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Improving The Italeri HMMWVs

Introduction

To follow up on the previous article entitled: The Much Maligned Italeri HMMWVs, this article will review several available aftermarket detail sets designed to improve the various Italeri HMMWV kits. Again, while Italeri HMMWVs are missing some details, they do build nicely. As noted, many detail sets can be used on virtually any HMMWV kit in 1/35 scale.

The official designation for the High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle is HMMWV; however, the various model manufacturers used terms like Hum-V, HMMV, Humvee, etc. Likewise, current US military nomenclature convention is the use of the letter “M” followed by the model number. Hence no dash or space is used after the M (i.e. M998 verses M-998 or M 998). The model manufacturer name is used when referring to a specific kit or accessory for those of you wishing to search the Internet for these items. The name Hummer is also used and it is a registered trademark of AM General, the manufacturer of the HMMWV.

To recap, Italeri produced six HMMWV variants with Testors doing a straight re-box of an Italeri kit and Tamiya and Revell of Germany each re-boxing unique variants of the basic kit. Eduard produces several photo etched detail sets to correct some of the deficiencies of the Italeri-based HMMWVs. Currently there are four photo etched sets for HMMWVs on the Eduard.com website:

1. 35166 for the Academy M997 Ambulance
2. 35209 for the Tamiya Hummer with M242 Bushmaster
3. 35258 for the Italeri HMMV with TOW Launcher (note the “W” missing)
4. 35497 for the M-1025 Hummer Avenger (note the Avenger is not an M1025)

This article will focus on the last three detail sets since they are recommended for use with Italeri-based HMMWV kits. I am unsure if Eduard previously produced photo-etched sets for the three other Academy HMMWVs (M998, M966, M1025), or other Italeri HMMWV kits or for the old Esci (AMT/Ertl) kits. The Academy body parts bear a strong resemblance to the Italeri parts, so it would be easy to use the photo etch parts recommended for the Italeri kits on the Academy kits.

In addition, there are several resin accessory sets available, some maybe out-of-production (OOP). This article is not a comprehensive listing of all HMMWV related accessories available, past or present.

1. Ordnance Models #A-013 M998 Wheel (repackaged by The Tank Workshop as 0081 M998 Hummer Tires with aggressive pattern)
2. Verlinden #616 Hummer Troop Carrier
3. Czech Master’s Kits (CMK) M-998 Hummer engine & accessories

(The accessories listed above are the ones that were on hand at the time of this writing.)

35209 Tamiya Hummer with M242 Photo Etch Set

The Eduard set for the Tamiya M242 Bushmaster-armed HMMWV consists of one large and one small fret as well as a clear film for the dashboard dial faces. Although this set is labeled for use with the Tamiya kit, it could be used on any Italeri-based HMMWV kit with a minimum of wasted parts.

This Eduard set adds interior and exterior details that are generic to any HMMWV. The generic interior parts that can be used on any HMMWV are: accelerator and brake pedals; fire extinguisher and M16 rifle racks; various data plates; the entire dashboard to include heater vents; transmission shift and parking brake lever detail; driver’s seat detail and the STE-ICE receptacle (Simplified Test Equipment-Internal Combustion Engine).

The generic exterior details are windshield wiper blades; upper and lower hood grills; front bumper; tow pintle detail; crew air intake vent; antenna mount; rear view mirrors and a bridge classification sign. There are also details added to the interior of the doors that can be used on any hard top HMMWV like the M966/1036. The only kit specific parts are a set of identification panel louvers that go over the front doors. The IFF panel parts take up about half of the large fret. Also included is a pair of 5-gallon can racks that can be used on any modern US vehicle along with the IFF panels. The crew air intake vent replaces the small portion of the body forward of the front passenger door and just behind the right front wheel. This part can be used on any of the early HMMWV kits that were missing the vent. Italeri added this detail when they re-tooled the molds and is unnecessary for use with subsequent kit releases.

This set lists with a retail price of $15 on the Eduard website and $13 at Squadron Mail Order. This is the set to get if you just want to dress up any of the basic HMMWV kits. Unfortunately, it does not include a radio rack.

35258 Italeri M1036 HMMW with TOW Launcher Photo Etch Set

This set consists of one large fret, two medium frets (duplicates), and one small fret as well as the dashboard film. It includes many of the same generic interior parts as set #35209 and even goes on to add a radio rack, an older A/N VRC 12-series radio set and auxiliary receiver. The set also adds most of the missing interior details such as TOW stowage racks, traversing unit mount, gunner’s platform, and other cargo compartment racks. Interestingly, it does not have the STE-ICE receptacle or the interior door detail found on set #35209.

As with the generic interior details, the generic exterior details are similar. The exception is the omission of the crew air intake vent, which is fine since Italeri re-tooled the mold to add this detail in, and the antenna mount. Since the hard top HMMWV has an antenna mount integral to the top, this would be unnecessary any way. There are also mesh parts to add to the kit’s brush guard and the set includes a normal front bumper so the winch-less M966 can be built with this kit. Unfortunately, this set does not do anything about the reversed turret.

