this conversion, and the other recent Legends kits havent been offered/up sent to members of the site to review. You state yourself in this review, and the other recent reviews posted that you cant really make any comments accuracy wise on these subjects, so I just wonder why these havent gone to anyone from the site more knowledgeable on these subjects, to really pick these kits apart and give a detailed review. Dont get me wrong, pictures speak a thousand words, but if im going to folk out a ton of money on a kit id like to know all the ins and outs and issues regarding accuracy, unless of course the kits are 100% perfect (but no kits ever are) Im still thankful that you have even taken the time to publish the pics, I hope my above comments are read in the friendly manner they are intended.
MAY 02, 2011 - 08:26 AM
Rob, the main reason was that we wanted to get the reviews in the publics eyes as soon as possible. Finding homes, shipping/mail times, and then the review process/submission/editing is time consuming. I believe at least some of these are to be used in builds that will be either posted as build reviews or blogs on Armorama. And you have to admit...Jim's photos are some of the best and show all the details :-) Why did we want these published asap? Its been quite awhile since we saw any review samples from Legend, and hopefully now they will continue sending on a regular basis.
MAY 02, 2011 - 03:20 PM
James is correct. The primary reason these reviews were done by myself was because I made the promise to the vendor that they would be reviewed quickly and not over several months (or never). Sadly we have sent samples to folks in the past and never gotten a review submitted. James has been very good about following up with review items though so this hasn't been as much of an issue as it was in the past before we had a dedicated Reviews Editor. This item will actually be going out to Darren to do a build. Thanks, Jim
MAY 02, 2011 - 05:47 PM
Thanks Rob for voicing your concerns. I must admit I too was a bit dissapointed to read only about 15 sentances on such a big and interesting conversion... The pics are great and they show the details really well but I feel some more "vehicle specific" text should be included in the inbox review. On the other hand, I think manufacturers should be aware one can't do much research in a limited timeframe, so popping out reviews as fast as possible is not an optimal way to promote their stuff. Looking forward to the build review. Mario
MAY 02, 2011 - 11:33 PM
I wish I'd taken pics along the way during my build...I only started it 2 weeks ago, and it's nearly ready for paint! The conversion is my first attempt at a multimedia kit, and am very happy how its going! The cost is worth it, it looks very good so far, and has been pretty easy to build. The boom is a very nice casting, and only slightly warped. I found a tip on here about soaking it in hot water to soften it..worked perfectly!!!! The biggest hurdle i'm working out is the proper attachment point of the new side skirts? The casting has a large shelf on top, and on the inside , I can see a smaller ledge, but the pour block runs tight to it. Any one know where I'm supposed to cut? One question....the kit comes w/ the OGPK shield for the 50 cal. Does anyone have a link to one mounted? So far my search is missing the shields. Jeff
MAY 06, 2011 - 12:06 PM
Keep the top shelf. Sand it as smooth as you can. It'll be covered by PE after all is said and done. Remove the other shelf and ribs. Remove all traces of fender braces from the upper hull, and the bolts from the fender. Attach the side plates by laying the shelf on the fender. Add uparmor plates above this. I got your PM. Send me another with your email address. I'll send photos of the turret. The ones Legend used.
MAY 06, 2011 - 01:55 PM
Thanks 18 bravo..pm sent! guys, I'll try to add a few pics of mine if it's ok?
MAY 07, 2011 - 10:23 AM
Jeff, I've emailed you some good photos that should help you finish. note the exhaust extensions mentioned in another thread. I'm adding those to mine. The curved portion of the AFV sprue works perfectly. Let's see some progress shots!
MAY 12, 2011 - 06:42 PM
We broke our quick reply box. Working on it. Until fixed go to topic to reply.
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