A few weeks ago I got my hands on the new S-Models M113A1 box. These were my first S-Models kits and I was keen to see what they were like.
First some general comments. To me the M113 is one of the classic Cold War vehicles. Almost every NATO or Western Army used them in some form or other, and used loads of them. For my planned US force I need at least about 12 of them, and that doesn’t count M-901 ITVs, FIST-Vs or ACAVs. Then there’s my Bundeswehr, Canadians etc etc etc... The list goes on...
I missed out on the whole Airfix M113 thing, they just seemed to disappear – sad, because although they were 1/76, I used to see them for $7 AUD. I still kick myself for not getting some. I’ve always been a fan of the ESCI M113 – which in my mind/eye is pretty close to perfect. But they are getting rarer than Hen’s teeth now as well – or ridiculously expensive. That pretty much leaves Trumpeter in the kit department – which I’d be quite happy with – I just need to pull my finger out and get a couple.
Anyhow – so I very much see the need to cheap, easy build M113s. At MOAB (a wargaming convention/tournament in Sydney) Wartime Miniatures was selling them for $20 a box, which works out to be $10 each for those like me that are hopeless at Maths. A decent price in my book – so I got two boxes (that’s 4 models).
You can find sprue shots elsewhere on the web like here at Henk of Holland
So here’s my thoughts:
• 2 M113’s for $20. Not much more needs to be said than that.
• They stack up very nice size wise to both Esci and Easy Model (see pics below)
• They are a relatively quick build, you don’t have to muck around with individual track links etc. Everything fits spot on.
• It’s a solid M113 – a great little wargaming kit that will not break every time you touch it in a game.
• You can have the commander’s hatch, drivers hatch and rear troop compartment hatch open if you want
• It comes with some PE parts if you are into that sort of thing
• Comes with a decent variety of decals – none of which are that useful for Cold War modellers IMO.
• While the plastic definitely isn’t soft, to me it doesn’t feel as “hard” as most of my other kits.
• The M2HB appears to be too long compared with the other brands. It will be interesting to see how you can fit a commander figure int he hatch, with the massive M2HB.
• The way the sprues are designed kind of annoy me. Where on a ESCI or Revell kit a peice might be held on by 2 connectors to the sprue, on this kit it would be held on by 4. Some of the connections, like on the pintle mount of the M2HB are in very ackward positions to try and clean up, or remove from the sprue. The M2HB firing grips are a separate peice and also very difficult to remove from the sprue without breaking.
• No interior details. Not a particularly bad thing, but if you have the rear troop hatch open, you will need to stuff the opening with troops so you can’t see into the interior.
• The rear ramp and the rear of the vehicle are all one peice. So you can’t build it with the ramp lowered. Not that there is any interior detail so this doesn’t really matter.
• The instructions are a bit hazy at times. The very first step shown will simply not work – but is easily resolved.
So – my final opinion. If you need some basic M113s to fill out the troop carrier slots in your force – these are great. I’ll certainly be getting some more at some point. With some stowage and other bits and bobs, they will fit well into my ESCI/Easy Model mix.
If you want to build this with the rear ramp open, so you can see some interior detail, look to ESCI or Trumpeter instead.
My plan is to do just that – hopefully you be able to see that, and how all my M113s fit together over the next few months.
Here some comparison photos of unfinished (as in not painted) M113A1s:
So you can see how well they go together.