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Book Review of

 

"MaxxPro MRAP: A Visual History of the MaxxPro

Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles"

 

By Alan Crawford - Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA

 

Basic Item Information

Title

MaxxPro MRAP: A Visual History of the MaxxPro Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles

Author

John Adams-Graf with David Doyle

Publisher

Ampersand Group, Inc.

ISBN

978-1-944367-01-5

Subject

Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAP)

Media

Soft Cover Book 

Number of Pages

120 

Text Language

English

Retail Price

$22.95 USD 

Reviewer

Alan Crawford 

Review Date

December 14, 2016 

Review Summary*

Review Type

Full Read 

Recommendation

Highly Recommended

Photos

                 

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Detailed Review

If one class of vehicle could be chosen as representative of the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, it would be the MRAP, a one-size-fits-all acronym that covered a plethora of different vehicles acquired by various services at various times to deal with the ever-present threat of the IED, or Improvised Explosive Device.  The MRAP acronym stands for "Mine Resistant Ambush Protected", and that phrase pretty succinctly sums up the purpose of these vehicles — to protect troops in an “invisible” battlefield where any roughened patch of earth, innocuous piece of vegetation or roadside trash could mask an explosive charge capable of destroying existing transport vehicles and killing all those who rode within them.  MRAPs weren’t claimed to be invulnerable to these threats, but what they did was reduce or eliminate any casualties when an IED was encountered, and provide an environment from which the troops could then easily defend themselves against the ambush that so often followed.  In some cases, they were even able to keep going to their destination, despite damage that would have written off a lesser vehicle.

Good documentation of MRAPs is still rather lacking.  Some of this is due to the rapidity with which MRAPs were acquired, deployed, revised and in some cases, retired., But it’s also due to operational security, since many of these vehicles carry the state-of-the-art in IED detection and countermeasures.  You really don’t want your enemy to be able to look up your latest system on the web and read about which IED countermeasures it’s equipped with or how they work.

While most of the IED-related countermeasures remain shrouded by secrecy, the vehicles on which they’re mounted are starting to become more brightly lit, and this new photo-reference on Navistar’s MaxxPro MRAP family gives excellent photo coverage of the details you need to accurately model the subject.  Well, almost — it quickly becomes clear from the many high quality images included, that the interior of the MaxxPro (or, more accurately, the electronic systems that reside there) still weren’t for public consumption at the time this book was prepared.  However, there are enough shots through open doors or armored windscreens that there’s enough visible to at least help get the interior right.  Fortunately for the modeler, what you can’t see in the photos is also likely to be at best barely visible in a model.

The vast majority of this book is taken up by photos, with a high proportion of these being full-page.  They’re almost without exception extremely clear and sharp, and there are plenty of extreme close-up images that give details of the suspension, transmission, armor-mounting mechanisms, air-conditioning inlets, and other small details.  However the book starts with a concise but detailed history of the MRAP program and the place the various MaxxPro variants fall within it.  A helpful table gives the official designations of each version, the names it’s commonly known by (somewhat necessary given the way all of the kits released to date have referred to the vehicle as “4x4 MRAP” or similar to avoid falling foul of Navistar’s lawyers) and identifying characteristics.

The bulk of the photographs, and the vehicle that’s been given the most thorough close-up coverage, is the first production version M1224 MaxxPro "base" vehicle.  This is hardly surprising, since all of the kits currently available (two in 1/35 scale -one resin and one injection-molded plastic; and one in 1/16, also in plastic) depict this version.  However, the other “easily” modeled variant, the heavier M1234 MaxxPro Plus MRAP  (courtesy of a resin conversion from DEF Model) is also well documented; with photos of vehicles showing various armor kits, weapons systems, and the endlessly varied forest of anti-IED antenna that seem to festoon these vehicles.  There is also good coverage of the later and lighter M1235 MaxxPro Dash family, and even a few pages on the infrequently seen M1249 MaxxPro MRV recovery vehicle.

I think the book could best be summed up as doing exactly what it says on the cover — it’s a comprehensive visual history of the MaxxPro MRAP family, loaded with glossy photos of the subject.  The captions are descriptive, the short introduction sets everything in context and IF it does seem that 120 pages of photos of CARC Sand vehicles under blue skies on parched earth gets repetitive (which can only be blamed on the circumstances in which the vehicle was deployed) the authors break the monotony with a few pics of the vehicles in snowy conditions in Afghanistan, and under test in the US.

Highly Recommended.

 

Thanks to David Doyle for the Review Sample.
 
Copyright: Alan Crawford - December 14, 2016