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Model Review

1/35 Kinetic Model Kits

4x4 MRAP (MaxxPro) Armoured Fighting Vehicle

 

By Patrick Keenan - Editor

Basic Item Information

Item

4x4 MRAP (Maxx Pro) Armoured Fighting Vehicle

Stock Number

K61011

Manufacturer

Kinetic Model Kits (Owned by WarWheels.net Sponsor: Lucky Model)

Scale

1/35

Medium

Injection Molded Styrene Plastic

Kit Contents

(296) Light Grey plastic parts

(46) Clear plastic parts

(8) Black vinyl wheels & hubs

(28) Brass photo-etched parts

Retail Price

$39.99 (from Lucky Model)

Reviewer

Patrick Keenan - Editor

Review Date

September 9, 2014

Review Summary*

Review Type

Full Build Review (In Process)

Basic Positive Features

Basic detail & shape of the vehicle appear to be replicated correctly; Kit subject matter welcome addition due to high visibility and use of real vehicle.

Basic Negative Features

None Noted at this Time

Recommendation

Highly Recommended 

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Photos

         

          

                

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Detailed Review

First of all, to be up front with you all, Lucky Model (owner of Kinetic Model Kits) is a sponsor of WarWheels.net.  With that being said, we can start with the model review.

Ever since the mid-2000’s the number of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles fielded by the World’s military organizations has increased dramatically.  With the MRAP’s higher visibility in the “real world”, the demand for model kits of those vehicles has also increased.  Unfortunately, until only recently have we been provided with model kits of these vehicle types and they still remain few and far between. 

However, Kinetic Models is increasing the number of MRAP model kits available yet again with their newest 1/35 release, the “4x4 MRAP Armoured Fighting Vehicle”. Since the kit name doesn’t tell you much on its own, I’ll add that the vehicle represented is the NAVISTAR Defense Maxx Pro MRAP; the company’s first production model in the series. 

At this point of the review, you might be expecting a bit of background information on the “real” Maxx Pro vehicle.  However, you won’t be getting any as I don’t usually provide background information regarding the applicable real vehicles in my model kit reviews.  However, if you are interested in some basic information about and photographs of the Maxx Pro we already have a lot of information and photos available about it here at Warwheels.Net

Kit Accuracy

The accuracy of the model kit will be determined and addressed here once the kit construction is completed.  Stay tuned.

Quality/Detail of Parts

The quality of the casting of the plastic kit pieces is very good.  There is only a little flash present on some of the parts, and the smallest pieces are also well cast, crisp and clean.  There are a few mold punch-out holes present on some parts, but they mostly appear in the hard to see/reach areas. 

The detail level of the individual plastic parts is good, but not great as they seem a little bit soft on detail when compared to kits done by other manufacturers.  However, it appears that the main details of the real vehicle are there and the basic shapes look good as well. 

As for the detail level of the vinyl tires, and photo-etched brass pieces; they are very good to excellent.  The tread pattern and detail of the tires is exceptionally done.  Another interesting point regarding the vinyl tires is that they are provided by Kinetic separately; not attached to a “sprue”. The result is tires that do NOT have any attachment points on them to remove. As we all know, vinyl attachment parts are sometimes difficult to remove without damaging the tires.  I have to say that these vinyl tires are some of the best I’ve seen in terms of detail AND ease of clean up.

The detail level of the photo-etched parts looks to be very good as well.  In addition, Kinetic has increased the number of photo-etched pieces they’ve included in the Maxx Pro when compared to their other armor models I’ve seen.  The quality and quantity of PE parts will substantially increase the detail level of the finished model as they can often more accurately replicate certain fine details than injection molded parts.

Please note that I cannot yet provide my final assessment of detail level of the kit due to the fact that I’m in the middle of the build portion of my review. Stay tuned for the possibility of changes and/or additional information being posted here as I continue the construction of the model kit.

