by: Mario Krajinovic [ ]
Problem with being the only exposed guy in the vehicle shooting back at the bad guys is really apparent with the advent of vehicle mounted weapons. Turret Gunners operating in up-armored Humvee's in Iraq and Afghanistan called for significant force protection improvements against Improvised Explosive Devices and enemy small arms fire. Soldiers needed something to give them 360-degree protection yet still provide full visibility of their surroundings. The start of combat operations saw a number of improvised solutions such as welded turrets with HMMWV windshield glass for ballistic protection with strapped Kevlar vests etc.
The official answer to an urgent need for protection came in the form of Objective Gunners Protective Kit (OGPK) program fielded by U.S. Army Armament Research Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ. The challenge was how to balance increased armored protection and weapon maneuverability. The gunner needs rapid and sufficient weapon maneuverability to engage targets effectively, but increased range of motion of the weapon typically leads to reduced protection due to the interference between the weapon and the armor panels.
Objective Gunner Protection Kit (OGPK) provides full wrap-around protection, while still ensuring the gunner's ability to engage targets effectively. The OGPK is an integrated armor and ballistic glass turret that is mounted onto the turret ring of an HMMWV as well as other tactical and armored vehicles including MRAP family of vehicles. An innovative asymmetric armor design kit was used with strategically-placed modular armor panels, including transparent areas to give the soldier more visibility. The OGPK system also incorporates the Battery Powered Motorized Traversing Unit (BPMTU), which ensures full 360-degree rotation of the turret with the use of an electronic joystick. Overhead Cover was another feature added in 2007. with the intention of providing adequate protection and survivability from sniper and small arms fire that had to fit the requirements of ensuring the turret system wasn't overloaded due to the added weight.
This is another great mixed (resin PE) set for detailing or converting your HMMWV to something else. The focus of the viewer is really attracted to this imposing thing. The contents of the set encased in a small acetate box are as following:
• zip-lock bag with a transparent sheet
• zip-lock bag with resin rear-view mirrors and the turret traverse joystick
• 2 PE frets of different thickness
• instruction sheet
At first glance, it looks simple enough. The longer PE fret is thicker than the other and includes turret sides and the overhead cover. That’s why it’s thicker – it adequately represents the thickness of the turret armor plates. Also included on this fret are the turret ring plates, hatch cover and the triangular base for the weapons mount.
The smaller fret holds a number of smaller parts like the armored window frames, riveted joint beams and the rear turret stowage box. Everything is sharply produced with no defects what so ever.
To ease visibility for the gunner, the OGPK turret also features rear view mirrors that are identical to the ones on the vehicle body. This kit has them in resin, but they are mounted on the resin molding blocks in such a way that it is easy to remove more then you should. The picture provided can show this better. I would have liked more if they were located on the bottom. One other nitpick about the mirrors is the extremely thin edges. Take care in removing them from the block! Also included is a joystick used to traverse the turret which is nicely casted and is defect free.
Transparent sheet of plastic (or resin?) is included to present the window transparencies. However, due to brittleness of clear parts, extreme care will be needed when cutting them out.
The instructions really show off the complexity of the build. What looks easy enough when you open the box, this is when you get put down to earth. Three pages of A4 format show that some experience will be necessary while assembling this thing together.
A lot of parts, complicated bending, multi-layered PE parts will perhaps take some time to put together, but this set will really improve any kit parts and bring your kit to a whole new level.