The Husky VMMD (vehicle-mounted mine detection) family of vehicles are blast-survivable, mission-configurable, wheeled platforms employed by specialized route clearance teams operating in high-explosive threat areas. The Mk. III is the modern single-occupant Husky model. The platform is integrated with pulse induction metal detector panels and overpass tires that enable operators to regulate tire air pressure in order to reduce the risk of detonating. As with all Husky platforms, the Mk. III has been engineered in a unique modular, frangible configuration. In the event of a mine or improvised explosive device detonation, vehicle components break apart in a predictable fashion, reducing damage to the platform and occupants, as well as facilitating fast in-field repairs.
AFV Club's Husky MK III
This is AFV Club’s version of the Husky Mk. III that was first issued in 2016. Panda Hobby also produced a kit of the Husky in 2015. The AFV Club kit comes on seven dark yellow plastic sprues, one rubber sprue with hoses, four rubber tires, instruction booklet, and an 8 1/2 x 11 colored poster of the box art. A small decal sheet comprised mostly of warning labels, and a small photoetch fret with grilles is also included.
The instructions come in a 16-page stapled pamphlet 8 1/4 x 11 ¾ inches with 37 assembly steps. A description of the vehicle is included in English, Japanese, and Chinese. Paint colors are called out in Hobby Color, Mr. Color, Mr. Color Spray, Humbrol, Revell, and Life Color. Instructions include diagrams of the sprues and color profiles for two different paint schemes.
The first 6 steps assemble the interior cab of the Husky. The kit provides detail for the instrument panels, which appear to be fairly accurate. Clear plastic is provided for the cab windows and called out to be painted clear green. Detailed paint colors are called out for the various controls and panels. The parts for the cab panels fit together tightly and form a secure cab assembly.
The next series of steps, 8 through 11, assemble the main body of the Husky. A photoetch grille is provided for the top of the engine housing. No interior parts are provided for the engine compartment. Step 11 shows installation of the brackets for the mine detectors, H10 and H11, to the underside of the hull. It would be good to assemble the mine detector plates and fit them between H10 and H11 while gluing to get the correct spacing. I found the brackets fit tightly and ended up trimming the pins to get the detector frames installed. Step 13 through 18 install detector plates, wiring, and other exterior detail on the Husky body. Step 14 shows installation of the cables on the left side of the vehicle body. The cables DA6 are meant to extend underneath the body and connect to the detector plates on the right side of the vehicle. I found that several of these cables cracked and bent in unrealistic shapes, so I reluctantly ended up replacing the rubber hoses with wire. In step 15 the cab rear view mirrors are installed, but I would hold off until after painting to avoid breakage. The mirrors are called out to be painted silver but no plastic lens is provided. Part F20 installs to the side of the cabin, not to the bracket as it appears in the assembly diagram.
Photoetch treads for access to the top of the cab are shown in step 17. The photoetch pieces needed to be sanded down to fit into the frames so check the fit before gluing. Step 18 shows the connection of the rubber cables from the left side of the body to the right detector plate.
Step 19 shows installation of the roof panels on the cab. Options for both closed and open roof panels are provided.
Step 20 through 25 shows assembly of the front suspension, frame, bumper, and fenders for the front of the vehicle. These suspension pieces fit nicely and the instruction drawings accurately show their location. Installation of the rubber hoses and cables to the front of the vehicle are started in the step 22. I held off installing these cables until more of the vehicle was completed, but this was a mistake. It will be much easier to install the hoses at this point as shown in the instructions. The fenders in step 25 are mislabeled and should be B28 for the right fender and B27 for the left fender.
The rear suspension, frame, bumper, and fenders are installed in steps 28 through 35 similar to the front of the vehicle.
Wheels and Tires
Good detail is provided on the rubber tires and they only have a minor center seam. Careful gluing of the wheels will allow the tires to rotate. The tires are glued to the axles and then the front frame attached to the body in step 27. The driveshaft B34 and control rod B13 need to be installed with the front frame to lock them into place.
Steps 36 and 37 complete assembly of the vehicle with exterior rear details, handrail, and antenna.
Hoses and Cables
AFV Club provides hoses and cables that add nice detail and realism to the kit. The hoses come on one sprue as thin rubber, some with connectors molded on the end. The hoses are quite delicate and care needs to be used removing them from the sprue. Nicks in the hose will cause it to kink unrealistically and leaving too much of the sprue connectors will do the same thing. I painted the hose in a dark rubber tire color prior to removing them from the sprue, which may have been a mistake. The paint seemed to reduce the flexibility of the rubber hoses so they did not bend realistically. It would be better to install the hoses first and then paint if desired, or just leave the natural color of the rubber. On the actual vehicles the hoses were painted in the vehicle color, which often cracked and flaked off. Holes are provided on the kit parts for installation of the cables but I found drilling out the holes slightly helped with their installation.
Two paint schemes are shown, both in Sand Yellow FS 33531. The only differences are in some of the warning labels and vehicle number. I painted the review sample in Mission Models Paint MMP-131 Sand FS 30277 MERDEC.
The small kit decal sheet includes warning labels and abrasive strips. Text on the decals is sharp and mostly legible. The decals have a glossy finish, and the decal film is fairly generous beyond the image. Several applications of MicroSol were necessary in several areas to get the extended decal film to lay down.
This is a very nice kit with accurate detail and parts that fit together well. The kit provides more detail than the Panda version of the Husky. The vinyl hoses are a great idea, but they broke easily, and some were even broken on the sprue. The cable installation turned out to be disappointing when they broke.
Thanks to AFV Club for producing a nice, accurate model of this unique vehicle and providing the review sample to IPMS.
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