Like the previous set, this set can be used with any of the Italeri-based HMMWV kits. The pluses for using this set to dress up any HMMWV are the radio and radio rack. The minuses are the deleted door interior detail parts and the price. It lists for $20 on Eduard’s site and $17 at Squadron.

35497 M-1025 Hummer Avenger

As noted above, the Avenger is not the M1025. According to AR 700-138, the base vehicle for the Avenger is the “Carrier, Vehicle M998MOD or M1097.” The first thing to note about the photo-etched set is that Eduard’s list price is $25 while the Italeri list price for the Avenger kit is $22. Of course, the savvy shopper can find both for less money. The cost of the set and the amount of detail parts dedicated to the Stinger turret would make buying this set for anything but the Italeri Avenger kit a waste of money and brass.

The set includes two large and one small fret, a set of clear film for the dashboard and an optional printed set of dashboard details. It also includes masks for weathering the windshield and painting on the tactical markings. The frets include similar detail to the first two sets for the interior like the pedals, dashboard, levers, and a more comprehensive driver seat detail than the previous sets. The STE-ICE receptacle is back as is the door interior detail. New interior details are items like seat belts and windshield hinges. Also added are detail items for the gunner control panel in the turret interior.
Exterior detail items like optional front engine grills (armored or standard), rear view mirrors, wipers, bridge classification sign, two antenna mounts, and front and rear bumper details are included. Tow pintle detail is more comprehensive and the light connector for a trailer hook up is included for the back bumper. Reflectors and side markers are added as well as gas cap detailing and door hinges. The replacement body piece with the crew air vent on it returns too. Again, this may be unnecessary since the kit reviewed had the re-tooled body part.

The turret receives plenty of detail parts to replace molded on panels, optics and tie-downs. The M2 .50 cal gets a perforated barrel and the ammo box is completely rebuilt. The cooling unit fan and guard are a nice touch.

This set is recommended for anyone who wants to super-detail the Italeri Avenger. One addum to make to the previous article Avenger review is that Italeri now includes proper wheel hubs in the kit.

The Tank Workshop M998 Hummer Tires with aggressive pattern

These tires replace the poor kit tires. They are the earlier bias-ply Wrangler R/T II tires. The tread pattern is captured nicely and the wheel includes the valve stem. They have the “boxier” look of the early tires. It would be nice if all Italeri HMMWVs came with a set of these tires. The Tank Workshop also makes a set of these tires with chains on them (#0082). Each set runs about $8.

Verlinden #616 Hummer Troop Carrier

This set may be OOP and is basically negated by the fact that Academy and Revell of Germany both produce a 2-door troop carrying HMMWV. It is designed for Italeri M998 series kits and can convert any of the various HMMWV kits on the market to a 2-door “pickup truck” variant M998. It contains a large photo etch fret, several resin pieces and a vacuformed sheet containing front doors and the two man cab. The troop seats are nicely done with both resin and photo etch parts, although the build looks to be extremely tricky. It also includes a brush guard that is a multi-PE affair and a nice touch is the canvas top tie downs that go around the bed and cargo tie downs on the bed itself. This kit includes the “B” pillar that is missing from all but one HMMWV kit so it would be of use to anyone wanting to model a HMMWV with no top installed. The vacuformed crew doors and cab top are poorly depicted.

One note of contention with this kit is that the box top photo shows an unpainted Italeri HMMWV with the conversion parts installed, including resin tires. The photo also shows a layout of the conversion parts with no tires on display. This appears to be a bit deceiving since someone may assume that the resin tires are included with the set. At an original retail price of $30, it is not recommended for what you get. Back when there were no 2-door kits on the market, it would have increased your HMMWV fleet, but now with the selection, a pair of Academy soft tops could be bought for the same amount of money.

Czech Master’s Kits (CMK) M-998 Hummer engine & accessories

This neat set is a three-piece resin set that consists of partial engine assembly, radiator and radiator hose. It gives about the right amount of detail if looking at the engine with the hood tilted forward. The box art shows the engine set mounted in the Academy M998 kit and states that the engine is for both the Tamiya or Academy kit. The assumption made by the manufacturer is that the Academy kit is a copy of the Tamiya kit (much like most of their armor kits once were) instead of the fact that the Tamiya kit is a re-box of an Italeri HMMWV variant. That being said, the Academy parts and Italeri parts are fairly similar so use of the engine in anyone of the HMMWV kits should be simple enough.

The set runs about $8 and is recommended for someone who wants to display a vehicle undergoing maintenance or with the hood tilted forward while the vehicle is tactically parked (tilted hood reduces the chance that the windshield reflects light) in the field.

Conclusion

Many of these detail sets are recommended to improve any of the basic HMMWV kits available on the market. Even the most comprehensive set, the Eduard Hummer Avenger PE set, still isn’t the end all be all of HMMWV detail sets. Additional items are required for the tires and no detail set updates the rear view mirrors (except for the resin AFV Club bits added to the Academy HMMWV). The Italeri HMMWV kits can be made into real winners with some of these sets, and luckily, just like on the actual vehicles, most of these parts are interchangeable.
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