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AFV Club Husky Mk.III VMMD

RELATED TOPICS: ARMOR | MILITARY | REVIEW
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Addressing the widespread problem of mines in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States found a solution with the South African-built Husky Vehicle Mounted Mine Detector (VMMD). The Husky can mark mines in a 3-meter path for following vehicles to remove. Its modular design allows the vehicle to be rapidly repaired in the field, and, if a mine is detonated by the Husky, high ground clearance and a V-shaped hull that deflects the force of a blast away from it gives the driver a better chance of surviving.

AFV Club’s Husky MK.III is a multimedia affair with 313 parts in dark yellow plastic, 13 clear parts for lights and windows, a small photo-etch (PE) fret, and vinyl electric cables and tires. The level of detail is excellent, with even the smallest items well-represented. However, almost every part has ejector-pin marks, no matter how small, and sink marks mar several parts.

Both E sprues include extra nuts and bolts not mentioned in the directions. However, the comprehensive instructions do include a parts list, history, and a marking sheet with colors given for GSI Creos, Humbrol, Revell, and LifeColor paints. Small-detail paint colors are called out along the way. The directions say to assemble the vehicle by building each of its three main modules: body, front-, and rear-suspension units.

Construction starts with the driver’s cabin. This is fairly complete and easily seen if the upper hatches are open. According to my references, the control panel to the driver’s left is reversed from the actual vehicle. This would be hard to fix without major surgery. I strayed from the directions by assembling the driver’s compartment without the floor panel. This allowed me to paint all the interior detail later. I had trouble getting the rear of the driver’s compartment to fit and ended up needing a little filler.

You have a choice of an open or closed hatch on top of the vehicle; each option requires different parts, so you need to decide while assembling the cabin. I left the cabin off the body until painting was complete.

The rest of the body assembly is straightforward, but I recommend assembling all  major components on the lower body at once using slow-setting glue. This  allows you to ensure everything is aligned.

Oddly, clear parts are included for the lights on the bumpers but not the side and rear spotlight, which are molded solid. The air filter and mine-detection units were also left off as subassemblies.

Next, the front-suspension module: No major surprises, though, in Step 25, Part B29 is actually B27. The rear module comes next; make sure to place parts in the proper order on the rear frame or the wiring harness and stairs will not fit.

I chose to add all the vinyl hoses to the two suspension modules, figuring it would be nearly impossible after the model was painted. I had to enlarge many of the locator holes for the vinyl hoses and used liquid styrene cement to attach the vinyl to the styrene.
 
The wiring harness DA2 was too long to fit the frame; I had to bend the cables. This caused breakage before I even painted my model, and by the end almost every vinyl cable broke. The cable for the mine-detector units also had to be shortened. User error, perhaps, but I could not figure it out. Fine solder may be a better option.

The vinyl tires have excellent detail, including sidewall markings, but you need to use a brand-new blade to remove the center of the tires. Late in the build, I decided to glue the two suspension modules to the body instead of leaving them as subassemblies. They are both open, allowing access for airbrushing, and because the brittle plastic easily broke with even a little pressure, I figured it was easier to fix broken parts before painting.
 
Two choices of marking are provided, both being in U.S. Army sand (FS33531). For this color, I base-coated with Tamiya buff (XF-57) and followed with highlights of AK Interactive’s U.S. modern vehicle color (AK122).

Clear parts for the windows do not have any of the green tint of armor glass as shown on the box cover. I painted them with Tamiya enamel clear green (X-25) thinned with Tamiya enamel thinner (X-20) instead of my usual lacquer thinner to avoid crazing the clear styrene. It crazed anyway. In hindsight, I probably should have used an acrylic, such as Ammo of Mig Jimenez crystal periscope green (A. MIG-0096).

Humbrol, Vallejo, and Ammo paints were used for the rest of the detail painting and weathering. The difference between the two marking choices is that one has low visibility markings. I chose the high visibility markings because I liked how the blue placards stood out. The decals were easy to work with and showed no signs of silvering under a flat coat. With the open hatch, I would like to have seen decals for gauges in the driver’s compartment.
 
If you want to add extra detail or need help with painting or parts placement, Husky VMMD by Ralph Zwilling (Tankograd, no ISBN) will be a big help. Operational vehicles are festooned with spotlights and anti-IED devices, and some have bar armor and ground penetration radar. In the aftermarket, Legend Productions has already released the ground-penetrating radar unit (LF1331) as well as spotlight kits.

This is not a model for the inexperienced; even with a relatively low parts count it took me 39 hours, due in large part to the vinyl hoses (possibly my error) and filling all those knockout marks.


Note: A version of this review appeared in the October 2016 issue.

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