Soon after the first release (M1114, kit #CB35080); reviewed here
, Bronco didn't rest. Another important variant was released in the form of M1114 Up-Armored HA (Heavy) Tactical Vehicle #CB35092.
Factory-produced M1114 HMMWV’s provide all-around protection. The features of up-armored M1114 are 200 pound steel-plated doors, steel plating under the cab and several layers of bonded, ballistic-resistant glass to replace zip-up plastic windows which increased the weight of the M1114 to more than 2000 pounds of the original. In addition to increased armor protection, the up-armored Humvee’s feature more rugged suspension systems that needs to be able to handle the added weight and ballistic-resistant glass, high capacity brakes, lift points, reinforced frame, self-recovery winch and large capacity air conditioning unit that enable crews to operate with the windows up, even in hot-humid environments. The weapon mount, located on the roof of the vehicle, is adaptable to mount the M-240 machine gun, M-2 .50 caliber machine gun, or the Mk.19 40mm grenade launcher. The weapons platform can be traversed through 360 degrees.
Evolution of these basic features came with FRAG kits (Fragmentary Armor Kits) and variants of upgraded gunners stations, such as the Objective Gunner Protection Kit.
The features of this kit identify these upgrades to M1114 Humvee Interim Fragmentation Kit 5. The main difference of the FRAG 5 armor kit upgrade is a much heavier 600-pound door and additional armor plating at key points on the vehicle. A critical improvement was in the design of the doors. All the window and latch hardware have been moved from inside to the outside of the armor plating. This prevents those parts from becoming a source of secondary fragmentation inside the cabin during an attack. Another major modification was the addition of a large "D" ring and a combat-lock bypass system on the outside of the door. These changes help rescue teams quickly open blast-damaged doors to save trapped personnel.
Bronco realized from either customer feedback or really just common sense that the box of the former release was oversized, so this one is actually quite nicely sized for a 1/35 scale model and again. The box art signed by artist Su Lei is again very clean and depicts the Humvee from a good angle showing off characteristic features such as the O-GPK turret, Front Protective Bumper, Rhino counter-IED device, smoke grenade dischargers which are discussed in detail later.
come as a 19-page full color booklet. There is a paint suggestion table given for Humbrol, Tamiya, Gunze Sangyo’s Mr.Hobby Color and Hobby Color line of colors and a tree-parts overview. The build itself is shown through 31 steps in exploded diagram view with color call-outs for specific parts or areas.
There is a problem with the instructions in the decal & color guide. Only one option is present in the instruction although the decals show at least four.
• Unknown unit, US Army forces, Mosul, Iraq, 2007. - overall sand (instructions)
• Unknown unit, US Military Police – (decals)
• Czech ISAF contigent – markings for MATEJ & KRYSTOF (decals)
• Iraqi Army vehicle
For anyone looking for some reference shots, this is not really an issue. The option depicted in the instructions is as general as they come. Overall sand and just some service stencils and you’re good to go. As far as the others go, here’s the catch. The MP vehicle is probably the same decals as the last model released so you could ask for someone the instructions for the regular M1114. The Czech vehicle is also pretty logical to do. A lot of references can be found on MilitaryPhotos
. Flags are usually placed on the front doors and the antennae while the ISAF roundel is placed on the rear doors just below the window. The single problem is the MATEJ & KRYSTOF marking. I haven’t been able to find some kind of reference image that shows it, but one could make a generic vehicle instead. Unfortunately there are more issues around Czech vehicles. Although some early ones could be seen with US weapons (M2, Mk.19), Czech forces use the AGS-17 Plamya grenade launcher and DShK / PKM combination of machine guns. Same thing goes for the Iraqi version that uses different weapons set than US those in use by US armed forces.
Other decals on the sheet are very nice, providing all the necessary marking and a number of stencils. The smallest of the stencils are unreadable, but the sheet has some nice touches like the proximity warning signs, ”Mozn” markings for the bottled water (also provided on a clear sprue) and a map decal for the onboard computer. All of the decals are printed on what looks to be a very thin carrier (no mention of printing company) so this should ease the decals into conforming nicely and minimize silvering. If these don’t rock your boat, one could try to find an aftermarket set of Echelon’s decals (#T35022) “Humvee’s in OIF & OEF” (to my knowledge, the only AM decal sheet with the necessary markings for the M1114).
