Weapons Carrier Detail Set
The new Humvee detail set from Verlinden arrived to me today from Squadron. It is packed in a typical Verlinden “camouflaged” box with a label on one side showing a photo of contents of the set (see photo above). On this picture we see an unpainted Humvee model with some resin and PE parts attached, some more resin parts displayed laying around and a large PE fret. Closer examination of the Humvee shown on the photo reveals that it is an Academy kit - but it is OK, after all this set is for “Tamiya slash Academy”. Biggest resin parts shown that immediately drew my attention were resin wheels attached to the model. Verlinden’s wheels for Humvee were among the very best available on the market (before the Tamiya kit with its great wheels and tires hit the shop shelves), but they were not available for a long time now. So, are their wheels available again? No, unfortunately they are not…
So what actually IS in the box? There is a resealable bag with quite a lot resin in it, but also with a piece of lead foil and length of brass wire inside. Then there is quite a big PE fret mentioned earlier and the instruction sheet.
After opening the bag with resin bits I’ve found:
- 8 very nice 40mm ammo boxes,
- 8 .50 cal ammo boxes - these are also very nice, but are of older style, typical for Vietnam war, but very rarely seen today, as newer boxes with simpler lids replaced them in US military service,
- 2 plastic jerrycans - nice but without the detail on the bottom, present on jerrycans in new Tamiya accessories set,
- 2 rear and 2 front doors - with good detail on both sides. Additional parts for detailing doors are on the PE fret,
- rear roof door with detail inside - again improved further with PE parts,
- weapons station ring for the roof and two part cover - several PE parts are provided to add details to it,
- four seats - each comprised of two resin parts, and driver’s seat additionally uses one PE part,
- a set of radios - there are three old style “pre-sincgars” units with support plates for all of them and four loudspeakers,
- heater for the interior,
- four small resin parts to make weapon mounts on the vehicle floor,
- body, barrel and handles for .50 cal machine gun - additional parts for the gun are on PE fret. Unfortunately the barrel in my set was slightly bent.
- body, barrel and handles for Mk.19 40mm grenade launcher, also complemented with a few PE parts.
Yes, you noticed that too - there are no resin wheels included… Isn’t it called misleading advertisement?
On the PE fret I was able to identify (except for already mentioned parts):
- engine hood louvers (metal armored type - correct for M1025),
- radio shelf,
- gunner’s platform, complete with the lifting mechanism,
- various brackets and holders for attaching ammo boxes and jerrycans to the vehicle floor. Lead foil included is for straps, while buckles are provided as PE parts,
- pedals and additional parts for dashboard,
- small thin rectangles to make placards, visible inside all Humvees - it is a pity that no decals are included for these.
10-step instructions printed on both sides of a single letter sized sheet are very clear, but one thing quickly struck me - there is no differentiation between Tamiya and Academy kits there. Wait a moment… It must be wrong - these kits are very different. It is simply impossible to fit same parts to both kits! Then I noticed that there is no information on how to assemble the Mk.19 launcher. But there is a reference to step 11 of instructions in one place… Didn’t I mention that 10-step instructions are included?… Oh, well... Looks like a modeler is on his own here. I also noticed that in a few points a reference to a kit part number is made. I quickly checked instructions for my Tamiya M1025 Humvee and… numbers didn’t match at all. Verlinden instructions suggest for example using kit part C25, but there is no “C” sprue in Tamiya M1025 kit... I then found instructions from old Academy kit and bingo! Numbers matched!
I got very suspicious and started to examine all parts closely. First and obvious parts to check were doors - it is well known fact that all kits before Tamiya M1025 kit had incorrectly sized doors. Indeed - there is no way to fit door provided by Verlinden to Tamiya kit - but they perfectly fit the old Academy model and indeed are significant improvement over kit parts. One detail is however missing on resin doors - there are nice rivets around windows on Academy doors, but they are missing from resin parts. Then I checked the size of rear roof door - disappointment again… It is too small for Tamiya kit. It may be hardly noticeable if you install the door open, but you will have visible gaps on sides if you close them. And it is actually hard to install it open, as you don’t have the support rods. Tamiya didn’t provide them and Verlinden also forgot them. Why? Because they are provided in Academy kit! I think it is obvious for everyone now, that what we have here is actually the update set for Academy Humvee, not for Tamiya one! I now recall that Marcus Nicholls in his article about new Tamiya Humvee kit in Tamiya Model Magazine International used “old out of production” Verlinden set for Academy Humvee to add some detail to interior of his Tamiya model. Guess what? Verlinden just re-released this old set, but this time they described it as “for Tamiya / Academy”!
I now compared all parts in the set to parts in both Academy and Tamiya kits. I must admit that the Verlinden set is great for upgrading Academy kit - it improves it significantly. Unfortunately it is not quite the case with the new Tamiya kit. I already mentioned useless doors, but there is more. Dashboard, weapons station ring and even both weapons themselves are more detailed and accurate in Tamiya kit then in Verlinden set! Seats in Tamiya kit also don’t need to be replaced - only some small PE fittings could improve them. Actually I suspect that resin seats would not even fit in Tamiya model.
Verlinden radios are very nice, but they seam to be (I’m not an expert on US radios) even older type than the one Tamiya added to their Humvee (although I have a photo of a real Humvee with both “Tamiya” and “Verlinden” type radios installed in it so it is not incorrect to use them).
So what can be used for upgrading Tamiya kit? Not that much. I will probably use all the holders for ammo boxes and weapons on the vehicle floor, the gunner’s platform, pedals, heater, radio shelf and some other interior details. Ammo boxes and jerrycans will also be useful, although I will use .50 cal boxes in one of my Vietnam era models as they fit there better.
I decided that I would build only one more Academy Humvee - the M997 Ambulance. That will allow me to use at least some of remaining parts from Verlinden set, namely front doors, seats, dashboard and engine hood grille. Some parts will however find their rest place in the spare parts box: rear doors, weapons station ring, rear seats and weapons…
To sum up, I can highly recommend this “new” set to anyone who still wants to build Academy Humvee, particularly M1025 variant. But those modelers who, like myself, switched to Tamiya Humvees will not find it very useful. Of course some parts are welcome additions, like pedals, gunner’s platform, heater or some other internal details, but the set is not really worth its price for just these few pieces of resin and PE metal. Verlinden Productions tried to get some easy money on re-releasing the old set now. It is a pity that they didn’t bother to modify any parts or even update instructions (except for the title that now refers also to Tamiya kit). Modelers who buy this kit with the idea of using it fully for their new Tamiya Humvee will be seriously disappointed. Also showing resin wheels on ads and on the box, which are not included in the set, is an example of unfair marketing.
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