Decals, Markings & Painting Information

The decals Kinetic provides seem to be of very good quality.  They were researched by Bison Decals and printed by Cartograph.  The decals are printed in register in vibrant color and look to be sufficiently thin enough to work well.  However, until I actually use them on the completed model, I’ll reserve full judgment until then.

Two marking options are included with the kit, both representing US vehicles from unknown units serving in Afghanistan or Southwest Asia (Iraq). The painting guide for the vehicles’ exteriors, as well as the markings guide, are one in the same and printed in black and white.  The painting guide simply states that the exterior of both buildable vehicles should be painted in the color Chemical Agent Resistant Coating (CARC) 686 Desert Tan (FS33446)*.  Painting information about specific details (vehicle interior, lights, weapons, etc) is addressed throughout the instructions based upon their construction sequence.  Finally, to assist the modeler in positioning the decals, the marking guide provides four (4) vehicle illustrations, six (6) “close-up” (showing smaller areas) illustrations and one (1) photograph.

Instructions/Packaging

I believe that kit instructions are one of the most underappreciated, yet most important aspects of hobby modeling.  A bad set of directions can cause unnecessary grief with an otherwise well designed and engineered kit.  On numerous occasions I have struggled with a kit assembly only to figure out the solution by accident. Afterwards, I’ll suddenly think, “That was easy once I got it.  Gee, why didn’t company X just show that better in the instructions?” 

Based upon observations made during my initial “in box” review and during my initial experiences with the construction of the model kit, Kinetic’s instructions are very good.  Although there have been a couple small errors I’ve discovered within the instructions, I didn’t encounter any major problems, omissions or overly complicated processes during the model build. Of course, that conclusion might change after I’ve finished building the model kit, but that remains to be seen.  I’ll update this portion of the review (if need be) as I continue the construction of the model kit.

Anyway…the drawings themselves aren’t anything special, but the design of the directions is utilitarian; they look to be easy to follow and understand, especially considering the complexity of some parts of the real Maxx Pro.  The diagrams for each individual step are very specific as to what part goes where.  When practical, Kinetic includes directional arrows from one piece and go all the way to another so as to leave no doubt where everything fits.  Sometimes, kit manufacturers include arrows, but they stray off in a general direction and leave much guesswork as to where they go.

Kinetic provides 17 steps in the instructions to complete the Maxx Pro and there is generally enough room in each step to facilitate ease of understanding. Most of the instruction steps are clear and uncluttered and need minimal review.  Some companies knock down the total number of steps to a bare minimum but include way too much information in each step to clearly understand what to do. Or just as bad, they give a zillion sub-steps that further complicate matters.  Some instruction sheets are so confusing they make an otherwise fun time into a true nightmare.  However, these instructions seem perfectly fine, but as I stated before, I’ll have to reserve final judgment on the quality of instructions until I complete the model kit build.

Finally, Kinetic provides very good kit packaging and “safety” by utilizing a box constructed of relatively sturdy cardboard.  They also follow the practice of bagging all sprues, decals and PE separately. They’ve also included a small cardboard piece to further protect the PE frets.  One interesting aspect of their packaging is the inclusion of re-sealable bags for all the parts.  Although not necessary, it is a nice touch if you’re like me and take joy in fondling the model parts a bit before putting the kit on the “to do” shelf.

Fit of Parts

So far during the initial steps of the model construction, I’ve found the fit of the parts to be very good.  I’ve only encountered a few slight fit issues so far, and they have been easily remedied.  Otherwise, the parts have gone together very well and seem to line up correctly with no problems.  Considering the complexity of some of the final sub-assemblies (specifically the chassis and frame), this fact is even more commendable.  With that being said, my final assessment of the fit of the model kit parts will be determined and addressed here once the kit construction is completed.  Stay tuned.