In the zip-lock bag with the decals, a PE fret is provided as well. It’s a 71 part affair and gives meshes, hinges, a rear hatch warning plate, riveted strips etc., which should look the part when installed. It is the same fret as the previous release although updated with parts that should have been it the first release as well as they contain parts for the under armor which protrudes into wheel wells. This set is not for super-detailing, but it is a welcome sight in this kit, and I believe that most of the kit manufacturers should follow this way.
The kit is made over 11 main sprues (comprised of several smaller sprues); each individually packed to avoid braking and scratching of the parts, marked by letters A – P. There are 13 tan colored sprues giving all the chassis, body and interior parts; 1 clear sprue with the necessary transparent window parts, signal lights and a water bottle; 1 PE fret; wheel parts (including 1 spare).
Lower body part is nicely packed with the wheels in a separate small box with M1114 and M1114 Frag 5 profile drawing. The thing about wheels is this; I got accustomed in getting either rubber tires (prone to cracking and aging over time) or plastic halves (which always leaves a nasty seam to clean up). Bronco’s wheels are done in 3 pieces each. What you get is this – two separate sidewalls and a middle part with the pattern to hold it all together. Pretty neat as all you have to think about is getting a nice fit and some easy edge cleanup. Speaking of wheels, the details on these are pretty good, although the issue with the sidewall writing is still present. The outer sidewall has nice writing detail – unfortunately either due to the lack of license/copyright or just molding errors, the “Goodyear Wrangler MT” now reads “Goodyeap Wpangler MT”. This is an obvious error if you know what are you looking for, but the writing is so minute, that with paint and weathering it should be next to invisible. There is one more inaccuracy present on the wheels of the kit; aggressive pattern of HMMWV’s tires is misshaped and wrongly sized. The outer threads are supposed to be longer then the inside ones, but that is not the case with the kit, and the shape is “almost there, but not there yet”. Anyway for someone looking for more accuracy, there are a number of AM sets that can make these parts look better. With some nice paintwork and weathering, kit wheels will do just fine, but accurate they are not.
Sprue A includes the chassis frame, suspension, transmission, spare tire mount, steering, fuel tank, exhaust and rear bumper parts. Everything is crisply detailed with no pin marks on the visible side of parts. The few things to notice are a couple of sink holes on each side of the chassis frame next to the rear axle. This will go out with some puttying, and one can also remove the lengthy seam lines present here while sanding the rest.
Sprue B (2X) comes divided in 2 parts; B-Ba. B part holds small pieces such as towing hooks and clips, antenna mounts, as well as suspension springs, tire sidewalls and seats. Ba part holds some accessories – water and fuel cans and ammo boxes. Again, no pin marks are present on visible side of the parts, but there are some large pouring stubs on the back side which will need taking care of prior of assembly. The seats look a bit undersized, and come with seating imprints perhaps in aiding the positioning of figures. These are however very pronounced and could be replaced with some AM sets. Fuel canisters also have some very nice raised lettering on them and will look nice once painted and weathered. The springs are nicely molded, but for added realism, one should look for the option of scratch building these as it’s not a very hard thing to do and will certainly add to realism. If not, the kit parts are OK for a more casual build. One nice point on this sprue is a part with small bolts that you can cut off and use in your build, as indicated in the instructions. There are enough of them so most of us ham-fisted people can build without fearing the carpet monster.
Sprue Ca includes parts for the turret ring (with nice detailing for the interior), radiator and belt assembly, AC system, and engine parts. Some of these parts are full of pin marks, but if you choose to keep the bonnet down this should pose no problems. This is especially noteworthy for the radiator assembly as the entire housing is dominated by two very large pin marks, but when painted (black) and fully assembled with the radiator fan and belt system, covered up, it is next to invisible. All of the vent covers are nicely done, see-through and with no flash present. One thing I don’t like is the engine parts over the radiator assembly. Although it’s nice that Bronco included it, it looks more like overcooked spaghetti than proper engine wiring. If you do not like this, there is a CMK resin update set that could possibly be adapted to fit the kit parts. A noteworthy issue here is also that for the HA version of the M1114 a different turret hatch ring is to be used (sprue K) so place this one in your spare parts box.
