Sunday, March 20, 2016

Review: Team Yankee M163 VAADs & M901 ITV

Background:

The M163 Vulcan and the M901 Improved TOW Vehicle (ITV) are staples of the late Cold War, the former being aimed at laying down a ridiculous amount of anti-aircraft 20mm against Soviet helos and low flying aircraft and the latter being designed to engage MBTs from afar with a sneaky turret while hidden away behind large amounts of cover.

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Both vehicles were based on the ubiquitous M113 hull with varying amounts of modifications, retaining the general boxy profile of their parent chassis.

Layout:

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Each vehicle is distributed across three sprues with around 50 parts each. Of these, only around 25 are necessary to build any one vehicle.  The kits make are essentially expansions on the Battlefront M113 kit originally designed for Vietnam and employ both the original frames, plus an additional containing both turret types, as well as the new upper hull plate for the M163. In general I would advise anyone intending to buy further M113s to simply purchase this box set, since it contains all the parts to build the basic APC, both mortar variants and the ITV and VAADS for the same price as the original. The only missing components are the APC crew, who are replaced by 4 resin heads for the VAADS turret. Fiddliness is negligible and all parts fit together perfectly
 
The Battlefront box contains enough materials to build four vehicles of either configuration. In this case, I built two of each for my Team Yankee armored battlegroup.

 Quality:
As with the original M113, quality is consistently excellent with both the ITV and the VAADS. Casting is crisp and clear with little-to-no mould lines. Details are fantastic, with lots of nice little elements receptive to painting. The Vulcan cannon looks particularly bad-ass in the semi-heroic scale. The only minor niggle is fitting the floats to the side of the VAADS hull, which have no guides and thus must be judged arbitrarily by the modeler.

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The kits also leave the savvy modeler with a fecundity of extra parts when finished, including lots of extra GPMGs and HMGs for future projects. I used the plastic 50s for my M109 battery, as I feel these generally look and last better than their metal compatriots. I've also employed the M60s to replace the SAWs in my US infantry squads, as they just seem more 'right' for the period.

Conclusion:

Battlefront is back on form with this offering. The quality and cost are both unrivaled, making this a definitive must have for those interested in the period.  I know I'll feel a bit safer from all those Hinds and Frogfoots :)

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4 comments:

  1. It should also be noted that the ITV caan also be used for the company FIST as the turrets look identical.

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    Replies
    1. They even went so far as to paint black circles on the hammerhead to make it look like launch tubes. (AT vehicles were a lower priority target than artillery forward observers).

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  2. Very nice models and great review. If I hadn't done these in 6mm already it would be tempting to pick some up!

    Cheers,
    Aaron

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