Kit Construction

Steps 1-4: Chassis, Suspension and Lower Hull

Now, on to the build process of this beastie.  Not surprisingly, I started with STEP 1 and pretty much followed the instructions verbatim through the end of STEP 4.  The only times I deviated from the instructions was when I decided to leave parts off for application later so as to make handling the vehicle safer or painting easier.  Some of these omitted parts to be added later are tow shackles (C14), wheel discs (E18) and exhaust screens (PE-1 &2). 

To be honest, when I scanned the instructions before starting my build, this sub-assembly of the model kit looked intimidating.  This portion of the real vehicle is complicated and this model kit represents that same potential head-ache, but in miniature. There’s a pant-load of parts going every which way, so there’s a lot that could go wrong. Plus, if the alignment of the chassis or suspension is incorrect, you’re in for a world of hurt for the entire project. However, I found that with careful review of the instructions and some basic dry fitting, this potentially difficult part of the model construction went very well and did not cause any undue stress.  At least, I think so for the time being…

However, even during the smoothest of model projects, we find little nits and picks that can throw us off course a wee bit.  So, to help you out in your Kinetic MaxxPro construction journey, here are a few tips/lessons I learned while working on STEPS-1-4.

STEP 1 – Obtain the correct frame alignment is a bit tricky.  Take your time and make sure everything is “square” (corners at 90 degrees).  Otherwise, you’ll have alignment problems later.

STEP 2 – Two totally different pieces are listed in the instructions AND on the parts sprue as C15 (filter halves).  Consult the illustration in the instructions to help determine which is which; it’s pretty apparent when comparing the two parts.  Also, Part C27 (exhaust pipe) is shown being glued into the top hole of Part B58.  However, it should actually go in the bottom-left hole instead.  Part C9 should actually go into the top hole.

STEP 3 – Fit of Parts C5/C6 (Wheel Wells) and B8/B9 (lower hull armor) is not great and can cause alignment problems later.  Be extra careful on alignment of parts here.

Please note: I usually wait until the end of the build process to paint my model kits.  However, due to the number of parts and complexity of the chassis, suspension, & hull sub-assembly I decided I needed to do a “preemptive strike” with the airbrush so as to make my final base coat application easier.  I applied a coat of Vallejo Surface Primer "Desert Tan Base" (73.613)* just before adding Part D24 – Underbody Armor Plate.  I then added the remaining parts in this step and moved on to… 

STEP 4 – Final fitting of E1/E3 sub-assemblies to lower hull/chassis/frame could be very tricky.  However, this problem can be avoided if you dry fit the upper truck hull (Sprue A), to the lower hull and then fit the sub-assemblies. It worked very well for me and once done, I removed the upper hull and put it back in the box for later.

     

The next sub-assembly I’ll be tackling is the vehicle interior, which starts with STEP 5.  So, stay tuned for my next installment in this build review.

The photo to the left (via John Charvat), is of an actual piece of US Military equipment that is painted the "standard" CARC 686 Desert Tan (FS 33446).  However, it is actually closer in color to FS 33531; which matches the Vallejo Paints I decided to use.  Note: other equipment/vehicles have been documented as being painted in a color which more closely resembles the "standard" US FS 33446 color.  Whether the color difference is due to use/the elements or due to inconsistencies in paint manufacturing, has not been determined. 

Conclusion

So far based upon my “first look” assessment and initial experiences while building the model kit, Kinetic has done a very nice job on their Maxx Pro MRAP model kit.  Kinetic’s choice of releasing a kit of this well-known and highly utilized vehicle is a welcome addition for us wheeled fighting vehicle modelers.  Although the model kit appears a bit soft on the detail level of individual parts, they are otherwise well cast: crisp and cleanly molded.   In addition, the basic detail and shape of the vehicle appear to be replicated correctly.

Stay tuned for further developments with this review as I continue the construction of the model kit.

Highly Recommended

Thanks to Lucky Model/Kinetic Models for the review sample.


Copyright: Patrick Keenan - September 2014