Sprue D gives you more body parts like the rear hatch cover, tail gate, rear firewall, roof (armor?) padding, radiator grille/mask, bonnet grilles, as well as some interior parts like the steering column and wheel, dashboard, gunners mount, body stiffener rods, and the front windshield assembly. The hatch cover is nicely detailed inside out, and comes with a nice rendering of tie-downs. They are very minute and look nice, although for added realism, one could exchange them with PE counterparts. One thing to note is the air conditioning inlet on the firewall. It’s really small, and comparing it to some reference pictures you can really tell the difference. One good place to find a replacement set is Legend’s M1114 detailing set that addresses this issue as well as some other that will be described a bit later. The tail gate is also detailed inside out, but the molded cargo straps could also be replaced with some PE to give them a 3D effect. The bad thing on this sprue is the front windshield; the exterior looks ok, but the interior has 10 pin marks, both protruding as well as recessed, that will make harder to cleanup. The rest of the parts are nicely molded with no errors.
Sprue E is broken into 5 separate pieces E-Ea-Eb-Ec-Ed. E’s got everything one needs to build a M2 .50 cal heavy machine gun and the according weapon mount. Due to the slide molding technology, the cooling jacket on the M2 is a separate part with pre-drilled vents and with appropriate thickness. The barrel is also drilled, and the entire assembly has nice detail overall. If not satisfied with the plastic parts, there are a number of aftermarket M2’s available out there.
is the Mk.19 sprue that comes with a drilled out barrel, detailed ammo cartridge as well as ammo box.
is the smoke discharger assembly. It’s sharply detailed, but has some pin marks and pouring stubs on the mounting brackets.
is the same problematic sprue. This sprue contains the heart of the FBCB2 - Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below; communications platform that provides situational awareness to the commanders and tracking capabilities of friendly and hostile forces. What Bronco gives you is this:
• PLGR - Precision Lightweight GPS Receiver, hand-held, single-frequency GPS receiver
• DAGR - Defense Advanced GPS Receiver, hand-held, dual-frequency GPS receiver (replacement for PLGR)
• SINCGARS ICOM dual system radios
• single earphone piece
• 2 boxes for the intercom system
• Digital command and control system monitor
Here’s the bad part again: the entire radio rack is wrong. It is OK for the older SINCGARS setup, but not for the modern FBCB2 Bronco envisioned, however one can model an early FBCB2 setup with provided kit parts. The crucial parts missing are the CPU (a prominent boxy part) and keyboard normally used. If you’re looking to upgrade these parts, there is the DToys resin kit, as well as the ET Models PE set to the rescue. Also the BFT antenna is missing, but this is also addressed in the Legend detailing set. This part is something that needs a lot of references. Please be aware of the time period you’re modeling this one, find good reference pics since there are many different layouts in setting the FBCB2 up, with many depending factors of who, how and why was it installed.
has parts with accessories; a couple of M4 carbines, one with a M203 grenade launcher and the other with a forward grip. They are nicely detailed, although I would like to see more options like different optics, and modern rail systems, but these are nice. If you still feel these aren’t up to date to the time frame you’re building, there is the option of Live Resin weapons. Caution is needed when separating the thin barrels from the pouring stubs. Also included here are an AT-4 launcher, CIP recognition panels, and ammo/weapon floor brackets.
Sprue F is the first clear sprue in the box. It gives you the windows, headlights, turn lights, and a water bottle. All of the transparencies are clear, without blemishes and are thin enough to avoid any distortion while looking through them.
Sprue G is a simple 2 part thing; roof part, and the bonnet. The bonnet is highly detailed; with complete inner ribbing if you decide to leave this part open. It’s a first in all the HMMWV kits out there and a welcome touch by the manufacturer. It also has tow hooks backing plates on the exterior, so no need for PE parts here. The roof part is a nice part of kit engineering. On first sight it is ruined with dozen of pin marks, but then you figure out that there are parts for padding, and once you assemble everything, almost all of them will not be seen at all. Also the vent covers for the AC system is a nice combination of PE meshes, and slide molded grilles which once completed should look the part.
Sprue H is basically not a sprue but a single piece of the lower body. It’s nicely detailed all over, with some pin marks present on the bottom, but with the adding of the chassis frame and everything else attached to it, it shouldn’t be a concern.
Sprue K is a new addition in the box. It has the Frag 5 doors, O-GPK turret armor, turret hatch, single DUKE anti-IED antenna (tubular kind). Although nicely molded, to correctly depict the Czech variant according to some references available on the net, you would need one more DUKE antenna. Interesting fact with the turret parts is that it is similar in width to the previous Bronco M1114 and if you choose to change it with Voyager or Legend’s sets beware of significant size differences between those turrets. One particular opinion is that Legend did not correct the turret ring dimensions for a conversion from a M1025, and therefore has a larger turret.
