Orochi ~ M3A3 Bradley CFV Deluxe Edition
M3A3 Bradley CFV Deluxe Edition
Model No. IM-001
MSRP: $65.00 US (42.00)
The M3A3 Bradley CFV (Cavalry Fighting Vehicle) is an offshoot variant of the M2 IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle). It primary use is in a reconnaissance or scout capacity. Essentially the same vehicle as the M2, the M3A3 underwent slight modifications to accommodate the changing role this vehicle plays on the battle field.
Internally the M3A3 has far less seating for infantry within the rear of the vehicle as well as removal of the side mounted firing ports. Instead of the six to seven seats for infantry, there are two centrally located flip-up seats for scouts. These modifications allow for storage of more ammunition for the 25 mm M242 Chain Gun, 7.62 mm M240C machine gun and the Duel TOW-2 Anti-tank missile launcher.
The M3A3 received an upgraded set of equipment from its predecessor including communication equipment, a central processing unit and various displays for its crew. One of the more notable upgrades is the addition of the inter-vehicular communication system. The IBAS (Improved Bradley Acquisition System) was upgraded as well. This unit handles the tracking of duel target as well as various other sighting tasks.
The M3A3 Bradley CFV Deluxe Edition kit, from Orochi Hobby, is supplied in a standard slip-top box. This is a 722 part, 1/35 scale plastic model kit with included brass barrel, metal tracks, resin and photo etch parts consisting of the following:
- 7 – Tan colored Styrene Sprue Trees
- 1 – Clear Styrene Sprue Tree
- 1 – Lower Hull Section
- 1 – Upper Hull Section
- 18 – Poly Caps
- 1 – Poly Mantlet Cover
- 7 – Photo Etch Parts (1 sheet)
- 2-Piece Brass Gun Barrel
- 168 – White Metal Track Links
- 174 – Track Pins
- 4 – Cast Resin Parts
- 1 – Decal Sheet
- 1 – Photo Etch Masking Template
- 2 – Appendix Instruction Sheets
- 1 – 13 Page Instruction Booklet
The IM001 M3A3 Bradley CFV Deluxe Edition model kit is the first production full model kit offered from Orochi Hobby. All of the parts are packed very well in the box with each of the sprue trees, photo etch and decals being individually sealed in polystyrene bags, track links, pins and metal barrel packed in their own box inside the kit box. Make note that this kit does not come with any parts associate with the interior.
After looking over the included styrene parts, I found the part clean from flash and only minor seems lines that will need removing before installation of the parts. The layout of the sprue trees is decent allowing for easy part location and subsequent removal.
The Lower End
Starting lower end of the model, the hull is nicely molded. The inside of the hull does have several injector pin marks; however, as I mentioned above, there is no interior included with this kit and these marks will not show after construction. The molded swing arm attachment points are nicely renders with bolt head detailing. I did notice the idler adjustment, which is molded to the hull, does not have a bolt head at the end of the rod. This is easily corrected with a sliver of styrene hex or even round rod. The center return roller attachment point, which is also molded to the hull section, does have fastener head attachments; however, these are a bit under scale. This is an easy fix as well by removing the small bolt pattern and replacing with styrene rod stock of the appropriate size. Please note that these minor details will not be seen after marrying the upper hull with the lower an installing the return wheels.
The swing arm suspension is adequately depicted and only a minor seam mild line on each will need to be sanded to smooth things out; this applies to the shock absorbers as well. The wheels for this kit are nicely detailed with bolt patterns on the rims for not only the outside but for the inside rim that will be seen from underneath. Each set of road wheels is a five-piece construction; two rims, two separate outer tire rings and a poly cap which allows for free movement of the wheels after construction.
The Sprocket and idler construction is fairly straight forward and both appear to be designed to specifications as to what is seen on the original Bradley. Each idler is a three-piece construction with and inner and outer wheel and a poly cap to allow movement after construction. Each Sprocket in comprised of an inner one-piece sprocket and an outer two-piece make up with a poly cap, again, to allow for the sprocket to me movable after installation. The sprue attachment on the sprockets might be a bit frustrating when first removing as there are multiple points of attachment on both the low and high sections of the teeth.
