In 1983 the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive & Armaments Command awarded AM General a contract worth $1.2 billion to produce 55,000 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV, pronounced Humvee®), to be delivered in 15 different configurations over a five-year period. It was the largest multi-year contract for a tactical wheeled vehicle ever awarded by the U.S. Army.
The HMMWV's mission is to provide a light tactical vehicle for command and control, special purpose shelter carriers, and special purpose weapons platforms throughout all areas of the modern battlefield. The HMMWV is equipped with a high-performance 350 cid diesel engine, automatic transmission, and four-wheel drive that is air transportable and droppable from a variety of aircraft. The HMMWV can be equipped with a self-recovery winch capable of up to 6000 pound 1:1 ratio line pull capacity and can support payloads from 2,500 - 4,400 pounds depending on the model.
The M998 is the cargo/troop carrier configuration of the HMMWV family. The cargo carrier configuration is capable of transporting a payload (including crew) of 2,500 pounds and the troop carrier is capable of transporting a two-man crew and eight passengers. Both use a troop seat kit for troop transport operations. The cargo/troop carrier can also be configured in a four-man crew configuration. The vehicles can climb 60% slopes and traverse a side slope of up to 40% fully loaded. The vehicles can ford hard bottom water crossings up to 30 inches without a deep water fording kit and up to 60 inches with the kit.
The Armor Survivability Kit (ASK), which was added during OIF, is an added layer of armor plates around the crew compartment and belly of the vehicle for added protection. It consists of protective armored doors with ballistic glass windows, side skirts, rear armor plate, and a ballistic windshield.
The box contains 4 main sprues in light gray plastic; a small sheet of markings; 2 clear soft tops/windshield assemblies; 4 sprues of clear doors which include 2 sets each of canvas, and standard hard doors, and one set of armored doors; 2 bodies; and a PE fret for the partial ASK plates, rear troop seats, and side armor sheets; allowing a modeler to make two complete HMMWV models, one with a partial (front seat area) ASK upgrade armor kit. Also included are 2 large and 2 smaller sprues with parts specific to the gun truck version, and 9 soft rubber tires (one for a spare). Oddly enough, they too are molded in light gray; black would have been a much better option. Decals are by Cartograf and look to be in perfect register with very thin film. 3 marking options are given, one for a standard M998 from 3rd Corps Support Command, Baghdad 2003 in overall sand; one for a gun truck with partial ASK and side armor from 1st Infantry Division, Engineer BDE, Iraq 2003 in overall medium green; and one for an unarmored M998 with a new roll cage system from 1st Infantry Division, Engineer BDE, Germany, 2003 in NATO camouflage. No decal sheet is included for the tire pressure and sling/tie-down stenciling, as was in their earlier kits.
As with their other 1/72 HMMWVs, all molding looks great on this tiny kit. Fine detail is crisp with no short shot parts, no flash, and no visible mold ejector pin marks. The basic parts for the bodies and frame are the same as their other HMMWV kits; see my review on their M1045/M1046 kit for more details:
Dragon 1/72 M1045/M1046
As a nice feature, the soft-top roof and front windshield are molded as a single piece, in clear plastic. This roof/windshield part also had the lower half rear door pieces molded onto them as well. The side doors and their windows are also molded in clear plastic in this same manner. All you have to do is mask off the window areas and paint them the body color. It makes the window/windshield work quite easy. The tailgate is also a separate piece and can be modeled in the open (down) position as well. The only inaccuracy I found in the parts was the old style radio. The kit has, as all available HMMWV kits do, the vehicle mount for the AN/PRC-77 radio. These radios were replaced with SINCGARS radios in the mid-late '90s and are no longer used. Also, part # A17, gearshift lever, is way over-scale and should be replaced with a thin piece of rod or stretched sprue. It should also stick straight up, about 1/8 inch, without a bend in the shaft and only a small ball on the end.
The sprues containing the new parts for the rear armor and M998 parts for the rear area are very nice as well. They contain a new roll cage/gun mount for the gun truck, an M240B MG (listed as not used, but is a more widely used now than the M60), an M60 MG, gun shield, a storage box, antenna mounts, plastic side armor, spare wheel, rear troop rails, and other parts to build the gun truck. The PE frets look quiet nice too. They are finely engraved with small attachment points that should give no problems in assembly. The plastic side armor pieces are overly thick for 1/72 scale armor though. The PE side armor is much nicer and looks in-scale. Also included as extra/not used parts are 2 new front ends/grills with winch from their M1114 kit, high back bucket seats, rear canvas doors, and armored and standard rear doors. All the extra parts will allow you to build almost any combination of soft-top HMMWV you can think of. The possibilities are quite limitless.
Overall, this is a great little model. I am impressed with the level of detail in this kit. Dragon definitely has a winner here. If you are a fan of modern armor or softskins, and like to build Braille scale, these are definitely a must have.
Many Thanks to Dragon
for the review sample Dragon Models Limited