Objective Gunner Protection Kit
(OGPK) provides full wrap-around protection, while still ensuring the gunner's ability to engage targets effectively. The OGPK is an integrated armor and ballistic glass turret that is mounted onto the turret ring of an HMMWV as well as other tactical and armored vehicles including MRAP family of vehicles. An innovative asymmetric armor design kit was used with strategically-placed modular armor panels, including transparent areas to give the soldier more visibility. The OGPK system also incorporates the Battery Powered Motorized Traversing Unit (BPMTU), which ensures full 360-degree rotation of the turret with the use of an electronic joystick.
Frag 5 doors
are a critical improvement in the design of the doors. All the window and latch hardware have been moved from inside to the outside of the armor plating. This prevents those parts from becoming a source of secondary fragmentation inside the cabin during an attack. Another major modification was the addition of a large "D" ring and a combat-lock bypass system on the outside of the door. These changes help rescue teams quickly open blast-damaged doors to save trapped personnel. The actual kit weighs about 2,200 lbs., but the overall vehicle weight is only increased by 760 lbs.
The doors look very nice with sharp details inside and out. The build looks complex judging from the instructions and feature large number of separate small details like brackets, rivets, hinges, handles, locks, D-rings etc.
looks very nice and features minute and sharp rivet details and with all the spacers and integral parts is a 7 parts affair.
Sprue L is broken into 3 separate pieces L-Lb-Lc. Sprue L is also a new addition and hold parts for the Rhino anti-IED device
, a passive/counter-passive infrared tool that the armed forces have come to rely on due to its simplicity and effectiveness. Rhino is a capability used to defeat a subset of IEDs and features a universal bracket that can be mounted on any vehicle platform to detonate passive IR-initiated IEDs prior to their intended targets entering the kill zone. The first systems were developed in Iraq in May 2006. This is very sharp and is a first for me in plastic. It’s a 10 part build and looks very much like the real thing. Very nice small rings and T-handles are sharply molded and this is a very welcome thing. It’s not essential to place this on the model, so it can be added to your spare box if you wish so, but has appropriate mounts for either the winch or the Ibis Tek bumper.
Sprue Lb is the Ibis Tek Front Protective Bumper
(FPB) assembly. The FPB enables the HMMWV to easily push its way through barriers or other vehicles put in front of it, and prevent damage to critical engine components. The FPB is easily installed in less than 1 hour with no special tools mounting directly to existing bolt pattern. A cutout in the front of the bumper provides mounting for the front winch, if desired. It is a lightweight high-strength front bumper for a vehicle, having an elongated substantially hollow structure, with a protruding tubular strengthening member attached near the front face and also near the back face, so as to strengthen the spaced apart relation of the front face and back face. The bumper is typically substantially made of 6061 T6 aluminum or another high-strength, lightweight metal or alloy with good workability. The bumper advantageously includes one or more storage compartments in the elongated structure. Optional accessories including night vision headlights, wire cutters and cornering lamps.
9 parts will look really good on the model as the non-slip surface is sharply molded, but the tubular parts will require a quick clean-up of mold lines and sprue stubs. There are 8 rubber bumper stops, but I have seen some reference pictures with lots more of these so it would have been a nice thing if Bronco provided more of these.
Sprue Lc is the second clear sprue in the box. It gives you the windows for the armored doors and the O-GPK turret. All of the transparencies are clear, without blemishes and are thin enough to avoid any distortion while looking through them.
Bronco did it again. It appears they listened to some degree what people wanted and placed a great kit on the market. Bronco is the first one to come up with an updated M1114 kit all in plastic. It comes with some lows that can be fixed with the existing AM resin parts or some scratch-building. This is a modern, mixed media kit, with plenty of details and gives you a kind of “oh-look-they-included-this-too” feeling when you start looking in the box. One of the issues that is pretty logical (due to the price of mold retooling) is that they haven’t addressed the problems of the previously released model. Basically what you get is the standard M1114 with 3 new sprues. This may seem like no effort was made, but it’s the way it’s done with airplane models all the time. Updating the kit with better PE, more options is something I look really forward to from all manufacturers. The price tag is not small but nowadays it's pretty standard for a kit of this quality and complexity. It’s a really good model. A lot of aftermarket options are out there for anyone wanting to build current vehicles with huge precision and details.