The AS90 is a 155mm lightly armoured SPG (Self Propelled Gun) which is built by BAE systems. The AS90 went into service with the British Army in 1992, which have so far purchased 179 AS90s. The AS90 currently equips six regiments in the RA (Royal Artillery) and RHA (Royal Horse Artillery) of the British Army. There are two types of this SPG, which are the AS90 and AS90 Braveheart. The AS90 Braveheart has a 52 calibre weapon as opposed to the 39 calibre of the standard version. There are only two trial versions of the AS90 Braveheart at this time, as the programme has been put on hold.
The kit is packaged to usual Trumpeter standards in a very sturdy cardboard box which contains the following:
Six green sprues packaged in four plastic bags.
The hull tub loose in the box.
A length of cotton twine in a plastic bag.
A sheet of nylon mesh in a plastic bag.
A set of rubber band type tracks.
Clear poly caps for the road and idler wheels
A set of decals
A ten page fold out set of instructions.
Sprue A (x2):
Contains the drive, suspension, and wheels for the vehicle. The mouldings are of a reasonable standard with no obvious flash and very light mould seams. The six road wheels accurately depict the correct number of bolts on all parts, and the profile is also correct. The central hub does appear to be slightly too proud of the wheels surface, but this detail is very minimal and unlikely to be noticed unless compared to pictorial evidence. The rear face of each road wheel does have 4 push out marks which are of various depths. These marks can be filled with ease, but will be impossible to see once the wheels are assembled and installed.
The idler wheels are also accurate with the exception of the very centre (bolt/grease nipple) detail which is too small, and should be the same size as the wheel bolts. The drive cog has again been well replicated and is accurate in all detail except for the locking device of the central hub, one of the possible locations for the central locking arm to be placed has been filled but the actual mechanism has been completely omitted. The suspension, return rollers and axles have a lot of detail most of which I cannot confirm or deny as accurate. I can say that the three braces inside the return roller wheels do not appear correct as they are not on either of the two AS90s I have been able to check.
Contains the 2 main turret parts and the hull deck. These parts are all cleanly moulded and free of any issues, there are flow marks in the turret and hull deck. I have noticed eight push out marks on the roof of the turret and two on the hull deck. Despite being able to see them I am unable to feel them with my finger tips or by running my nail over the area and it is my belief they do not represent an issue.
Contains most of the parts to finish the construction of the hull deck. The parts all appear cleanly moulded, with some having a very high degree of finesse due to the small sizes of some of the parts involved. I have observed a problem with this sprue which relates to one of the headlight guards, the exact same headlight guard has one leg that is shorter than the other. With this being my second Trumpeter AS90 I am lead to believe that the mould has an error on the master, as I purchased my two models 3 or 4 years apart and both are moulded the same. You will need to be aware of a few sink and push out marks in a few pieces, these are more a nuisance than a pain.
Sprues D and E:
I have covered these two sprues together as they contain the parts for the turret and 155mm gun. There are a few misplaced/numbered parts in the instructions of this kit, which if overlooked will be very hard to correct by any means other than scratch building. I will be doing a build review of this model which I hope will identify all of the areas concerned. The main gun is too long but I have been unable to verify by how much. Other than those cautionary words there is nothing else to worry about.
The lower hull contains no detail, and with the exception of the very bottom of the hull free of blemishes.
The clear poly caps provided will cause no issues and have a few spares included.
The cotton twine and nylon mesh supplied are adequate for their purpose but would look better if replaced.
The rubber band tracks included with this kit are a strong point, not a weak one. They are highly detailed with excellent definition, and with the AS90 having no sag in the track these are perfect for the task. There are 5 pins of waste material left over from the injection process on the inner face which will need to be removed.
The decals for this kit are of a good quality and suitable for this vehicle. SFOR and IFOR decals are included, but unfortunately only one vehicle is shown as regards finishing and placement of the decals. Eight British forces number plates are included giving British AFV fans some welcome spares. Everything considered, the decals are another big plus for this kit.
The instructions for this model are clear and not overly busy. Completion of the build is detailed over 19 stages, and with the exception of a few errors which will be covered in the earlier mentioned build review construction should be straight forward.
I believe Trumpeter makes the only AS90 in injection moulded plastic, and this model is an impressive looking when completed. With the exception of some incorrectly positioned parts and errors in the instructions, and excluding the odd ejection/sink marks this kit has a lot going for it. The weld seams are of a very high standard and the wing mirror arms are very fine (it does make you wonder why they simplified the periscopes), and made glaring errors in positioning the drivers viewing device.
The price however, which at under £20, is a lot of model for a small outlay. Some parts are extremely well moulded due to their very small size/diameter which results in a high level of detail.
Everything considered, I recommend this product for anyone with an interest in modern British armour or SPGs in general. You will need some good references and a reasonable level of scratch building ability to build an accurate AS90, but it is possible. I would advise changing the barrel, as the kit supplied one is not accurate. RB Model makes a turned metal barrel for the AS90 which is Reviewed Here
To evaluate the kit further, a build review can be found Here on Armorama