M901 Launching Station & AN/MPQ-53 Radar set of MIM-104 Patriot SAM System (PAC-2)

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Company: Trumpeter - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Stevens International - Website: Visit Site

The PAC-2 Patriot is a surface-to-air missile system, whose primary purpose is to intercept ballistic missiles in the terminal phase of flight. This new offering from Trumpeter is the first injection molded kit of the Patriot Missile system in 1/35 scale. The kit includes the Transporter Erector Launcher Trailer, 4 missile containers, a missile and the AN/MPQ-53 Radar set trailer. There is only one option for displaying both trailers and that is the deployed position with the outriggers down and the missiles raised.

The first thing that you notice is the sheer size of the box at 24 by 4 by 14, it is a truly massive box, even for someone who builds 1/35 scale tank transporters for fun. This in part due the huge amount of plastic shipped inside and in part due to the way this kit was originally intended to be sold. When this kit was first advertised last year it was originally marketed as 01022 1/35 M983 HEMETT with M901 Launching Station & AN/MPQ-53 Radar set of MIM-104 Patriot SAM System (PAC-2). So it was originally planned to have the HEMETT and both trailers in the same boxing. This probably contributes in a way to the massive box size since it was supposed to fit a few more sprues.

Also once you open the box it is obvious how late in the design and production phase that the M983 portion of this boxing was cut. There are a lot of extra parts included on a number of sprues that are not used in the build of the trailers, including many additional wheels and all of the glass for the M983 among others. I cannot really fault Trumpeter for this as the cost of adding the M983 would easily have put the market price for this boxing close to or above $200, making it less competitive with Dragon’s announced offering of the same vehicle.

Moving on to the build of the kit. This kit is huge undertaking, the box contains over 900 individual pieces to build the two very large trailers. The parts are all molded in the traditional Trumpeter fashion of light grey hard styrene. The mold quality is on par or above Trumpeter’s usual quality, everything is very well molded with no flash. Trumpeter has a habit of molding many pieces with heavy mold lines and ejector pin marks for their 1/35 scale armor releases. This kit does have a few mold lines but nothing serious and almost no visible ejector pin marks. I also had no fit issues at all while building this kit, the fit is simple and fantastic.

I had no issues while assembling the kit so I will go over a few tips that I came up with for an easier build. In the first few steps you work on building the outriggers in the deployed position. I was very sparing with the glue in the initial steps, keeping as many parts glue free as possible until I was able to glue the outriggers to the trailer base in Step 5. This allows the outriggers to self-level, so that when they are complete all 4 will be touching the ground with no surgery required. This does complicate things later during handling for painting and weathering but once the outriggers are attached and set you can go back and strengthen the joints that you didn’t glue before by gluing them. One thing to pay attention to is that everything through Step 9 is exactly the same for both trailers, which is not mentioned and easy to miss, Step 10 is where the missile trailer starts. Also do not miss Step 3 which specifies which trailer gets which holes drilled.

For the trailer construction I would recommend building it in several small sub-assemblies, the 3 color camouflage is extremely difficult to paint with the high level of complexity of the build. I would recommend keeping the sub-assemblies to the trailer base with outriggers, each pair of missile tubes, the missile elevation set up including the base from Step 12, and the radio mast. This will allow you to get the camouflage and base coat on much easier. I would also recommend leaving the generator and control boxes that are attached in Step 13 off until after the base coat of paint. For the radar trailer it is much easier to paint so I would only recommend leaving the large upright radar emitter off to make painting easier.

One final note on construction, in Step 17 the instructions specify that you need to leave the actuators for the missile elevation system without gluing them. This is actually impossible, the weight of the missile tubes will force the entire assembly into the horizontal position, which the kit is not designed to do. It also makes setting the radio mast impossible, so I used a construction square to set the radio mast angle and glued everything in place including the actuators for the elevation system.

Overall this is a great kit. It builds up quickly and fits really well. It seems to be fairly accurate and I had absolutely no major issues during the build. I really enjoyed working on this kit and I recommend it for anyone that likes modern armor and has a serious amount of shelf space. My thanks to Stevens International and IPMS for giving me the opportunity to review this kit.


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