Accurizing and detailing 
the Tamiya M2A2 IFV kit.

Tamiya  1:35


    To the right of driver's hatch is large intake grille screen. It is nicely molded in Tamiya kit and thin wash with black paint should make it look convincing, but to make it more accurate for M2A2 Bradley you should use some putty and apply a regular pattern of "patches" to the screen mesh.

Pattern of patches on intake grille screen.
On this picture I marked the pattern of "patches" on the intake grille screen.
Also marked are positions of two parts missing from Tamiya kit, described further in the article
(slice of steel pipe on the top right corner of photo and a steel rail on the edge of exhaust grille).

    On the right side of the top hull, next to the intake grille is the exhaust grille and the exhaust cover. Tamiya used parts from their older M2 kit for the exhaust cover and guard rods, while in fact in M2A2 the exhaust and guards were modified. In their latest ODS kit Tamiya included new parts for ODS type exhaust. But to make early M2A2 exhaust you need to modify original kit part and scratch built new guard using styrene rods or brass wire. Modification of exhaust part is relatively easy with a few pieces of styrene (compare two exhaust types on photos below). There should be three big lifting eyes around the exhaust grille - they are absent from the model, so you should add them.

This is the exhaust of the original M2 Bradley.
In Tamiya M2A2 kit you get parts for this kind of exhaust 
(although slightly simplified).
And this is the exhaust of M2A2 Bradley (or actually M3A2 
in this case). This is how the part in M2A2 model should look like. Note the lifting eye on the edge of exhaust grille - the second one is on the opposite side of the grille and the third is behind the intake grille.
Photo VP

    Between the exhaust and the swim barrier attached to the side armor panels there is a steel rail. There are some brackets and things attached to the rail - probably parts of swim barrier system (see photo below). Tamiya added very simplified rail part F18 to their new M2A2ODS kit, but it was completely missing from older kits.

Details of the rail separating the swim barrier from the exhaust grille. Note the lifting eye at the edge of the grille on top of the picture.
Photo RG 
On this ODS Bradley, the profile of the rail is clearly visible. The hinged metal sheet on top of the rail is ODS modification installed when the new exhaust box was added and was not present on older M2A2 vehicles.

    The swim barrier itself is molded along both sides of hull part C7 as a long anemic plastic protuberance. It looks nothing like the real thing. If you are building ODS version of the kit you need to remove it completely and restore the sloped shape of armor underneath, but if you build older M2A2 kit I suggest you use some metal foil (lead foil would be the best) to make your own correctly sized swim barrier (or actually its rubber cover as the swim barrier itself is rolled inside and not visible).

    Immediately in front of the engine exhaust grille is a small area of bare original Bradley armor visible - without any appliqué armor plates attached. Tamiya correctly molded small tie-down there, but there should also be a slice of a metal pipe welded like on the photo below - it is probably a "socket" for one of swim barrier posts. Similar slices of pipe are welded on the other side of the vehicle - one near the driver's hatch, and the other close to work platform.

A slice of steel pipe welded to the armor.  Similar pieces of pipe welded on the other side of the vehicle.

    On the left edge of the upper hull armor, behind the driver's hatch, is the external handle for engine compartment fire extinguisher. In Tamiya model you get a part that is a poor representation of fire extinguisher handle cover of original M2 Bradley. After installation of new higher side armor plates this old style handle became useless, as it would not be easily reachable anymore. New higher housing for this handle was designed for M2A2 Bradley. This part can be relatively easily scratch build from sheet styrene with a handle made of brass wire of thin styrene rod.

On this picture you can see the old style fire extinguisher handle cover as Tamiya provided it and correct outline of new cover. Also marked are positions of described earlier: slices of steel pipe, swim barrier tripod bracket and driver's hatch guide. On this picture it is also visible how thin the molded-on appliqué armor plates are.
Click on the picture to enlarge it.
Extinguisher handle on M2A2 vehicle. As you can see 
it is now easily reachable above the side armor plate.


