U.S. Infantry Fighting Vehicle M2A3 Bradley w/BUSK III
Meng, 1/35 scale
Reviewed by Brett Green
The M2 Bradley, or Bradley IFV, is an American infantry fighting vehicle manufactured by BAE Systems Land and Armaments, formerly United Defense as part of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle family.
As with other infantry fighting vehicles, the Bradley is designed to transport infantry with armour protection while providing covering fire to suppress enemy troops and armoured vehicles. The M2 can hold a crew of three: a commander, a gunner and a driver; as well as six fully equipped soldiers.
Introduced in 2000, the A3 upgrades make the Bradley IFV totally digital and upgraded or improved existing electronics systems throughout improving target acquisition and fire control, navigation, and situational awareness. Also, the survivability of the vehicle is upgraded with a series of armour improvements, again both passive and reactive, as well as improved fire-suppression systems and NBC equipment.
The M2A3’s fire control software (FCSW) combines laser range, environmental readings, ammunition type, and turret control inputs to automatically elevate the gun for range and to automatically generate a kinematic lead solution if a target is moving. This functionality, very similar to that of the M1A2 Abrams, allows the gunner or commander to centre the reticule on a moving target, lase the target, and achieve a first-round-hit, without the need to fire sensing rounds and adjust aim.*
F i r s t L o o k
Meng has pulled out all the stops for their brand new 1:35 scale M2A3 Bradley.
When the parcel arrived on the doorstep I assumed that it must have contained two kits but no, it is one kit in a very deep box. Its cavernous space is completely filled with 632 parts in tan, pale green and dark grey plastic parts; an additional 188 individual track links in black plastic; 32 clear parts; 10 green tinted parts; eight metal tubes; eight flexible plastic parts; three photo-etched frets, 20 polythene caps and a decal sheet with markings for three vehicles.
The kit supplies a full – and I mean seriously full – interior for the fighting and engine compartments. Different coloured sprues are offered for the interior sub-assemblies. Obviously, paint will be required but this colour coding is quite thoughtful considering the modeller has no less than 21 sprues to wade through during construction.
Surface textures are beautifully done, right down to non-slip treatment on the ERA tiles, vents and raised bolt head detail.
Parts breakdown is logical. The suspension includes workable torsion bars and shock absorbers, while the road wheels feature separate tyres. The wheels are held in place with polythene caps. The individual track links are packed in a bag in pairs. Once cleaned up, these should be a click-link. Being only one-piece per link, assembly of these should be fast and straightforward.
It would appear that the entire interior may be omitted if the modeller wishes, but if you do put in the work, the various large hatches may be posed open to display your efforts. In addition to the regular plastic and photo-etched parts, Meng also supplies six flexible harnesses to hand from the interior ceiling.
In common with the real vehicle, the exterior is built up in layers, including mesh grilles and the ERA tiles. Mercifully, these are moulded in sections, not individually, and detail is very good indeed.
I particularly like the look of the two air conditioning units on the rear hull with their photo-etched fan covers and grilles.
A full array of early OIF-era electronics and antennas are included too.
The package is rounded out with a busy decal sheet with stencils, chemical reactive patches and markings for three OIF vehicles circa 2003-2005.
C o n c l u s i o n
Meng’s 1:35 scale M2A3 Bradley is a stunning kit.
Detail is remarkable. The interior and engine compartment are very well fitted out, yet Meng has obviously thought about ensuring that the kit is as easy to build as the complexity of the real vehicle will allow. The single piece click-together track links and modular ERA sections are examples of this engineering. Judging by my first-hand experience of building other Meng kits, I fully expect fit to be very good too.
In summary, if you have built any of Dragon’s or Bronco’s recent releases, you shouldn’t have any trouble building this one.
However, if the kit still seems too daunting, you can save yourself significant time and effort by simply omitting the interior.
Highly Recommended for modellers with a moderate amount of experience.
* Historical summary courtesy of Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M2_Bradley
Thanks to Meng Models for the sample www.meng-model.com
Text and Images by Brett Green