by: Peter Ong [ ]
Most intermediate to expert model kit builder by now realizes that in order to obtain the vehicle or figure that he or she wants, the builder needs to purchase resin because only resin kits fulfill the niche market for certain subjects. Most resin kit molds have a lifespan of anywhere from fifty to 100 kits cast before the molds wear out and the details are lost, meaning that the sculptor needs to recast new molds in order to continue production.
Airborne Miniatures’ (Item number 3532) 1/35 Polaris® RZR® SW ATV with Special Forces crew represents a real United States Special Forces Command (USSOCOM) 4X4 two-seater ATV used around the early 2010s.
Most RZR® SWs have been replaced by newer ATVs such as the Polaris® MRZR® (“M” for “Militarized”) two and four-seater ATVs and the General Dynamics Flyer60 and Flyer72 (numbers indicating how wide the Flyer vehicles are). These fast, agile, and unarmored ATVs could fit inside the elite U.S. Army’s Task Force 160’s CV-22 “Osprey” tilt-rotor platforms and MH-47 “Chinook” helicopters for deployment in theater.
There is no real documented history that these Polaris® RZR® SWs have been used on U.S. Special Forces’ frontline combat missions or fired in anger; however, they are used today for training purposes, messenger, cargo and personnel transport, and movement around the Forward Operating Bases far behind enemy lines. Due to their lack of armor and IED and mine protection, and limited cargo carrying capacity, they are not preferred for frontline combat duties as the armored MRAPs and M-ATVs (and M1245 JLTVs) are often used instead. Nonetheless, the utility ATVs still play a vital role in USSOCOM’s inventory and the “Never say never” philosophy might mean that the RZR SWs might have seen action at one time or another. There is a photo of a U.S. Marine Corp’s Force Recon Marine firing from a RZR in the Iraq War. Lacking the heavy armament and a long endurance design, one can’t really characterize the RZR as a Fast Attack Vehicle because it isn’t; it is meant for fast and nimble off-road transport where it excels at.
Airborne Miniatures’ 1/35 Polaris® RZR® SW kit comes in a sturdy white cardboard box with a color photograph on the front. Inside, cushioned and wrapped with bubblepaper, are individual clear plastic baggies containing the fifty-two parts. There are a lot of small individual parts so I will give just a generalization:
• Driver and passenger divided into legs, torso, carbine, pouches and holster, heads and arms
• RZR® chassis
• Cargo bed bars
• Rollcage rollbars
• Front grill assembly
• Engine bay and floor
• M249 Parasaw for the passenger
• Four wheels with a fifth wheel as a spare on the rollbar
• Hood scoop
• Two bucket seats
• Shocks and suspension parts
• Steering wheel
• Copper wire
• Copper PE grill mesh
• Clear resin headlight lenses
• Exhaust muffler assembly
• Black and white photocopied instructions
The owner of Airborne Miniatures cautioned me that this kit is complex since it has many small suspension parts and that the attachment pour blocks are substantial. That’s confirmed; this kit isn’t for the beginner or a modeler who has not tackled small parts, superglue, and resin before. There are a lot of small parts that I don’t even know where they belong to just by appearances alone. Fortunately, the instructions label all fifty-two parts and where they should go. The pour blocks are extensive in order to keep the tiny parts and thin roll bars straight and secure.
The owner stated that the roll bar over the driver in the cover photo must have bent during shipping as it should be straight. Examining my roll bars, I concur that there is no issues with my roll cage and my kit looks straight and true.
Airborne Miniatures designed this RZR® SW kit using 3D software and then cast in light gray resin. The details appear very good with most of the visible parts represented nicely. Those areas not normally visible, such as the bottom of the chassis are a bit rough so it’s hard to tell if there are any visible casting flaws until the pour blocks and sprues are cut and sanded off. That alone may present challenges as some parts have many resin sprues attached so I highly recommend some sharp pointed sprue cutters and fine sandpaper. Working inside a dish or basin would help prevent these small parts from getting lost.
I did notice that the driver and passenger’s clear bags had an extra pair of bucket seats (four seats total) and another steering wheel. These seats lack the refined casting quality as the ones shown in the instructions. Nonetheless, one can mount the extra seats in the bed if one wants to use the RZR as a three or four Operator transport.
The crew appears decent with modern equipment consisting of pistol, radio antennae, molded-on vest pouches, molded-on kneepads, eyeglasses, and earphones. No decals or helmets are provided, but one can add then from your spare parts box. The box photo does show the hands cradling the steering wheel while the passenger holds and aims the machine gun.
The photo etch grill, copper wire, and clear resin lenses present a nice touch to this kit.
The really good news is that this 1/35 Polaris® RZR® SW 4X4 ATV does look like the actual USSOCOM RZR® vehicle and appears to scale well. The tire treads are well defined and the details even include the Polaris® brand engraving on the front grill. The suspension does look neat and rugged when assembled properly. The instrument panel is represented with circular indentations and the roll cage has the brackets and holes for the crossing bars. The spare wheel mounted over the roll cage and the Special Forces crew adds a nice touch and gives a sense of purpose and scale. Despite all the flash and pour blocks, the surfaces of this ATV kit appear to be casted well and straight enough for assembly. This is a resin kit that takes some tender loving care. It does look pretty cool when built up properly as the box photo shows.
I can envision adding extra aftermarket items to this kit to improve it as a few companies do make 1/35 resin accessories such as cargo boxes, guns and gear, pouches, backpacks, stowage gear, ammo cans, camouflage netting, and MREs. The cover photo clearly shows that this RZR® can be built and that the crew does fit inside on the seats.
Special Thanks to Airborne Miniatures for the review sample. Built photos of the RZR and figures are from Airborne Miniatures.
Airborne Miniatures’ 1/35 Polaris® RZR® SW 4X4 ATV captures a unique USSOCOM light unarmored utility vehicle that seemed instrumental in the early deployments and raids on the War on Terror. While little is known about its deployment history for obvious classified reasons, the Polaris® RZR® SW still has a place within the USSOCOM ATV inventory.
This is a complex kit not meant for the beginner. The task of removing the pour blocks with delicate care could frustrate those not accustomed to such small parts or carving out resin.