I am going to discuss the Orochi track links now following the instruction protocols. The reason would be that the side skirts to the Bradley model are molded onto the upper hull making it a bit of a task to nearly impossible to install the tracks after the marrying of the upper and lower hull sections. It would be advised to complete the lower hull, and work on the upper hull separately and not combine until the model is completed. There are 168 track links included with the set. These are white metal links as seen with some other manufacturers; however, these links have actually been polished prior to packaging. There are 174 pre-cut track pins provided for track construction.
The track pins are, for the most part, the exact size for construction of the tracks. There are a few pins that will be undoubtedly a bit longer and either a little trimming will be needed or a quick sanding with a file to render the pins flush with the track links. Per the instructions, there will be 70 links each to construct the two lengths of tracks needed for this model. Without fully constructing the tracks for this review, I will have to venture that a few more links may be needed to complete the full runs. There are enough track links and pins to fashion 84 links per side, so there is no need to worry there will be too few links provided with the kit. Installation of the track pins might be a little tricky at first. The pins do not just slide through connecting the links. There is no drilling required but due to the casting configuration of the links you might want to try getting the track pin started into the outside link opening and pushing the pin in just enough to grab the second link. If you flip the track run over so the pin faces down and touch your hobby mat, you can add a slight bit of pressure to the pin while wiggling the two links to be connected back and forth. The pin will slide right in. If you need to secure the pins, a small dab of superglue can be placed on the inside open end to the tank length. This will secure the pin and still allow the link to be movable.
As part of this kit, there is a photo etch masking template provided. There is a circular opening for masking of the wheels for easier painting, after construction as well as five cutouts for the track pads on the outside of the track runs. New, these pads are dark grey to black in coloring as is the interior sections and track horns. There is no template for the inside of the track links to assist with painting. After a quick look at a real set, a run of masking tape down both sides of the outside section of the links, leaving the middle section and track horns uncovered, you should be able to paint the tracks with little problem. Also, these tank links being of the white metal variety, any burnishing fluids designed to tarnish white metals would work excellent to aid in the realistic weathering of the tracks.
The upper Hull
After pulling the upper hull section out of the box, you will notice first off, that the side skirts and protective plating has been molded in place. Aside from my personal views of liking the option installing these plates, the part itself is molded very well. The entire upper hull section is clean and crisp and has plenty of nicely molded features to it. All of the panels that typically have an anti-skid coating to them have been rendered very well. There is the option of installing the ERA boxes on the front and sided with little modification needed and this detail would show through. All of the raised details that would be present under the armor are on the side armor plates.
With this kit, there is a small photo etch sheet supplied. On this sheet, there are several grills that are intended to be installed over the louvered grills. This will surely enhance the look to the kit. The one item that does stand out to me on this section is the handles for the lower appliques. These are molded into the armor. I do feel this would have been better represented with either styrene or photo etch parts as the handles don’t actually sit flush to the surface of the plated but stand off a bit. This will be a minor issue for most and could be corrected with a little scratch made handles and curtailing some careful sanding to remove the existing ones. I will mention that if it was desired to remove the lower appliques or side skirts either as a whole or in part, could easily be done with some careful cutting with a sharp hobby knife and a quick sanding after.
As I mentioned earlier, there is no interior to this kit, this makes the rear door assembly fairly straight forward. The molding is clean and look to be suggestive of what is seen on the original vehicle. While a nicely molded tow cable that is to be installed on the rear of the vehicle, I do feel this part would have been better represented with a metal tow cable which would give a little more option for placement. The rear fenders are done very well. The parts are mold thin and representative of the real vehicle parts.
The bulk of the upper hull consists of the ERA or Explosive Reactive Armor. I did read somewhere that the ERA on the Bradley was made up from 96 individualizes boxes placed around the vehicle. Whereas I did count only 95 boxes on the kit layout, this does not mean that this is incorrect depending on configuration of the vehicle. The ERA for the most part is in large pre-molded banks. These boxes may have been best served by individual boxes to be installed, but this way relieves the builder from mindless cleanup of all the boxes or constructing the individual boxes from photo etch.
There are only a couple of parts on the exterior of the M3A3 Bradley that are different from its predecessor; the TOW reloading hatch and the addition of the Commander’s Independent Thermal Viewer (CITV) attached to the rear of the turret. The reloading hatch is nicely represented with this kit. After the installation of the hatch, there are only a few minor pieces that need to be installed onto the upper hull; lights, handles and tools.