    Behind the driver's hatch, on the left side of the vehicle is a work platform. Tamiya molded a groove on the hull to accommodate the edge of the platform, but in fact there should be no such thing there. So you may want to fill the groove and restore the shape of the hull armor. But to make the platform seat on the hull correctly now, you should thin the edge of it, or simply replace the flat part with thin styrene sheet. Above the work platform, on the hull is the place for stowing the crowbar and the metal catch for the rubber strap is located on the edge of the sloped armor side of the hull - exactly where the edge of the work platform rests. To accommodate it there is a small rectangular cutout in the platform plate. The platform is strapped to two tie-downs on the hull (see photos). Tamiya molded a groove between the platform's plate and rounded section, but in fact these parts are welded smoothly (or possibly one end of the plate is rolled to form the rounded part), so there should be no seam visible - just fill it and sand. On the bottom of rounded edge Tamiya molded two discs. These are ends of pipes that should go through the rounded part of platform and there should be holes on the upper side of it. Next to these holes are two T-shaped "handles" - probably tips of some kind of locking pins as there are thin wires attached to them - similar "handle" is also on the described earlier rail near the exhaust grille and there is also a fourth one that I will mention later. Tamiya molded ends of the rounded part as two discs, while in fact these should be just half-discs (see photo below) - easy to fix with a sharp knife. One last thing to mention is that there is almost always a chain with two hooks strapped around the work platform.

    Underneath the platform is a place for carrying some of the posts and tripods used to raise the water barrier. Tamiya made small attempt to add these (part E10), but what you get in the kit is just a "good beginning", as there should be three times as many posts under the work platform as you get! Some styrene rods of various sizes will be useful to add missing parts. If you are building Tamiya M2A2ODS kit you should leave all the swim barrier posts aside and you can also skip installation of the work platform, although installing it is not an error as many ODS vehicles still have it.

Work platform - upper arrow shows a metal catch and a small cutout in the platform. Two arrows point to holes in the thick round part of the platform. Note the chain and swim barrier posts. 
Photo VP
Note the strap holding the platform and the shape of the end of the rounded part of platform. Also note the steel plate welded to the armor to keep the posts from sliding on the hull.  Photo RG 

    On the other side of the turret is the area that is a bit of a mystery to me. I think that part E20 in Tamiya kit is more or less accurate, although handle A35 should probably be replaced with brass wire for better scale appearance. Some of my photos show however that small round cover should not be flush with the hull surface, so I suggest gluing the styrene ring cut with punch & die set over the engraved detail. Hinges on part E20 will require some adjustment after that. While on one side of this round cover is the hinge, on the other should be some locking mechanism - I do not have any good photo of it, except the one below, which does not reveal much.

As you can see the round cover is not flush with the hull surface and it has some lock on it 
(or maybe this is the hinge and the lock is on the other side?...). Also note some brackets above it.

    A bit further to the rear of the vehicle is mentioned earlier fourth small T-shaped pin / handle, but this one is installed on a small square plate on top of piece of thick curved metal pipe attached somehow to the armor - Tamiya ignored this detail completely. The pin itself is on the same height as the pin on the rail attached to exhaust grille. This detail is not difficult to add using some styrene rods and sheets.

Here you can see the T-shaped pin on top of the metal pipe. 
Hardly anything can be seen on this picture, but I think 
that the pipe is welded to the rectangular base plate bolted to the armor.
One more picture of this part on ODS Bradley (different 
shape of armor plate on the turret visible here is 
a feature of some newer ODS vehicles).



Most of the photos of real vehicles in this article came from various sources on the Internet. I have so many of them downloaded on my computer that I lost track of where each of them came from. If you recognized some of the pictures as yours and want me to credit you for them here, or you want me to remove them, let me know - I'll sure do it.


Copyright © 2004 VODNIK,