by: Olivier Carneau [ ]
introductionThe M1151 is an Enhanced Armament Carrier which is a generic name for the family of up-armored and upgraded Humvees. Based on the lessons learned of the US operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the M1151 features an improved chassis along with a new add-on armor package known as Frag5. The gunner protection is improved thanks to an armored weapon station of which several types are in service.
the kitAcademy M1151 is a kind of a response to the recently issued Bronco M1114s. Instead of trying to simply release another M1114, Academy made the right choice to my mind in issuing this original version, at least in plastic, of the Humvee.
the reviewThe kit depicts a vehicle fitted with the Frag5 armor package, the OGPK weapon station, the DUKE antenna and the latest Wrangler MT/R tires. It comes in the usual cardboard box and is divided in 7 sprues plus a bag of tires halves, a sheet of photo-etched parts and another of decals. The total of parts is 331 plastic parts, 17 clear plastic parts, 10 tires halves and 8 PE parts. The instructions come in two booklets, an 8-page one and another 4-page one. The drawings are generally clear enough. The building is divided into 20 steps.
The kit is well detailed and the details are generally crisp. The molding seams are very fine and should be easy to remove. There are a few sink marks of which some will require extra work as they are ill-located like on the inner faces of the gunner protection kit. Academy offers the possibility to have all the hatches and doors open but there are no oversized workable hinges.
The chassis is very similar to the one of the previous Humvee kits which is quite understandable. The novelty is in the tires choice. Academy provides us with the new Wrangler MT/R tires. If the tread is very nicely detailed with a seam line nearly invisible, the sidewalls miss all the markings probably due to a copyright issue. The tires are also a bit undersized as the diameter is 26mm while it should be 26,85mm.
The hull is features the sturdy look of this up-armored version. The add-on armor plates for the vehicle sides come as separate parts. The PE grilles for the A/C units on the sides are really thin and make a great addition to the kit.
The armored roof has the peculiar angular look. The OGPK looks a bit complex to assemble and is a kit in the kit with 23 parts to which you must add the 15 parts the superb M2HB and its mount.
Concerning the accessories, you have the DUKE antenna and a GPS antenna for the back of the vehicle. The air cleaner vent can be built with or without the extension while most of the pictures I have seen on the Internet show the extended version.
The interior is nicely done too. It comes with the new seats, two SINCGARS radio sets (with one handset) and the computer screen for the vehicle commander. The dashboard features four ventilation outlets in addition to the crew heater system.
The inner faces of the doors are nicely detailed. Optional PE parts allow the doors to be represented open.
Unfortunately the black padding present on the current versions of the Humvees is not depicted by Academy.
The kit comes with two figures, a gunner with sun glasses and a bandana and the driver exiting the vehicle. The poses are original but the detail is not as crisp as on resin figures.
painting and markingsAcademy provide with a sheet of decals for two decorations. No unit indications are given in the instructions. Two are tan with one close to the M1151 displayed on Cybermodeler Online with some differences concerning the tires type and the gunner shield. The last one sports the 3-tone camouflage with no unit markings.
conclusionAcademy has released a very nice and original kit with some interesting features like the latest Wrangler tires or the OGPK. More affordable than the recent Bronco Humvees, it should be a best seller. With some accessories to fill the interior and AM tires, the kit will be a winner in modeling shows.