One final not to the upper hull section, there are two revisions to the instructions, these were labeled as “Appendix Instruction Sheets” in the contents section of this review. These two amendments outline the adding of several bolt head details on the upper hull as well as the reloading hatch located on the rear upper deck of the model. These bolt heads are molded into both of sprue tree ‘A’.
The turret is nicely represented with this kit. The ERA and added plate armor is molded clean and detailed and the mantlet straightforward construction remains movable when installed. This kit comes with a brass replacement 25mm Bushmaster cannon barrel. This is a two-piece metal barrel nicely rendered with a detailed cooling muzzle. The kit does supply the plastic alternative if this part is desired over the brass barrel. Orochi does supply an interesting part for the turret; a poly molded mantlet cover. This part is molded to represent the canvas material flap that hangs over the top of the mantlet. The Commander’s Independent Thermal Viewer (CITV), as mentioned previously is molded very nicely as is the TOW which can be positioned open of close and with a poly cap installed, completely movable after construction. Included in the kit is a clear sprue tree of parts. The majority of these parts are the vision blocks located all over the vehicle. There is one larger section of clear plastic intended for installation inside the CITV and does appear to bot be a crystal clear molding but this part is actually obscured with a photo etch grating after installation and barley seen.
There is a small decal sheet included with this kit mentions these decals are for depicting this Bradley as seen with the 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. Orochi was fairly close in the placement as I believe they modeled part or all of this kit off a vehicle seen in the 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment attached to 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division as deployed in Iraq. Basically the markings are limited to the standard placards a couple of black stars and the ‘G33’ Vehicle identification numbers.
The instructions booklet provided with the M3A3 Bradley CFV Deluxe Edition kit are printed in an 13 page, 31 step, A4, black and white exploded view format. The instructions are printed clearly and easy to follow outlining where all of parts including photo etch and polystyrene part are installed.
There are a few grammatical errors typical through translation of the original text, but nothing that affects the instructions in anyway. As I had mentioned earlier in this review, there are two amended instruction sheets outlining the installation of additional bolt heads.
This kit does include one figure and 4 pieces of resin gear for what I feel is for the figure as the instructions do not actually mention where the resin parts are to be used. The figure is a bit out of place being that it depicts a bomb disposal specialist wearing a EOD9 bomb disposal suit and one unexploded piece of ordinance. The M3A3 Bradley CFV was designed as a reconnaissance scout vehicle an to the best of my knowledge and at the time of writing this review, I could not obtain any information leading to the placement of a soldier using a EOD9 bomb disposal suit working out of the Bradley CFV. The figure is nicely molded just the same and would certainly fit inside of a related diorama, vignette or even alone. The cast resin gear in cleanly cast and looks to be fitting of gear used by the disposal expert
In conclusion of this review of Orochi Hobby’s M3A3 Bradley CFV Deluxe Edition Kit, I will have to say I do feel this is a decent kit created around the subject of the M3A3 Bradley CFV. The detailing is sharp and the depiction real close to what is seen from the Bradley CFV. I do feel the addition of the metal tracks for this kit is a plus along with the Bushmaster brass barrel. This kit can be obtained without the metal tracks for a lower price but I do feel the construction of the metal link tracks is easier for painting and installation…just my opinion.
There are a few minor notes to the kit that I touched on in this review that may or may not turn off some builders such as the solid one-piece construction of the ERA and the molded on armored skirts plates. Whereas I personally do need or want an interior for this vehicle I do feel that consideration to add one into the kit or at least as an aftermarket purchase should be done. These vehicles have equally as much detail inside as they do out and having the option to show off the inside of armored vehicle is a favorite pastime of many modelers out there. I also feel that possibly a larger decal selection to depict this vehicle in more than one setting would be welcomed. The front of the box declares “2 Types of Markings”; I was unable to find the second judging from the single decal sheet.
All in all this is a nice kit for modelling the M3A3 Bradley CFV at least form the outside perspective. The higher price tag of $65 US is reflective of the added metal tracks and even the Bushmaster barrel piece. The design is acceptable and a nice representation of the M3A3 Bradley and should build up into a fine static display for anyone interested in the subject matter in hand.
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