The Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV) is the staple Armored Personnel Carrier of the US Army. While holding only six infantry, the M2 Bradley is both better-protected and more deadly than APCs of the past, or the current USMC version, the AAVP-7A1. Unlike other APCs (think M113 which served it would seem in every army of the world), the Bradley has been reserved almost entirely for use by US forces (only Lebanon and Saudi Arabia have Bradleys).
The M3 Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicle (CFV) is a scout or "cavalry" version that carries only two scouts, plus additional radio gear and extra TOW missiles. Otherwise, it is identical to the M2 except for lacking the six external firing ports.
Both Meng and Orochi brought out M3A3 versions at about the same time. The Meng Bradleys have been widely-praised, including by myself, as among the best plastic kits ever released. The Orochi Bradley had some issues, and sank from view. Hong Kong model company Kinetic
purchased the molds from Orochi, and has released a "new & improved" kit. Kinetic
has corrected most of the Orochi M3A3's problems and has re-released it at a price that makes it almost impossible not to snap up at least one or two.
Inside an attractive glossy box are 375 plastic parts, some PE and instructions. With about half the parts count as the Meng (though the latter has complex working tracks), the Kinetic
kit is intended to follow in the footsteps of Tamiya by emphasizing buildability over complexity. Kinetic wants modelers to purchase multiple kits and build them easily for the fun factor, not to have the most-complicated version, thus bucking the trend of most models coming out of Greater China.
7 sprues of gray plastic
1 styrene "canvas" flap to cover gun mantlet
1 sprue of clear parts
1 sprue of vinyl rounds for allowing the wheels to rotate
1 fret of photo etch
1 small sheet of decals
13-page instruction booklet
double-sided color sheet of 2 camo variants (NATO & Gulf)
According to Armorama's own Gino Quintillani
has corrected several booboos from the Orochi kit (his review can be found here
1.) the TOW missile launcher details
2.) front headlight and taillight clusters
3.) rear access door handle
4.) end panel on the turret basket
But according to Gino, the biggest improvement is the T161 tracks and new sprockets for them. Unlike the Meng kit where each track is composed of seven pieces (four track pads, two track pin assembles and track horn), the Kinetic
are pre-molded "length & link" tracks that require only cleanup. According to Gino,
... the tracks in the Orochi kit were not incorrect but... Kinetic made a conscious effort to include the newer T161 tracks that are seen on the latest versions of Bradleys.... They present another problem though: the ERA blocks are only for combat and haven't been used since Iraq (we withdrew our heavy forces in 2011). An M3A3 with T161 tracks should not have the ERA blocks on it. This is sort of addressed in the instructions by giving you the option of not adding the ERA, but it doesn't say why. You also have to add back a bunch of bolts that are not addressed in the instructions.
Check out Gino's review
for more about fixing the issues when leaving off the ERA armor. But the good news for those who like quick builds, having the ERA mounts molded-on with clustered ERA modules means that part of the build goes much more easily.
The molding on the kit is for the most part crisp with minimal flash. The M242 Bushmaster chain gun has sharp detail and doesn't look like it will need replacement with an AM brass barrel. Overall this looks like a kit that will go together easily and be a fun build.
painting & markings
The marking guide calls out AMMO by Mig colors, but any paint manufacturer will do, since the options are easily-replicated:
NATO tri-color black, green & brown
No particular vehicles are specified, which some may find objectionable, while others will find it freeing-up their imagination to do multiple Bradleys depending on your historical references.
Raymond Chung of Kinetic
has crunched his supply chain numbers and eliminated every ounce of fat and waste. The result is a kit selling for around $20 (plus shipping) that's almost too good a value for money.
Thanks to Kinetic for providing this review sample on my last trip to Hong Kong. Please be sure to say you saw it reviewed here when ordering your copy.